| Artist: Vidna Obmana|
CD Title: Spore
Label: Relapse Records
Reviewer: Joshua Heinrich
Spore, the follow-up to Tremor and the second in Vidna Obmana's trilogy of albums inspired by Dante's Inferno, is a swirl of moody atmospheres, processed instruments, and electronic percussive loops. While certainly not groundbreaking, Spore is a fairly solid release both conceptually and sonically.
Things kick off with "through the collective pain", a relatively short number centered around swirling, ominous ambient atmospheres and fairly odd-sounding ever-evolving electronic rhythms with accents provided by woodwinds and what seems to be electric guitar. It's a fairly evocative, effective piece that leads into more dark atmospheres and processed guitars on "the Humanity underneath", with mystical flutes and the winding double bass of Joris De Backer filling things out for a fairly unsettling ride.
Then things fade into the tribal electronic percussion of "skin Strip", incorporating an ear-piercing and decidedly unpleasant high-pitched sound into the percussive mix along with more dark, swelling atmospheres. The track evolves to incorporate dark, primitive vocal chanting and a slow but steady rise in intensity as the background atmospheres become more intricate and present with layered and seemingly pitch-shifted flutes over top of noise and other processed instrumental content.
The next track, "duality of Passion", abandons the its predecessor's high-pitched tones but continues with similar electronic rhythmic content that falls somewhere between tribal drumming and the shuffling rhythmic backing you might find on a dark synthpop track. Again, moody atmospheres rise to the front as the mix continues, taking on an almost metallic sonic quality before gently fading into "beyond the Shaman", a track that takes and builds on what is initially a light rhythmic loop to incorporate layers of noise and clicking sounds into its rhythm, accented once again by processed woodwinds.
"the Nihilist" returns to a more electronic percussive sound with reversed loops and a plodding two-note bass riff, while the eleven plus minute "creep - isolation trip" almost enters industrial rock territory with its catchy electronic drumbeats and processed distorted guitar riffs before slowly dissolving into noise and evolving into a slower electronic rhythm that once again dissolves into noise.
"spore", probably the most musical yet also most effective track on the disc, combines eerie layers of sometimes dissonant background material with slow, dark bass and panning guitar harmonics. It is followed by "resonant Gore", an epic album-closing track of intensifying tribal percussion, processed noise and atmospheres, brass, strings, and woodwinds, that spans over 17 minutes before quieting into an orchestral, ethereal finish.
Overall, Spore is a fairly strong conceptual release that presents a somewhat dark, ominous atmosphere while maintaining a primitive tribal vibe. It will obviously be most appreciated by fans of Vidna Obmana's work or those who enjoy the work of similar ambient or experimental artists, although its darker content may appeal to those interested in moody film soundtrack work or even dark industrial music. It's probably not one hundred percent deserving of the god-like level of critical acclaim these types of projects tend to have lavished upon them as it's not necessarily groundbreaking or particularly exceptional. It is, however, a good release by a veteran artist that shouldn't be missed by fans of dark ambient music.
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