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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

DEN SORTE DØD: Depressiv Magi (2022)

A music that constantly crosses the borders of Dark Ambient

1 Den Evindelige Skygge 5:57

2 Depressiv Magi 5:41

3 En Vind AfInfernalsk Ulidelighed 5:31

4 Sortsind 6:51

5 Håbløsheden 5:16

6 Den Kosmiske Forbandelse 7:36

(Vinyl/CD/DDL 36:55) (V.F.)

(Dark Ambient, dungeon synth)

Frederic Arbour of Cyclic Law was kind enough to send me the latest Den Sorte Død album along with the superb Undergangen. The surprise effect being a thing of the past, DEPRESSIV MAGI is a worthy survivor of the second album of the duo who is pleased to weave a music of sordid ambiences. Deafening blasts, sibylline chants, invasive mellotron and processional rhythms are at the heart of the constantly paranormal ambiences of Den Sorte Død's 4th opus, which is offered on vinyl as well as on manufactured CD and download. This new album also exploits longer structures of an average length of 6 minutes, playing on evolutions that have the time to give a more phantasmagorical touch to a music that constantly crosses the borders of Dark Ambient to end up in this style called Dungeon Synth.

Den Evindelige Skygge sets the tone with percussive blows that resonate in the void. We are well and truly in the den of the satanic duo. And these invasive mellotron layers are a textural proof. The sequencer triggers a heavy and slow rhythm that hosts a superb vocal whose harmonies slide on the rubbery effect of the rhythm. Playing on the hybrid tones of the mellotron, the duo plasters some unstoppable Luciferian melodies as dominant as in Undergangen. Misty orchestrations and smothered resonant beats complete the setting usual to the signature of the duo who has this gift for creating divine haunting melodies. The title-track throws itself into our ears with a thick, organ-like sheet, structuring a slow procession marked by dull pounding. The keyboard chords have this texture of satanic radiations while the mellotron, visibly more inspired by Tangerine Dream, the Ricochet album, than in the Undergangen album, have this hybrid texture where the song mixes with a thin line of demonic ambiances. En Vind AfInfernalsk Ulidelighed is a slow track with waves that undulate in an anguished atmosphere. This layer has the skills of a big carnivorous oviparous that crawls in search of a frightened prey. A discreet voice layer adds a more sibyllic tint to this supernatural panorama where percussive slaps resound. The synth lets go a brief spectral song. A song of an ectoplasm still breathing agony and that crawls on a floor marked with claws planted by and in the fear of the bloodthirsty reptile. We are very close, too close maybe, of the luciferian ambiences found in the Undergangen album. But it always goes well with this haunting Mark Shreeve-like melody.

A big organ layer emerges from the silence to introduce Sortsind, which stands out with a splendid fluty melody placed in the middle of its chthonic reign. The layer grows like an aimless procession, just to provide a wandering upward movement. The percussions resonate after the 100 seconds, introducing an intense texture of gothic music whose emotional crescendo flirts with a barely perceptible but effective form of acuity. This is where the vocals come from, whereas the air gambols over a discrete piano and the ever-muted percussions. The tremolo of the mellotron wraps up our emotions which are put to the test when a keyboard and its chords sizzling like invading white-noise brings a more paranormal tint to this melody. Black as coal melting in the vacuum, Håbløsheden is a heavy atmospheric track with this resonance effect that expires its sonic venom at each punctuation of a processional chord. And the more the organ layers engender this cadaveric march, the worse it gets. Like a beast that blares with rage! Dark ambient at its best and as always, the music has this invisible cadence that obnubilates the senses, especially the anguish. Den Kosmiske Forbandelse spreads its black Mephistophelian carpet over a distance of 140 seconds before a pulsating rhythm that jumps sharply is heard. This second nature of the track hosts a wonderful mellotron song whose modulations are filled of a virginal emotion. This song gets lost in the ambiences of the track which gets filled with toxic haze and whose rhythm remains as stoic as ever. The air remains discreet in this gothic setting to take back some of that oppressed life in the final moments of Den Kosmiske Forbandelse.

Although it's a solid album of dark and gothic atmospheres, this DEPRESSIV MAGI did not seduce me as much as the magnificent Undergangen. There are too many similar elements to distance it that much. That being said, it's still a very nice album with little strokes of genius well scattered in its 37 minutes. The anguish is always there, a sign that Den Sorte Død masters his art and his style marvellously.

Sylvain Lupari (September 7th, 2022) *****

Available at Cyclic Law Bandcamp

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