Thursday, 27th July 2017. 2:43:23pm ET


ARTIST: yelworC
ALBUM: Icolation
LABEL: Metropolis Records
REVIEWER: Matthew J.
DATE: 3-9-08

yelworC- Icolation

The latest from yelworC's Pete Devin continues a conceptual trilogy that began with Trinity in 2004. Where that album was inspired largely by Dante's vision of Hell in The Divine Comedy, this CD moves into Purgatory; the punishments described here are less gory, and more cerebral. Devin evokes this sense of loneliness and immobility with an achingly slow approach to dark EBM; a good part of this album is completely unsuited for club play, and even on comparatively danceable offerings like "Lost Futile" and "Dark Thorn," the emphasis is on chilling atmospheres over rhythm. If Devin's compositions can be a bit frustrating for DJs, it nonetheless makes for compelling home listening. With so many EBM acts, once the beats and bass synths are removed, there's nothing left; hearing this album, you get the feeling that even if the rhythm section was cut out entirely, you'd still be left with a magnificent dark ambient work. Not since Skinny Puppy's Last Rites has an album so perfectly combined the tropes of industrial dance music with a mood and atmosphere of dark ritualism. Devin's approach is different, though: more organic, more European somehow. Though his sound sources are for the most part clearly electronic, he rarely moves into the abstraction of "pure" synthesizer music, instead opting for a preponderance of classical and Medieval-inspired sounds ranging from symphonic string patches and snippets of church choir on "Inner Monologue" to marching snares and horns on "Masks Off!" to reverberating bells and synthesized dulcimers on "Reason and Refusal." It gives things a distinctly somber feel, evoking the existential terror Medieval peasants must have felt, hearing of the horrors of the afterlife while shivering in drafty cathedrals. While it remains to be seen how Devin will tackle the distinctly less frightening third part of Dante's magnum opus -- it's hard to imagine how he will work "Hellraiser" samples into a concept album about Paradise -- he's done an amazing job representing Purgatory here. Never has isolation and boredom been rendered in such dark beauty.

Abandon all hope and visit www.yelworc.de.


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