Sunday 1 August 2021

Dark Ambient Review: Moth Star

Dark Ambient Review: Moth Star

Review By Casey Douglass

Moth Star Album Art

Moth Star is a dark ambient album from Altarmang, a music project created by Kenneth Hansson and Pär Boström. The album is described as an exploration of the patterns formed by the planets and the stars above, with a title that possibly hints at a lone, malevolent star that draws the curious under its influence, like moths to a candle flame.

Opening track Saiph gives a telling introduction to how the album will sound. It begins with an undulating drone and unnerving echoing pulses. A light tone floats and caresses as the deeper layers rumble and swell with ominous sounds. It feels dream-like and desolate, yet also incredibly old. It made me think of a pitch-black landscape with a lone crumbling building, and a moon-light so faint that all it does is give the merest of outlines to the structure. Creepy but fun to “walk” around.

My favourite track is Saturnine. It starts with a low drone and a hollow tube-like buzzing. The soundscape has a chant-like quality and features a relaxed pulsing and throbbing sensation. There are screechy, fuzzy sounds, distortion and blaring tones. There is the sound of metal impacting and sliding, and an agitating static that stirs the mixture. For me, this track felt like listening to some kind of infernal workshop, one that is deep underground and is the hot crucible in which death-dealing machines are birthed.

The final track Moth Star is a fitting end to the album. It feels like a windy, watchful soundscape, one in which the relaxed smooth tone seems to stoke the wind’s waxing and waning. This is a fuzzy, reverb-graced, gritty track, one with a hint of the void and of great forces at work. It’s also a track that feels like the audio equivalent of a giant being blowing all of the dust from a dead planet’s surface while a strange star looks on in glee.

Moth Star is a dark dream in audio form, a dream of the abyss, a dream of unknown influences that have unknowable aims. The soundscapes manage to hook into that Lovecraftian feeling that I really enjoy, that of cosmic horror and of how the human race should cower in the face of forces that could easily obliterate us and think nothing of it. Moth Star feels vast, deep and very dark. If you like your dark ambient to chill your soul in a soothing, almost relaxed fashion, you should check out Moth Star.

Visit the Moth Star page on Bandcamp for more information.

I reviewed this album by streaming from the Bandcamp page.

Album Title: Moth Star

Album Artist: Altarmang

Released: 21 December 2020