Erragal - Shamash
Label: Salute Records
Reviewer: Tiphany Matai - 2013-01-12
Highlights: Shamash (Part V)
Translated By Carmina Khairallah
There are some dangerous places where practicing extreme music is not recommended, where discrimination does not cease to rain and where conflicts between religions are deadly. Irak is one of those places, one of the countries of the Middle-East which are the most closed while being the most open to tensions, whichever they may be. Although, a few entities chose not to let themselves be pushed around, at their own risk. The Thrashers of Acrassicauda and the Deathsters of Dog Faced Corpse have already proved their worth, as well as the occult Lord Erragal, a tireless hyperactive who has founded many one man bands such as Amelnakru, Kurgal and even Erragal. Of these Dark Ambient projects was born very personal music, molded after the very image of Irak. Somber, disturbing, solitary but also melodic and harmonious.
“Shamash” is Erragal’s second full length album after a few EPs and Split-CDs. It borrows the name of Sun god of the Mesopotamian pantheon in the Akkadian language. Logically, because Lord Erragal finds his inspiration within the Sumerian mythology and the Babylonian myths. God of the Sun, maybe, but this doesn’t make the Iranian music any less gloomy and cold. Of course, he isn’t doing anything new at all, but the occult or even ritual print and the atmospheric and neo-classical touches add a bit of freshness to a very saturated scene.
Most of the pieces are minimalistic and eerie, unstructured and noisy. The layers of keyboards are enveloping, the organic sounds and echoes have found their righteous place, while some buzzing may remind the listener of a drone (Pt. 1, 2 and 3). Voices seem to come right out of the afterlife, sickling and deep, as are the decadent words of Shamash.
Some titles have rhythm, but are still quite slow, in order to play with the listener’s imagination. It is impossible to get out of those obscure meanders, Erragal’s layers of keyboards being very somber, and often too linear, especially in the longest parts. Some tend to look too much alike, even if they are linked by this mysterious and ritualistic aura. The piano reinforces this effect, especially with “Days of the Sun”, “Unveiled” or “Frangments of the Past”, three titles having the particularity of detaching themselves of the “Shamash” series. The neoclassical aspect is primal, led by harsher, catchier, more oriental notes, worthy representatives of the Middle Eastern warmth.
“Shamash” might seem anecdotic in the circle of Dark Ambient but represents a lot for Irak and for the whole Middle East, which is still suffering from some interdictions. Lord Erragal and his sixty minutes’ album express very well this unease and this torpor which are mixed with the Mesopotamian mysteries and myths and legends. A beautiful dedication to a region that simply needs to be rediscovered.
*Posted as part of our partnership with Tiphany Mataï, reviewer from the French Spirit of Metal Webzine..