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Markab Project “Exercices Dans la Mort”

LES CROCS DU SCRIBE #24 (Fr.), September 2009 :
Majestic Dark Ambient from a Black Metal great… Black Metal connoisseurs will inevitably bow to Napharion, from the cult group Aryos, one of the most spiritual BM’s leading groups built in French countries. Nevertheless, did you know that the same Napharion also has a solo project called Markab Project? Here there is no Black Metal but a Dark Ambient imbued with industrial music that generates a dark and meditative atmosphere at the same time. It is therefore the second Markab Project album we are talking about here, this “Exercises in Death” offering a much darker content than its predecessor “Music for chaomantic meditation” which gave us more to hear a music that was soaring and full of contrasting feelings. Here, death alone reigns, and it is embodied in all its gloomy splendour. Four titles on this theme for a journey through this famous tunnel that follows this miserable existence of ours. Hurry up and rush to this masterpiece of atmospheres, especially since the print run is ultra-limited! (as well as the price). You will take the opportunity to add other releases from this excellent and little-known southern label, Facthedral’s Hall, to your basket. Those who are looking for new sounds, new sensations, stop whining and go to the links below to let themselves be embarked on this beautiful adventure… before the end of the world….
Pierre Avril

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v/a : “Facthedral’s Hall – 20 Years of Improbable Music”

STRANGER AEONS (NL.), Webzine September 6th 2019 :
This sampler might be a collection of music, but it listens like a mixtape. Opening with the hooky electronics from SomniaK on ‘Tears of Fish’, you instantly get into the groove of the recording. You’re taken on a journey of samples, tribal beats, crackling electronics and unholy ambient with Sizzle, Pi Cab Alter and Anti. From heartbeat throbbing baselines to wonky, warbled effects with some dungeon synthy explorations in between, the music is highly engaging. Particularly I enjoy the industrial soundscapes of Minitel, though the strange, doomy synths of deathrow77 stick in your ear for a while too I must say. But then again, Silent Tower will pound it out of you with their harsh electronics. Strange closer though, by Death Power, who deliver some miaowing followed by some raw as fuck thrash metal. I mean, everything is just pure fury. It would appear that this is contrasting with the electronics-heavy music mostly released by Facthedral’s Hall, yet it is not so. The label focuses on a certain vibe, a feeling, that is hard to really put your finger on. They do it quite well.
Guido

NAWAKULTURE (Fr.), Webzine, 05 Mai 2019 :
Jamais on n’aurait pu trouver un titre plus adéquat pour cet excellent recueil de seize titres regroupant des formations aussi éclectiques et aventureuses, souvent dans le domaine de la musique électronique et assimilés. Cette compilation – 500 copies – est en fait un amuse-bouche (un amuse-oreille plutôt quand on y pense) car elle est en fait offerte avec chaque commande faite par le biais du label, allez donc faire un tour sur le site de celui-ci qui regorge d’artistes underground courant du domaine de la pop jusqu’à la plus extrême frange du metal en passant par l’industriel et l’ambient. Une structure qui mérite tout votre soutien pour son courage depuis toutes ces années et un sérieux à toute épreuve, rendez-vous avec un vrai passionné à http://www.facthedral.com/, ça vous changera des wannabe-supermarchés, virtuels ou pas, qui bourgeonnent sans cesse partout.

VITAL WEEKLY (NZ.), webzine & podcast #1149, 2018 week 38 :
(…) we received a free compilation CD – released back in 2017 mind you – with a selection of artists that have released work on Facthedral’s Hall during its 20 year existence. The label seems to dabble in experimental electronic music and industrial mostly, but let’s take a closer look. Despite the vast sonic differences between the Facthedral acts, the track listing is in chronological order so we begin in the late 90s with Somniak’s demo-sceneish drum’n’bass that has the unavoidable amen flying around the room. A recognisable feature that is however drowned out by the lushy synth layers that are stacked on top. Via the outlandish sample-laden triphop of Sizzle and a slightly more experimental, but again lush track by Somniak, we land within the thick saturated dark ambient sounds of Pi Cab Alter. Even though this isn’t anything special nowadays, for a indie scene release from 2003 this sounds quite interesting. Anti is up next who does that thing that Talvin Singh did at some point with tabla and drum’n’bass. It’s sports the same kind of lushness as the work of Somniak, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it is a different moniker for the same artist. The following track by Sacrifice seems to consist of two elements: distorted guitar/synth (for the life of me, I can’t tell – my guess is that whatever it is, it gets pulled through one of those eardrum-ripping Boss MT2’s) and a wonky gabber kick drum. While I was involved in a project similar to this at the time, now in 2018 this kind of stuff just really gets on me tits. Deary me. So fast-forward to Chalung Gra, who present us with an ambient track of the “Celer” variety, that evolves slowly through its own undulation – outstanding! Atrabilis Sunrise jumps from what seems the one heavily treated sample to the other in an “Oval” kind of way. But then again, not like Oval at all, as it slowly ends up getting a bit more industrial after a while and then starts jumping frantically again – which is when i lose interest. Up next is Deadrow77; we hear an electronic piano loop that evolves into something more dissonant, has some sudden washes of noise cleaning the place up and then continues to develop a similar loop. This may have been interesting in 2004, or at least extremely hard to classify, but now.. I don’t know. Then we have another Sizzle track, which seems more IDM-oriented this time – the kind of stuff that Warp was all about in the late 90s. Not bad. And another Deadrow77 track but one from unholy 2015. It is again, ‘weird’, but less loopy than the other one. It could definitely serve as a sound track to some kind of game. Still I’m not a gamer, so what do I know. Velvetine ramps up the tempo and it is the first track that features actual singing. It all sounds like something Blixa could have done, like, I don’t know, with the guitar player of Rammstein or something. Nice production. Minitel gives you 50 shades of Lustmord after that, which is fine, though not very interesting amidst tracks that have so much more going on. Ingodeme is the ‘light’ that gets to contrast with the dark of Minitel and that kind of works now the whole thing has slowed down to a crawl anyway. Silent Tower play old school down-tempo black metal, which is probably a less grotesque addition to this compilation after hearing that demented gabber metal track a couple of minutes back. It’s no Gehenna or Carpathian Forest though and seems to wash over me as it goes. The closer upper by Chalung Gra is a lot darker than their other track with its metallic ringing and menacing tsunami-like flow. Enjoyed that one too though. All in all it’s just a random selection of tracks that don’t really make sense together, except for in the context of the label’s history. Good on Facthedral’s Hall for keeping its head above water for such a long time. Perhaps this is fun to look into if you’re into indie electronic label stuff or a fan of “improbable” music.

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Markab Project “Music for Chaomantic Meditation”

ABUS DANGEUREUX (Fr.), Magazine #149, 1er trimestre 2019 + NAWAKULTURE (Fr.), Webzine, 19 Novembre 2019 :
Issu du mystérieux groupe français d’avant-garde black metal ARYOS, le maître d’œuvre de ce projet expérimental a créé un enchevêtrement sonore mêlant électronique, noise et ambient avec pour toile de fond la magie du Chaos. Cette sixième sortie s’apparente comme les autres à une vraie bande originale de rituel obscur, passant allègrement du spectral au martial sans quitter le territoire du bizarre. L’emballage n’est pas courant, la couverture soignée et suggestive, le tirage limité et numéroté à une poignée de dizaines de copies, adeptes de l’étrange, osez le pas. En commençant par fureter sur Bandcamp par exemple ?
4/5 – Guillaume Ged Dumazer

REQUIEM (Fr.), Webzine, 31 Juillet 2019 :
Projet parallèle -et pour le moins confidentiel- de Napharion, du groupe français de Black Metal avant-gardiste ARYOS, MARKAB PROJECT diffère toutefois radicalement de ce dernier, puisqu’il s’agit ici de Dark Ambient à tendance industrielle, distillant une ambiance particulièrement étrange et dérangeante. Les trois plages constituant cet EP d’une vingtaine de minutes entièrement instrumentales, se singularisent en effet par leur structure dépouillée et minimaliste, mais aussi et surtout par leurs sonorités glaciales, hypnotiques et répétitives. Des atmosphères oppressantes, à la fois éthérées et sourdement menaçantes, ne font qu’en renforcer le caractère profondément anxiogène, sur un fond intermittent de percussions tribales qui confère à l’ensemble un feeling irréel. Quatrième EP du projet, Music for Chaomantic Meditation porte fort bien son titre. L’auditeur se voit ici plongé dans un univers bruitiste inquiétant, profondément autistique, et dont la dimension sombrement onirique a quelque chose de lugubre et d’éminemment cauchemardesque. C’est la bande-son d’une expérience rituelle visant à instaurer un état psychique particulier, oscillant entre le contemplatif et le méditatif, en vue de franchir les portes d’un autre monde… On est littéralement immergé dans l’occulte et le mysticisme, et même, je ne puis éviter d’y songer, dans les ténébreux arcanes de la transe chamanique. Vous l’aurez compris à la lecture de ces quelques lignes, les sons de MARKAB PROJECT n’ont rien d’une musique festive et conviviale destinée à égayer les soirées entre potes. Ils ne sont du reste absolument pas conçus d’un point de vue musical conventionnel, et n’ont pas pour vocation de devenir un produit de grande consommation. Ce n’est d’ailleurs sans doute pas seulement par manque de moyens que le pressage de ce CD-R Pro se voit limité à seulement cinquante exemplaires numérotés manuellement, mais aussi parce qu’il ne s’adresse qu’à un public restreint, à de rares personnes spirituellement éveillées qui l’écouteront et le réécouteront de manière solitaire, pour mieux en percevoir tous les effets. Car en la matière, l’essai s’avère particulièrement concluant. A découvrir, si ce style et ce genre de performances pour le moins atypiques vous interpellent.
7/10 – Hans Cany

LA HORDE NOIRE (Fr.), Webzine, février 2019 :
Quand il n’exalte pas les ténèbres licencieuses avec Aryos, Napharion Zviadadze enfile son costume de chamane avec Markab Project, son jardin secret et solitaire dont il bine la terre ambient et rituelle avec une inspiration plus fascinante encore. Edité en CD-r limité à cinquante exemplaires par Facthedral’s Hall, Music For Chaomantic Meditation est sa sixième création sous cette intrigante bannière. Petit autel long d’une vingtaine de minutes peut-être, l’offrande n’en demeure pas moins précieuse, suintant une atmosphère mystérieuse et cabalistique. Une étrangeté à la fois menaçante et limpide l’enrobe toute entière et ce, dès le premier contact qu’elle offre au pèlerin qui vient croiser de son regard, le chemin de cette femme à la nudité troublante et charnelle dont le visage et une partie du corps sont cachés par un voile transparent comme un suaire, laissant poindre un sein généreux au mamelon appétissant et une main déformée. Dressée au centre de son superbe visuel telle la gardienne d’une porte invisible, cette créature semble vouloir nous inviter à la suivre à travers une fente boisée et fantasmagorique. En trois pistes différentes et néanmoins complémentaires, Napharion esquisse un univers sonore hypnotique et obscur tout ensemble. Hanté par un souffle désincarné, Azazel Connexion Part 1 (version 1.2) est la première d’entre elles, tunnel immense et caverneux à l’intérieur duquel résonne un pouls tribal. Spectral et corrodé par une lèpre polluée, il est le théâtre d’une cérémonie méditative aux allures de sabbat tellurique dont on suit le déroulement à la manière de voyeurs tapis dans l’ombre. Lui succède Les trois voies. La tension, sourde et rongée par un râle vénéneux, monte d’un cran, ouvrant les vannes d’une puissance souterraine en une élévation aussi envoûtante que mortifère. L’homme y libère une myriade de sons entre ambient ethnique et noise chamanique. Changement de couleur à nouveau avec le terminal Sigi Tolo Po Tolo Emme Ya Tolo, incantation pulsative qui répand tel un ressac obsédant une sombre et enveloppante beauté. Percussif, le tempo s’emballe, la terre vibre d’une force sourde créant un envoûtement empoisonné. Écartelée entre noirceur chaotique et contemplation, cette offrande est comme une bande-son qui confine à la transe.
Childeric Thor – 7.5/10

VITAL WEEKLY (NZ.), webzine & podcast #1149, 2018 week 38 :
Napharion Zviadadze, the person behind Markab Project, comes from the world of French black metal. Not the Légions Noires stuff as far as I know – in case you were wondering; neither Aryos nor Forlorn (777) ring any bells, but that doesn’t really mean anything any more these days. Moreover, these bands seem very much magick-oriented, which is kind of an exotic theme in BM I guess. According to the biography were dealing with an experimental sonic witchcraft project that combines noise with electronic tribal sounds and ritual ambient. To me the latter two seem to be largely the same thing, still if anything, at least it is a consistent description. ‘Azazel Connexion part 1’ (and there’s only a part one on this EP) instantly kick off with a severely saturated digital drum loop. The low end is very muddled and shaky which makes it a bit of a challenge to sit through. Like with most ritual music, the music is repetitive. With this track however, you seem to get the same kind of global structuring over and over, albeit with slight modifications. This means you basically get a couple of bars of drum loop, some variations, then a drone in which the percussion bells ring on for a bit and then the thing starts over again. The reason of this may have something to do with the esoteric back story of the release, but since this is not explained in any kind of way, it leaves me just with the option of judging the work by its sonic aesthetics. ‘Les Trois Voies’ begins with a noisy loop that seems to consist of distorted hoover synths with an obscure percussion hit somewhere in the background. The level of the drone drops suddenly after a while and a harsh BDN percussion loop fades in and out, which may trick you into believing that the song is at an end, only for the synth loop to suddenly pop back onto the radar. Just like with the first track this process repeats itself a couple of times. The thing is that the sounds themselves are quite good, but the jarring dynamic hole that opens up after each synth and drum loop salvo doesn’t really do it for me. Again the esoteric background makes me believe this work isn’t as random as it comes across now, but this is far from obvious to the layman listener. The third track starts off sounding a bit like an up-tempo Arcana, but within a minute slows down to a more agreeable pace, before it speeds up again slightly. There’s a melodic element portrayed by a somewhat hidden sampled string instrument, next to a persistently swelling granular synth pad. Halfway through the music speeds up again embellished with with additional percussion to then suddenly die off, upon which the synth pad sound becomes a lot louder. This last quirk seems to be the result of extreme maximising during the mastering process, which becomes more evident when a layer of low-end sound is introduced and the level of the drone goes down again. If this treatment is intentional, that is all fine of course, but in my book that just sounds like bad mastering. At this point I am mostly confused about whether this is a project that would like to sound like, let’s say, Arcana or Wadruna, but fails to do so, or that the underlying esoteric elements steer the music into such a direction that comprehension of it becomes impossible for those who have not been initiated – or that the aesthetic merit of the music as such is not of any consequence for the project’s obscured intentions. The title of the EP seems to suggest as much, but then why send it to a couple of n00bs like us, i wonder. Anyway, if you’re up for something different: the EP comes in a nicely designed sleeve with some sexy witchy pics – which is always good of course – and is distributed by Facthedrall’s Hall (…).

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Chalung-Gra “Mostaferi”

STRANGER AEONS (NL.), Webzine September 6th 2019 :
The term deep industrial ambient may not immediately summon a clear sound to mind, but it does actually deliver quite some upheaval. I can’t help it, but to me, it’s like I hear the roaring dinosaur toys of my childhood as nightmarish screams throughout the soundscape ‘Somes Pieces for Destruction’. This may sound funny, but actually provides a sound that is frighteningly apocalyptic. Distant thunder, collapsing buildings, these are the end-times. Is Chalung-Gra providing a wildly dystopian soundtrack? I think so indeed, but it is wholly captivating and deeply immersive. The dark drones on ‘Trminal’ make it seem like there’s nothing left on this planet and after some time I have to retreat, just to recuperate for a while after this excellent record.
Guido

NAWAKULTURE (Fr.), webzine 26 Décembre 2017 :
Il aura fallu treize piges à CHALUNG-GRA pour concocter cette seconde œuvre oscillant, dans l’obscurité d’un voyage dans les abysses, entre noise, drone, ambient et indus. Quatre compositions – pour une durée totale de quasiment cinquante minutes – occupent le disque : Some pieces for destruction (qui évoquerait pour notre cerveau malade un navire touché par une torpille qui se démantibulerait lentement sur le chemin d’un sol dur où les différents éléments s’empileraient lentement avec un bruit sourd, faisant fuir sur leur passage désespéré d’étranges créatures des profondeurs…), Heavy emptiness (un titre plutôt adéquat pour une composition au filigrane de meuleuse parfois plus abrasif – sidérurgique ? – , qui s’insinue profond façon brise-glace quand on a la bonne idée de se passer ça à fort volume), Embedded symmetry (un vent glacé et violent balaie une plaine désertique où rouillent pour l’éternité de grandes installations métalliques, vacances sur les rives du lac Baïkal ?) et Trminal (la fin, oui, bien sûr inexorable, sinueuse et lente, pas de tunnel vers la lumière dans ce train-là mais un aller simple pour le vide absolu). Vous l’aurez compris, CHALUNG-GRA se caractérise par une musique / bande-son extrêmement cinématographique, sombre et addictive, que les amateurs du genre devraient tenter de découvrir afin de se faire leurs propres images cérébrales. Digipak limité à 300 copies, y en aura vraiment pas pour tout le monde !
4/5 – Ged

TQ ZINE (Uk.), fanzine #4 October 2017 :
Marc Reina aka Le K released ‘Mostaferi’ 13 years after his previous drone work ‘Kalonga Incantations’ (also on Facthedral’s Hall), and for this genre’s output he takes the name, Chalung-Gra. My first listen was in the car, and it just didn’t grab me. My second listen was through the TQHQ hi-fi system with well positioned floor speakers, and the improvement was immense, just like the sound produced by this one-man dark, industrial sound merchant. Inspired by the industrial environment of his home town of Martigues in the South of France, Chalung-Gra creates deep, dark, industrial, claustrophobic drone works*, and on this beast of an album there are 4 pieces, all created by computer. No overdubs. It’s hardly a toe tapper of an album, (if that’s what you are looking for, then you picked up the wrong zine), but as far as dark ambient goes, it doesn’t get better than this. It’s difficult to review an album of this nature as what’s been created are sounds that almost defy description. It’s like trying to describe a wonderous taste in mere words, or trying to capture an amazing moment on camera. It just doesn’t work, or at least it falls a long way short of the actual experience. So, you may be familiar with this sort of sound*, and if you are then you need to decide whether there is a Chanung-Gra sized empty space in your collection. If you are unfamiliar with these sort of dark foreboding soundscapes, yet want to investigate further, then I strongly suggest you get this album, but please don’t listen in a confined space on poor quality gear, give it a chance to enrapture, and wrap ya. Turn up those dials. Turn down those lights.

MITHRA! TEMPLEZINE (Fr.), webzine August 27th 2017 :
Chalung-Gra propose des paysages sonores qu’on aura du mal à catégoriser, tout comme le label en question Facthedral’s hall tout aussi difficilement classifiable et qui officie dans l’underground disons (post) industriel et electro avec un sens profond de l’éclectisme – en effet, ce label lorgne même du côté du metal extrême – depuis déjà une bonne paire d’années. Chalung-Gra est un projet puissant dans la famille des musiques industrielles et ambientes dominées par des sonorités lourdes, oppressantes et délicieusement sombres. Ce projet compte très peu de productions à son actif : un premier album, Kalonga Incantations, paru en 2004 toujours chez Facthedral’s hall et celui qui fait l’objet de cette chronique. Musicalement, on se retrouve dans des univers maussades, fantomatiques mais aussi cinématiques annonçant la fin d’un règne ou l’avènement d’un autre : celui d’une société post-moderne ; elle-même déjà en décomposition, déjà disloquée, déjà aux abois, elle agonise lentement dans le silence et l’indifférence. Celle-ci pourrait être la nôtre. La mécanique de Mostaferi prend forme autour de bourdons, de parasitages en tout genre, de traitements à partir de field recordings, le tout nous offrant une trame touffue, brute, onirique et cérébrale. Du pur nihilisme musical, mais toutefois accessible grâce à une orientation ambiente qui vient calmer le jeu et nous resituer dans des climats quasi atmosphériques bien que lugubres. Les pistes s’enchaînent et poursuivent sans interruption cette traversée malsaine dans le dédale d’une environnement industriel imaginaire, et pourtant porteur d’une sensation familière, celle du vide poisseux qui nous colle à la peau dans les mégalopoles devennues folles. En bref, ce nouvel album de Chalung-Gra est une excursion planante, glauque et prenante vivement conseillée aux amateurs des premiers opus de Nocturnal Emissions, Sigilium S, Die Sonne Satan, Contrastate et Maurizio Bianchi.

VITAL WEEKLY (Nl.) #1095, 2017 week 35 :
Some thirteen years ago Chalung-Gra released ‘Kalonga Incantations’ and now they release their second album.  They, or she, or he, that is, well he, as behind this project is Le K. of whom we learn that his real name is Marc Reina. He was a member of Sizzle (from 1994 to 2012) and since 2013 onwards in Velventine and besides this Chalung-Gra he also has a solo project called Ingodeme. In Chalung-Gra uses ‘cheap instruments and machines’ and records these on a Tascam 4 track cassette recorder, which are then digitally mixed; I was wondering: why not mix them on the machine itself and keep it all lo-fi? A bit further down on the information i read that ‘a computer generates all the composed audio sources, patched to internal & external effects, recorded and assembled on 4 tracks cassette, digitally mixed with no overdubs’, so which is then the cheap instrument? The music certainly would allow a grittier approach to recording and mixing of staying all in the analogue domain. Reina is inspired by his environment of Martigues in the South of France, which apparently in an industrial surrounding. The music is all-dark ambient from an industrial perspective. The nightline of barely lit industrial lot with flickering lights, and decay setting in; objects and machines on their final breath, falling to the floor, crumbling and the process of industrial rot being amplified in the music. These pieces do not necessarily follow compositional lines, but are rather non-linear soundscapes of sounds put together. Like looking at this industrial lot and seeing various events happening at the same time, each with it’s timing and place in the bigger story of it all. Powerful music as such, and perfect as a soundtrack to a home horror movie, taking place in such surroundings. At the same time I must also say that this is not the most unique release in the world as it follows a heavy trail of like-minded dark ambient music going strong for some thirty years. If you want to explore a new name, then lend Chalung-Gra an ear.
Frans de Waard

BAD ALCHEMY (De.) zine #95 :
Ein Wiederhören mit Le K., wieder auf Facthedral’s Hall. Marc Reina, als Skrow thrash- und blackmetalistisch bei Imperial und Silent Tower, als Deathrow77 dub-industrial bei Sizzle (1994-2012), mit electronic Percussion seit 2013 bei Velvetine, als Le K. in Ingodeme, der legt nun als Chalung-gra den Nachfolger zu “Kalonga Incantations” (2004) vor. Als Anregung nannte er damals Bilder von Alain Pelaprat, einem Künstler in Aix-en-Provence, und das Seemonster von Tino Buzzatis phantastischer Erzählung “Il colombre”, das auf französisch “Le K” heißt. 1990 war es schon Protagonist von Un Drame Musical Instantanés bizarrem “Le K” (mit einer fesselnden Performance von Richard Bohringer). Hier nun entwirft Reina eine dröhnende Vision des Industriegebietes um Martigues, einer kleinen Hafenstadt, durchschnitten vom Canal de Caronte, mit einer Fassade als ‘Venedig der Provence’, aber rundum industrialisiert. Mit der dark ambienten Vierfältigkeit ‘Some Pieces 4 Destruction’, ‘Heavy Emptiness’, ‘Embedded Symmetry’ und ‘Trminal’ (sic!) und dem dämmrigen Bronzeton des Coverfotos mit den Schlöten einer Ölraffinerie als Silhouette suggeriert Le K. ein Umschlossensein mit Gedröhn und stampfender Anästhetisierung. Links Mulmen und Dröhnen, rechts Dröhnen und Mulmen, nach Osten, Süden, Westen, Norden kein Entkommen aus einem industrial verstellten Horizont, einem von allen Seiten metallisch anbrandenden und brausenden Ozean. Dem man sich stellen, dem man standhalten muss. Denn der Clou von Buzzatis Fabel besteht darin, dass Stefano Roi den K fürchtet, bis er, alt geworden, der Versuchung des Abgrunds folgt. Und zu spät erkennen muss, dass das Ungeheuer immer nur der Bote seines Glücks war, der ihm zuletzt eine Perle in die Hand spuckt, die sich, als man Stefanos Skelett findet, freilich als Kieselstein erweist. Der K ist ein enorm großer Fisch, schrecklich zu schauen und äußerst selten. Entlang der Meere wird er gleichermaßen kolomber, kahloubrha, KALONGA, kalu, balu, CHALUNG-RA genannt. Die Naturwissenschaftler seltsamerweise, die ignorieren ihn. Einige behaupten sogar, dass er nicht existiert…
RigoBert Dittmann

CHAIN D.L.K. (Us.) webzine, August 31st 2017 :
This French dark ambient industrial project comes courtesy of Le K. (Marc Reina), active since 2005. You might know him from bands he was involved in such as Sizzle, and Velvetine. Well, Chalung-Gra is nothing like them. ‘Mostaferi’ was recorded on a Tascam 4-track cassette machine (remember them? I used one in the ’80s, good for putting down ideas on the fly) but mixed and mastered digitally by SomniaK. ‘Mostaferi’ is deep dark ambient, full of cavernous, subterranean drones in places the light just does not penetrate. Somewhat reminiscent of Lustmord in its density and intensity, these are regions best left to the experienced psychonaut to explore. While there is nothing that particularly distinguishes this sonically in the genre, there is a vastness about it that hides subtle elements that may be overlooked the first time around. Worth a listen for dark ambient fans.
3,5/5 – Steve Mecca

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Red Fog “Buried On Vanth”


REVERSE ALIGNMENT (Sw.) Label’s description :
Since it’s first release Milk of Amnesia in 2010, canadian Red Fog has entered the stage as a high quality drone act combining experimental and minimalistic elements with swarming soundscapes, always taking good care of the details to make listening a pleasureable experience. Red Fog has already released eight opuses but Buried on Vanth is the first release that actually takes physical form and it’s a bit of a mystery to us why Red Fog hasn’t been released as CD or vinyl yet. Previous releases has solely been devoted to the digital format but maybe it’s intentional, ’cause who’s actually behind Red Fog?. The artwork is clean from traces…still…Buried on Vanth is a splendid work of art.


VITAL WEEKLY #1021 (N.L.) Webzine & podcast, December 2016 :
Red Fog from Canada has four tracks on their release, in the range of twelve to fifteen minutes on the CD. Following eight online releases, ‘Buried On Vanth’ is their first CD; at least if it’s ‘their’ and not ‘him or ‘her’. There is absolutely nothing on the cover to go by in terms of names, instruments, studio or producers. That leads to the usual assuming and guessing on the side of the reviewer. No problem. I would think there is quite some acoustic objects and field recordings being used to create this music, but all of these sounds are heavily treated with all sorts of sound devices (effects, synthesizers, maybe even granular synthesis) rather than electronic sounds, and which then turns into this deep, atmospheric pieces of music. The use of objects and field recordings give the music a more bumpy sound, going up and down, rather than having drones that are made with pressing down a few keys on an organ. The cover shows a few rays of light, but that’s hardly about the music I think; the main colour is ‘black’ here, pitch black as the night, or the cosmos, but somehow this music sounds very earth-like; it’s less the sound of a spaceship and more that of being locked in a cave with rain pouring hard outside, making a droning buzz. Highly recommended for a pleasant night outside in the cold forest; unless some of these sounds scary you. Then it’s best to stay inside.
(Frans de Waard)



ORDER CD


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Moljebka Pvlse “Discourse On Lightness”


REVERSE ALIGNMENT (Sw.) Label’s description :
After 2015’s “A Transformation” Moljebka Pvlse is back with a new work on Reverse Alignment. As the title “Discourse on Lightness” suggest, the new album explore the semantics of “light”. As “light” can have obvious different meaning, the three tracks that comprise Mathias Josefson’s new album also has a different approach soundwise. As entering track “A History of Levitation” takes a swarming grip on drone with carefully laid out details the second one, “Between Lightness & Luminance”, is more experimental, unpredictable to it’s character but still keeps to the format. Ending track “A Field Guide to the Sunrise” is somewhat a mixture between the two previous, as if two unmatched views or discourses becomes one common.


RABEN REPORT (Ger.) Webzine, December 13th 2016 :
Auch wenn es das Artwork vielleicht nicht so anmutet, so macht das neue Lebenszeichen von Moljebka Pvlse optisch schon was her. Das auf 300 Stück limitierte Digipack finde ich irgendwie ansprechend (gerade den Innenteil) und somit ist zugleich auch die Neugier geweckt, was da nun auf den Hörer zukommt. Drei lange Vertonungen haben ihre Wurzeln geschlagen, wobei der Opener “The History Of Levitation” von lang gezogenen Dronen lebt, die auch das gesamte Stück nähren. Aufgrund der langen Spieldauer erscheint das Klangbild von einer etwas hypnotisch anmutenden Seite, und auch wenn der Songaufbau nun kein Knaller ist, so vermag das statisch erscheinende Resultat dennoch zu fruchten. Als angenehm könnte man dies Spektrum umschreiben, wo sich Sicherheit aufbaut und man keinerlei Ausbrüche fürchten muss. Braucht es aber eigentlich auch gar nicht, denn die Zeit geht flux herum. “Between Lightness & Luminance” nennt sich die folgende Umsetzung, die sich aber von einer etwas anderen Seite zeigt, da es doch nun weit experimenteller zur Sache geht. Ist wieder einmal eine Geschmacksfrage, da hier teils verschrobene Elemente hervortreten, die mit dem guten Eröffnungstrack nicht mithalten können. Da muss es also “A Field Guide To The Sunrise” richten, wo man im Grunde genommen die Bestandteile der beiden vorangegangenen Kompositionen miteinander vereint. Dies geling ganz gut, zumal auch diesmal Atmosphäre eingewoben wurde. Der experimentelle Grad hält sich die Waage, eine gute Entwicklung, so will ich meinen. Gesamt gesehen ist vorliegende Publikation recht interessant geraten, allerdings sollte man mit experimentellen Gebilden nicht auf Kriegsfuß stehen. Wer etwas Offenheit und Zeit mitbringt, der dürfte an “Discourse On Lightness” sicherlich seine Freude haben.
7/10


VITAL WEEKLY #1021 (N.L.) Webzine & podcast, December 2016 :
(…) And then there is Moljebka Pvlse, also known as Mathias Josefson, who has been around for quite some time. There was a gap in his release schedule a few years ago, and also some works under his own name, but he’s back now and on this new release he uses material that were originally recorded in 2008 with Karin Widin, when Josefson played in Israel. Now this material is updated and cut into three long slices of drone music and processed field recordings. It’s comes in a highly professional digipack cover, which looks great (just like the Mollusk one looks excellent too); who says CDRs have look like shit? The music is very much common ground for Moljebka Pvlse: a drone based rumble, generated through the use of electronics, knitting dense patterns of overtones while on top of that there is the heavily treated field recordings. Or maybe some of the drones are derived from a constant recycling of field recordings, like an endless loop of processed sound. It is not easy to say, but it’s what Moljebka Pvlse does best. It’s not as dark as Red Fog, not as cosmic as Zalys, or as experimental Mollusk. It’s exactly that daring middle ground position that Moljebka Pvlse holds. It is a bit experimental, a bit dark but not too much and with enough reverb to have a lift off into space. This is another refined addition to an extended body of works by Moljebka Pvlse.
(Frans de Waard)



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Valanx “Ouroboros”


REVERSE ALIGNMENT (Sw.) Label’s description :
Arne Weinberg has been devoted to electronical music since the beginning of this millenia. As an explorer in sound he’s been active in different constellations, under different styles, labels and alias. His latest projects is the dark ambient label Cromlech Records and solo act Solemn Embrace. Reverse Alignment now proudly present Weinberg’s latest opus with his experimental act Valanx, “Ouroboros”. This album really smolder with adventurous creativism making a narrow categorisation in genre impossible. The base elements are deep dark but also carry sonical marks of downtempo, dub and spacious ambient. All in all making the listening experience more interesting than ever. Welcome to the world of Valanx.


RESOUNDING FOOTSTEPS (N.M.) Webzine, October 13th 2016 :
Dark ambient is so unique, so distinct from any other form of music. It’s why I love it. It’s strange and unsettlingly different but at the same time it’s amazingly complex, original, and awe inspiring. The best dark ambient that I’ve heard in my time has been the kind that coaxes the mind to go on a journey, sometimes through space, sometimes through time, and once on that journey the mind’s eye is truly opened and the world can never be seen the same way again. I have a sort of pet theory that each dark ambient album is in fact the soundtrack to an alternate universe, often one that runs so nearly parallel to ours that we find it comforting. Others are strange, haunting, or bizarre yet they can bring about images in the mind that make them feel real (and even more terrifying at times). Ouroboros is the latest album of Valanx, due out for the huddled masses on December 9th. Ouroboros brings to mind the great serpents of mythology, the ones so large and frightening that they haunt our dreams to this day. The serpent that comes to my mind the easiest is Jormungandr, the great Midgard serpent who encircles the world, devouring its own tail (much like the image of Ouroboros). From that single mental image, the entire album began to have a sort of nautical or aquatic feel to it. With no conventional instruments that I could hear, Valanx uses natural sounds, drones, and distortions to offer us a vision of the sea as it once was. I could feel the fog cling to me as I listened to the album the first time, the waters below distorted by distance. I could almost feel time slow down as I heard the water, the lapping tides grew distorted and moaned as they touched the boat. Hollow sounds, like drums or gongs bellow like primordial beings in the grey light. All of my senses were heightened, listening to this album, each with the expectancy that something was in the fog and something was about to burst from the sound. Yet that burst never came. I’m not saying that in a disappoint way either, I quite liked the feeling of expectation but no pay off. After listening again and again, I felt a sort of calming presence in the soundscape. There was no stillness, not with the sounds of water distorted and slowed almost to ghastly bubbling bogs, yet there is calm. Like Ouroboros, this album sort of goes on and on yet not for a moment did I grow tired of it, each sound, each drone, each crunch and bubble, has a depth to it, produced and mixed carefully so that, as the album goes on, the experience of the listener is never dull. I don’t talk very often about the production of dark ambient albums, usually preferring to focus on the emotions and story of the album, but in this case I think it would a great disservice to the album not to talk about the production. It’s clear yet raw enough to give the listener a feeling of unease (as one should always have when listening to a dark ambient album). To paint an image, it’s like smoky glass. It’s clear enough to see through but not clear enough to see everything. The listener trusts the artist to show them things and guide them through the world that’s been opened up. This is a great album for those foggy days when you can’t quite see everything in front of you and the cold has begun to creep into your bones. I highly recommend this album; it will stay with you long after the album is over. It’s a hauntingly beautiful ballad to the sea and to the continuing, eternal march of time.
9/10 – ThelemaVeritas


VITAL WEEKLY #1062 (N.L.) Webzine & podcast, December 2016 :
When we follow the post-nuclear path set out by Sky Burial we come across Valanx, which is the name by chosen by Arne Weinberg for his music work. He sometimes works as Solemn Embrace and has the Cromlech Records label himself. I haven’t heard of either, so I am not sure if there is a difference, any one at all, with Valanx. Here too we have a hard time guessing what it is that is used and abused by the musician, but looking at the credits where he thanks ‘the Muffwiggler forum’ and ‘the Eurorack community’, one could think that Valanx is someone who uses a lot of modular synthesizer gear. Stage central for Valanx however seems to be the reverb unit, which is part of most of the pieces in a small or, usually, big way. That, I must say, clouds a bit of the music Valanx wants to play. His mood is dark, obviously I’d say as much on Reverse Alignment is dark and moody, and there seems to be some kind of percussive element in here, via very slow thumps occasionally, but these are also quite far away (it’s a big hall in which all of this happening). Sometimes it is a bit noisier but throughout the atmosphere is eerie and cold. Perhaps too cold for my taste I think, as somehow it failed to get a grip on me. I enjoy it best when it goes to the world of dark ambient more than the noisier variety, but throughout I was thinking that a less reverb would make shine the sounds a little brighter and I would be interested in hearing that side. What goes into the machine and before it is changed and comes out at the end of the hall?
Frans de Waard



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Minitel “Abîmes”

POISONOISE (Fr.) June 4th 2016 :
As summer approaches and that you will soon all be looking for some shade to hide from the heat, I suggest you to put your head in the freezer (or underwater) with an album that’s curdling bloods « Abîmes ». As if it was the soundtrack of a film noir, one is drawn into icy landscapes. Unlike such other projects, there is no frame like martial rhythmics or melodic development from noisy elements. Minitel takes us into an oppressive world for the time of the album with its monotonous but still very elaborated environments . We are visiting a nightmare that is not ours, and it is rather interesting. Minitel, a name that evokes spontaneously rather a world of kitsch synth than the dark ambient that it distils for sure (…).

CHAIN D.L.K. (U.S.A.) August 1st 2016 :
More interesting music from France courtesy of the Facthedral’s Hall label. There seems to be very little information on the artist, even from the label. ‘Abimes’ is the debut Dark Ambient Industrial Drone project composed and recorded in 2006 by Iconoclast, under the project name of Minitel, and not released until this year. Why, I have no idea. As for Iconoclast, the only other info I have is that Raphael Henry played (and maybe still plays) guitar in a Black Metal band called Sael under the name Iconoclast. Well, that’s at least something, and does explain some of the music on this album. ‘Abimes’ begins with “Vitriol,” a 4 minute noise piece that sounds like white hot ore being processed in a steel mill. Good for noise enthusiasts, but I was hoping the whole album wasn’t composed of pieces like this. “Novocaine Messiah” put my fears to rest with an uneasy calm. Primarily hollowish synth drone with a vague, eerie whistling melody over the top, this somnombulant ambience might lull you to sleep but also inspire nightmares out of the twilight zone. I swear I heard some snoring in there… “Inner Filth” presents a much heavier ambience, a spiraling dark ambient drone piece that lasts for over 22 minutes. “Lurker at the Threshold” juxtaposes a very low tone melodic loop over even lower engine idling with other sonics that sound like snakes slithering over sleeping monsters of the deep. This is the creepiest track on ‘Abimes,’ and owes much to Lustmord’s oeuvre. Finally, we have title track “Abimes” and here is where the black metal comes in. It begins with thick slabs of distorted guitar amidst cooing dove-like sounds, and a thick underpinning of deep, dark drone. As the piece progresses, squeaky metallic sounds can be heard, the guitar fades away, then a slow doom drum loop, and all the while that low, thick drone holds down the bottom. This goes on for quite a while until it seems to fade out until… BAM! at a little over 14 minutes the black metal guitar returns with a vengeance swallowing everything and returns into the abyss from which it came, with only traces of doom drum left. While ‘Abimes’ seems minimal in form, there is a lot of complexity in the drones. I know people who would absolutely love this because of the black metal aspects. For me though, I preferred the middle tracks. Still, very well done. Limited to 300 copies.
3,5/5. Steve Mecca.

MITHRA! TEMPLEZINE (Fr.) September 26th 2016 :
En cinq pistes – la première peut être considérée comme une introduction, non pas par sa durée, car elle fait environ quatre minutes, mais plutôt par sa nature même : on a l’impression d’être happé dans un vortex, entraîné contre notre volonté vers l’insondable – Minitel évoque, en partie, certaines productions du feu label Cold Meat Industry. Le choix du mot “minitel” pour représenter la musique d’Iconoclast qui officie notamment dans le groupe de black metal Annthennath est assez déconcertant, car on s’attendrait plutôt à un projet de retrowave, par exemple ou de minimal synth ; l’artiste explique ce choix dans une interview du webzine PoisoNoise : « J’ai donné un nom débile, fait une pochette en 2mn montre en main, temps de la photo compris, l’ai mis sur bandcamp, et là Marc de Facthedral’s Hall m’a contacté aussi pour le sortir ahaha. ».Cette orientation un peu à l’”arrache “ jure avec le reste : le visuel plutôt réussi malgré tout, l’ambiance profonde et sombre, et surtout la qualité des quatre compositions…Minitel semble, donc, pratiquer une forme de détachement post-moderne… Pour caractériser le son de Minitel on peut dire que le dark ambient qu’il pratique est plutôt “synthétique” avec une dimension parfois industrielle, et drone. D’autre part, il convoque des influences black metal pour un résultat finalement très personnel. D’autant plus, qu’elles sont utilisées comme un leitmotiv grâce à des irruptions de guitares trafiquées – quasiment méconnaissables – et noyées dans des brides de voix et autres bruits mécaniques sur la dernière piste (Abîmes ), à mon sens la meilleure composition avec un bon mariage entre dark ambient à tendance rituelle et émanations black metal. On déambule dans un monde crépusculaire comme bercé par d’énigmatiques nappes vaporeuses sur Novocaine Messiah, peu de variations, ici, mais un effet hypnotique assez efficace. Il se manifeste clairement une ambition cinématographique comme si Abîmes avait été pensé sur le principe d’une bande originale de film fantastique. Inner filth est une longue piste cauchemardesque et monotone de 22 minutes dont les drones lancinants ne laissent aucune place à la lumière – une pièce opaque, fermée sur elle-même, dont le titre invite à une désagréable introspection. Enfin, Lurker at the Threshold, qui doit probablement puiser son inspiration dans la nouvelle du même nom écrite en collaboration entre H. P. Lovecraft and August Derleth, nous fait assister à un obscur avènement à travers une intéressante construction qui monte en intensité…Vous l’avez compris, chaque piste recèle sa spécificité tout en déroulant un “scénario” cohérent. Ce premier effort ne manque pas de “charme” : Abîmes capture l’attention grâce à une atmosphère pesante et horrifique. Il mérite l’attention des amateurs de musique sombres, en premier lieu, évidemment celle des amateurs de dark ambient, mais aussi ceux qui apprécient les groupes de black metal les plus orientés vers l’ambient.
LawOfSun

VITAL WEEKLY #1041 (N.L.) July/August 2016 :
The music by Minitel, a project by Iconoclast (I’m sure that is a pseudonym), was already recorded in 2006, but for unclear reasons was shelved until now. That, plus the fact there are only 300 copies, is all we know. The cover also doesn’t reveal much more than that. Something that happens of course more often and which is no problem. (…) this one is actually something I enjoyed from beginning to end, even when the opening piece ‘Vitriol’ is drenched with reverb. The other four (and much longer) pieces are all in the realm of moody drone music. Mucho atmospherics floating around. It’s hard to say what it is used here, but my best guess would be synthesizers or guitars, lots of effects, and maybe something in terms of field recordings, but I have no idea what that should be really here. This is the kind of dark ambient music that one usually find on such labels as Malignant Records; it is not the most refined kind of ambient, but projects like Minitel explore the all the low end frequencies to their maximum use, and cutting out all those sounds that shed even the smallest bit of light in this music. This is not a release with music you never heard before, but I thought it was very well made, with great care for deep, hidden sonic details.
Frans de Waard

BAD ALCHEMY #91 (De.) September 2016 :
MINITEL, das ist Raphaël Henry, und Abîmes (FHCD16-2016), das sind Abgründe. Es zeigt ihn als einen eklektischen Munkler, der mit Knochen Runen schreibt, ansuz – laguz – othala. Seine Ikonographie umfasst schwarze Ruinenromantik, einen Guru und einen steinzeitlichen Sterndeuter. Mit dem Akronym ‚Vitriol‘, der alchemistischen Formel Visita interiora terrae, rectificando invenies occultum lapidem („Betrachte, was im Inneren der Erde liegt: indem du es läuterst, wirst du einen zuvor verborgenen Stein erhalten“), vereinnahmt er auch noch Rosenkreuzer und Freimaurer für seinen Synkretismus. Dazu ruft er, wenn auch ohne Worte, den schmerzstillenden ‚Novocaine Messiah‘ an. Und mit ‚Lurker At The Threshold‘ winkt der Cthulhu Mythos mit glibbriger Tentakel. Entstanden ist das schon 2006 als ein dröhnendes, zischendes Etwas, als mächtige Erscheinung des Herrn der Fliegen, der aus allen Poren Gift spritzt. Dem stehen die wie von Mönchskehlen umsummten messianischen Wellen entgegen, so wie der Schein dem Schatten. Breitesten Raum nimmt ‘Inner Filth’ ein als ein motorisches Surren und Dröhnen, dem man mit einem Glas Burgunder, in dem Erdbeeren schwimmen, zuprosten möchte. Der Anklang an Lovecraft & Derleth bringt einen gedämpft klopfenden Beat, der wie durch Meeresbrandung ans Ohr dringt, zuletzt mit näher rückendem Crescendo. ‘Abîmes’ bringt zuletzt düster krachende Gitarren über einem grummelnden Bodensatz, in oftmaliger Wiederholung des gleichen Motivs. Abgelöst von der ständigen Wiederkehr eines holzigen Klackens und von spitz schleifenden Geräuschen über der fortwährend dröhnenden Tiefe. Zuletzt kehren die Gitarren krachend zurück, stürmisch umfaucht von einem dunklen Brausen, bis nur noch monotone Schläge verhallen. Ein durchaus suggestiver Auftritt auf dem weiten Feld des Dark Ambient.

DARK ENTRIES (Be.) October 14th 2016 :
Je hebt nu eenmaal van die muzikale vondsten die ergens in een bui van creativiteit ontstaan en opgesloten blijven tot het einde der dagen. Zo ook met deze Abîmes van Minitel. Opgenomen 10 jaar geleden maar uiteindelijk dan toch opgevist door het Facthedral’s Hall-label. Het eenmansproject van een als alter ego opererend Iconoclast. Laat je niet misleiden, deze Iconoclast is deelgenoot van metalbands als Annthennath, Evil Spells en Silver Machine. Minitel is allesbehalve metal of aanverwanten. Ambient doorspekt met effecten en vooral home recordings. Waarbij hij al wat experimenteerde met Annthennath, door ambient met metalklanken te combineren. Abîmes bevat slechts 5 tracks, maar die samen toch goed zijn voor 60 minuten onrustwekkende drones. Vitriol is industriele dark ambient/drone, industrieel door zijn karakteristiek van een fabriek waar met volle ernst het productieproces wordt bemoeilijkt door hogedrukpersingen en het aantal afgeleverde stuks niet van tel is, zeg maar van minitel. Het klankbeeld van het rustieke doch beangstigend net niet voor het slapen gaan-verhaaltje heet Novocaine Messiah. In kalmte gedrenkt, maar desalniettemin voorzien als open poort voor opkomende nachtmerries. Het is het innerlijke dat telt, maar dat innerlijke kan ook vies en vuil zijn. Inner Filth kent zijn ambient door meer dan 22 minuten lang een rondreis te maken in de ingewanden der mensheid. De blootlegging van het individu, de kentering van individuele karaktereigenschappen. De soundtrack van lichaam en geest. Al even diepgaand is er de donkere monotonie die Lurker At The Treshold heet. Donker en diep, zoals de meeste kelders. Vochtig en licht beschimmeld. Wachtend op het mysterieuze en vooral onheilspellende dat zich verschuilt in elke hoek. De drempel die overwonnen dient te worden, zonder angst, zonder bibber. En dan toch de gitaar, omdat Iconoclast zijn hoofdjob niet mag vergeten. Titeltrack Abîmes duurt 17 en een halve minuut. Niet dat de gitaar overheerst in nietszeggende akkoordenwisselingen, maar als integratie in het geheel der delen. Het samenspel van de distortion en de drone als voorspel voor een langdurig en vooral fysiek contact en zo meer naar het einde toe zijn vlucht zoekt in de donkerheid van het bestaan. Abîmes van Minitel is zeker niet voor iedereen weggelegd, vandaar ook slechts uitgebracht op 300 exemplaren. Minitel zorgt voor het spiegelbeeld van de donkere kant van ieder individu op zich. Diepgravend, complex maar zeker ook interessant.
7/10

DARKROOM (It.) September 25th 2017 :
Album di debutto composto nel 2006 e pubblicato solo un anno fa per il misterioso act Minitel, gestito dal francese Raphael Henry, già membro della band black metal Iconoclast. I brani si basano su una dark ambient che risente moltissimo degli arrangiamenti e della lezione black, basati su un minimalismo compositivo ben più netto di quello già proprio dei progetti di retaggio post-industriale. “Abîmes” prende vita da essenziali basi sintetiche su cui insistono percussioni elettrificate e una sinfonicità da lande solitarie (“Vitriol”). La stagione più ‘nevosa’ e gelida del black-ambient scandinavo rivive con una forte carica naturalistica e isolazionista su cui svettano le basi tetre (“Inner Filth”), come anche alcune remote linee tonali dai chiari riferimenti climatici (“Lurker At Threshold”). Non mancano alcuni classici riff di chitarra che, unitamente a palpitazioni percussive e clangori ad effetto, riescono a costruire passaggi sicuramente più vicini all’amato black che ad una tipica e lugubre musica d’atmosfera. Il disco va considerato ed inserito nel suo periodo di nascita, e se adesso questo tipo di soluzioni sono parecchio frequenti, dieci anni fa potevano risultare più di nicchia se inserite all’interno di un genere che andava diversificandosi. Da un lato “Abîmes” appare ormai troppo rozzo per essere accostato alla cosiddetta linea ‘dungeon synth’, ma d’altro canto rimane un prodotto apprezzabile per i nostalgici di un’oscurità rozza e di marca fortemente metal. Minimale anche nella grafica e nella confezione in jewel-case con booklet di quattro pagine, come tradizione comanda.
6/10 – Michele Viali

SIDE-LINE (Be.), September 27th 2017 :
Dark-ambient, drone, cinematographic, soundscape, industrial. Minitel is a French solo-project set up by Raphaël Henry. This artist has some experience in the wider fields of metal music and has now moved into dark-ambient fields. Notice by the way that “Abîmes” was already released one year ago. (…) This album features 5 tracks and 2 sides. The opening- and final song are carried by dark-ambient atmospheres, noise waves and drones. The 3 tracks left reveal a different aspect, which is more into cinematographic passages. The common element between all cuts remains the dark sound creation, giving you the feeling of getting lost in an obscure, abyssal voyage. (…) I have a real preference for the heavier cuts exposed right at the beginning and the final track. This is a heavier and tormenting style accentuated by drones. The other cuts are more into soundscape and sonic nightmares creates with progressive noise waves and industrial guitar playing. (…) I think this band more excels in the accomplishment of heavier industrial & doom mixed with drones than the more familiar and sometimes monotonous soundscapes. (…) “Abîmes” is not reinventing any music style, but is a rather promising debut from an artist who seems to feel comfortable experimenting with different styles. This is an artist to keep an eye on. (…).
Rate: (7/10).

NAWAKULTURE (Fr.), November 20th 2017 :
Dix ans après l’enregistrement de cette session, Facthedral’s Hall lui donne enfin la chance de voir le jour sur un vrai disque pro et tout, limité à seulement 300 copies. On a affaire ici à une heure de noise / drone / dark ambient divisée en cinq compositions dont la longueur excède parfois le quart d’heure, voire les vingt minutes. M’sieur Iconoclast, que l’on connaît pour sa participation à de nombreux groupes du grand bordelais (SAEL, SILVER MACHINE, ANNTHENNATH…), nous gratifie ici d’un télescopage souvent abrasif de sons parfois agressifs et sinistres (Vitriol), parfois étranges et profonds au point d’en ressentir le casque naturel de l’eau quand on plonge la tête au fond d’icelle pour tenter de deviner ce qui se passe autour de la salle de bain, pourquoi pas sinon une bande originale pirate de l’approche du sous-marin coulé dans Abyss (Novocaine messiah). Inner filth rappelle à votre non-serviteur l’histoire de ce village noyé pour les besoins de la construction d’un barrage et dont la cloche oubliée de l’église se faisait parfois entendre de sous l’eau les nuits où les eaux (death-y-dément !) se montraient plus mouvantes que d’habitude. Le semi-lovecraftien Lurker at the threshold évoquerait plus le flux et le reflux chargé des soldats qu’on jeta sur les plages d’Europe en 1944 sous l’œil indifférent, voire amusé, des Anciens, fervents spectateurs de destructions en tous genres. Le conclusif Abîmes se rapproche plus des terres métalliques avec sa guitare pachydoomique accompagnée de rouages lugubres que Fury Road n’aurait pas reniés pour le ramdam furieux de son héraut mortifère. Un album qui fait voyager dans les décombres noyés d’une civilisation post-apocalyptique de rêve, le futur en disque pour les plus lucides.
4/5 – Guillaume Ged Dumazer

TARQUIN ZINE (Uk.), #7, January 2018 :
That this album took 10 years to crawl out of its cavernous lair is a travesty. However, had it seen the light of day through squinting eyes any earlier, it may not have registered on the Tarquin radar, and certainly would not have featured in TQ zine. ‘Vitriol’ gets this album underway with a barrage of sound and noise created by a number of competing synths and is just what I expected when admiring the dark grey and black cover of this disc, it’s full on and never wavers across the opening 4 minutes. Again, with the title of ‘Novocaine Messiah’, I had certain expectations which were only partly realized. This is a beautiful, lilting, electronic carpet ride accompanied by flutters, swirly things, and swishes. lt’s an enlightening trip into the inner workings of the iconoclast mind. With a title of ‘Inner Filth’ and timed at over 22 minutes I expected relentless thunderous bass, drums, and 100 mph growling vocals, but no, it’s not like that at all. Judging music by the cover is a bad habit, and a one many of us are guilty of. In the case of this track, it leaves the pre-judge looking pretty stupid under his curly wig. Here we have ambient drone of the highest order, and if you have 9 euros burning a hole in your faded denims, they are worth spending at facthedral.com for this track alone. Beautiful caressing drones with soft metallic underlay, it’s a warm pillow for the most weary of minds, and as tomorrow never knows, turn off your mind, relax and float downstream (L & McC). A more accurate and reflective title (albeit Prog pompous) would be ‘Inner Sanctum’, or ‘Inner Dream’. ‘Filth’ is such a dirty word for such a beautiful drone, but hey blah blah blah and more. The ambient theme continues with ‘Lurker at the Threshold’, and the 17 minutes metallic closer of ‘Abimes’ introduces guitar power chords and thunder percussion in the style of more widely known bands of the dark drone camp, and after 10 years in the darkness, let this album enlighten you.
Andy Wood