Arktau Eos - Ioh-Maera
Dark Ambient, Tribal Ahh, ritual music...

A few months back I spent some time in Japan, staying for a while in a Shingon esoteric Buddhist monastery in the mountains a few hours south of Osaka. Every morning at 6am the monks would wake me up for "Asa", the prayer session in their dark sanctuary. The abbot would recite an hour long mantra, handed down orally from person to person for over a thousand years. The atmosphere was intoxicating - incense floating up from hot rocks, deep scarlet lanterns casting shadows into the depths of the inner sanctuary, golden effigies sitting vigil over centuries of tradition.

I haven't felt this close to that ancient sense of presence, until now.

This new album from Arktau Eos is about as ritual as it gets, without straying too far towards the witch house side of things. It's dark ambient music with a mixture of instrumental and sparse vocal pieces. Each track invokes a unique mindset, yet the album flows freely enough to retain a very coherent sense of completion.

Arktau Eos were formed in 2005 in Finland by the enigmatic duo A.Ioh.L. and A.Ioh.H. The image that they tend to portray is more along the lines of the baphomet adoring occultists that one would usually expect to find in a black metal band.

The disc begins with 'Unbinding Kaamos', a deeply meditative track that is only enhanced by the inclusion of an Enochian vocal incantation. As you can see, we're getting pretty deep into the realm of the esoteric here. The uninitiated have no cause for consternation, though. Unless you happen to have studied Enochian as described in Dee and Kelley's 16th century journals, you won't understand a word of it.

'Noxfaros' eschews the chilling vocals for a more druidic, percussive feel. It's a cavernously deep sound that's quite entrancing. The title track 'Ioh-Maera' is set against a scene of lavishly recorded bells, oriental gongs and strangely struck stringed instruments of some description. It's hard to say. In any case it's a spectacularly atmospheric work. The production on this album is very, very good. The separation of drones, percussive elements and vocals is flawless. Everything appears to inhabit the same reverberating space, a feeling that brings the listener closer to that sense of ancient grandeur - as though it were all taking place within the echoing confines of ancient architectural marvels.

So, who is going to like this album? Fans of dark ambient, ritual and witch house music should all jump on this. It really is that good. It's no business of mine whether you put it on for a bit of atmosphere, a few minutes of quiet meditation, or go the whole way and integrate it into your Golden Dawn rituals. I'm sure Mr Crowley would have.
5
Brutal Resonance

Arktau Eos - Ioh-Maera

Ahh, ritual music...

A few months back I spent some time in Japan, staying for a while in a Shingon esoteric Buddhist monastery in the mountains a few hours south of Osaka. Every morning at 6am the monks would wake me up for "Asa", the prayer session in their dark sanctuary. The abbot would recite an hour long mantra, handed down orally from person to person for over a thousand years. The atmosphere was intoxicating - incense floating up from hot rocks, deep scarlet lanterns casting shadows into the depths of the inner sanctuary, golden effigies sitting vigil over centuries of tradition.

I haven't felt this close to that ancient sense of presence, until now.

This new album from Arktau Eos is about as ritual as it gets, without straying too far towards the witch house side of things. It's dark ambient music with a mixture of instrumental and sparse vocal pieces. Each track invokes a unique mindset, yet the album flows freely enough to retain a very coherent sense of completion.

Arktau Eos were formed in 2005 in Finland by the enigmatic duo A.Ioh.L. and A.Ioh.H. The image that they tend to portray is more along the lines of the baphomet adoring occultists that one would usually expect to find in a black metal band.

The disc begins with 'Unbinding Kaamos', a deeply meditative track that is only enhanced by the inclusion of an Enochian vocal incantation. As you can see, we're getting pretty deep into the realm of the esoteric here. The uninitiated have no cause for consternation, though. Unless you happen to have studied Enochian as described in Dee and Kelley's 16th century journals, you won't understand a word of it.

'Noxfaros' eschews the chilling vocals for a more druidic, percussive feel. It's a cavernously deep sound that's quite entrancing. The title track 'Ioh-Maera' is set against a scene of lavishly recorded bells, oriental gongs and strangely struck stringed instruments of some description. It's hard to say. In any case it's a spectacularly atmospheric work. The production on this album is very, very good. The separation of drones, percussive elements and vocals is flawless. Everything appears to inhabit the same reverberating space, a feeling that brings the listener closer to that sense of ancient grandeur - as though it were all taking place within the echoing confines of ancient architectural marvels.

So, who is going to like this album? Fans of dark ambient, ritual and witch house music should all jump on this. It really is that good. It's no business of mine whether you put it on for a bit of atmosphere, a few minutes of quiet meditation, or go the whole way and integrate it into your Golden Dawn rituals. I'm sure Mr Crowley would have. Oct 28 2012

Julian Nichols

info@brutalresonance.com
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance

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