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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Terra Sancta - "Exile"

Artist: Terra Sancta
Album: Exile
Year: 2014
Label: Malignant Records
Genre: Drone
Website: www.malignantrecords.com

Here we have the new full length album from Australian dark ambient project Terra Sancta. It has been 6 years since his previous full length Disintegration, although he released a 3 song EP in 2011. While the scope of the album is somewhat similar to past work, I was happy to notice that this album has been broken down into smaller/shorter sections: 7 songs at lengths generally from 7-11 minutes, which, at least to me, is more accessible than his previous works of 4 songs with song lengths of 10-20 minutes.

While many dark ambient bands gravitate towards outer space or cold, icy havens, Terra Sancta works with heat and the vast, barren desert. This is immediately evident from the cover art which I find to be a fitting representation of this album. Similarly to much dark ambient, this is generally minimal with strong isolationist elements. There are a bulk of sweeping drones and distant pads, like winds over an ancient desert.  Of course there are also churning, chasmic drones like rumbling of ancient entities deep under the earth. Tracks like "Descent II" feel like being crushed by molten heat and acid rain while trekking through an arid wasteland. This album strikes me as being a great companion to a story like H.P. Lovecraft's The Nameless City which deals with descending through ancient ruins underneath the sands of a lost civilization in search of forbidden/forgotten knowledge. It succeeds in simultaneously being claustrophobic (and/or perhaps fearsome), while also being a portal to some sort of profundity. It's like standing among myriad stones from a crumbling pyramid, while also being able to perceive the boundless sky above. Some tracks contain buried bits of orchestral pads, while others are more formless, like the excellent heavy droning track "Celestial Extinction", which features fellow Malignant stargazer Rasalhague.

Definitely one for fans of slow moving, ancient sounding ambient music. All in all it's very minimal, but strongly conveys the aforementioned atmospheres. If you want some music to help you ponder the mysteries of the desert than pick this up. They should make the Mars One astronauts listen to this to prep for habitation of the red planet.

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