Dark ambient can be a difficult genre to describe. Characterized by ominous drones and field recordings transmuted into alien sounds, records can usually be equated to shapeless fluffs of noise. They rely on atmosphere often comprised of foreign soundscapes that dredge feelings from your subconscious. In a phrase, the music sounds timeless. To feel immersed in these abstract compositions, patience and repeated listens are needed. This is of utmost importance when listening to cinematic dark ambient. Gravid with stories beautiful, horrifying, or even not of this world, albums require your full attention. In his sixth release Oblivion To You All (OTYA), Noctilucant crafts an arresting post-apocalyptic tale. He explores a civilization lost to nuclear fallout and traverses its stygian streets.
Seldom does OTYA inspire hope. Water supplies are contaminated and city streets have mutated into an arctic tundra. Along these roads walk writhing corpses. What used to fill their eyes with life are now stained with pale sunspots of disease. Most of these details are provided in the harrowing monologue of OTYA’s opening track, “Introspective Dissolution”. “This Day Brings Forth Our Destiny” spins up as an old movie projector. Nostalgic, hot air wafts from the fan’s vent. Serene ambience washes over soundless frames of times past, pondering the new world lying ahead. It instills wonder. “Those Peaceful Days of our Past?” harkens to a pre-apocalyptic life. A raven’s caw or a birds chirping atop sun-drenched trees create organic textures. These memories bring solace and offer glimpses of peaceful atmosphere. When you open your eyes though, only a plane of frozen earth and rotten limbs lie beneath your feet. Other than these tracks, nothing exudes warmth.
OTYA follows some unknown peripatetic. Above his footsteps in the snow, a drone glistens overhead like the northern lights. It’s saturated with mystery. It looms in his zenith and radiates for OTYA’s duration, changing sound and shape with the time of day. “Devouring Night” is hostile. The bellowing drone merely serves as a dim guiding light, outlining features of the snow covered architecture. But on “The First Light of Morning”, a chilling beam of sun protrudes from the skyline. It arouses fleeting hope.
“Back into the Hole where I was Born” finds the arctic nomad turning the pages of a photo album. Hoarse, he murmurs about the life he once lived. The monologue starts as horrendous, but twists into an epitaph and chisels the wrinkled visage of a man who loved his family. Within seconds, a gunshot rings. Despite his suicide, OTYA continues its trek. It stumbles a bit on its title track when it continually croaks “oblivion… to… you… all!” with various vocal inflections. Besides this, OTYA is absolute despair. The demise of the man is nothing but a trivial passing in this wretched world. Concluded with flies feasting upon his corpse, Noctilucant reminds us that life means nothing in times of ruin.
Score: 8.0 / 10.0
Listen to Oblivion To You All above; purchase the record here.