RMEDL/K11: Chthonian Music

Just when you think Cold Spring couldn’t possibly release anything darker than the dark he already has, he pulls something like this out.  Granted, Chthonian Music is actually a reissue of an extremely limited cut from 2010 (only 50 copies exist), but that doesn’t stop it from covering your world in darkness, and this is also in spite of the fact that this review is like two years late.  Again, blame the former editor!  Got a ton of backlog to go through here, and we absolutely refuse to not allow these people to have wasted their money shipping out promos.  So, Cold Spring, awesome, lots of material in the dark ambient/industrial vein, also noise and black metal, but generally always the blackest of black.  Eerie, corrupting, decay-inducing to your soul.  Chtonian Music is pleased to do such things to you, leaving you drowning in your own tears.  It’s actually a huge collaboration between a crap ton of musicians and bands, some of which we’ve actually reviewed in the past and were pleased to introduce ourselves to, such as Aderlating and Nordvargr, for example.  The purpose here, in this massive joining of forces, was to create a bridge between contemporary art, post-industrial culture, and black metal, according to the write-up on Cold Spring’s official site.  And that’s definitely what you’re in for, but wait till we explain the first part.




Opening with the sound of nature at night, Chthonian Music is an interesting, almost circular build.  Crickets lead into unsettling sine waves that probably reprogram the listeners brain, as it slowly progresses into atmospheric chords.  It’s meant, essentially, to lead the listener into the underworld.  And it gets you there quite easily, with this ‘build’ we hinted at a few sentences ago.  It opens slowly with a variety of dark sounds, some drone, elements of noise, dark ambient, all the goodies.  But then, ever so slowly, the chords come out of the mire, they shake off the bile and reveal themselves.  A slow, dirge-like acoustic line with spoken-word begins to appear, and by the middle a tempo develops, sounding like bone against bone, and by the middle of the third track, drums come into the front with sweeping, coldly expansive guitars.  Think of the most raw yet artful black metal you could create in a garage, like as far as you could go with it, and here it is.  That’s the center, so to speak, and from there it descends again into dark ambient/noise, with occasional bursts of heavily broken guitars taking it back to a re-imagined beginning.  As dark ambient/noise, this stuff is brilliant, but as the huge collaboration it is, it takes it to an entirely different level.


What makes Chthonian Music so interesting, though the listener is only given an indication via the copious liner notes, is that there’s a link here to art, specifically installation art.  Huh?  You know, like when an artist installs some sort of arrangement of objects, does something in a space that has an idea behind it, often with sound for further effect.  The whole idea of this was the creation of what is basically a soundtrack for a real space you could enter and experience.  In this case an actual, no joke, Etruscan hypogeum (an underground tomb in many cases) where the project erected a series of speakers and arranged a little devilish trip for anyone who wanted to enter.  That’s what makes this work so unique and engaging.  The insert contains incredible details on the process and location, with ties to Dante might we add, and you even get a thorough list of all the tracks and with what sounds they were constructed.  Cold Spring has a number of releases that go the distance musically, but this one goes the distance with art as well.  It’s unfortunate most will never have the chance to experience it, and all we have are the pictures inside, the map, and explanations to consider, but for that alone it’s worth the trip.


Cold Spring Official Site

Written by Stanley Stepanic

RMEDL/K11: Chthonian Music
Cold Spring Records
5 / 5