Friday, 15 March 2013

Review: From The Bogs Of Aughiska – 'Roots Of This Earth Within My Blood'

'Roots Of This Earth Within My Blood'

From The Bogs Of Aughiska first slithered into the dark ambient scene in 2010 and have since seen themselves share stages across Europe with the likes of Ulver, Boyd Rice and most recently Zatokrev. It's no wonder then that their new album, 'Roots Of This Earth Within My Blood' is some seriously bleak listening. Mixing atmospheric and ambient strains with feedback ridden noise, the band occupy a sound that is both entrancing and confrontational.

The way the album is constructed gives it the feel of an overall larger piece cut up into individual movements which flow into one another. Which serves to give the album a sense of metamorphosis as each track slowly becomes something entirely different. The first song 'Aughiska Mor' is quite a typical experimental ambient black metal track with its prevalent dissonance over more pleasant sounds which are almost drowned in the mix. This slowly fades into 'An Senchaí' which features a slightly out of sync one-sided conversation with story teller Eddie Lenihen which sits prominently over a looping ambient electronic backdrop. 'Hell Complex' feels more typically black metal with the vocal contributions of Maurice De Jong from Gnaw Their Tongues jarring against the haunting soundscape.
'I Rise In Beltaine, Turn To Ash In Samhain' is a more restrained electro-ambient track that manages to keep a nice balance between both the ethereal and the ominous with nice use of watery samples mixed in with rhythmic echoes and hanging chords. 'Inish Cathaigh' walks a similar dark path as its predecessor but has a more pronounced sense of space thanks to some prominent wind samples that evoke the picture of a bleak winter moorland (rather than a dank cave as the previous track did), coupled with the spoken lyrics it makes for a very enjoyable listen. The title track enlists both Chris Naughton of Winterfylleth and Ken Sorceron of Abigail Williams for another spooky and jarring track that, after a slow build up, slips easily into an enjoyably experimental black metal form. The final song on the album, 'Conversatio Morum' breaks out the Gregorian chant and heavy feedback for a slightly disappointing closer. The juxtaposition between the sublime ambience of the chant and the droning static feels too lazy for a band that have made some genuinely interesting work until this point.

This is a very challenging listen that will most likely alienate most listeners in the first minute or so. It is a rewarding one though if you stick with it as From The Bogs Of Aughiska are very capable of creating some original and intellectually stimulating work.

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