Lamia Vox – Alles Ist Ufer. Ewig Ruft Das Meer Cylic Law 2020
Lamia Vox’s second album Sigillium Diaboli * was released all the way back in 2013 (reviewed here), which means new material has been long awaited and strongly anticipated from Alina Antonova’s ritual/dark ambient project. But from the outset the new album’s theme and focus strongly captured my attention – and I quote: “… the album isn’t presented merely as a musical piece but bears a deep spiritual message and a counterblast to the rational, materialistic and post-theist nihilism of current age. Inspired by early modern poetry, Hermeticism, fin-de-siècle symbolism and naturphilosophie, this new opus celebrates another vision of the world, one of higher dimensions and beyond the human sphere, a world of intoxicated and ecstatic alchemy of poetic language and ideas”.
As an initial observation, this new full length is perhaps less immediate than Sigillium Diaboli, but in then being a slow burn album, upon repeat listens has demonstrated itself to be a much more of a confident and sophisticated release. Although broadly referred to as dark ambient, the album is very much a musical one based on individual songs which feature strong threads of martial and neo-classical sensibility. The album open Three Dreams sweeps into frame with a brooding orchestral synths (produced to sound anything but synthetic), where layered vocals ranges from spoken to ethereal choir-esque in delivery. When this further is combined with wind and lapping waves samples, it provides a strong mind’s eye vision that the vocals are those of the mythological Greek Sirens calling unwitting sailors to their doom. The following track Eternity with it rolling percussion, deep brass horns and hammered dulcimer comes across as more darkly gothic take on early classic Dead Can Dance. Equally this impression is also mirrored and reinforced by the intoxicating ritualised tone Dionysos complete with its ethnic percussive strains. Song of Destiny evokes a further ritualised ethereal mood through ringing piano notes, sweeping string, rolling drums and choral female vocals, while late album track Animis, with militant drums, sweeping orchestral backing and the understated yet equally edging towards soaring lead female vocals of Alina. I Call the Stars On High is another soaring and epic track of driving percussion and brass and strings orchestral melodies, while Alina’s commanding vocals are multi-tracked for choral effect.
The seven tracks combine to make a relatively short album at only 35 minutes, but in that time not a second is wasted, nor any tracks could be relegated to filler status. While Lamia Vox is in effect the logical extension of a mid to late 1990’s ‘Cold Meat Industry’ sound, Alina has also expanded on her song writing skills into realms of much greater confidence, where the end result is now very much immediately recognisable as that of Lamia Vox. The professional production and Alina’s multi-tracked vocals are very much a part of this, and when complemented with such rousing musical song focused format it has resulted in an album which has been most certainly worth the extended wait.
* – Sigillium Diaboli is being reissued by Cyclic Law at the same time as this new album, featuring alternative artwork, both on CD and pressed on double vinyl for the first time.