Saturday 17 July 2021

Dark Ambient Review: The Book

Dark Ambient Review: The Book

Review By Casey Douglass

The Book

Sometimes, I wonder what the state of the horror genre would be, if there was no such thing as creepy, secret books of power. So many tales feature dusty old grimoires that unleash forces that the reader cannot control... I’d sure miss the concept if it ever fell out of use. Dodenskald’s dark ambient album The Book seems to be themed around this kind of book, or collection of books.

The album art, for me, has a retro horror feel, but also a modern, glitchy aesthetic. It looks a little Blair Witch, a little Stranger Things. The tracks are all titled after a variety of books, such as Book of Blood. Whether these are separate books or merely different sections of one vast tome, I have no idea. There are five tracks, and the album is around fifteen minutes in length, so the listener can visit the realm of each book in a fairly rapid manner.

Black Book is a chimey, rasping track, one with hints of chanting, and a music-box feeling that creates a pregnant, haunted funfair atmosphere.

Book of Blood is a deep, rumbling, pulsing track. Clipped notes and an uneasy throbbing makes it seem like a distant radio is playing at a blood-soaked crime scene, possibly with strange entities watching on.

Book of Genesis is a wet, dripping track, the sound of trickling water mingling with a buzzing feedback and an airy drone. There are lighter tones, but for me, this track felt like a monster giving birth in a dark basement, the beauty of life meeting the despair of corruption.

Book of Salvation features a distant, circular-saw-like resonance and a warm drone. The soundscape undulates and feels a little watery, like watching ripples on a pond catch the sunlight. This track also felt a little “churchy” to me, the gentle tones that emerge peaceful and purifying.

Book of Silence is 54 seconds of a low, purring drone, one accompanied by distant high tones and metallic echoes. It’s a rumbling, ominous track, a little like you’d get at the end of a horror film, when the monster is destroyed and the heroes are unsuccessful in finding the last egg or cocoon that is hidden in the shadows.

The Book is a dark ambient album that takes the listener on a journey through the various stages of a possible horror tale. We pass through the lust for discovery and power, the darkness of the acts involved, the unseen consequences and the striving for peace or redemption. We even get the end of credits teaser that hints at the sequel film that may or may not ever be made. It’s an ominous, magickal, haunted album, and one well worth picking up.

Visit the The Book page on Bandcamp for more information.

I was given a review copy of this album.

Album Title: The Book

Album Artist: Dodenskald

Label: Noctivagant

Released: 27 June 2021