Old Forgotten Lands / Ancient Tundra
Dirge Records 2009
Hypnotic Dirge once again plunges my mind into sorrowful landscapes with this split of dark ambience from Connecticut's Old Forgotten Lands and Canada's Ancient Tundra. Though both artists shape mental and emotional visions through ambient textures, their styles are slightly different.
Old Forgotten Lands' three tracks are more subtle and based mainly on minimalist construction. The split opens with Five Eagles Defied the Wind. Visions of sheer stone cliffs staring out over forests and the sea are conjured by the stern main notes and the shimmering noise underneath. The occasional avian noises and teh uplifting passages towards the song's close release it from its earthly shackles. The Fallen Oak, The Resting Stone is a despondent piano with haunting synths and cresting rain beneath it which drifts into icy sheets of noise creating an atmosphere of despair and isolation. Like calm water on a cold pond Tempestuous Retaliation slowly gathers itself in stillness, as if the unforgiving breath of winter were creeping across the landscape, exterminating all motion and life.
Ancient Tundra's material is comprised of four tracks. The opener, Visions of Tomorrow is an probably the best track on the release as its synth textures mimic futuristic horns with ominous rumbling and the occasional bubbling of nostalgic notes rising to the surface. Black metal-ish vocals cast a deathly pall across the track's astral serenity. And Silence Finally Prevails slips even deeper into realms of ghostly sorrow through its use of layered synths and muted drums. Certain notes rise like souls to the heavens while others bring a dreamlike quality to the composition. Fade (Ambient Mix) sees magical keys swaying gently in the snowy breeze while deep, mountainous vocals set up the arrival of gentle heathen chants.
Though slightly different in their approaches, Old Forgotten Lands and Ancient Tundra are perfectly balanced off of each other on this dreamquest of nostalgic ambience.