Lophophora Williamsii And Monochromatic Perceptions

If anything is to be clear, it is that the Italian solo artist Nerij has come quite a long way since “Fato Ottenebrato Ghermente Anime Inquiete” of last year, a patchy eighteen minute demo that introduced me to his work on a less-than-satisfactory note. Ripping black metal and dark ambiance in virtually equal measure, it was clear from the start that Nerij was better suited for the latter style. To some extent, his “Lophophora Williamsii And Monochromatic Perceptions” fulfills the wish I had of seeing Nerij develop his ambient leanings to greater effect. Seekers of empty and desolate soundscapes will bask in the post-apocalyptic atmosphere Nerij creates here, although to be fair, there isn’t too much else that can be said about such sparse and minimalistic music.

While there’s certainly ambient music out there with depth and detail to keep listeners engaged for listens aplenty, there’s a particular vein of the genre (if one can rightfully call it a genre) that seeks to discard notions of depth in composition, instead lending itself purely to atmosphere and minimalism. This goes some way to describing what Nerij has done here on his first full-length. “Lophophora Williamsii And Monochromatic Perceptions” is just over an hour long, and has been broken into three parts, each a specified segment of a greater composition entitled “Mental Odyssey”. Although the title by itself conjures impressions of a cryptic adventure through the darkest recesses of the mind, the music only reflects part of that. Although the minimalistic hum reflects a certain dreamlike quality, there is virtually no sense of odyssey here, nary a sense of movement even. Although the music gets ever-so slightly more overt with each of the three tracks, they do not build within themselves. The three parts act as plateaus, each demonstrating a slightly more intense vision of the post-apocalypse. Sadly, this build-up is kept so subtle and mundane that it becomes very difficult to pick up on unless you’re specifically looking for changes. Listening to it naturally, the ghostly hum and soft electronic drone are generally too subdued to keep a listener’s conscious mind occupied for long, but the collective atmosphere has a way of creeping up by the time the album has hit its third act or so. Might I suggest listening to it when next you read a horror novel?

With “Lophophora Williamsii And Monochromatic Perceptions”, Nerij has invested himself deeply in the dark ambient style. Darkness and ambiance are two things the album suffers no shortage of. Unfortunately, there isn’t much more that the hour of music brings. The music has a subtle power when placed in the background, but unlike the best ambient music I’ve heard, there isn’t enough happening to keep a listener attentive for long. If and when the nuclear bombs fall, and if ever there is a filmmaker who wants to make a documentary about the crippling realities of post-apocalyptic living, I will enlist the services of a mutated carrier pigeon and send the filmmaker this album for a soundtrack. It’s lonely, soul-leeching and empty, and I think that’s exactly the way Nerij intended it to be.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Conor Fynes
May 7th, 2013


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