Netherworld "Alchemy Of Ice" CD
36 degrees Celsius outside, the temps still move up, my head is burning, however I am ready for another aural journey and I can't imagine better album than "Alchemy Of Ice"... Alessandro Tedeschi, the leading soul behind amazing Glacial Movements Records, has released during May 2013 his newest album "Alchemy Of Ice". So after "Mĝrketid" (April 2007) and "Over The Summit" (January 2011), it's time to fully experience another breathtaking sceneries of vast open icy landscapes of the polar regions, unmistakable trademark signature of all Glacial Movements releases.
Precisely selected track titles with traditional photo and image wizardry by Bjarne Riesto and Noah M swiftly transport and transcend each listener into stunningly spectacular places even before pressing play button on your CD player. Aural pleasure follows as soon the title track "Alchemy Of Ice" invades my listening room and the temp drops down. Encircling icy abyssal hums immediately give exercise to my speakers. Bells provide slightly mysterious images while raising and falling drone tensions take center stage and do their deeply embracing mission. Occasional piano motifs and distant low heartbeat join as well. Images of snow capped church somewhere on forgotten remote arctic land emerge... Silent mystery of "Polo Nord dell'inaccessibilita*" is masterfully counterpointed with murmuring rumbles and then magnificently interrupted by hissy winds and appealing voice transmissions, all wrapped by hauntingly melancholic blankets and slenderly lighted by moonlight with icy fog. Splendidly minimal, but all the time monstrously immersing, this is certainly Netherworld at its most crafted, bravo, Alessandro!!! "Icepulse" introduces slightly modern classical-infused piano melody, but drone rumbles and alien breaths keep the composition within immense arctic panoramas. Slow drone walls increase and decrease, all ingredients, although always sparse, attract with the synergy, harmoniously bridging warm acoustic motifs, sonorous drones and eerie dissonances. Another big one!!! Shorter "White Silence" blends distant monochromatic drifts with intense sonic spirals and frightening harsh ruptures. Some strange sounds enter, maybe it's the wood frog before drifting into a deep, frozen sleep... "85°50'S 65°47'E" moves slowly into warmly glimmering and colossally wide-screen glacial ice fields. Chasmal roars, ghostly reverberations, slowed down heartbeat, tinkling embellishments and background voices color this fascinating journey to explore incredibly desolate sheets of billowing whiteness. Netherworld keeps on ruling!!! The closing composition, "Hymns To A Melancholic Sunset", again perfectly demonstrates Netherworld's trademarks, sublimely ebbing and flowing drones, strongly focused on soothingly interacting evocative tapestries with crystalline silence. A truly gorgeous finale!!!
After nearly 44 minutes I should leave these highly refreshing Frigid Zones, but I don't really want to go away, more please!!! Renowned Denis Blackham did the mastering job. I think "Alchemy Of Ice" is a magnum opus by Netherworld and it tops any of his bigger label-mates' releases on Glacial Movements. And wait until "Alchemy Of Ice" will reveal all its magic during the time, when snowflakes knock on your window... Congratulazioni, Alessandro!!!
Richard Gürtler (Jul 28, 2013, Bratislava, Slovakia)