Dark Music Review – Dredge Portals
Review Written By Casey Douglass
God Body Disconnect debuts on Cryo Chamber with Dredge Portals, an emotional roller coaster of an album that reaches through several genres of music to serve us a strong narrative of storytelling. Using everything from electronics, guitars to field recordings and vocals this is an incredibly diverse album not to be missed.
Firstly, I have to commend the album title of Dredge Portals. Portal as a word often seems to have esoteric appeal, but to place dredge in-front of the word just seems to point to menace, at least to me, so the title gets a definite thumbs up from me. The album as a whole gets a thumbs up too, if you wanted to read a music review and not just my thoughts on the composition of the album title.
What God Body Disconnect has created in Dredge Portals is a dark ambient album that does more than most in giving the listener narrative hints to guide their mental meanderings through the soundscapes contained therein. Quite literally in places. Shortly after the drone and voices of track one: “Rise of the Dormant Host” have faded to silence and other beeps and noises have appeared to take their place, an actual voice addresses the listener, talking about how “nobody expects to end up here...” and painting the scene of a gunshot victim who has laid in a body-dead mind-awake coma for seven long years and believing that even ending up in hell would be a better fate than continuing in this form. As album starts go, it’s quite a doozy.
If mention of a voice-over has the people who like to create their own impressions shaking their heads, don’t worry, it isn’t over-used, appearing only at the beginning, end and in one of the middle tracks. That being said, I personally wouldn’t have minded its appearance a few more times. The other sounds of Dredge Portals feature a variety of field recorded sounds, from the elements such as wind and rain to harsher sounds like doors scraping closed, machinery clanking and other less definable sounds as extra flavouring. One thing they all have in common however, is the ability to create dark and dank soundscapes, while also interspersing them with slightly more gentle and uplifting sensations.
As is usually the way, a number of tracks stood out for me in the course of my listening. The first is “Descend with Demons” and it begins with a wind-floated discordant sharp drone accompanied by echoing footsteps and movements. Reedy noises and machine-based hums are joined by a faint sacral chant. Following this at around the midpoint of the track, is fast breathing and the ding of what I assume to be an elevator. The scraping doors open and the soundscape darkens even more.
The next track, “Heart of the Mirror's Abyss” starts with dripping water and panicked breathing, the person muttering about being so cold. The echoes give the effect of being in a tunnel, the muttered words bouncing back to the speaker seeming to mock and reply to some of the things he cries. A short time later, a hive-like drone emerges with a heart-beat like beat with swells of other notes and the backdrop of frantic footfalls. This might just be my favourite track on the whole album, the depiction of someone battling with themselves, the environment and other unseen things was so elegantly portrayed.
The last track that I wanted to mention by name is “Perpetually Devoured”, a track that starts in with the sound of wind and storm, muffled rollings of thunder shaking the soundscape in the most gentle of ways. Quite a subdued start, but after a short time, the listener begins to hear the slithering dripping noises something makes as it moves through the scene. It is soon joined by a deep drone that builds with other lighter sounds and notes around it. The track ends with an unknown voice talking at a moderate distance, in a language I couldn’t understand.
Dredge Portals feels like an incredibly strong album, one that is held together by great underlying themes such as fate, life and being in limbo. The few tracks that incorporate the apparent sounds of hospital equipment beeping and flat-lining and whatever, did a great job of uniting the apparent real world with the more astral-based wanderings of the lost soul. I really appreciated this melding of sound and concept, and I also liked the way it set the scene and told some pieces of a character’s story. I give Dredge Portals 5/5, a rating that I rarely give.
Check out Dredge Portals on bandcamp at this link.
You can listen to “ Heart of the Mirror's Abyss” below:
I was given a free copy of this album to review.
Album Title: Dredge Portals
Artist: God Body Disconnect
Label : Cryo Chamber
Released: January 12, 2016