Abysmal Growls of Despair / The Cold View - _Songs of Deepest Skies_
(Frozen Light, 2015)
by: Dan Lake (6.5 out of 10)
_Songs of Deepest Skies_ marks one more attempt by busy humans to cast off the constraints of time and spelunk through what lies beneath. (So, drone and funeral doom it is.) The recording is digitally available at Bandcamp, but has also been manufactured in an edition of 99 attractive tall CD cases designed by The Cold View's A.A.S. The cover photography -- and the medium on which it was apparently printed -- is an alluring juxtaposition of shade and mottled half-light. The music contained within is darker by far.

While I've been listening to The Cold View for a couple years, this split album is my first chance to hear Abysmal Growls of Despair, a like-minded project by French doom loner Hangsvart. AGD leads _Songs of Deepest Skies_ with a trio of sub-ten minute explorations of down-tuned drudgery. "Purple Skies" drops thundering chords that occasionally draw aside to make room for firmament-questioning melodic phrases. "Decay of a Man" similarly alternates between Mûmak-stomping heaviness and a mumbling picked melody. "See the Night" builds for a couple minutes, then crumples into an antisocial midsection until a synth strain tears it back open and lets in just enough light to better define the shadows.

A.A.S. has been The Cold View's sole visionary for two sluggish full-lengths already. His songwriting has always veered wide of anything resembling extreme rock music, instead delving into the emotional chasms that only open to the sparsest, droningest of atmospheres. The Cold View's contribution to the split, "Sky of Sorrow," is one 33-minute track that, according to its author, traverses three thematically interrelated chapters. The whole experience transports the listener into an abandoned underground tunnel, brick-clad with exposed piping, but long ago surrendered to more animalistic forces. A stroll through the dank, feature-swallowing corridor is punctuated by mossy, corroded-copper percussion, haunted by viscous distortion and chased by the bellows of a brooding spectre. The piece is less music and more an event-laced mood piece, if the mood you seek is a hermetic spiral of anxiety and decay that refuses exit.

On the whole, this split presents a stark study of unalloyed negative emotion. Some personalities will be drawn into this unflinching sonic character; others -- who may require more motion or varied development in their listening choices -- will be repelled. The important thing is that music like this exists, that it is created by dedicated individuals and can be accessed by the greater public. Bleakness and the obliteration of personal pronouns can have the pronounced effect of momentarily dissolving our nature-blind consumerist culture and reminding us of our humble position in the awareness-vacuum that birthed us and will again, one day, accept us all.

Contact: http://www.thecoldview.com/

(article published 12/8/2015)

12/29/2014 D Lake 7 The Cold View - Wires of Woe, Ways of Waste
7/28/2013 D Lake 7 The Cold View - Weeping Winter
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