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Illusionen Eines Verlorenen Lebens begins with the song Illusion Des Winters, which is entranced in by sounds of the howling wind and then into a purely instrumental song played on brass and piano with subtle strings nestling in the background. This is a calming and majestic opening and as the music fades out and the wind fades in again, you wonder what's waiting. The next song is the first of two.
Ein Dusterer Winter Kommt I starts with drums and brass before the spoken word vocals and droning guitar rears their heads. It's very ambient music with lyrics in Ukranian adding to the mystique. You don't get black metal growls or screams here, just tortured spoken word passages overlapped onto each other to give a maddening effect. Ein Dusterer Winter Kommt II has more of an impact with louder guitar, but it's still very mesmeric. The droning riffs once again seem to be trance-like, but add to the atmospheric texture of the music.
The maniacal screams and cries of sole member Sergiy are disturbing and make him sound like he has already been condemned to a life in hell. The fourth song, Dissonanz Tropfen Eines Gluhenden Schmerzes, is exactly that. One dissonant riff rings out throughout the song and it seems to gradually get louder as it progresses. Some songs do possess that black metal aesthetic that is more commonly heard amongst Moloch's peers, such as in the Weg Von Dieser Welt Voller Traurigkeit, which incorporates pure growls and music that does seem to be more symphonic. Illusionen's... sixth song, Unsichtbarer Faden Des Lebens, is another well-crafted piece of instrumental music that leads you to the title song of the record. The strings build up again, adding a sense of calm, which is probably only ever experienced with this type of ambient black metal.
The final salvo on this record is entitled Abgrund Meines Wesens, which is a colossal 22-minute hymn. This song highlights the vision that's clear throughout this record, the originality and beauty that can come from what many people would label as a cold, harsh genre and an artist creating music without barriers or outside influences. The musicianship is excellent as is the production. By concentrating solely on his creative vision, Moloch's sole protagonist has crafted an album of almost industrial beauty, with a crisp and clear sound while retaining the integrity that he obviously strives for. Once again, I am bowled over. I, like many people who are considered outsiders to this genre, thought of it as a bit of joke, especially in the context of the mainstream black metal bands that seem to get all the coverage, but I was misguided and wrong.
Moloch is incredible! This record has managed to completely shatter my illusions and realize that there is beauty and art in black metal. You just have to know where to look. This will be the last time I have any preconceptions, but won't be the last time I sing the praises of Moloch!
Many black metal bands utilize elements of dark ambient in their music, either as intros, by making entire dark ambient songs among black metal ones or by direct incorporation of ambience into the music to create an atmosphere. While black metal by its sheer nature already have lots of atmospheric tendencies, this feel can be emphasized by the use of ambient elements.
The Ukranian one-man black metal band Moloch sets the tone from the first track, which serves as an intro and mindsetter for the rest of the album. "Illusionen Eines Verlorenen Lebens" is in excess of 50 minutes of depressive black metal with a slew of apathy-ridden tracks of atmospheric nature. The tortured vocal efforts of Pr. Sergiy Fjordsson goes hand in hand with the ambient characteristics and the drony and heavily distorted guitars.
The 8-track album emanates a definite aura of cold desolation and is more or less the soundtrack to how I imagine a cold winter in Ukraine. As with most bands in the genre Moloch presents itself with repetitive songwriting, and while this may sound like a bad thing I've always seen it as a means to create the desired feeling with the listener.
There is one thing that bothers me with Illusionen Eines Verlorenen Lebens and many modern black metal bands in general - The drums. It's a damn shame that so many one-man black metal bands use drummachines or heavily sampled drums. It takes away a lot of the atmosphere and feeling, which I feel are essential to music that seeks to invoke those kinds of feelings with the listener.
All in all I'd say Moloch, who is incredibly productive by the way, having recorded more than 70 releases since its creation in 2002, is a fine example of depressive black metal with a boatload of dark ambient elements. Fans of Paysage d'Hiver and Wedard must check out this band. Afterall the drumsound shouldn't have that much of a say on the overall score of the album, but it is something that slightly lessens my oppinion of it.
Originally written for http://gouls-crypt.blogspot.com/
The ever prolific Moloch returns from the caverns of the underground once again, excelling in his variety of slow, raw and dissonant depressive black metal and bleak ambient overtures.
Illusionen eines verlornen Lebens (Illusions of a Lost Life) is Moloch’s 8th full length album, amidst a sea of split releases, demos and EP’s this black metal behemoth shows no sign of slowing down, gathering strength from one release to the next.
Recording during winter clearly brings out the creative best within Pr.Sergiy. Inspiration must flow like the freezing winds sweeping across the Ukrainian landscape. The depression of winter months often felt within certain countries plays a key role in this albums creation. Human nature, behaviour and thoughts become darker, abhorrent and easily influenced by our surroundings. This is apparent on this recording, not only in track titles such as “Illusion des Winters”, “Ein Dusterer Winter Kommt” and “Unischbarer Faden des Lebens”, but also as blizzarding and whirling guitars with majestic and powerful winter ambient passages interwoven.
The Moloch sound may changed over the years but the conviction, depressive passion and the dark gloomy atmospheres are still present albeit refined, enhanced and evolved.
Guitars are well balanced within the production and aren’t overly distorted appealing to the more mainstream of the depressive black metal genre, yet keep their razor sharp tones as a distant icy buzz, ranging from slow and hypnotic to mystical mid-paced riffs, reminiscent at times of Drudkh but with Pr.Sergiy’s personal touch applied. Repetition is used throughout the tracks, but variation within the compositions stop the songs becoming stagnant, overused and predictable, allowing the song structures to majestically change, just like the seasons the music itself portrays.
The drums have a perfectly captured acoustic sound, as if recorded in a rehearsal room. Don’t expect hyper speed blast beats, as the tempo alternates between slow and steady paced beating performed in simple, yet slightly alternative and varying patterns, reminiscent of winter snowfall.
Ambient is regularly used within Moloch albums, usually weaved into and around the guitar tones, adding thick and suffocating atmospheres to the already depressive sounds. The keyboards are primarily desolate sounding and thought provoking. One of Moloch’s greatest accomplishments is the ability to use ambient as a weapon, an icy blade across your veins, the sombre piano used at certain points can really be felt within yourself.
Vocals alternate on all tracks between spoken words and desperate, gasping shrieks executed with passion and conviction remaining unique to the Moloch style. Pronunciation is audible and distinguishable, although in Ukrainian.
It’s the lyrical content which makes this release a personal experience, taking the listener into Pr.Sergiy’s creation and traversing the coldest, darkest and desolate snowy mountain passages. Lyrical content is descriptive of the changing seasons, winter depression and human despair. Thankfully English translations are available of the Ukrainian lyrics.
Imagine this album as a razor blade; expect it to be something it’s not or handle it the wrong way and you’ll get cut. But truly understand and appreciate what is displayed and you’ll find a form comfort that you return to again and again.
Despite this however, I’d recommend this album as a starting point for those unfamiliar and new to Moloch.
At a limitation of 1000 copies on Cd and 200 on cassette, act sooner rather than later to add this masterpiece of human pain, misery and despair into your collection.
Amidst the numerous one-man black metal projects, there are a few that stand out as talented and enjoyable, able to create records that hold attention and take the listener on a journey. Pr. Sergiy, alias Moloch, attempts this in his latest of many releases, Illusionen Eines Verlorenen Lebens. Relatively new given he only started 9 years ago, he unites dark ambient with depressive black metal in the vein of Xasthur, I Shalt Become and Burzum, but never truly reaches the heights of any of those bands.
This is questionably a “black metal” album, as three fifths of it is dark ambient, including the 22-minute closer “Abgrund Meines Wesens”. The synth in itself is pleasant, and a relief from the harsh black metal of the four middle tracks, but ultimately works better as an atmospheric film score than something more substantial and captivating. As for the black metal, the slow buzzing guitars and repetitive drums in both halves of “Ein Düsterer Winter Kommt” and “Dissonanz Tropfen Eines Glühenden Schmerzes” create a wall of quite monotonous dissonant sound, while Sergiy tries a change in style on “Weg Von Dieser Welt Voller Traurigkeit”, but the garage-quality Scandinavian style is worse than the previous tracks. By the time the two brief synth tracks hit, they are warmly welcomed, although the final track more than outstays its welcome.
Sergiy's Ukrainian roots show through in the lyrics, although comparisons to fellow countrymen Drudkh need not apply. For the sake of a non-Ukrainian audience, I'll use the translations he provides, which show a varying lyrical quality, one of the better lines being “The trees blindly watch upwards as if they have to see the dance of stars”. The vocals, typical of depressive black metal, shift between spoken word, howling and whimpering, which grow unbearable in “Ein Düsterer...II” and “Weg Von...”, and are only vaguely tolerable on “Ein Düsterer..I”.
Some say that black metal is not to be analyzed, but more based on the emotions evoked from an album. Despite this philosophical approach, it doesn't redeem Illusionen Eines Verlorenen Lebens, one of the weaker DSBM albums I've heard. Black metal fanatics should look elsewhere, and those wanting to get into the genre should check out Sterbend or I Shalt Become. The ambient may have been good, but the black metal needs a lot of reworking.
Originally posted at www.blackwindmetal.blogspot.com