Empusae, the alter ego of Nicolas Van Meirhaeghe is no stranger to me. During those old days, I often listened to his music, often in playlists along with acts like Sophia, Deutsch Nepal, Sephiroth, Raison D'Etre and so on. However, for some reason both forms of ambient have always been separated, at least to me. But at one point Empusae found his way to Consouling Sounds and started cooperating with Barst. Now, after all is said and done, there is this new album, one which once again proves the Belgian dominance in this scene.
'Lueur' consists of two tracks, each lasting a bit over twenty minutes. If you want a short description, you can see this as a perfect marriage between Sephiroth and CHVE or between Sophia and Barst. Both worlds of ambient and dark industrial come together perfectly well here, thriving on Empusae's talent for gloomy but immersive music and the brilliant guest appearance by Colin H. Van Eeckhout (CHVE, AmenRa). Track one alone, named 'Guiding Light' is a massive piece of constantly evolving dark ambient, sludge and drones.
That being said, this album is just as inventive and adventurous as 'The Western Lands' by Barst, although that one has a lot more tempo changes and eclectic elements. 'Retinae Tenebrae' seems to focus more on a mix between neoclassical and dark ambient, which is just as welcome in my book. Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio comes to mind here, but also some of those epic sludge metal bands, in a way. That cannot be just Colin's influence, that must be decades of experience in all sounds dark and heavy.
The verdict? As I said, this album only confirms everything I said about Belgian ambient acts. Of course this comes highly recommended. What else did you expect?