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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Ouroboros - "Suspiria de Profundis"

Artist: Ouroboros
Album: Suspiria De Profundis (7" vinyl)
Year: 2015
Label: Neve Micro
Genre: Dark Ambient
Website: nevemicromusic.bandcamp.com

Ouroboros is an Italian dark ambient project heavily rooted in the occult and esoteric. I remember hearing the project a while back, probably almost 10 years now, but I've not heard much of it since then for whatever reason. Since then he has released on numerous labels including Sabbathid, Invisible Eye Productions, Zoharum and most recently Neve Micro who bring you his newest work Suspiria de Profundis which is available as a 7" bone-colored vinyl (also available as a CDr and digital download which include a bonus track). As with his other work, the packaging looks quite good and sufficiently occult.

There are only three tracks so I will cover each:

Mater Tenebrarum
- This song grabbed me immediately, as it opens with female operatic singing over plodding, sacral pads and the occasional muted bell hit in the background. I love occult/ritual influenced ambient music and this hits all the right notes. From the start, Ouroboros succeeds in manifesting a deeply visionary and "religious" atmosphere. This record was inspired by both the written work Suspiria de Profundis as well as the Dario Argento films. As such, this certainly carries cinematic and horror movie score undertones, obviously with a nod to Giallo.

Mater Sospiriorum
- This track is something of a continuation of the cinematic droning atmosphere of the previous track. There are some excellent subtle choir pads mixed with the darkened drones which brings to mind the inner sanctuary of a crumbling cathedral. Despite a promising start, unfortunately nothing much happens in this track and by 3 minutes in I started it find it overly monotonous. After the introduction of the choirs at 2 minutes, it pretty much just loops the same stuff for the remaining 4 minutes until its conclusion.

Mater Lacrimarum
- This track is only included on the CD and digital version of the album, and it includes contributions from Johan Levin of the esteemed dark ambient act Desiderii Marginis. Unsurprisingly, this is the best track on the album. It succeeds because it combines the deep, sacral droning of Ouroboros' previous tracks with various Desiderii-esque sound effects and textures which breathe life into the piece and add significantly more depth. I felt that Ouroboros' own tracks were a bit sparse, and these additional sounds proved to be the missing link which were able to take the song to the next level.

I'm a bit torn overall on this record. While it absolutely contains all the right elements and is able to successfully conjure visions of the halls of ancient, abandoned churches stained with dust and dried blood, I also feel that these tracks are too linear & sparse and don't cover much ground from their inception to their termination. After the first 1-2 minutes or so of each of these, they basically just repeat the same thing over and over for the duration. So ultimately, while I did enjoy these tracks, I think they could have benefited from additional sound effects / melodies / more dynamic song writing. I will give a nod to the production as it is quite good, and the mastering by Raison d'etre's Peter Anderssen is excellent as expected. I guess if you are looking for something like older Raison d'etre or Archon Satani which carry that same sacral/occult feel with a barren and striped-down structure (although the Ouroboros record has solid, cleaner, and more modern production) than give this a shot.

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