Monday, September 19, 2011

Rasalhague - Rage inside the Window : Dark Ambient

Reviewed by Gird_09
With its suggestive colors and imagery this cover is the perfect vessel for the music it hides. It folds out to tell a story about a young abused girl. A cliche maybe, but still a potent image, especially when it's allowed to be a subtle horror story like this. Also, if you look at the titles you can see that the story is carried over into the music. Whatever lives in the house with that window, I can tell you I'd rather not meet it any time soon.

The music is crystal clear, atmospheric and well arranged. At times I think it sounds a little plasticcy/soft synth, but not in a major way. The sounds are mostly organic and well balanced. I especially like the way Rasalhague manages to combine primitive industrial sounds and beats with clean dynamic strings and subtle drones. Like much of the genre it sounds like a soundtrack, but unlike a lot of the genre this could actually be one.

My pulse dials down a notch or two, and that is a good thing. That's the reason we listen to ambient music. Additionally the tracks follow each other in a way that makes sense, both to the progression of the story they tell, and the moods they conjure. It's very evocative and I find myself wanting to really delve into the soundscapes. I especially like the second track "Squalor Prison", both for the general mood, and for the lovely inhuman suggestive chewing sounds that suddenly pop out. When the whole track ends with a groan of pain after a short burst of talking, you know someone has been suffering in that prison.

As mentioned the album is intensely clean, crisp and pure, and it is in fact mastered by John Stillings, of Steel Hook-fame. That makes sense. It's a good thing too. Having heard quite a few dark ambient albums by now I can tell you that proper mastering is really important to stand out. So many albums and projects sound a bit too muddy and lack the clarity you really need to convey the subtle nuances this sort of music usually contains. This album however is spot on when it comes to production.

To sum it up: It's worth your money.

2011, Malignant Records, CD Album

1 Danielle's Dilemma (Her Birth)
2 Squalor Prison
3 Mother is the Disaster
4 Danielle's Dilemma (Her Removal)
5 Communication Depravity
6 Taming the Feral Child

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