VARIOUS ARTISTS  Those Who Dwell Beyond  CD   (Black Mass)   11.98

Black Mass curates this three-band compilation that features a mix of dark heavy sounds, from nightmarish orchestral ambient doom to blackened psychedelic kosmiche music to grim atmospheric gloompop drift, and all of it is great. I've already been digging the band Like Drone Razors Through Flesh Sphere that opens this disc, after picking up their excellent collaboration with avant-guitarist Miguel Prado, but the other two bands that appear on Those Who Dwell Beyond are new to my ears.

The mysterious blackdrone entity Like Drone Razors Through Flesh Sphere opens the album with a thirty-two minute epic called "I Invoke", an intensely ominous black dronescape that moves between massive stygian rhythmic throb and slabs of thunderous ambient doom that sounds like an ultra-heavy blackened version of Scorn, with massive bass drops rumbling way off in the distance, surges of crushing blackened doom riffage, crawling sheets of black drift, distant choral singing that sounds lost in the depths of an infernal pit, high pitched sine waves, and the slow groaning wail of cellos drifting through the darkness and gradually joined by violins and horns that sound slightly warped and out of tune. This sprawling dronescape mixes together abstract chamber music sounds and crushing blackdrone, laced with strains of folk melody that float and tumbling in slow motion into the sulphurous abyss, ground beneath the pounding force of slow, throbbing rhythmic bass, eerie strings and horns bent and deformed, like an Arvo Part performance slowed to a crawl and spun backwards. But about twelve minutes in, actual drums materialize, pounding out a super slow spacious beat, sort of Swans-like, an angular juddering rhythm that lasts for a minute before all of a sudden the earth cracks open, and the sound is transformed without warning into a savage tempest of ultra-distorted blacknoise and insanely pitchshifted vocals, the music now unbelievably harsh and oppressive, like hearing a deathdoom band slowed down to an insanely slow tempo and with the distortion pushed into speaker-shredding levels of noize. Eventually, this blacknoize holocaust dissipates, and we're returned to the swirling black miasma from earlier, an infinite expanse of subterranean catacomb drone, the strings and horns now replaced by an ever present distorted rumbling and strange noises, voices muttering in Latin, clanking chains, weird backwards effects, rattling percussive sounds, and in the last few minutes of the track, a single distorted demonic voice appears, intoning a strange ritual spell as massive kettle drums thunder in the distance. What a trip. It has a

similar fearsome hallucinatory vibe as Revorvorum Ib Malacht, but much more abstract and shapeless.

Gate To Void follow that with three tracks of superb wrist-slashing/pill-devouring black ambience. The first, "LIfeless (A Journey Towards The Inner Death)" mixes clean guitar and orchestral synths in the beginning, then shifts into a formless mass of fx and percussive chimes and rumbling drones, moving back and forth between keyboards and strings and thick waves of dense fx-soaked electronics and the sound of a crackling bonfire. The cover of Xasthur's "Forgotten Depths Of Nowhere" is rendered as a solemn synth piece, like Tangerine Dream drowning in suicidal melancholy, the music reshaped into incredibly sad and somber washes of analogue synthesizer drone, with delicate piano and choking sobs appearing later in the track, sending it even deeper into depths of abject misery and loss. And "Dreams Of Cosmic Failure" is a collaborative effort between Gate To Void and Like Drone Razors Through Flesh Sphere, twelve minutes of pitch black drone filled with rumbling distorted synth, airy keyboard drift, metallic reverberations, streaks of shimmery feedback, echoing pulses decaying into the shadows, a great Lustmordian vastness with vague shapes of doom-metal guitar wavering in the far horizon. Fans of Vinterriket, you should especially investigate this band.

And �on Nought closes the disc with two long tracks of gorgeously ghoulish ambience. The first track "Mined Fades Away" blends a depressingly morose guitar melody with tinny, gong-like percussion, high pained shrieks, softly whispered female vocals, and hypnotic electronic drones, a strangely romantic and melodic black ambience covered in a fuzzy low-fi haze, almost poppy in a gloomy, weepy, 4AD sort of way, especially when the piano comes in towards the end playing a beautiful melancholy melody. The other track "Monolith/Prelude to the Previous Universe" is heavier on the drone and whir, a mostly Lustmordian expanse of black ambience colored by sorrowful piano at the end.

Nice packaging that consists of a six-panel foldout sleeve with creepy high-contrast black and white artwork, with the disc attached to the jacket by a foam hub.

Track Samples:
Sample : VARIOUS ARTISTS-Those Who Dwell Beyond
Sample : VARIOUS ARTISTS-Those Who Dwell Beyond
Sample : VARIOUS ARTISTS-Those Who Dwell Beyond