Profound, ritual dark ambient and apocalyptic drones from Italy’s Sonologyst.
The veneration of the dead plays an important role in mythology and (nature) religions. It is inspired by fear for wrath of the deceased, and by obtaining their council and favours. A large part of the religious life concentrated therefore around the death cults. This led to the erection of huge monuments (mastabas, pyramids, grave-temples, and rock-graves) in Egypt… but in ancient China, Mesopotamia, and India the dead were also honoured by impressive monuments and elaborate rituals.
Although the death cults and burial rituals may be different among the nature religions, the reasons are the same; either affection towards the deceased or else fear for the soul wandering in the vicinity of the corpse and which must be appeased (with offerings, prayers, incantations). Common is also a form of cannibalism where the body is eaten in order to obtain some of the strength of the deceased. The mummification of the dead, which originated in the belief of life after death, was an important part of the death cults too.
This album is a deep musical investigation of those cults and beliefs in ancient times. Presented in a matt digipak with evocative, ritualistic artwork by Abby Helasdottir.
“…this is the exact kind of material that easily finds its way underneath your skin to enact its poison as quickly as it can, and the entirety of “Ancient Death Cults and Beliefs” is guilty of nothing but pure intoxication. These are some of the strangest and darkest halls that ambient as a whole have ever taken me down, and every few minutes something comes bounding around the corner to catch you off… an exciting slow burn that has much more within its depths than what it gives away, and Sonologyst uses all of that to his highest advantage to make this album a damn good listen for any fan of ambient and beyond” (5/5, Head-Banger)
“Sure, it is dark and mysterious; it is atmospheric and sometimes noisy. But, for example, in ‘Primeval Source’ there is a soprano saxophone, played by Paulo Chagas, and that gives the music another dimension… I very much enjoy the mixture of styles that Sonologyst offers. He uses some fine set of field recordings, rustling like leaves in ‘Puragtorium’ or the wooden percussive sounds of ‘Anubia, House Of Dead Prince’, the mixture of synthesizers and digital processing (in ‘Ceremony’ most present) and the slow, minimal development he uses in his music… Sonologyst paints a fine musical story with these sounds” (Vital Weekly)
“Ancient Death Cults succeeds because its ominous vibe does not feel forced even if it is overwhelming at times. SONOLOGYST effortlessly takes from genres like drone and dark ambient but knows what to take from them in order to improve upon their formula… an album vastly rich in texture and depth, containing pieces that, even when dealing with the topic of death, feel pretty much alive” (Densidad 20.25)
“The result is a tense feel evoking both ancient and modern technology. Organic and oppressive, the sounds investigate the mysteries of death through the listener’s subjective experience…. Ancient Death Cults And Beliefs stands out as a compelling slab of modern dark ambiance enhanced with generous doses of processing. Well done” (Avant Music News)
“Sonidos segmentados entre el dark ambient y el ritual…en Ancient Death Cults And Beliefs el artista nos plantea una suerte de recreación acerca de los ritos celebrados por las primeras culturas que poblaron el planeta hace ya más de seis milenios… Las atmósferas generadas funcionan como canales de conexión con el otro mundo. Son portales de acceso a lo desconocido en los que Pezzella nos expone una perspectiva muy realista acerca del contexto generado en una celebración cuya única pretensión es consumar este objetivo… [Sonologyst] logra subsumirnos en las profundidades del inconsciente, donde la oscuridad guía al espíritu por caminos delineados por el misterio” (4/5, No Melody Magazine)
“L’album ci richiede di chiudere gli occhi e mettere su le cuffie per cercare di cogliere le più piccole sfumature, per farci entrare nella storia di queste civiltà, consegnandoci una vera e propria pagina di storia… Sembra quasi che sia la divinità a mostrarci il mondo di cui è custode, tanto il dark ambient unito ad una atmosfera particolarmente mistica ci porta alla scoperta di un mondo lontanissimo e irreale, ma senz’altro ricco di pathos… Se volete approfondire la storia di queste antiche culture attraverso un medium differente, quello musicale, questo è l’album che fa per voi. Curato nei particolari, suggestivo, atmosferico e cinematico” (Flux Project)
“SONOLOGYSTs neueste Vorstellung führt uns in die menschlichen Abgründe, gleich einem Naturschauspiel. Denn Angst war gestern als auch heute keine erquickliche Voraussetzung, das irdische Leben zu bestreiten… [ein] klaustrophobische Achterbahnfahrt… Das Abenteuer scheint tiefer und tiefer, durch die Höllenfinsternis zu gehen… In der Stille stellt sich hernach die Frage, was dies eben gewesen sein mochte? Cinematic-Dark-Drone-Rituals” (Streetclip)
released March 13, 2020
SONOLOGYST: electric guitars, electronics, sound processing. Ancient Egypt and Maya music samples
PAULO CHAGAS: bass clarinet on Anubis, House of Dead Prince; soprano saxophone, processed by Sonologyst, on Primeval Science
FRANS KEDES: synthesizers and voices on Purgatorium
DADANG DWI SEPTIYAN: percussion on Anubis, House of Dead Prince