Friday 25 December 2020

Dark Ambient Review: Awaken The Flesh

Dark Ambient Review: Awaken The Flesh

Review by Casey Douglass

Awaken The Flesh

Any horror fan worth their salt has likely seen any number of flicks set in the rural middle of nowhere, creaking cabins and crinkled leaves the canvas often covered by blood and gore once things kick off. Kehseverin’s Awaken The Flesh is a dark ambient album that hooks into the same feelings that these horrors do, those sensations of strangeness and isolation. I’d also bet that, on first seeing the cover art above, some of your first thoughts might just have been about The Evil Dead.

As you might imagine from an album with a title like Awaken The Flesh, the sounds you will find in its soundscapes are all suitably grim, ominous and unnerving. One of the early tracks: Descent, is a great example. It opens with a low rumbling and a grainy, “pot boiling” sound. There is a hint of flies buzzing, a hint of wind, and for me, the growing sense that this is clearly some cannibal’s house. It just makes the most sense. There is a grinding feeling to the soundscape, rustling leaves, and what might be the sound of creeping insects. Add in the fizz of a detuned radio or TV, and you’ve got your own grim cabin scene right there.

The next track: Absolutes, is just as dark. This one opens with a low tone, and I thought that I could hear wind or rain. A deeper bass rumbling joins the low tone. A fuzzing, vibrating tone depicts a sad melody, like a beetle buzzing around, looking for a window. I might have heard whispers at the edge of the vibrating sound in places too. For me, the best way to describe this track is, if insects could chant and do their own little devil worshipping rites, this might just be what it would sound like. Is your house infested with Satanic cockroaches? Is there such a thing as a priest bug exterminator? I guess you could mix the pesticide with the holy water in the spray gun...

Horizon is another fun track. I say fun, in the same way that you might enjoy watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, as that is the film that this track set me thinking about. Horizon begins with a smooth, undulating drone. A short time later, a kind of spinning aesthetic creeps in, a bit like a spinning-top beginning to whirl faster and faster. This is where I thought of the sunrise scene in so many horrors, the blood covered victim gaining new strength from seeing the night sky turn orange. It wasn’t a big jump from that, to remembering Leatherface’s chainsaw spinning tantrum. Not that I heard a chainsaw, but everything else just felt like “horror sunrise” to me.

The final track I want to talk about is Confluence. This is another buzzing, vibrating track, that put me in mind of cannibals again. There is a tin-lid-scraping kind of beat that had me thinking about someone rummaging through old baked bean tins. An electronic rising tone begins, like the hum of a power core. A little later the soundscape turns into a dense, clanking space. Some of the clanking could very well be the flapping of corrugated metal. Maybe the action didn’t take place in a cabin but above an abandoned mine. Maybe this track is a little The Hills Have Eyes. Another fun one, whatever it is.

Awaken The Flesh is a journey into the unnerving backwaters of the horror genre. The kinds of places where people neither care for the rules of society, nor lose sleep over making use of whatever meat is handy. The soundscapes vibrate with hate, poverty and fear, and the listener gets to sample these unnerving places from the comfort of their own, hopefully safer, surroundings. I loved it.

Visit the Awaken The Flesh page on Bandcamp for more information. Check out Descent below:

I was given a review copy of this album.

Album Title: Awaken The Flesh

Album Artist: Kehseverin

Label: VoidSoundLTD

Released: 27 Nov 2020