Review Summary: Crushing, slow, and plodding, Geisterstadt will utterly consume your senses.
6 of 7 thought this review was well written
The skies are dark and the air is suffocating. Wisps of flame dart across the underbrush as a few lone survivors, largely those animals who avoided being sent into the beyond, choosing to make their homes beneath the earth, hesitantly poke their heads out of holes and timidly survey the desolation that lays before them. This landscape was once a thriving temperate forest; a utopia of evergreens and pine trees that served as a haven for innumerable forms of life. Now, the once-towering pines are reduced to charred, pathetic twigs and nearby bodies of water, once breathtakingly beautiful in their serenity, are overflowing baths of mud and dead trees. In all directions, the ground is blanketed with a thick cover of heavy, grey ash. It is overpowering: this landscape, once a spectacular vista of green, blue, brown, and white, is now a bleak wasteland of grey.
It began a mere 12 hours ago. The earth had been intermittently trembling for a while by then, pointing to some pent-up fury that lay just beneath the rocks and the roots. The mountain bulged at its side, and whispers of future devastation were carried with the air. The tremors grew and grew, but in a single moment, they suddenly halted. During this deafening silence, the birds took flight and the creatures of the eafrth halted their daily foraging and sniffed the air hesitantly. The world was empty, but the calm was dense and crushing. It was like sitting in a hurricane's eye; the eye of every storm, where all is at peace but devastation is mere seconds away.
The calm was shattered when a tremor of immense magnitude erupted from beneath. The bulge on the side of the mountain, that which had served as a foreboding sign of a future apocalypse for days on end, collapsed and slid down the side of the mountain. From where it had rested, an immense cloud of glowing ash emnated. It travelled down the slope with speed that would not be seen again in the sequence of events that would follow. The outburst of the mountain was not one of chaotic fury as much as it was a series of buildups and slow, plodding, and crushing climaxes. As the flow rushed down the mountainside, an ash column of indescribable scale rose from where the summit once was. It was a thing of beauty, but also a thing of fear-inspiring power. Its majesty was tempered only by its propensity to do great harm to those who were foolish enough to stand in its way.
However, the initial eruption was merely a small part of a larger whole. The study of the power that lies beneath the surface of the earth, while taking into account the brief sequences of devastation that turn the land into a barren plane of grey, considers the aftermath and effects of these outbursts just as crucial as the outbursts themselves. For this reason, the story of the mountain's change from a landmark of stark beauty to an ugly remnant of fire and ash is largely one of the events following the initial eruption. Hours after the Saint's bulge careened down its side and unleashed a storm of geological hellfire, the skies were dark and the air was suffocating. The landscape was blanketed with ash piled high above the shrubbery, and dead trees floated in once-pristine lakes that were now defiled with mud and filth. This was the true essence of this long, dark day, in which an angel of darkness had descended upon the earth. It was not the explosions that would be forever seared into the memory of the surrounding nature, but the grey bleakness that consumed the senses of all in its vicinity. Abstract, hopeless, and organic, this episode of the earth's fury was defined by the barren wasteland that resulted.
Geisterstadt, the debut album of instrumental atmospheric sludge act Omega Massif, is what would result if the 1980 eruption of Washington's Mt. St. Helens was ever given a soundtrack. Majesticly dark, breathtakingly bleak, and crushingly organic, it embodies the characteristics that define expulsions of the earth's fury. It is fast and destructive for brief periods of time, quiet and foreboding at parts, and ploddingly slow for the majority of its duration. It is nearly impossible to listen to In Der Mine and not fixate on a mental image of a barren volcanic wasteland, grey with a blanket of ash, covered by a black sky, and consumed with suffocating air that would strike gloom into the hearts of all men. Geisterstadt is an aural study of desolation and foreboding; an album that invokes mental imagery better than almost any other.
First shot at reviewing. I have found that it is difficult for me to verbally describe music to friends in an interesting, non-monotonous way, so I decided to try something a little different here when I turned these thoughts into writing.