Thursday 24 September 2015

Review: The Last Surrealist – 'Hypogean Blood Fractals For A Hypnagogic Sleep'

'Hypogean Blood Fractals For A Hypnagogic Sleep'

With a title such as 'Hypogean Blood Fractals For A Hypnagogic Sleep' you'd be forgiven for giving a tut of mock exasperation at the seemingly convoluted nature of it. But just as the title is a complex arrangement, so is the music behind it. US based one-man project The Last Surrealist, AKA Chris Romans, is a sumptuous blend of neofolk, ambient electronics, black metal, trip-hop, and drone designed for contemplative or even meditative listening that evokes a near new age aura.

It may only be five tracks long, but each one packs a punch often approaching the ten-minute mark in length. Yet the songs have a vice flow to them so the album seems like a greater whole containing movements within it. There is a dark melancholic beauty mixed with an air of unseen menace running through each song that is quite gripping as the softly sung vocals play with the trip-hop beats, folk and rock guitars underneath a veil of ambient electronics. The result is a progressive, haunting and hypnotic album. The first two tracks 'In The All Consuming Fires Of Sodom And Gomorrah We Make Love' and 'To Lie On Empyrean Shores' along with the stripped-down final track 'I Met God I The Caves Of Xibalba. She Told Me To Surrender. So I Did...' are hands down the standout tracks amongst what is a very strong release, purely for their sheer emotive power and presence.

In terms of production, it is pretty damn good. There is a very natural feel despite all the electronic elements running throughout. And while it is a little rough around the edges, with its emphasis on depth and space it sounds cavernous in its scope.

'Hypogean Blood Fractals For A Hypnagogic Sleep' may at first glance look like it will be a dense and unapproachable album, but it is a deeply rewarding one. Its mixture of dark but soft sounds, cinematic scope, and intimate vocal performances are complex but delicate. And it keeps your focus unrelentingly. If you are a fan of neofolk, ambient, or post metal, this is a recommended release.  

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