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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Instant Pyrolysis - "The Asylum"

Artist: Instant Pyrolysis
Album: The Asylum
Year: 2012
Label: self-released
Genre: Dark Ambient, Drone
Website: http://www.instant-pyrolysis.com



A dark ambient album based on asylums you say? Obviously the immediate point of comparison is going to be Atrium Carceri,which is certainly hard for anyone to match, as Atrium is for sure one of the absolute best acts in the genre. Unfortunately, Instant Pyrolysis doesn't come anywhere close. While "The Asylum" sounds better than you'd expect from a self-released dark ambient album, at it's heart it's still a straight-forward, minimal drone album.

Good stuff:
+ Cool, if cliched, theme. 
+ Production and mixing is good for this style. Really glad to hear an album that is not over compressed.
+ Although it's pretty much solely comprised of drones, they are well crafted and sound good. They are dark, unsettling and evoke a sense of dread.  When he does sporadically use other elements they are likewise rather good - quiet, panned whispery voices ('The Voices Inside (pt. 1)'); the exceptional female choir on 'Commital'; muted, distant banging; or some other kind of sound effect. I wouldn't necessarily say that these songs remind me of an abandoned asylum, per say, but they do offer a dark mood.

Bad stuff:
- Nothing happens. The songs are pretty much all comprised solely of drones; very little happens within a given song and all the tracks sound nearly identical. The drones themselves are fine, but not enough to carry a piece. 
- You've heard everything that happens here before and there is absolutely nothing to make it stand out from all the other dark ambient CDs in your collection; except that perhaps you will remember even less about this one after listening than you would with another album.

Not necessarily a bad album, just a boring one (even the cover art is super generic). Even for a fan of drone, there isn't a whole lot here to latch onto. It's kind of like going to a real abandoned asylum: it's dark and you can't see that well so there is some inherent level of creepiness, but the rooms and hallways are really quiet and nothing happens. There is never any genuine sense of danger or mystique. In fact, it could be any unlit building that just happens to have no one occupying it at the time. Do you want the soundtrack to an empty room with some old cabinets and dilapidated wallpaper, or do you want a fucking crazy, disturbing soundtrack to a horrific place that slowly unravels your own sanity - with lunatic patients freaking out, screaming, whispering incoherently, fighting orderlies, getting tortured; the sounds of spelunking into the blackened depths of the aberrant mind of schizophrenic psychopath trapped forever in a padded room; the discovery that this building you're currently standing in houses the hundreds of unquiet souls of those whose blood stain the wall and they are trying to cross over to inflict their phantasmal rage on you......the latter? yeah, that's what I thought.
If you're going to attempt to do the same theme that one of the major players in the genre is known for than you need to bring your A game, and it was not brought here. This guy has potential though, and if he could evolve his compositions and actually tell a story with them, he could certainly make something worthwhile in the future.

Overall Rating: 5/10

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