Year of release: 2018
Released by: S.N.D. Production
Rating: 7,7 / 10
Releases like this have a notoriously sad fate. Being the creation of the people directly connected with the metal scene, they automatically lose the attention of fans of another scene - a noise scene on which the album could have great success. As for them metalheads, even among the most advanced of them, the percentage of those who are ready to listen to a 50-minute ambient track is extremely low (hey, they can't even listen to BURZUM masterpieces). I myself am no better - I did not intend to listen to HORTHODOX in the near future, and only the disc presented to me at the Martial Winter festival forced me to change my plans.
HORTHODOX is the brainchild of Horth (KARNA, MORITURUS, COLDSTRAIN, GOATPSALM, as well as SICKRITES, JYOTIṢAVEDĀṄGA) and Varagian (ДО СКОНУ). The leader of the Ukrainian group is responsible only for the guitar, Horth is busy with everything else. Given the richest track record of the author of the music, one could immediately guess that the album would be utterly dark, deserted and cold. So it happened. I associate Orthodox theme in the underground - thanks to one (or two?) well-known Polish group and another Russian - with circus and rip-off. In general, this is the way it should be, because this is exactly what happens in churches. But there is also a key aspect - spiritual. Apparently, "Нисхождение" is interested in this precise aspect.
When you try to analyze ambient album that have no booklet with explanations it remains to rely only on your own assumptions and feelings. For me, "Нисхождение" is... well, descent into the darkest depths of Hell. Music is very slowly moving away from the mundane, adding up to noises, distorted voices, church chants and guitar rumble. In these long minutes, "Нисхождение" reminds of my favorite recordings of Sunn O))) - the earliest demos, where everything was created using a simple, but infinitely deep guitar feedback, or whatever it is called. The guitar makes the sound dense and even darker. It does not hypnotize, neither does it tear nerves with dissonance, but gradually increases tension.
The climax comes after half an hour. The rhythmic synthesized sounds that come into play strongly resemble the steps of viscous slush. The ultimate goal is already close... Then an extensive panorama of 6-8 minutes opens. During this period, all the additional sounds recede, bringing forth a naked ambient that draws images that are filled with colossal Darkness that cannot be expressed in words. In the end, the album comes to something bottomless and ritualistic, and the great descent ends. One would like to add “and the camera floats away...”.
Having caught my breath, and trying to analyze what I heard, I cannot reach an unambiguous conclusion. In my opinion, that part of the album that comes after the 30th minute is much stronger. On the other hand, there is a place for contrast on which the spectacularity of almost any phenomenon is based. If the first half hour were just as powerful, the sensations from the ending would probably be very blurry. Therefore, whatever one may say, the album should be listened to in its entirety, despite the duration. Genre requirements! Fans of previous works of Horth must buy it. The album was released as digisleeve with the simplest design. The label asks for 6$ only. See more details in this video.