Have you ever had that album that you enjoyed but couldn’t make it through to the end? The kind of album that’s a Jekyll and Hyde, it’s both excellent and uncomfortable at the same time? We’ve all been there. We all have albums we love and dislike, sometimes it’s certain songs we love or can’t stand, other times it’s the contrasting themes within the album that bother us, or the contrasting styles. Ad Noctum is the first album from Do What Thou Wilt Records by a project called Draculia. I had some conflicting feelings about this album. There a few different styles in the album that might work together in a different format or setting, but in this one it came off as a bit schizophrenic.
Don’t get me wrong, I would recommend this album, but I think that album should come with a warning. There are some great parts of the album, a dark gothic ritual ambient feel that easily tops a lot of the stuff I’ve heard before. If the album were just that, I think it would be easily one of the contenders for ambient album of the year, but the other half of the album is darkwave/electronica. I’m not well versed in darkwave but from all my experiences with it, I can tell it’s not something I’m going to be able to judge well. Just like some genres of literature are hard for some theorists to decipher and interpret, darkwave is something that eludes me. Maybe with more practice and more time I will be able to find something I could understand but at this point I think I’ll stay away from trying to analyze it. Unfortunately, for Ad Noctum it was there and it wasn’t going to be ignored. I would assume that a darkwave album on its own would be structured differently and the listener could allow the music to impact them differently. In my opinion, it doesn’t work brilliantly on Ad Noctum. The album has so much promise, it’s darkly evocative, sinister and powerful yet it has a flaw that, for me at least, is harder to ignore.
I love ritual ambient, the darker and more sinister the better and Ad Noctum has all the ear marks of great ritual ambient, it’s gothic and atmospheric yet it’s still very human, each song is like a ritual invocation of a different entity. Ad Noctum is a fascinatingly eerie look into the dark world of the occult. It’s has a beauty that can only be appreciated by the darkest of souls; it’s not something everyone is going to “get” but those that do will love it. The ritual portion of this album is unmatched in its darkness, its power, and its rawness. On those merits alone, Ad Noctum is worth buying.
The next portion really does depend on whether or not you like darkwave and electronica. I found out listening to this album that’s not my cup of tea. Since I’m so unfamiliar with the genre and didn’t like it, I won’t get into that portion of the album because I don’t feel like I can accurately describe it fairly. I will leave that up to you, dear readers. What do you think of it? What do the darkwave portions of the album mean to you? What do you think the artist is saying when he uses them? What is added to the album’s narrative?
Highlights: Moloch, Ostara, The Awakening
If you enjoyed this try: Enoch, Akhkharu, Metatron Omega
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