Some bands just don't know when to slow down. California-based dark ambient/electronic musician Crowhurst definitely falls into that category, as he and his small army of guest musicians are about to release his fourteenth (?!) studio album this year, the evocatively titled Aghoree.
The album is named after the somewhat less-than-mainstream Hindu sect that can (regretfully) be accurately described using the terms necrophagy, urophagia, and corprophagy. Given that, you'd definitely expect that this album is going to be one of those cold and uninviting pieces; certainly, the manner in which it opens with derisive-sounding laughter and speech only seems to solidfy that impression. However, the pieces are actually surprisingly warm and comfortable for the genre, all while retaining the dark edginess that makes them so appealing in the first place.
The album sounds akin to Through Silver in Blood-era Neurosis, sans the actual band; the music is spacey and metallic, yet somehow refreshingly cathartic, especially on the opener "No Money / Good Life". Some tracks like "Claustrophobic in an Empty Room" and "Siren of the Smashan" sound like standing adjacent to the shuttle as it lifts off beside you, filling your eardrums and any others in the general vicinity with their sheer aural overdrive. Some pieces like "Triple Faced Dance" juxtapose bright sound effects against crushingly dark ambience, creating a playfully cosmic experience, whereas others like "Marfan" fall closer to classic drone territory, echoing and reverberating in a short, but most pleasant, aural massage. The highlight of the album, "Modern Living on a Savage Planet" is like listening to the ritualistic tribal performances of an undiscovered society, fedback thrice and played back at 880%, down three octaves, and backwards.
The only thing awry I noticed was that, even by the incredibly lenient standards for ambient music, there isn't that much development to the music, as the pieces tend to repeat themselves ad infinitum without adding in enough spice or change to keep them moving. However, I find myself not really minding--there's just something about this album I cannot quite bring myself to name that's compelling enough to keep me strung along, and that's worthy of commendation.
Given the vast size of his discography, it's not surprising that Aghoree is not his strongest release. However, it's undeniably still really damn satisfying. If you are looking for your fix of spine-tingling, chill-spreading, teeth-clenching dark ambient, definitely check this one out--you will not be disappointed.
7.5 / 10
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