Nordvargr/Drakh: Infinitas in Aeternum (Cyclic Law, 2004)
Picture yourself walking to a very dark basement. The smells, feel of the air, and that particular feel of the ground under one’s feet come to mind as I listen to Nordvargr/Drakh’s Infinitas in Aeternum. Now picture yourself trapped in that dungeon of a basement and you get the dark feel of this piece of work. From beginning to end, a menacing presence comes through the speakers and one takes a journey into the depths of some sort of insanity, whether it is one own or the artist’s is a matter of question. Hailing from Sweden, this dark duo creates almost frightening soundscapes of dark ambiance like none I have heard before.
Infinitas in Aeternum is six tracks and 51.11 minutes long. The first moments of the disc give the listener a very unsettling feeling for what is to come. “Beryll” has a rush of sound then low drones and off key piano sit below an ominous, low and fuzzy voice repeating over and over again “There is nothing to be afraid.” The line is almost ironic as the music bulges underneath, seething and writhing. The crackle that unsettles the already unsettled sounds makes for a great affect in the mix. As the track reaches its end, some lighter notes ring out and hope may be restored, but more darkness is on the horizon. “LLA” connects with the previous track through its crackled effect and low, humming drones almost cover what may sound like hellish movement in the background. The metallic type sounds are buried under rolling drones that ebb and flow throughout the track. This track almost melds itself into “Black Omitting Oven.” Beginning with a breathtaking landscape, the song paints a picture of desolate places, both deadly and beautiful, reaching out as far as the eye can see. The hums rise and dive into the oblivion as bells and triangles ring throughout the soundscapes. Then, deep moans boom through the speakers as if they were lighthouses warning of impending danger. Guitars soar and fill some of the void in parts of this 16-minute epic track. While the track begins to fade, any semblance of order does with it as warbles play out into the fade.
“Scotopic Vision” begins with what sounds like the drone in the background of a horror film. Haunting and rumbling, the undergirding drone becomes prominent and noises move in and out of the mix, as if something was there but your not sure what or where. The word “freaky” comes to mind here. The feel of the track has the content of something that is coming, and it’s not going to be good. As the track rumbles on, a Hitchcockian/Vincent Price feel leaks through the speakers. “Decomposition of Forces” begins with a swirling high sound on a bed of low drones. Sounds of thunderous destruction play amidst the background of the soundscapes. Shrill sounds weep in the voids. The layers of, well, creepiness, begin to mount and becomes almost surreal as it peters out into with a whimpering gurgle. “Skiatron” rounds out the album and begins with a subtle vibe. The low rumblings return with some more spacey effects. This song is more soothing than the rest of the disc and fades out with a breathless moan.
My assessment of this disc boarders on brilliant. I find the ability of Nordvardr/Drakh to create gloomy moving soundscapes amazing. The fear and loathing, utter futility of it all, are communicated clearly and brilliantly through this piece of art. Is it usually my cup of tea? no. But that doesn’t change the fact that it is great art.