R.Y.N. - Astral Death

  | CD

R.Y.N.-Astral Death When I received this in my regular review package I took one look at it and thought it completely and utterly unprepossessing just a simple grey cover with a curious ouroboros-like curled skeleton/fish type hybrid and a basic back cover; even the track titles were printed in small type of the spine of the CD. I then visited the website in order the gain further info but even there I failed to be enlightened. Oh dear, I thought nothing much to look at, so nothing much between the covers.

If nothing else, this taught me not to be too quick to rush to judgement. Despite that initial neutral first impression about what I saw, this is a much better album than expectations had led me to suppose, plus it was totally unlike anything I had prepared myself for. What I was expecting from this package was all-out noise; but just like a jack-in-the-box out sprung a pleasant surprise six tracks of sustained machine-like drones and subtly swirling grind, creating a picture of either some gargantuan industrial-scale mincing machine, ready to grind meat and bones into a gloopy mess; or maybe some kind of automated spacelane-plying freight-ship, huge engines thrusting out ions behind it, pushing it forward to some exotic port with its precious cargo. Or even some mind-defying death-dealing contraption hovering broodingly and menacingly over the killing fields.

The drones got right into my skull with buzzing-insect insistence, physically so, to the point where I was almost feeling light-headed. In the process I was also aware of subtle harmonics and overtones weaving themselves around the main thread, bolstering and enhancing the predominant tones. The difference between this record and many similar efforts is that the sound is truly massive, while simultaneously appearing to be fairly quiet and understated it's certainly not loud but the sound carries a surprising size and weightiness nevertheless, like a huge celluloid alien starship hovering lightly in the blue in some sci-fi epic, giving the finger to physics and gravity.

Quite simply, this is an example of a menacing yet strangely uplifting drone album, simply yet beautifully constructed. There's nothing complex here, but that doesn't matter; a combination of the listener's imagination and accidental harmonics fill out the sound, creating unseen and unlooked for textures. This is the kind of attribute that appeals to me; an attribute that invites active interaction on the part of the listener, emphasising that music should be an active exercise between the two parties and not just a passive activity by only one of the participants. One of the joys for me personally was that I was actually losing my conscious self in the sound, in fact I felt as if I was inside the very sound itself, cocooned and enveloped by it. At the same time, as intimated above, the sound betrayed an almost physical existence, that it could be touched and felt.

I was pleasantly surprised by this offering, on two levels firstly, by the realisation that quality can lurk in the most unlikely of places; and secondly, by the music itself. This reviewer would like to think that he won't be the only one who will end up being surprised.
-Heathen Harvest

[ Discography ] 
Item Code: Various | Country: United Kingdom | Year: 2007 | Genre: Drone

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