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Friday, January 24, 2014

Paranoia Inducta - "Maze of Death"

Artist: Paranoia Inducta
Album: Maze of Death
Year: 2013
Label: Old Temple
Genre: Dark Ambient
Website:  www.paranoia-inducta.com


Paranoia Inducta is a name that I have heard many times over the years, but for whatever reason I never got around to checking out his stuff. Now that I've heard Maze of Death I'm a bit disappointed that I did not listen to his material sooner! After quite a few releases on the Polish dark ambient label Beast of Prey, he releases this album on Old Temple which is, from what I can tell, a metal/experimental label.

This album grabbed me right from the get go. I think the best description of the style presented here is mid era CMI. The opener "Angels Whispers" reminds me of Atrium Carceri with the prominent melancholic piano combined with churning, subdued machinery sounds. The title track is probably my favorite thing here because it sounds so much like something from Raison's opus "In Silence Sadness and Solitude". The drones, rising pads, subtle choir-esque tones, and occasional clanking sfx could be lifted directly from that album. This is my favorite style of dark ambient and Paranoia Inducta has nailed it. The subsequent tracks continue to utilize the aforementioned sound palette, but combine them in slightly more unique ways. "Prozac Nation" and "Burning Shadows" both consist of the sacral / neoclassical sound with evocative piano melodies, choirs, and steady orchestral hits to move the tracks along. "Dark Messiah" and "The Kingdom of Pain" move into darker, more chthonic territory with an industrial edge. These feel like being in a menacing mine complex full of rumbling machines deep within the blackness of the earth. Very visionary stuff. "Circle of Despair" introduces subtle percussion into the mix which simultaneously gives off both an industrial and middle eastern vibe; this song reminds me of the industrial/ambient hybrid sound done so well by Inner Vision Laboratory. The album comes to a close with more of the same (not in a bad way); lots of dark droning bits, clanking sfx, melodic sections, and choir-y drones.

A few of the tracks like "Kill Me Once Again", "Eternal Fear", and "I'm Just Your Remorse" are a bit too minimal/underdeveloped and failed to grab my attention. They feel like sketches that should have been further fleshed out into complete ideas.

Despite a few weak tracks, I really enjoyed this album. However, there is no denying that it feels quite derivative of other acts, especially Raison d'etre and Atrium Carceri - and overall comes across as a less refined version of those acts. Be that as it may, considering both acts are the best in the genre and some of my personal favorites, I have absolutely no problem with this. I love this style of "religious" & industrial influenced dark ambient, and Paranoia Inducta does a superb job of creating it.  The production is quite good and all the sounds are thick and clear. Fans of mid era CMI and melodic, somewhat neo-classical inspired ambient, absolutely listen to this record!

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