V/A – The Great Architect

The second release of Unexplained Sound Group sub-label Eighth Tower is soon upon us. It is yet another dark ambient compilation with an occult/esoteric theme. This time, the concept is Gnosticism. This diverse school of thought, branded a heresy for most of its existence, teaches that the world was in fact made by an evil god, and that the true God can only be reached by attaining to ever higher forms of knowledge (gnosis).

Throughout its existence, Gnosticism has given birth to quite peculiar cults, many of which abstained and forbade any form of sexual intercourse, some even going so far as to practice self-castration. Of perhaps more interest are philosophers like Plotinus and Dionysius the Areopagite – not easy reads, but quite great ones if you’re inclined to study such topics. As a side-note, The Great Architect is also the term used by the Freemasons to denote the Deity.

The tracks on the compilation all belong somewhere on the dark ambient spectrum. Heavy reverb, massive pads and drones, and quite a lot of field recorded and sampled sounds and voices. Styles vary a lot, though, as do the levels of intensity.

Some tracks, like the massive “Sidereal” by Empty Chalice and the almost horror-inspired “The Sewer” by DeepDark, have industrial overtones, bringing them close to classic, Cold Meat Industry style industrial ambient. Mulm’s “Leave Unseen” and Nubiferous’ “Alraun” take a more classic dark ambient route, with field recordings, tingling fairy noises and droning pads. Sonologyst with “Illusions – Secret dialogues with deep inner self” and the closing track by Phantom Ship, “Infinite Horizons”, also deserve mentions.

Much like the previous release, this is a superb piece of dark ambient atmosphere. It is a shame that this will be digital download only when it releases on the 17th of March (preview is already available). But who knows what time may bring, if people start supporting Eighth Tower in earnest?

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