Monday, 22 July 2019

Monocube - Substratum

Album: Substratum
Artist: Monocube
Catalogue no: TumorCD120/137th Cycle


     1.      Sehnsucht
     2.      Prima Materia
     3.      Luft
     4.      Visiones V
     5.      The Opposite of Nadir (feat. Antti Litmanen)
     6.      Opaque
     7.      Actio in Distans
     8.      Limen (feat. Visions)

Yes, you read that correctly – this album is a co-release between Malignant Records and Cyclic Law, two very fine purveyors of dark and industrial ambient. Monocube broadcast their brand of darkness from the Ukraine and on this outing are assisted by contributions from Antti Litmanen of Arktau Eos and Frederic Arbour’s Visions (he also manages Cyclic Law).

Shake the bones, inhale the sulphurous vapours, blow the bone trumpets, stare into the sacred black flame dancing on the altar. The eight darkly ambient/occult tracks here have emerged from deep underground, from the shadowed spaces where celebrants enact ancient forbidden rites in the deepest and most secret of primordial caverns: places where the gods were worshipped before mankind had even come into existence. The sounds and textures here are truly subterrestrial, the exhalations of entities far beyond our abilities to comprehend. Washes of whispering winds and voices surface from even deeper regions, emanating from times and dimensions separated from us by vast temporal distances. As lazy as it may be for a reviewer to borrow a[n overused] label but the term Lovecraftian is perhaps the nearest I can get to encapsulating the aura this music stifles us with.

Even if it can be labelled thusly, perhaps it’s not the nightmare visions of the creatures themselves that are being conjured up – it’s the terror inherent in the idea that there are those humans who are willing to manifest them into material existence in the first place. These are the agitated harbingers announcing their imminent arrival. The poisonous, suffocating vapours seeping from the fissures beneath our feet are highly disturbed, their effects distorting and twisting. The weight of the imminent catastrophe to be visited on our reality crushes sanity, and heavy black atmospheres build up into gargantuan waves ready to break and submerge all. The world will drown, and the light will be extinguished.

Monocube are either issuing a warning or an invitation. Either way, it speaks of a bleak, dismal future, where the only light available is from a dim, cold, and dying sun. Even the stars will flee from the sight of a devastated earth, and a starless night will be our only companion. Warmth will abandon us, and in its place will be an imperative for survival. The prognosis, however, remains grim.

Essential listening for those times when you suffer the nihilist blues – this will set you straight back along the path of blissful doom and gloom. 

Psymon Marshall 2019.

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