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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Skadi - "Enemy Within"

Artist: Skadi
Album: Enemy Within
Year: 2014
Label: self-released
Genre: Dark Ambient, Tribal
Website:  skadi-music.bandcamp.com/

Normally, I don't bother much with covering self-released material on here - there just isn't enough time for the millions of projects out there. However, every so often something incredible makes its way into my ears and I feel compelled to write about it. Skadi is just such a project. I was turned onto his work by a friend not too long ago and immediately proceeded to get everything he had available on his bandcamp. This month brings us his newest album (and, I believe, first new work in quite a while, the other recent albums are re-releases) called Enemy Within. This album sees a continuation of his typical sound: a combination of early/mid Raison d'etre and similar time period Ah Cama Sotz's dark ambient material.

The album opens with "The Labyrinth" which is a pretty typical Skadi track: it begins with a long droning section which brings to mind the opening of a great pit in the earth. The track slowly builds with the addition of sporadic drum hits and buried choir-esque sounds. About halfway in, the piece opens up into a full tribal beat accented by similar ethnic motifs and a beeping synth which conjures mystical & darkened desert vibes (think 10 Years Bat Vibez but a bit more on the ambient end of the scale). "Path of Despairing" is a much more minimal, meditative piece carrying the same general mood - dark and fiery caverns in the desert. "Path of the Tormented" begins in a similar manner, though it builds into a series of powerful, distorted drum hits mixed with a tranquil melody giving it a dreamy, surrealistic feel - like you're being enveloped by light radiating from the edge of some majestic scene. "Path of the Abandoned" harkens back to old Raison d'etre with it's murky sacral elements: heavenly pad and very subtle choirs. This one feels like being in the ruins of a cathedral, it's walls parched & sun-bleached; it's halls buried under time and sand. "Path of the Lost" successfully melds the sacral vibe with the earlier tribal vibe. It again uses the highly melancholic choir-esque pads which bring to mind an ancient, crumbling gateway to the divine, and mixes them with tribal drumming similar to the first track on the album. The album comes to a close with the 11 minute "Path of the Dead". This is the most minimal track on the album and takes some of the aforementioned sacred elements and strips them down to their bare essence. It feels like the journey of the dead between living and the next world.

Another solid release for a highly under-appreciated project. Very well crafted and evocative stuff. This is definitely pro quality stuff that would be right at home on any major dark ambient label, don't let the fact that he self releases fool you. I hope that more light can be shown upon this work and that people will take notice because it is more than worthy. Enemy Within is something that needs to be heard by dark ambient fans.

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