Ad Inferna – DSM

Ad Inferna – DSM – 4.5/5

My discovery of this artist I remember well; initially looked up for Asphodel (Pin-Up Went Down) providing some of the guest vocals, and whilst I was initially listening to their earlier Blackened works this new release is something entirely different, and I don't just mean from their own back catalogue but from music in general. The best comparison I can give is that of Samsas Traum, perhaps with some Diapsiquir thrown in for good measure; a sort of Dark Industrial Trance, complete with gothic wails, enraged Frenchman, samples (notably from the show “Dexter” if my ears don't deceive me) and simple but strong electronic melodies that not only provide the main focus but much of the forboding atmosphere as well.

The entire piece flows into one another in a blur, lending a gradual transition from the start to the end and yielding an oddly progressive sense to the proceedings. The only real continual presence is the atmosphere itself – though the simple steady beat of the drum machine makes a notable appearance – morphing and contorting itself as it proceeds. It's unlikely to convert someone from their dislike towards the electronica genre but that does little to insult its experimental style and unique accomplishments, the lack of variety between the tracks compensated for by the inherent unconventional tone of the piece as a whole.

Make no mistake, this is entirely electronic in its construction, but apart from the strong enveloping darkness the style feels very much free-form; the heavy bass and kick from the drum machine wouldn't be far out of place in dubstep, the rhythmic movement-inducing melodies fit for a devilish night of trance, and yet its still able to step back for the gentle ambient interludes. All traces of their Blackened origins have by now dissipated and we're left with the raw hypnotic melodies that have taken hold and are refusing to let go. It usually takes something special to draw my attention to this genre – much of it feels too repetitive for my liking – but this darkly seductive and romantic release has succeeded in casting its spell.

Highlights: Der Ball der Verdammten, Second Half of the Sky, Celeste