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Ancient Moon and Prosternatur’s “Secretum Secretorum” Merges Inner Demons

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While Ancient Moon and Prosternatur only have one release under each of their belts, they have demonstrated that they know a thing or two about inner demons. Ancient Moon’s Vvltvre — the unified efforts of members stationed in Belgium, France, and Switzerland — is a nearly 30-minute blast of demonic breath. Through a similar unsettling force of heavily-rooted drums, chilly riffs, and Victorian visuals, the anonymous Prosternatur wasted no time in leaving its mark with 2016’s human haunt Abyssus Abyssum Invocat. After a few of years of laying low, a new and exciting challenge in collaboration presents itself for both bands with the release of split Secretum Secretorum , which can be exclusively streamed below.

Dropping June 22 on Iron Bonehead Productions, Secretorum is a cohesive collective that erases the debate between human and unholy in favor of listening more closely to the entity banging relentlessly against the cellar door. Immediately, the album is interjected with that horror movie siren that rings through trailers and plot twists, serving as an ominous warning of an unnerving revelation on the cusp. It is a thread that runs throughout the operatic and dungeon elements, which adds a good deal of voice to black metal’s grit wall. Distant vocals further color the tone. Like yelling down a wind tunnel, the echo eventually boomerangs back to smack you in the face.

While there is an obvious fixation on powerhouse instrumentation, there is no neglect for technical nuance. Well-placed guitar breaks serve as the chimes of a church where nuns stroll around bleeding out of their eyeballs (I know you know what I mean). Low-hanging, muted blast beats further facilitate the sound of lost souls banging torturously against the walls of solitary confinement. With a bit of vintage self-awareness in tow, Ancient Moon peppers their performance with ample amounts of 1990s homages. The ghost of melodic symphonies past comes back to haunt with a little heart in an otherwise bleak scene.

While Ancient Moon and Prosternatur have both been championed around the internet as being ventriloquists of atmosphere, what is most noteworthy is the kind of undercurrent that they accomplish. It’s novel to curate atmosphere with a goal other than invoking the usual nature trope. At the same time, Secretum Secretorum possesses a point of view that transcends your standard dungeon synth spookiness. I oftentimes compare this strain of industrial metal to those tapes of haunted house sounds I would check out of the library when I was a kid. This split, however, doesn’t capture the residual sounds of the haunt within the home, but rather, the soul of who (or what) is doing the haunting. Such a perspective leaves the listener wondering if maybe Casper or that thing sharpening its claws in Insidious are all just a bit misunderstood. Within the static, there is a softness that speaks to those whose howls are stuck in a vacuum.

-Jenna DePasquale

Follow Prosternatur on Facebook and Bandcamp.

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