Friday 23 June 2017

Dark Music Review – Crumbling Cities Echoing Their Terror

Dark Music Review – Crumbling Cities Echoing Their Terror

Review Written By Casey Douglass

Crumbling Cities Echoing Their Terror

Crumbling Cities Echoing Their Terror is a compilation of cinematic dark ambient artist Noctilucant’s previously unreleased songs, spanning the time period Oct 2015 to Dec 2016. I previously reviewed Noctilucant’s Oblivion To You All, and was impressed with the bleak “world gone wrong” vibe it created. As you can see from the title, Crumbing Cities Echoing Their Terror looks like it will continue to probe the spires of broken brick and steel, even if solely in an attempt to bear witness to the horror of what could come if we don’t wise up.

The first track, You Can Hear The Cry Of The Planet, achieves a somber tone by incorporating a number of enjoyable devices. The first is a sonorous funeral bell-like chime that shakes the soundscape in a “pay attention” kind of way. The second is that some elements of the track seem to take on the aspect of a cry, the titular cry maybe. Each sounded different to me, one a bit like a bird shriek, the next more like a steam train whistle. Whatever each “cry” really is, it is no less effective in the not knowing.

Next up is Down by the Docks (Alternative Version). This is a brief track, but one filled with the sounds of dripping water, wind and voices. Swells of a radio-like interference impinge at times, and it tails off with an unnerving dose of feminine humming. I really liked this track and was a little sad that it was so quickly over.

A Solemn Night is another great track, partly because I was quite pleased with the mental impressions it gave me. It sounded a bit like a scene that film and TV watchers have seen used many times: a person sleeping in an easy chair, the lounge dark, save for the flickering light of a TV in the corner. My most recent reference is the scene in The Babadook, where the Babadook appears in whichever film the main character is dopily watching. This was the impression I got from this track, some horror slowly seeping into the scene on the television while the occupant of the room dozes on oblivious. The latter part of the track changes to a lighter tone, and this gave me the idea of something beginning to materialize in the room itself. What, I don’t know.

Letting Go Of All Hope is up next, another track that produced some striking images for me. I imagined aliens visiting the ruined Earth, hovering in their spacecraft (hinted at by the drone and oscillating high tones) before deciding that it isn’t really worth their trouble to land, and scarpering. The latter part of the track seemed a little emptier, more quiet, and this kind of felt like the pain of absence, or even the letting go of hope. A great track.

The final track that I’m going to mention by name is Beholding The Murk, a deep bassy track that rumbles into life with what sounds like a vibrating engine. This is soon joined by higher tones and more interference-like effects that swell and then vanish. If ever a track was an accompaniment to walking through a cloud of dust or a thick clinging fog, this is it. It even features the sound of someone breathing through a gas mask just after the halfway point.

Crumbling Cities Echoing Their Terror is a satisfying listen if you want to spend some time in the murky world of post-apocalyptic urban life. All of the tracks create a melancholy and stifling sense of waste, and some counterpoint this with the higher tones and airy sounds of life still continuing, in whatever form that may be.

Visit the Crumbling Cities Echoing Their Terror page on Bandcamp here for more information. 

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

Album Title: Crumbling Cities Echoing Their Terror
Artist: Noctilucant
Released: May 25, 2017