Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Yogsothery - Gate I: Chaosmogonic Rituals of Fear (2010)

Now this is a tremendous idea. Take the timeless works of H.P. Lovecraft in his 'Mythos' continuum, seek out four bands who might best be able to interpret the cosmic and obscure horrors within, have them each draft up an immersive, lengthy composition in tribute, and release as a single compilation. Rinse and repeat. Extreme metal is a genre loaded with split albums, EPs and demos, but I can't help but feel that Yogsothery is something more, something we've all been waiting for, and a truly positive use of the 'various artists' format, even if the overtures created by its dense lattice of horrific vibrations and haunted elsewheres could never be called 'positive' by any definition outside of great Chtulhu's swishy vocabulary.

Of the four bands signed up to have their minds bled out through such a ghastly tribute, three here are Finnish. Jääportit is a male/female duo who delve into atmospheric electronica, and their contribution here is "Kuihtuman Henkivi", a 25+ minute piece that cycles from tranquil, swelling ambiance to a sanity razing curtain of turbulence, cosmic horror erupting through strident and frightening retro synthesizer pads, before a lengthy 8-10 passage in which the song devolves back into sadistic but fulfilling tones. If you were somehow transported through space and time to the home dimension of the Big Squid, this might be the background music. Related acts Umbra Nihil and Aarni both follow, with shorter composition (11-12 minutes) that introduce jangling doom guitars into the fray. Umbra Nihil's "Suur-Nikkurin Virsi" is the more fluid and accessible, all depressive and instrumental rock with a touch of electronic freakout that should please fans of the band's great Gnoia album, while Aarni is a lot stranger, with strange, sluggish and psychedelic chugging and synth waves worthy of old Dr. Who episodes or 70s space jazz.

Italians Caput LVIIIm, who I've never previously heard, bring up the rear with the droning, hideous space funeral doom of "Resurgent Atavism". This is perhaps the most ambitious piece on the album, nearing 30 minutes in length, but it carries this weight well, fully absorbing the victim into the swells of extraplanar dread and might that would be likely if such grim tidings of H.P.'s sad, incomprehensible future should come to pass. There are some buried snarls in there, ritual indulgences of some pathetic soul given to its fate. Oddly enough, all four of these acts seem to fit well together here, with Umbra Nihil and Aarni sharing a bit more co-dependence than the rest (Markus Marjomaa is involved in both). It would be difficult to pick a particular favorite, since they all do their job effectively in driving the listener into a lucid state of terror, but I did enjoy the more freakish electro sounds in Jääportit and Aarni than the doom riffs. That said, this is such a colossal undertaking that I wish ATMF some success in bringing out future volumes, and hope that it will continue to attract this level of artist.

Verdict: Win [8/10]

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