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- The Haxan Cloak by The Haxan Cloak
Was this not supposed to be out around a year ago? Looks like it sold out real quick and it's taken aeons to repress! After the motorik-noir of the Observatory 12" shaved everyone's face off and the excellent recent Latitudes series contribution took a thrilling tumble into snaky dungeon-step, I was a little unsure what to expect from the eponymous album by this mysterious lad. Comparisons, at least in spirit, can be found in everything from Godspeed to the dingy bleak samples and occult atmospheres of Demdike Stare or Raime but I reckon he's got a mini-masterpiece on his hands here.
The album begins with an incredibly portentous piece of blackly delicious industrial chamber music that by the subsequent piece has been boiled down to the most mournful and affecting strings that ebb away, only to return dripping in processed acidic malevolence. Following the wonderfully dense and oppressive 'Burning Torches of Despair' that sounds like a drawbridge opening at the gates of hell to let out all the brutalist industrial noise of relentless slavery you're back in the room again with the cheery bunch that is the apocalyptic chamber arkestra for the deathly sombre epic that is 'Disorder'. This piece is seriously heavy duty replete with swooping tragedy, minimalist discord and thrilling trails of woefulness encouraging deep cerebral satisfaction but then the light stampede of pattering tribal percussion four minutes in also provides the relief from being rooted to the spot in anguished fascination, however briefly.
'The Haxan Cloak' is a frighteningly powerful and profound listen that you will forever be returning to, especially if you love sonic bludgeoning, dark ambience and music of a grave, gothic intensity. There's not much representative of his more recent forays into contemporary rhythmic structures - although 'The Growing' doffs a cap towards the likes of Scorn etc - this album is all mostly about the dread, the widescreen atmosphere and the icy breath of some fearful, unknown sensuality. In short it is stunning, make no mistake.
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