Right after pressing 'play', electronic ambient melodies that sound somewhat unworldly, draw me into a desolate yet friendly soundscape. Then drums come marching in, and I find myself joining the suddenly appeared army, not having an idea where we're going to. Willessly we follow an invisible force.
It leads us to a medieval or fantasy world, where there are many dungeons and other scary places. Sometimes we find ourselves in the palace of an evil ruler, where women grieve, witches chant and druids perform their rites. Sometimes we hear a friendly analog instrument like a piano or strings, but the atmosphere of threat and deep sadness never looses its grip. The army often comes marching by, bringing their atmosphere of battle. And when we look at the album art, it's appearantly not only humans we have to be afraid of. If you want to meditate while listening to this one, be sure to have your axe within reach...
The music on this album reminds me of projects like The Moon Lay Hidden Beneath A Cloud, Atrium Carceri and Arcana, but let's not underestimate the modest electronics that give the whole a modern, or rather futuristic touch.
My favourite track is the second one, 'Babylon (The Scarlet whore)', where an alto tells her story, accompanied by ambient loopings. I'm not sure whether it's English she speaks and how to describe these ambient loopings, but the combination of her dramatic voice with the shrieks gives it again this threathening atmosphere.
I don't think Shelmerdine has a very nice impression of mankind. I hear nostaliga to lost eras, nihilism, disappointment, anger and some reflections on the horrors of the World Wars. In the tracks 'Lapsit Exillis' and the last one, we get gun shots and explosions as well.
So if you like a healthy portion of haunting electronics and desperate voices every once in a while, get your ass over to Dark Awake's Bandcamp page and dive in...