The Round Up Tapes // Volume XX

Imber Luminis – Same Old Silences

Imber Luminis is one of many projects from Belgian artist Déhà and while his output is incredibly prolific, the work doesn’t seem to suffer so much as become elevated through his preternatural drive to create. Of course, such efforts will sap the energy of the person behind them and so it seems that Imber Luminis, while dwelling somewhere between depressive black metal, atmospheric black metal and doom, deals with feelings of being overwhelmed and of suffering on a more human level. Same Old Silences moves through its horror via two songs that are split into sections, each giving weight and desolation to the next and it’s through these movements that Imber Luminis creates waves of sadness and depression that are so tangible it almost becomes your own.

“Same Old Sufferings I and II” are re-recorded from the Same Old Sufferings release of 2011 while “III” is a new composition to complete the trilogy, much like “Silence III,” which finalises (perhaps) the beginnings of the trilogy found on A Cold Distance (2011) and Imber Aeternus (2014). In these re-recordings Déhà has truly given weight to some of his more crushing songs with vocals that are much more refined and full and with clean sections that are beautifully rendered, showing that as an artist (vocalist/instrumentalist/producer amongst many other facets of studio work), he has learned so much and is willing to improve on the past while trying to move towards the future.

The newest portion of the song begins on a piano-led section that is overlayed by emotional clean vocals, cutting to the core of your being and giving a voice to feelings of devastation that carry us all at some point. Such peace, though, cannot last and soon harsher vocals move into view with gruff, guttural sections tempered by higher pitched howls and a distinct feeling of utter hopelessness is ushered in on the back of these suffocating screams. 

“Silence III” seems somewhat freer in feeling compared to “Same Old Sufferings I II III,” as its structure is not dictated by the entire movement of music – its first two parts not being included here – and so it shifts through cascading post-rock, shimmering guitars and tangible waves of despondency on its way through seventeen minutes of sorrow. Déhà’s voice is torn with anguish throughout and the song is coloured with beautiful patterns of synthesised strings that add dimension to its rays of despair. Same Old Silences is mesmerising in its morbidity and commendable for its uncompromising honesty. 

Listen and purchase here.

Tome of the Unreplenished // Starless Domain – Epistolary of the Fall

Starless Domain are not new to these pages with an earlier edition of The Round Up Tapes speaking of their last release, ALMA, with great admiration and Epistolary of the Fall is no different in terms of its excellence. This time around Starless Domain have split their release with Tome of the Unreplenished, a project that hails from Cyprus but now resides in the UK. This project is one that melds black metal instinct with power electronics and noise influences and in doing so creates a wall of sound that is as dense as it is complicated. Perfect, then, for matching the cosmic structures of Starless Domain and their otherworldly reach.

Each band brings one, long-form track to the split and in doing so they are able to explore the more nuanced details in their music and thus create whole worlds and narratives within the sounds. Tome of the Unreplenished’s “Proskynesis” moves through oppressive metallic whirlwinds and curiously vocalised sounds that are beyond human comprehension. They are not here to find the beauty in the darkness, but rather to embrace the pitch black cosmos and to expand the consciousness alongside it. “Proskynesis” is a difficult listen and at almost nineteen minutes it is hardly an enjoyable task, but that seems to be the way that Tome of the Unreplenished want it and who are we to argue when the screams come layered with electrical noise, claustrophobic clashes and ramped up pulses of sound?

“CERES” from Starless Domain is the band’s third release of the year and they show no signs of slowing down. This nigh on forty minute track is another example of the band pushing their sound to the absolute limit and still it seems as though they have more to offer. Along with EOS and ALMA, Starless Domain are building a portfolio that encompasses the darkest corners of the universe via synthesisers, multiple layers of guitars and a voice that reaches for the highest possible registers of screams in order to cultivate complete terror. This high-pitched horror is something that adds dimension to “CERES” and its rippling effects and incorporating the blackened waves of Gnaw Their Tongues mastermind Mories and his voice during the track is another plus point in this sea of heightened tension.

 Listen and purchase here.