‘Tis a fine day. Me and the missus have decided to take up Magic – The Gathering as an evening pastime, autumn roars thunder upon the land and really it seems like a day for dungeon synth. That, however, is not exactly an option when the Cryo Chamber calls with a new five way split. Tomb of Druids is the latest in a series from the overlords of cinematic ambient, and it features some of the label’s Mythic Rares.
Aegri Somnia, Ager Sonus, Creation VI, Dead Melodies and ProtoU all contribute to this slab of dark ambient most pure, and with that line-up and this label I should probably not have to say that there is very little reason to fear, let alone feel, disappointment. ProtoU opens the proceedings with “Eye of the Shaman” – a suggestive mix of samples from the natural world (including heavy rain and bird song), narcotic drones and deconstructed voices. True to the title, tribal drums also enter the mix in a fashion somewhat reminiscent of Paleowolf. Rituals are performed somewhere in the darkness.
Aegri Somnia is next, starting out with a sort of apocalyptic, open drone/pad/chord which for very unclear reasons make me think of Ghost in the Shell. “Temple of Druids” is classic Cryo Chamber stuff, with peaceful drones co-existing with a heavy Moog-like bass and a plethora of gnawing field recordings with an organic yet unnatural, or perchance supernatural, sound and feel to them. Dead Melodies goes for spiritual chimes, fleeting pads and horns that call to war or rite. “Bryn Celli Dddu” nails it.
The penultimate track “Well of Knowledge” is the product of Ager Sonus, and perhaps the “harshest” composition buried in the Tomb of Druids. Strange rasping of fondling claws interplay with soft melodies, metal oddities and strange noises. It is calm, in many ways beautiful, but without a doubt disconcerting. Closing out this epic album is an epic track, as Creation VI offers up “Birds Turning Stones”, a fifteen and a half minutes long dark ambient extravaganza. The bass rumbles, the delay effects are turned up to the max, the hissing of the machines constituting the demon engine of civilization roars. It’s massive, nightmarish and dreamlike – all at once.
As far as the quality of this album goes, there is really nothing to say. Like its predecessor, Tomb of Druids is an awesome piece of dark ambient from an awesome roster of artists. As usual, the whole thing is available on digital download or on great looking, multipanel digipak from Cryo Chamber. Tap 15 mana’s worth of land, or perhaps rather 15 dollars, and get a hold of it this instant.