Well look no further than the latest release by my favorite dark ambient artist: The Word as Power by Lustmord. Brian Williams, the man behind Lustmord, has been producing the spookiest, tastiest dark ambient for decades, unspooling great swaths of bassy synthesizers and groaning guitars over his albums.
With The Word as Power, Lustmord introduces human vocals into his work for the first time. But this isn't a matter of lyrics or spoken word. Rather, the voices on this album echo lost and forlorn, wailing heinous incantations to the rising gloom. They moan in made-up languages as tectonic sub-bass rumblings build and recede at a glacial pace.
Now, I will warn you, I do mean glacial. Giving The Word as Power a listen can be a deeply rewarding experience if you've got a good sound system and a lot of time on your hands. But it isn't exactly a speed-rap. Several of the tracks run in excess of 15 minutes, evolving slowly and evoking a sense of eternal entrapment. Which, if you're an impatient person, will be exactly what you think of the album: timeless purgatory.
However, I've found this to be one of my favorites, as it's difficult to come by good music to fit otherworldly hellscapes that don't involve lots of screaming.
The Word as Power is available on all the regular sources for music. I highly recommend it, especially if you need to set the mood with sound that's deeply evocative, alien, yet eerily human.
I tried to think of a good thing to tie in with this album review. Some piece of artwork or poetry. I settled on these passages from one of my favorite books: House on the Borderland by William Hope Hodgson. I think they capture well the scenes that come to mind when listening. Enjoy!
Presently, I landed, and stood, surrounded by a great waste of loneliness. The place was lit with a gloomy twilight that gave an impression of indescribable desolation.
Afar to my right, within the sky, there burnt a gigantic ring of dull-red fire, from the outer edge of which were projected huge, writhing flames, darted and jagged. The interior of this ring was black, black as the gloom of the outer night. I comprehended, at once, that it was from this extraordinary sun that the place derived its doleful light.
From that strange source of light, I glanced down again to my surroundings. Everywhere I looked, I saw nothing but the same flat weariness of interminable plain. Nowhere could I descry any signs of life; not even the ruins of some ancient habitation.
And so, after a time, I came to the mountains. Then, the course of my journey was altered, and I began to move along their bases, until, all at once, I saw that I had come opposite to a vast rift, opening into the mountains. Through this, I was borne, moving at no great speed. On either side of me, huge, scarped walls of rocklike substance rose sheer. Far overhead, I discerned a thin ribbon of red, where the mouth of the chasm opened, among inaccessible peaks. Within, was gloom, deep and somber, and chilly silence. For a while, I went onward steadily, and then, at last, I saw, ahead, a deep, red glow, that told me I was near upon the further opening of the gorge.
A minute came and went, and I was at the exit of the chasm, staring out upon an enormous amphitheatre of mountains. Yet, of the mountains, and the terrible grandeur of the place, I recked nothing; for I was confounded with amazement to behold, at a distance of several miles and occupying the center of the arena, a stupendous structure built apparently of green jade.
From House on the Borderland by William Hope Hodgeson.