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Aartuu Mortaa. - 85%

Metal_Finder, April 7th, 2008

i was lucky enough to score a copy of this 2 disc box set re-release of Njiqahdda's first demo before it sold out at the label (which is the current status of the release). I received the package in the mail, pulled it out of its outside box and began to inspect the inner contents of the package. I lit the candle, one of the incense sticks and popped disc one into my cd player...

The immediate thing i noticed was the production difference in the recording or possible lack thereof. While for a demo it sounds very clean and audible, compared to the duo's later works its VERY raw/unpolished. But its a demo, so it comes with the territory. The first track starts with a super reverbed, cavernous guitar melody, from which the plodding drums and alien-like vocals burst into the song. Very slow and depressive with some strange atypical guitar melodies throughout the song. The echo/reverb that saturates the first song gives a strange hallucinogenic effect to the track, almost as if it was recorded in a huge empty auditorium with not one person inside. The vocals are incredibly eerie sounding which only adds another frightening layer to the overall texture of the song. The overall emotion i receive from this track is very despondent, the melodic nature of the song evokes a deep sadness that puts one into a trance-like state of reflective, introspective mental stagnancy. i managed to stay in this state throughout the almost 17-minute length of the first track. after which i found myself emotionally drained and awash in self-reflective thought. before i could regain my senses and normal mindset, along comes the second track!

i thought the cavernous and spaced sound of the first track was out there, but track two takes it to a WHOLE new level. this song sounds like it was recorded in the middle of a field with the microphone about 100 feet away! The vocals and guitars blend into one huge dark ambient / black metal drone of epic proportions. It becomes difficult to define where the guitar ends and the vocals begin in parts, but the sound on this track is distant, yet roomy and dense. quite a combination to say the least. another 17 minutes roll by and i am completely spent, emotionally. i had to take a break before popping in disc two, especially after reading the insert and discovering it was 60 minutes in length!!!!!!

so i put disc two into my cd player, lit the second incense stick and pressed play. i am was treated to a massive compilation of natural sounds and field recordings. wind blowing, birds chirping, all sounding very spacious and natural. almost like witnessing the end of a rainstorm, flora damp with rain, the air permeated with the scent of dew, with the sun slowly peaking over the horizon to come dry up the rain soaked atmosphere. no music to be found here, only a huge expanse of wildlife field recordings. a huge difference from the first disc, which i am pretty certain is no accident. the first disc was very cathartic and emotionally draining, then the second disc comes along and almost cleanses the pallet with its calm, meditative nature. a wonderful compliment and end to an amazing experience (like every Njiqahdda album i have heard so far, only my opinion of course).

Highly recommended for a demo and especially if you can still obtain a copy of the release. The beginning stages of a highly unique musical project documented quite well. The progression of their future works makes a lot more sense when listening to this release after hearing all the other ones.