posted on 3/2006 By:
Don’t let the term “ambient” scare you off. Ecdysis has plenty of what’s missing on so many ambient albums–--variety, songs that have distinguishable personalities, and the ability to draw the listener into a more active experience than the stereotypical background music. Maybe I sound like someone with an outsider’s perspective on the genre. Then again, I’d wager that most of our readers come from equally wary territory. Regardless, of the handful of these albums I’ve reviewed, this one seems to have the best chance of finding a solid audience among the Metal Review faithful.
Darsombra is the one-man project of Brian Daniloski of Meatjack and Trephine. Here he constructs a foundation of simmering ambience and adds layers of discordance, and it’s his grasp of judicious use of the economy of sound that keeps the album interesting. Sections of Ecdysis, most notably on songs like “The Place Where There is No Darkness” and “Swelter”, employ the sparse, ethereal stratospheric ethic that’s typical to the genre, but over half of the album employs a more textured, full approach, with “My House” coming closest to a traditionally structured song. But that balance only gets to half the reason the album works. Less tangible, but equally important, is the way Darsombra manages to maintain a consistent flow by adding the right types, combinations and durations of noise, which helps avoid lag and/or repetitiveness. Daniloski keeps a chokehold on his guitar, prying out swelling shards of dissonance and rhythmic, accenting tones. The cacophonous opening of “Thinning the Herd” opens the album, setting a dark, claustrophobic tone, but midway through the track airs out into an open, more melodic, and slightly psychedelic section, that slides seamlessly into “The Place Where There is No Darkness”, one of the more sparse numbers filled with a Pink Floyd-like usage of echoes, plinks, and hums. It’s not until track three that traditional percussion and voice make an appearance, in the droning “My House”. “Drag the Carcass” throbs impatiently over a sample of a sermon that’s muted, but delivered with a zealot’s zeal. Interestingly Darsombra closes the album with an ambient interpretation of “Dies Irae”, a classical piece used by many composers, but most notably (to my rudimentary classical knowledge, anyway) in Hector Berlioz’s Symphony Fantastique. The looming, ominous plodding progression makes for a top class mood setter, and even in its scaled back arrangement, helps close Ecdysis with style. Well done, Mr. Daniloski.
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