For the most part, dark ambient can very much be a cliched affair – musicians choose to have some sort of ominous choral “oohs” rumbling in a guttural low octave with some sparse samples of creaking doors, or the clanging of metal, creating a brooding atmosphere that makes people imagine themselves as necromancers or something. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy dark ambient, and I may have heavily generalized with my example of what I see a lot of dark ambient as being, it’s just that listening to ‘Spear of Gold and Seraphim Bone, Pt. 1’, by Aderlating, changed my expectations on what I believe great dark ambient music should be.
Maurice De Jong, or ‘Mories’, better known for his black metal project, Gnaw Their Tongues, has an interesting take on dark ambient, mixing some conventional elements of the genre with the addition of noisy, droning atmospheres which prominently reside in black metal. Some could disagree that this is an album which deserves the black metal tag, and I guess I could somewhat agree with that opinion, but I feel that the overall aesthetic of the album is one that borrows heavily from black metal, especially the title track, which basically is a black metal song, complete with blast beats and what could be a very murky guitar line… or perhaps some sort of synth that’s been drowned in reverb. Either way, it’s not worth arguing over. What you have here is an album that successfully pulls off dark and eerie vibes while being completely chaotic. The brilliant placement of percussive layers complement waves of droning static and disembodied screams, all of which swallow you whole and slowly digest you; the acidic bile eating away at your flesh, and you can’t help but feel pleasure and enjoyment throughout the whole process.
I very much like the fact that all six tracks, although following the same dynamic, are all easy to tell apart and offer the listener a different experience as the album progresses, letting us partake of a new nightmarish dreamscape, descending further into madness or agony. The album flows seamlessly, each track segueing into another smoothly, so it’s good to know that you won’t be distracted throughout this experience. Overall, it’s a distinctive album that has many merits and no downsides, none that I can think of, anyway. ‘Spear of Gold and Seraphim Bone, Pt. 1’ shows that you can convey overbearing emotions with more than just loudness and abrasion alone. Quality stuff.