[Reviewed by stark]
This probably may be the darkest Winter-Light release up to date. Nox comes from Croatia and is a side project by Jurica Santek whom you may recall from Aegri Somnia, which released a couple of albums for Cryo Chamber. And it seems like with Nox the musician wanted to achieve one of two things. Or perhaps both. Let’s focus on the first issue.
Aegri Somnia is a cinematic, sci-fi based project of a vast and deep sound. It’s epic, it tells you a story, as most of Cryo Chamber releases do. It may not be the name that I would cherish extraordinarily, but still the music is highly enjoyable, a nice addiction to the half-sleep inner journeys. While “Opus Unending”, this Nox initial release, is dark, hell, it’s pitch-black. If you want to sleep or dream with this piece of music in your headphones, be aware that it will induce only but nightmares. Not about monsters or demons, but about eternal solitude. It’s really difficult not to notice the echoes of the dark drone/isolationist masters such as Lull, Terra Sancta or Sleep Research Facility. These low, rumbling drones – sometimes with a slight atmospheric touch – can really evoke a strange effect on your psyche, so perhaps Santek’s idea was to give vent to his darkest emotions and let loose this existential anxiety we all have deep within.
Or maybe the purpose of the album wasn’t that philosophical, so to speak, but purely utilitarian. Maybe Nox is a testing plant for the sounds which have been produced for Aegri Somnia, yet Jurica felt they didn’t fit, or maybe weren’t good enough for the main project. Prior to writing this review I checked again some Aegri Somnia music and often the composition design similarities are observable, although Nox with all its oppressiveness seems to be more low-key, it is stripped of most ornamentations. Perhaps because of that I have a small problem with this album. To me it is difficult to focus my whole attention on it. The compositions sometimes lack of some element that would make differentiate more easy one from another. I would even say it would work better if “Opus Unending” was one huge track, without the silent pauses between the pieces. One stone solid structure instead of ten similar impressions, rather short as for this particular genre.
Nevertheless, it is still a good album made by skilled musician who know what dark ambient is about. It just… misses something that would thrill me.