posted on 8/2007 By:
Beyond an interest in the more ambient end of the doom metal spectrum, I’ve never been much on ambient electronica, neoclassical or post-industrial music (mostly because I stubbornly insist that the bulk of my music collection ought to make me feel like rocking out rather than meditating and stroking my chin contemplatively). I was thus kinda dubious about signing up to review a release by Megaptera—a band I’d never heard before who reside in a genre that I am largely ignorant of. Ultimately, though, Megaptera’s spot on Vendlus Records, who have built quite a rapport with me via releases by the likes of Grayceon and Wolves In the Throne Room, convinced me to give them a shot. Seems like the dudes over at Vendlus maintain a pretty solid standard of quality across genres, because even I find Disturbance Ritual an intense and slightly unsettling listen.
Disturbance Ritual is apparently a live album, though you wouldn’t know from hearing it; all crowd noise has been excised from the recording, and all that’s left is 36 minutes of sparse and eerie ambient/industrial music. Where I find much of this style of music to be rather meandering and esoteric, Megaptera manage to both craft atmospheres and pack an immediate wallop at the same time, sucking the light right out of the room with their paranoid, truly cinematic soundscapes. Though there are frequent rhythmless pure-ambience interludes, much of Disturbance Ritual is propelled by feverish, semi-tribal industrial rhythms (as on “Final Day” and “Shadow Land”). Over the psychedelic half-beats is a sprawling terrain of echoing booms, clanks, nervous horror-movie metallic whining, and an expansive collection of muffled and largely incomprehensible movie samples. The large proportions of distant, anguished screams and dense rust-drenched noise textures on tracks like “More Disturbance” allow these guys to deliver a genuine chill in a dark, quiet room where most of their peers sound either campy or just plain ridiculous. Most of this setlist is taken from their (apparently legendary) discography and is this far more ambient in persuasion; those more interested in their earlier ‘death industrial’ sound might want to steer clear of this one.
Though I can’t help but feel like a bit of an ignoramus whilst reviewing an apparently storied and long-running band with whom I am completely unfamiliar, I feel that my outsider’s perspective allows me to more deeply appreciate Disturbance Ritual’s unusually effective execution. Though this album was apparently intended as Megaptera’s farewell disc, the band has evidently reunited and put out a fresh studio album. Much to my surprise, I’m just about impressed enough by this one that I might seek it out. I can’t really envision this being a great live show, but in a lonely late-night room with a good pair of headsets and perhaps a bit of your favorite intoxicant, it’s quite a trip.
Register to post comments.