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A medieval trip through dungeons of darkness - 100%

BlackMetal213, March 28th, 2016

Dark ambient is one of my favorite styles of music and I have this album mainly to thank for that. Sure, Burzum recorded the classic dark ambient/folk album "Hliðskjálf" while imprisoned, but this was the main album that caught my attention. It was produced by none other than Sigurd Wongraven, better known by his alias Satyr. Satyr is the front man of the Norwegian metal band Satyricon, and this was recorded during the early years of Satyricon as a side project. Satyr was involved in quite a few of these side projects, but this one to me will always stand out as his best effort apart from the three first albums from Satyricon. What we have here is a true masterpiece of some of the darkest "dungeon synth" music ever created.

Perhaps the best cut from this album is the intro track. This 16 and a half minute monster dubbed "Det var en gang et menneske", which seems to be translated as "There once was a man" in English, showcases every element we will hear throughout the remaining five songs. This song actually makes up half of the album's entire length. There are some ambient clean vocals and quiet, spoken whispers underlining the dark synth notes that are played. This song makes use of a single ambient note underlining certain sections of the song for an extended period of time. The first change occurs about 3:27 into the song when a medieval folk segment begins to unearth itself. The clean singing is absolutely haunting and this song completely radiates a medieval atmosphere. I believe if Satyricon was to make an ambient album this would be the rightful result.

While this song is the best offering on the album, the others should not be discounted. They are all great. The album goes from extremely dark tracks such as "Over Ødemark" to a somewhat upbeat "Opp under fjellet toner en sang". Interestingly enough, no matter what mood the tracks are emitting, be it sad, dark, eerie, or upbeat, they all contain the same medieval atmosphere and ambiance. There is a bit of variation between the tracks but if this album was made into one 32 and a half minute song, it would still work perfectly. I really can't find anything bad to say about this album, aside from the obvious fact that it is far too short and could have been much bigger than it is. It seems to be unknown if Wongraven is still an active project of Satyr's, but I really would love to see another album or two from him. So long as they'd keep this beautiful medieval tone.