Review by Jason Guest
Temple of Torturous (Released: 21 March 2013)
The first part in Echtra’s Passage Cycle triumvirate, Sky Burial begins with the exploration of the dissolution of our mortal coil. Influenced by the cosmological views of Vajrayana, Echtra’s meditation on the inevitability of death is, like it’s predecessor, 2011’s Paragate, a long, slow piece that evolves through deliberate chameleonic textures. Taking the aesthetics of doom and black as its foundation, the elaborate structures of the two pieces are well-balanced between the spectral and the supernatural. Winding through the melancholic ambience, melodies unfold and acoustic motifs develop to create a simultaneously disconcerting and comforting backdrop. Where such a piece of music could easily stray into the tedious, Echtra’s mastery of texture allows the piece to evolve naturally and so transfix the listener in its mesmeric glory.
Against a windswept, barren desert, gentle acoustic arpeggios and low, droning guitar chords emerge, an occasional dissonance ominously unsettles the otherwise tranquil soundscape. Strummed folk rhythms, sparse vocals, and a persistent momentum move the album onwards through its narrative and so Sky Burial becomes a journey of transformation, of acceptance, of a peculiarly agreeable unity between the fullness of existence and its absolute futility. Minimalist in approach and sumptuous in its simplicity, Sky Burial is an eclectic, esoteric and dark delight.
9 out of 10
- Read our interview with Echtra here
Temple of Torturous:
- Sky Burial I
- Sky Burial II