Cyclic Law, 2011
1) Twilight Of The Lands
2) Sacrifice And Tragedy
3) A New Beginning
4) Dimensional Warp
5) The Throne Of Water
6) Leviathan Device
7) Fall Of The Soilent Empire
8) Lux In Aqua
9) Whale Requiem
Dark ambient is a music enjoyed by all sorts of people listening to all sorts of music. However, the circle of people creating quality dark ambient seems to stem from much the same background, usually coming from colder parts of the planet (particularly Scandinavia), and with roots in either metal, gothic or industrial music. Therefore, it’s hard not to be baffled and utterly intrigued when you hear of a new project in the scene masterminded by a drum & bass DJ (!) from Venezuela (!!) whose debut album got him signed to Cyclic Law instantly (!!!).
The label describes this album as powerful cinematic dark ambient, a description that fits well and is hinted at with the (absolutely beautiful) album cover as well, but isn’t too revealing. The fact that the concept behind the titles stems from Thomas Hobbes’ book “Leviathan” is another hint. Composition-wise, the sound is somewhere between Lustmord and Kammarheit, however bizarre this combination might seem, as the two lie on opposing poles of the dark ambient spectrum. The base is definitely lustmordesque, giving an ominous, unpredictable current running beneath all tracks here, but the toppings are what creates atmosphere on this album, and they range from dreamy, over reflective, to downright unnerving.
The latter is where the cinematic aspect comes to the forefront – Federico Ágreda (the artist behind the project) isn’t afraid of using lush and developed melody to portray his visions, at the risk of making the sound too pompous, which is a trap he luckily evades. This boldness is what gives the album such a rich, dense sound. The elements are numerous and often used simultaneously, to great success, as all of them are individually well-balanced and never redundant to any extent. However, the combination of all these sounds never overpowers the actual ambience.
What’s really stunning about this album, though, is just how good the flow is. I’ve listened to tens of dark ambient albums in the past few years, and few of them have managed to capture my attention and imagination as easily as this one, even at first listen. Not only are the ambiences descriptive, but the tracks themselves feel perfectly structured; I don’t know whether Mr Ágreda’s experience as a DJ is to blame, but the music sounds very rhythmic without using any sort of beat once throughout the album. Furthermore, unlike so many releases nowadays, “Leviathan Device” has plenty of dynamics, with crescendos being put to very good use (the title track being a particularly striking example thereof).
In all honesty, I’m still bewildered by just how good this album is. Were it a creation of an experienced and well-established artist from the scene, I’d simply congratulate him. But for a debut album, from an artist with such a non-suspicious background, this is just incredibly good. Cyclic Law knew perfectly what they were doing when they signed Triangular Ascension, and I can but wholeheartedly recommend every fan of the genre to get and explore this album to the fullest.