Tuesday 28 April 2015

Dark Music Review - Reminiscences

Dark Music Review – Reminiscences

Written by Casey Douglass

Reminiscences is a Dark Ambient album with a cinematic edge that draws its conceptual basis from apocalyptic science fiction. This album features the darkest side of Zalys, focusing on schizophrenic sounds, post-apocalyptic textures, industrial elements and disturbing atmospheres that will summon and invoke thrilling images of a blight future in the vast immensity of outer space.

When first-person survival game Alien: Isolation was released, I got firmly into the horror/sci-fi groove, the cold expanse of space and the hard metal of the space-station just worked together to leave me fancying more. I didn’t have too long to wait for another piece of media to come along and scratch that itch. Reminiscences by Zalys channels that hostile-to-man feeling and mixes it with the majesty of space.

What I really enjoyed about Reminiscences is the feeling of desolation conveyed by almost every track, the tones and drones subtle and smooth, with just the right hint of high-pitched resonances and echoes to create genuinely dark spaces.

The album starts with the creaking metal of “Leaking in the Machine Room”, its minimal beat and echoing signals a fitting soundtrack for a camera drone as it explores the nether regions of some hulking derelict spaceship maybe. That was the image suggested by my imagination anyway. This is something Zalys makes great use of, the less-is-more approach to dark ambient, echoing beeps, quiet drones and lots of space for the tracks to breathe. A perfect example of this is track three, “Hopeless Mind”, a soundscape that uses some lovely high-pitched resonances overlaid on a drone that pulsates ominously in the background.

One track that tickled my nostalgia gland was “Industrial Dementia”, a track that uses a lovely resonance that put me in mind of the opening scene to PC game Half-life, just at the part where the experiment goes wrong, but a longer and more subtle version of this.

The final track that I wanted to mention by name is “System Failure”. It starts in a quite muted way but doesn’t take very long before a noise begins that sounds like the strange call of some insane human, or strange creature. Later on in the track, sounds like something breathing and pacing issue forth, a sinister and chilling thing to hear.

Reminiscences certainly lives up to its album description quoted at the start of the review, every track seeming to evoke some gloomy vision of the fading splendour of a technological race that has seen better days. It’s a subtle journey for the most part, nothing really jarring or in your face about the tracks therein. I give Reminiscences a solid 4/5, and think it would be a great listen for anyone with an interest in sci-fi or the more cinematic styled dark ambient type of album.

Visit the Reminiscences page on Bandcamp here for more info.

I was given a free copy of the album to review.

Album Title: Reminiscences
Album Artist: Zalys
Label: Arecibo Records
Release Date: 10th March 2015