Saturday 24 October 2020

Dark Ambient Review: The Inner Fear

Dark Ambient Review: The Inner Fear

Review by Casey Douglass

The Inner Fear

The COVID pandemic often feels like we are living out life in a disaster flick. When going shopping evokes similar feelings to watching 28 Days Later, things have taken a turn, that’s for sure. On the plus side, things haven’t devolved to us having to live in the sewers and worship strange new dark gods. Moloch Conspiracy’s The Inner Fear is a dark ambient album themed around this very way of life, and I’ve been listening to it over the last few days.

Album Blurb: The days of humanity have darkened. In the cities, the population survives in the old sewers and the many networks of galleries dug in the rubble on the surface. The cults have persisted and call on the lost souls to join awful ceremonies. The horror of invocations and prayers traces the path of a humanity which henceforth supports the domination of unknown gods and celebrations.

The Inner Fear depicts this theme in soundscapes laced with a variety of sounds. There are traditional instruments, such as the cello, alongside field recordings, and a variety of vocals, from guttural ritualistic tones, to voices talking in the dark. The sounds of trickling water, the sweep of mournful cello and distant metallic clankings do a fine job of transporting the listener into a murky underground domain. I must admit that as a Metro 2033 fan, it brought back a few fond memories of that game/book.

There were a number of tracks that stood out for me due to the mental imagery they brought about. The first was Radiant Water. It opens with high, warm tones, a distant hum and an ‘end of work’ kind of siren sound. Dripping water echoes amongst swells of sound and a background shimmer, string notes adding a dose of strangeness to things. For me, this track painted the picture of a shaft that reaches the surface, the pale face of the Moon shining through a metal grate, somehow reaching the water far below. Strange things dance in the shadows around the moon light, and as the track quietens towards the end, the Moon finally moves from sight, the shadows settling down once more. It felt a little magical.

The notion of magic is a nice link to the next track I wanted to describe, as one of the notes I wrote about it was that it had a ‘witchy feel’. Current Disturbance opens in a bassy, bubbly way, distant sounds seeming to hint of faraway intruders breaching the tunnel system. There are high tones and what seemed to be the sound of the gentle crumbling or falling of rocks. There was just something about this track that felt a little otherworldly. The high tones led to me thinking of pixie lights floating near the ceiling, and the distant activity seemed a little like an incoming witch-hunt, for some reason. It was good fun, whatever was really happening.

The final track I wanted to mention specifically is Vertical Horizon of Darkness. I think this one felt a little Lovecraftian to me, in so far as I got the impression of someone sitting on watch at the edge of a vast abyss. A mellow opening soon includes the sounds of a crackling distant rockfall. The soundscape feels hollow yet vast, plucked notes echoing and being joined by a high pitched resonance. I felt like bats or something else were flying in the darkness. The male chanting is what set me down the abyss path though. There was something lonely and brave about it, and the thought of someone sitting watch when they are almost totally surrounded by a dark yawning space; I liked that idea very much indeed.

The Inner Fear is a bit like a dark audio tour of a future that has gone very wrong. This future sees humans living in the bowels of the earth yet surviving in the darkness. The string notes often add a feel of melancholy to the soundscapes, the trickling water and echoes an airless closeness. I guess it’s little wonder that chanting and ritual make a comeback in such a world, and hearing that chanting in the dark soundscapes of The Inner Fear makes for a compelling listening experience.

Visit the The Inner Fear page on Bandcamp for more information.

I was given a review copy of this album.

Album Title: The Inner Fear

Album Artist: Moloch Conspiracy

Label: Distorted Void

Released: 17 Oct 2020