It’s all too frequent for music to be described as ‘dark’, ‘terrifying’ or even ‘infernal’.
Yet when listened to, it soon becomes clear that these are adjectives not meant as guide beacons for experienced listeners who can make their own mind up about how far they want to be tested, but warning signals to unwary listeners who instantly horrified by anything that strays more than a few millimetres beyond predictability and safety. Calling yourself ‘Pact Infernal’ could have been a cheap gesture or a hostage to fortune but here is a rare case of an (anonymous) artist fully embodying the dark promise of the name.
‘Nitimur In Vetitum’ is a slow, and ominously cold introduction to the infernal zone. As it unfolds it gradually coalesces into a slowly swirling mass, punctuated by heavy drum impacts that create a sense of vast space. As it becomes more assertive, it further expands this architectural illusion of depth and space before entering an icy, funereal cold sequence.
With the agenda established, the way is clear for the colossal ‘Cor Aut Mors’. Horror chords and massive percussive impacts generate a constantly intensifying and seductively nightmarish tribal atmosphere. If anyone were to dare to remake ‘Apocalypse Now’, this would be a perfect soundtrack for the climactic encounter with Colonel Kurtz.
‘Sapere Aude Mors’ sounds both contemporary and historic, referring back to late 80s and 90s sounds of dark ambient artists like Vidna Obmana and forwards to the darker aspect of contemporary techno, with a trace of Regis’ more atmospheric recent productions. An icy haze hovers over the incantatory, tactile beats, accompanied by a genuinely infernal gamelan-like sounds.
After these three onslaughts, ‘Capax Infiniti’ initially seems comparatively subdued but for anyone hoping for some sonic respite it’s a false dawn. Deploying a corroded and heavily drugged techno template, it recalls the most epic moments of Techno Animal’s 1990s dark ambient atmospherics.
If these are meant to be sonic fictions, the scenarios they conjure may be seriously unsettling, if also bleakly beautiful or even cathartic. This release is a perfectly sequenced and superbly produced series of imagination-provoking visions that gain rather than lose power with each play.
Stroboscopic Artefacts SAM025