The Seal of R’Lyeh – Gateways to Yaddith

3 min read

Band: The Seal of R’Lyeh
Title: Gateways to Yaddith
Label: Independent
Release date: 28 September 2019
Country: Greece
Format reviewed: Digital Promo

“In memory of Clark Ashton Smith (1893-1961)”

Dark Ambient and Dungeon Synth are both genres that, since getting into dark music, have always intrigued me, yet it took me a while to really get into it and to really grasp what this particular style of music was all about. While recently researching for “Lovecraft – Cosmic Horror and Metal” (here), I discovered multiple projects of the genre that I enjoyed a lot, one of them being THE SEAL OF R’LYEH. The Greek project has been haunting the underground of the ambient genre since 2010, deep, eerie synth drones and echoing percussion being a few of the elements that make it so compelling. This entity released multiple Lovecraftian abominations, such as the excellent compilation “From the Ruins of Sarkomand”, until 2016, since then however, it lay dormant, hibernating in the black abyss.

On the 28th of September, the one-man project by Kezaiah Meyson returned with a new demonstration of “Obscure Black Ambient”, opening the “Gateways to Yaddith” he offers a new expedition into the depths of Yog-Sothothery. The crooked, black & white cover-art and dominantly red new logo already give a good impression of what to expect…

While starting off simple, THE SEAL OF R’LYEH progressively enriches the sound of track 1, “The Astral Vaults of Yo-Vombis”, soon enveloping the listener in thick, synth-heavy atmosphere. With the later addition of percussion and an epic, cinematic sound to the keys, the song is a true astral journey into the vaults, with no part lingering too long as some in this particular genre tend to do. “The Slithering Dweller of Yikilth”, while starting with a slightly kitschy Dungeon Synth sound that I’m often critical towards, washes away any worries of kitsch with the quick onset of uncanny bells and an overall deepening sound. The track intensifies as it goes on, also adding prevalent percussion, making you, the listener, feel as if chased by the title-giving Dweller, as it lurks below. The percussion gives the overarching sound a certain punch that the genre often sorely lacks! While the first two tracks were already quite good, they both lacked a real climactic feel, the use of fade-out being a bit disappointing. The albums second half is what really convinced me in the long run…

“In the Gardens of Yin” opens with an organ-section, creating a mysterious ambience with an eerie choir. Next came a big surprise: As the onset of percussion arrived and the sound escalated, THE SEAL OF R’LYEH introduces vocals to the album, hopeless and tortured screams reminiscent of early Burzum being mixed with Ambient music to great effect! In the Gardens of Yin, one gets confronted with existential dread and terror, forcing out these screams of agony… Track 3 ends with a great, climactic punch of percussion. “Abominations of Yondo”, after starting with flute-like keys, embarks on a section of prevalent and sinister bass with an underlying, clairvoyant synth drone. The track constantly keeps you on edge and conveys a feeling of unease, as an abominable choir and constant bass interludes combine with noisy and distant percussion: The terror is knocking on your door! Track 4 goes beyond the typical boundaries of dark ambient, as the bass and percussion speed up and the keys become increasingly frightening and ghostly, leading into a disjointed and spine-chilling climax to the album.

“Gateways to Yaddith” is a compelling return of the project, introducing some enthralling new elements that I’m really excited to see being built upon in future releases. If you’re not put off by Dark Ambient and Dungeon Synth, give this one a listen, it’s only 27 minutes in length after all, yet it really convinces in this short amount of time… especially on tracks three & four! 7.5/10 the trve Medvson


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