Astoreth – Morana

Astoreth is a one man project known for building strange and peculiar soundscapes primarily through the use of guitar. His upcoming album Morana, named after a Slavic seasonal goddess, is due to be published by Unexplained Sounds Group from Italy on February 24 2017. The basic idea – experimental, atmospheric ambient based mainly on guitar – is the same as always. However, Morana is calmer, and even stranger, than the work most people into this act may be used to.

The album consists of four lengthy tracks, mostly built on guitar. In addition to the clear chords and notes of the strings, most of which are sustained for long periods of time, some distorted, others less so, there are lots of ambient sounds more difficult to define. They could perhaps be described as dark ambient drones, but the overall atmosphere is generally a bit different from most dark ambient. In addition to the string based music, there are also carefully inserted vocal work, though it usually comes off more like high quality synthesizers, or odd choirs far in the distance, than like regular singing. They are very effective, and have a certain religious flavor.

Often, the album sounds like a stripped-down Wovenhand – vocals and more fast paced parts taken out of the mix entirely, leaving only the calmest parts of David Eugene Edwards’ guitar work swimming leisurely in ambient droning. In the epic “Tymor”, which lasts for 26 minutes, there are slightly cinematic elements, when high pitched melodies echo in a sobbing fashion over carefully plucked strings. There is little to no malice to be found, and the themes of seasons and ancient divinity evoke a sense of mystery or even wonder, rather than dread.

The closing track “Waní Yetu” sticks out from the three preceding compositions. Layers of highly modified voices are layered on top of each other, forming a non-verbalized mantra and creating a mood that really can’t be easily described in words. Overall, the key phrase describing this clever album would be “peace”. Not in some political or Utopian sense, but simply the type of peace a single mind may find when walking alone through the woods in winter, as the snow falls all around.

Morana can be pre-ordered for digital download here.

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