Monday, 26 August 2019

Out of Hell - City of the Dead.

Album: City of the Dead 
Artist: Out of Hell 
Label: Self-released
Catalogue no: N/A

     1.      Catacombs
     2.      Funeral Noir
     3.      Insomnia
     4.      Distant Dream

A short four-track album (or taster if you will) of the work of Swedish artist Boris Tyurin, of what could be termed deep dark horror ambient. What we have here are barren nuclear wastelands, denuded of vegetation and other forms of life, a hellish infertile desert dotted with the occasional rotted ruin of a shack or wind-pump, creaking forlornly in the radiation-filled wind of a winter unlooked for. The sky is black, with vast continent-covering clouds continually churning and boiling above, pent-up fury crackling in their every movement, relieved but rarely with a flash of lightning followed a few seconds later by rumbles and grumbles of anger and bitterness. This is a catalogue of beauty defiled and mortified, besmirched and dishonoured – a world, once filled with riches, now irrevocably reduced to rags.

The opening piece, ‘Catacombs’, begins with distant, keening winds, a lament for the wasteful and needless havoc that has been wreaked upon the planet. Voices accompany those winds, the ghosts of the innocents caught up in other people’s wars and skirmishes, a haunting refrain set to linger on for the millennia needed for nature to recover. Wandering shades weep black tears on ‘Funeral Noir’ which, falling upon the bare Earth, poison it still further. The cortege is an insubstantial parade, ragged, clothed in ripped and torn black robes, marching disconsolately to the metallic peal of a broken bell. There are no living creatures left to mourn the passing of Mother Earth, just the howling gales, or perhaps that sound is Cerberus, guarding the new Hades that Earth has become.

After the funeral comes ‘Insomnia’, the restless spirits of those still carrying their bitterness and animosity towards those responsible for the nuclear holocaust, when all they asked for was life. That has now become a ‘Distant Dream’, a cause now lost for the aeons to come. A lone peal and metallic scraping, set against a vast silence with only the soft sussurations of a breeze interrupting it, mourns for the vanished pearl of life that once bestowed its graces upon the world. That yearning is palpably real, the infinite spaces of an empty Earth keening for its glories to return.

As I’ve often noted, darkness doesn’t have to be portrayed in terms of loud, guttural rumbles or thunderous crashes in order to get its qualities across: quiet emptinesses can do the job just as effectively, if not more so. This is why I think City of the Dead works on the level it does – there’s the sense here that nothing has survived so there’s no one to be mourned or to mourn. The world has become a veritable irradiated Hell, only a place of ghosts robbed of its future. An introspective work that nevertheless poses some awkward questions about what it is we want as a species, who do we put our trust in, and how do we change the path we’re on so we head to a better and clearer destination? On top of that, it’s an astute observation of the current state of humanity – and it isn’t a particularly rosy summation at that.

Available as a digital download via Bandcamp on the link below:

Psymon Marshall 2019

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