Ager Sonus – Book of the Black Earth

Writing can be a chore, especially to morons who treat it like a job despite not getting paid for it. At times it isn’t though, and whenever a Cryo Chamber promo pops in, such times commence. Ager Sonus is, like many dark ambient acts, a one-man project. With Book of the Black Earth that one man, Thomas Langewehr, seeks to establish a shadow laced atmosphere drawing on the ruins of Egyptian civilization, while adding a slight Lovecraftian note to the proceedings for good measure.

From a base of long attack time drones and field recorded rattlings, Ager Sonus works in an alchemical fashion to transform mere sound into a chisel and paintbrush, carving hieroglyphics telling a story of classic, colonial horror. A journey “Through the Desert” is followed by the discovery of “The Dead City” (a rather clear Lovecraft reference), whereupon multiple “Discoveries” are made – including “The Inner Sanctum” and “Osiris’ Courtroom”. The journey is completed by the more esoteric sounding tracks “Apophis” and “Awakening”.

The standard dark ambient fare on Ager Sonus is interpreted a little differently – the drones often have a slightly hissing quality, as if full of air, and the choices made in terms of field recording types are rather original. In addition, there are also what can only be described as Ancient Egypt mood builders – wailing vocals, piping (perhaps madly so) flutes and vaguely oriental strings fading in and out at appropriate times. Furthermore, in keeping with Cryo Chamber’s motto of Cinematic Dark Ambient, some of the noises added illustrate the song titles very directly – cf. the sounds of excavation in “Discovery”. If a favorite track must be chosen, it would have to be “Apophis” – the oscillating drones, twanging oriental strings and strange, wet rumblings led to love at first listen.

The way this album is put together means that it is extremely effective – both in telling its story of horrific underground discovery somewhere beneath the desert sands, and in building atmosphere. Whether you’re trying to picture the “Inner Sanctum”, or simply relax immersed in droning, amorphous clouds of dark but never unpleasant sound, Book of the Black Earth contains exactly what you need. It is released on May 30th on full color digipak CD and digital download.

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