Live recordings are a huge part of Ashtoreth's oeuvre. Combined with home recordings and some programming, this one-man project delivered an epic track that drives on something that sounds like the haunted bell of the endtimes. Somehow, while listening to this track, I imagine a vision of a deserted battlefield where the dead and wounded are being gathered after another war ended with no winners. The deep drones represent the echos of the many explosions and the cold, eerie atmosphere of the whole track breathes a sense of solitude and desolation. In 28 minutes, Ashtoreth proves why he is a rising star in the Belgian, and European, dark ambient scene.
Helios ONE is a duo from Italy, creating dark drone ambient with synths and guitars. Here too the overall feel is gloomy, driving on a number of soundscapes and drones. However, unlike Ashtoreth, the Italians incorporate some depressive black metal or power electronics vocals in their music, reinforcing its malignant nature. The experimental urge is also more present in this track than in the previous one. Helios ONE seems to fill a niche between ambient and noise by making their sounds uneasy and otherworldly. This is definitely not easy-listening music, although is slow, dreamy and calm.
In all, this is an excellent split album, and it's completely free as well. All you have to do is go over to the bandcamp page and download the hell out of this thing. Just promise me you won't play this when children are playing in the same room. Before you know it, they spin their head around a few times and spew vile yellow vomit allover your living room floor. You have been warned...