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WICKED MESSENGER - The River disappeared sidewards

Format: CD
Label & Cat.Number: Plague Recordings PLAGUE 005
Release Year: 2007
Note: very promising new monumental/ritual drone project from Germany; first real CD after some CDRs...
Price (incl. 19% VAT): €13.00

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"The first glance is often deceiving. What at first appears simple often turns out to be surprisingly complex and detailed. So too in the case of German Dark Ambient-project Wicked Messengers' first CD-release. At first one could be mistaken into thinking it's a minimalistic, monotonous and simple thing we've got on our hands here, but on the second listen (at the latest!) the depth and complexity of "The River" starts to become apparent. Even after several listens you discover something new in the rich layers of sound.

When it comes to (Dark) Ambient, too complex structures might potentially detract from the coherence and continuity of a composition, making it sound more like a collage of vastly different entities. Wicked Messenger manage to unite the coherence and continuity with surprisingly multi-faceted layers and compositions, with an integral core that is often quite monotonous yet never without some evolution, adding several layers of a very varied nature that lend diversity and complexity to the composition. There is a great and pleasing variety in the layers: human voices, bassy rumblings, more high-pitched metallic sounds, sparsely used percussions, et cetera. Percussion is not in a large role here, but when used, it is used to great effect.

Between the tracks, the common denominator is not only the full and clear sound but also the atmosphere; there is a strange warmth here, in spite of the more metallic-sounding layers... I cannot fully explain it, but it is a warm presence of sorts, very different from the usual detached inhuman nature of so many Dark Ambient-projects. It is as if the coldness of space around the astral traveller is removed by the warmth of gently shining distant suns, a tranquil drowsiness invading the mind of the traveller. "Sinister", "malevolent" and all the other usual words to describe Dark Ambient are words I would never use to describe "The River"... Hell, even "Dark" feels out of place. Mysterious, ominous, astral, haunting, beautiful, any of these words... but dark? Sinister? No. The listener is gently swept away (sidewards of course) by harmonious waves of sound, to a place somewhere far away where a gentle light shines upon the Aniara as she slowly drifts away from the known universe, and there is only peace and calm. A silver tear in the eye of the universe.

I admit. I'm a fan. No release of Wicked Messenger has so far let me down; not always outstanding, but never disappointing. "The River Disappeared Sidewards" is, without a speck of doubt, the finest release so far. I don't really have any complaints about it, and I wholeheartedly encourage everyone to get this CD and judge for themselves... I think few of you will be disappointed. I am 100% sure Wicked Messenger have the potential to evolve into something even better in the future, but this is a strong achievement and a fine first CD-release." [Kaniba, Finland, Plague Haus]