Review Summary: One of the essential dark ambient albums.
If there is one thing which is conveyed through Brian Williams’ music, if there is one word to describe what it is like to listen to, it would be fear. Williams’ project Lustmord is often cited for creating the dark ambient genre, and is still one of the finest at perfecting its minimalistic noise which entrances the listener with droning, almost suffocating bass reverb and eerily unnatural noises. Lustmord’s 1990 album Heresy
is widely renowned as a classic among the genre, a masterpiece of fusing together music and human emotions. There are places where the music is nothing more than background noise one would hear in a horror film, however the difference between the laughable film genre of horror and the dark ambient of Lustmord is the fact that it really and truly makes you feel uneasy.
Ambient music is quite difficult to describe and critique because it can be interpreted in a vast number of ways. Take, for example, the second piece on Heresy
, a ten minute saunter through a scarily (pun intended) simple piece of songwriting which comes across with about the same impact as sleeping alone for a night in a medieval graveyard. Indeed, Williams has gone to great lengths to illustrate the seriousness and atmospheric qualities of his music. Through such methods as sampling recordings in catacombs, mines, crypts, and places where many people were killed, the music almost transcends the line between reality and just another track in your music library. The only real noticeable instrument on the album is a Tibetan horn, awash in a thick cloud of rumbling bass. There is something unnatural and paranormal about Heresy
which I simply have not seen replicated.
The album is a compilation of actual recordings from 1985-1989 carried out on site, and then fed through a computer to have sound levels tinkered with and recordings mastered to have the fullest impact, making the listener feel as if they too are sitting next to Williams in whatever desolate and morbid place he chooses as inspiration for his music. The incessant droning of sounds whose origin remain a mystery plays mind games with the listener, and to spin this album before falling asleep is surely asking to do exactly the opposite, because without a doubt you will be left wide-eyed, staring at the ceiling as this one hour trek through the darkness plays out before your mind’s eye.