Abandoned Asylum – Derelicts Of Distant Hope CD Malignant Records 2013
Although apparently formed in 2004, ‘Derelicts Of Distant Hope’ represents the formal debut album from this Polish project and yet another new addition to the Malignant roster. Upon cursory listens, this album (to my minds-eye at least), appeared to present Abandoned Asylum’s version of the ‘brooding menace of deep recesses, caverns and crypts’ style of dark ambience. However this initial impression seemed to be rather at odds with the track titles, which are more indicative of galactic and deep space themes, evidenced through titles such as ‘Intersellar Transmissions’ and ‘Shades Of Nebular Images’. Yet regardless of this potential misinterpretation of the sonic picture on my part, Abandoned Asylum delivers some excellent dark ambient material. Here some expertly construct soundscapes of interweaving/ spiralling /drifting drones are to be found, intermixed with mechanised static and a sound production with a deep and echoed clarity. Likewise rather than being minimalist in tone, tracks follow an ebb and flow technique which builds to intense dark ambient crescendos.
The deep monolithic tone of ‘Drifting in Constant Eclipse’ sets itself apart from other album tracks due to its prominent use of gregorian/ choral styled chants, which works extremely well within context of the material, but also brings the inevitable comparison to raison d’etre. ‘Amongst Shapes Unknown To Man‘ sits at the core of the album and is slightly more animated than preceding material, based on a centrally prominent waiving element which cyclically rises to prominent heights, only to recede, repeat and increase in intensity with each rotation. ‘Echoes of Forgotten Origins’ within its slightly heavier and grinding soundscape of deep sub-orchestral horn (and possibly buried choral vocals), features a great late track inclusion of a singular tone akin to a lone submarine depth sounder, which acts as a sonic beacon with the inky blackness. Alternately the cavernous windswept drones of ‘Storms In the Endless Void’ builds to an intense climax and in the process sweeps the album to its conclusion.
Although not a long release at 43 minutes, ‘Derelicts of Distant Hope’ is a focused and well executed album, which does not reinvent the wheel, so much as deliver the goods within the established parameters of the dark ambient genre.