this is a second release for herbst9, the band that released a very impressive “from a dark chasm below” on loki last year. the best moments on that cd were a mix of exotic, outlandish sounds and deep dark ambient. it might have lacked oppressive heaviness of inade or deeply cinematic beauty of yen pox , but it certainly made up for that with its own style.
distant disembodied chants find their way into the tracks on this album mixing perfectly with ritual dark atmospheres. a contrast of barely audible female chants and cinematic layered sounds appears on “blood whisper.” this combination is both frightening and fascinating, like old forgotten ruins emerging from the pale morning fog. a carefully added vocal line fits beautifully on “dhyan chohane” on top of random percussion drops and deep vibrating strings. “face of fire” continues the rites, slowly building the intensity and heaviness, that is transformed into militant percussion waves on “material prima.” following “sulfur” is one of my favorites on the disk, creating a very mysterious and beautiful atmosphere where rolling thunder crashes in the distance are overlaid with fading vocal samples and beautiful string lines. strangely bleepy, mechanically repetitive and yet filled with organic sounds “IX” closes the album.
throughout the whole album I keep remembering all the exotic elements that herbst9 used to have, that gave it an instant, distinct sound. this time around, the music is leaning towards a lot more ritual sounds, and might be even losing some density and heaviness, focusing instead on solid, refined (and more minimal?) textures. steady percussion becomes more prominent on each track, and I can only welcome an addition of vocals into band’s material. overall, I would probably hesitate to recommend “eta carinae” to the first-time herbst9 listener.