Master Toad & Pollux – Offer Their Souls // NMMREM II

Narrow-minded Metalhead reviews experimental music – II
Master Toad & Pollux – Offer Their Souls

Dark Ambient with a sense of melody

However clicheicly titled, this free to download ambient release is a real jewel in the weblabel rough. It was released in 2010 by TRASHFUCK Records and Kitty on Fire Records as a webrelease and a cd-r. When an album is co-released by two such brilliantly named weblabels it cannot be all bad! In fact, it turned out to be one of the best Dark Ambient records’ I’ve listened and one of the ones that really got me in the genre, along with NOTHING (best known as a side project of JWW from Agalloch).

All the songs are freely listenable and downloadable from which is linked to the title of the track when first mentioned. For whole packet, scroll to the bottom of the review.

Master Toad starts the split with 4 tracks, and 3 are instant hits. The vaguely hearable I Stood Upon The Beach of Lost Souls has a scary atmosphere and an unexplainable dark tower vibe, somehow still manages to stay interesting. If I was you I wouldn’t tune up the volume, as Dark Insects of the Catacomb whirrs right in with a dark egyptian atmosphere about 20DB louder. Extremely solid and gloomy, and fitting to the title! Curiously, the track delivers an atmosphere alike Mythological Cold Towers’ release The Vanished Pantheon. A massive doom record that has been on my regular playlist again lately. Similar atmosphere continues with Frail Raft Through The Rivers of Hell and if possible, it fits its title even better. A grim journey, but stays pleasant by growing up to a wonderful guitar melody in the end.

Unicorn Dreams finishes up the first half with a lighter tone and a beautiful melancholic melody.

What stands out in Master Toad’s side is that is so organic. As nighttime music goes, it is hard to top tunes that combine an interesting Ambient wall with a tangible story and as a cherry on the cake, a guitar melody.

Pollux’s side is less organic, but it still delivers great melodies. Black Hope has a big Braid -vibe. As Braid happens to be one of the best indie games of all time, this is very pleasant, though again, quite unexplained. Blue Hope is, if possible, the best track on this album with a light piano and very pleasant pulsing soundwave. The album finishes up Ghosts (Eternal Version), which is an interesting dark ambient wall, with a similar scary vibe than I Stood Upon The Beach of Lost Souls, concluding this album in fitting manner.

In free download weblabel releases, you rarely hear such well crafted passion and skill packed in a compact packet without any fillers.

Overall score: 9+/10

Golden Cloud & O.S.I.S. – Split // NMMREM I

Narrow-minded Metalhead reviews experimental music – I
[Siro195] Golden Cloud & O.S.I.S. – Split

An emotional drone/ambient/dark ambient release by a Polish artist Golden Cloud and Swedish O.S.I.S., whose other projects include for example The Musk-rat Cult. Luckily the savvy title “Split” doesn’t indicate that the music suffers from a lack of imagination. Both tracks succeed well in creating a specific atmosphere, but unfortunately for a listener wanting a full journey rather than individual listens, there is a big gap between the two counterparts.

Starting Golden Cloud track Clearlight flows brilliantly combining ambient with a steady bass beat. The ambient flows between noise and melody so effortlessly it has a severe relaxing effect. On first listen it even promises to become a vast explosion into brightness, but it never reaches that. Listening further I become quite satisfied that it doesn’t have a genuine peak, its strength is the flow and the balance.

Some of the peaks for me are the 12 minute 20 second pleasant noise waves electrofying and fastening and the ambient in the end which almost transforms into a distinctive melody but stays distant enough to not quite reach you. The constantly varying background noise produces many similar satisfying effects and keeps you alert the whole time. Strongly recommended for headphone listening while falling asleep and strongly not recommended for hitting the freeway on a 70s’ bus.

The O.S.I.S. Trismegistus, doesn’t reach the emotions or beautiful melodies Clearlight does. On the other hand it isn’t supposed to as it weaves it’s path with grim atmosphere instead of brightness thus being a lot harder to listen upon. Also very hard to review as i’ve never liked too gloomy pc-games, and this kind of silent hill-esque horrorsound reminds me of just those. Very psychotic, has even a small background melody among the drone/dark ambient wall, but it doesn’t blossom, being more of a murky wind chime. The track nears harsh noise but even more it is pure horror.

It’s name Trismegistus is likely taken from the ancient Greek god Hermes Trismegistus who lead souls into afterlife. The O.S.I.S interpretation hints that the afterlife isn’t a very pleasant place, or at least the way there is murky. If you feel like trying having a crack at your future afterlife (before it hits you) or just enjoy hellish tortures in general Trismegistus might be your kind of thing.

As stated previously, the split is pretty hard to listen in one go as it really turns out two sides of a coin. Clearlight is a bright track and Trismegistus a dark voyage. However both have enough length to be long enough listens on their own.

Overall score: 8/10

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