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(52:28, Hikikomori Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Izkuplenie 6:04 2. The Holy Connection 4:27 3. Fungoid Moon 7:52 4. If God Is a Drug-I 3:09 5. If God Is a Drug-II 4:51 6. If God Is a Drug-III 3:32 7. 7 1:29 8. The Trees Are Killing the Sky 5:46 9. City in the Sea 5:07 10. Bright Red Seeds 2:43 11. Infected 2:53 12. They Dreamt of Coffins 4:35 LINEUP: William Kopecky – bass; vocals Dimitar Dimitrov – vocals; guitars; electronics With: Ellom – voice
Prolusion. The multinational ensemble HAIKU FUNERAL was formed back in 2008, the initial recording session made by a duo consisting of William Kopecky and Dimitar Dimitrov appearing in 2009 as their debut album "Assassination in the Hashish Cathedral". This collaboration seems to have been a satisfying one, as a follow-up production has appeared just one year later in the shape of "If God Is a Drug". Like its predecessor it's released as a limited edition disc, printed in 50 copies only, through the Danish label Hikikomori Records.
Analysis. The ambient music scene has been a vital and productive one for the last 40 years or so, with artists such as Kitaro, Gandalf and Vangelis as arguably the brightest stars to provide a willing audience with relaxing, pleasant sounds inspired by nature, inward reflections and spiritual contemplations. These and most other artists have focused on and emphasized the positive aspects of this musical realm, where dream-laden and calmly jubilant themes have been the main order of the day. Cue Dimitar Dimitrov and William Kopecky, whose initial production under the Haiku Funeral moniker produced a dramatic and rather disturbing blend of black metal, psychedelic soundscapes, industrial sonic tapestries and ambient reflections. On this second creation of theirs they seem to have decided to take their reflections into the ambient territories by default, and provide an album's worth of reflections and contemplations as far away from positive and subtly jubilant as you may come upon within ambient-based musical endeavors. Dark, menacing, brooding and bleak, "If God Is a Drug" is a journey that seems to be inspired by nightmares, your innermost fears and Dante's visions of Hell – a soundtrack fit for the right part of Hieronymus Bosch' triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights. Compositions are constructed with the aid of bad dreams, bad trips and visions of eternal Hell, presented with a great deal of variety. The initial phases of this disc come across as more or less a direct continuation of the first effort by this act: dark, dramatic escapades where Kopecky's distorted bass is showcased quite nicely alongside Dimitrov's vast repertoire of evil vocal sound effects. Industrial, bleak sounds and brooding, menacing undercurrents add rhythms and depth to the proceedings, and there's even what appears to be a guitar solo present in the sickly landscapes explored on Fungoid Moon, a track more disturbing than the title indicates, as strange as that may sound. But as this album unfolds, the ambient creations start dominating, and the dramatic and easily fathomed effects are replaced by gentler, dampened ones utilized with a greater touch of finesse. Still dark, possibly even darker than the more apparent numbers, and with a constant atmosphere of menacing evil that will reappear in whatever nightmares the listeners of this album will have in the foreseeable future. Slowly fluctuating electronic textures, barely audible, machine-like noises appearing and disappearing unexpectedly, dampened voices with whispered, resonating distorted echoes, the sudden addition of a distorted resonating sound in a passage otherwise rather gentle and laid-back in its dark decay. Efficient effects carefully utilized to carve out a unique and disturbing landscape more frightening than whatever your average black metal band will churn out during its entire existence, the total antithesis of the aforementioned origins of the ambient universe if you like – the perfect and perverted contrast.
Conclusion. If you have sought out your inner demons and conquered them or merely are fascinated by soundscapes dark, disturbing and frightening, the ambient creations of this duo are ones you'd better seek out. Subtle touches of black metal, industrial music and psychedelic rock are details spicing up the proceedings in a nifty, nightmare-inspired manner, and there are even a few touches of symphonic-inspired electronic textures to appreciate. The landscapes are all menacing, frightening and utterly dark however, to an extent that anyone not totally stable of mind and spirit should avoid this one. But if your psyche is rock-solid, you have learnt to deal with your inner darkness and music of this kind sounds intriguing, you'll be among a select group of people that will appreciate and enjoy this latest hellish constellation crafted by Haiku Funeral. A very well-made effort it is too, recommended to the chosen few.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: April 6, 2011
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