Helluland Ambient, Drone Northumbria This is a rather refreshing release coming from Cryo Chamber, a label dedicated to dark ambient productions. As they rather are on a strict regiment of electronic based drone, ambient, dark ambient, and sometimes slightly noise filled projects, seeing a guitar based project on their label is quite eye catching. Now, don't expect anything smashing or shocking to the roots, because even though it is guitar based, it is still ambient and drone down to a tee. Anyway, the two fine gentlemen who have recently joined the label would be fellow Canadians Jim Field and Dorian Williamson who both operate under the name Northumbria. Northumbria, I'm going to take a wild guess here, probably refers to the medieval kingdom of the same name, which is now both a part of England and Scotland. Be it as it may, their album, Helluland has separate inspirations. As put by the label, the album "...was heavily inspired the Norse discovery of Baffin Island in Canada over a thousand years ago. The Vikings called this new discovery Helluland... 'the land of flat stone' in Old Norse." Seeing where they got a majority of willpower to write out this album, I ate it up pretty fast to see if I could imagine lovely pictures of an past Viking discovery. And, well, the album certainly plays off like a well loved soundtrack to a Viking voyage, starting off with Because I am Flawed I Forgive You. The guitar work almost seems hidden; as one string is plucked, the sound echoes for a long wind of time. It hums and carries us on this adventure, guiding us as it would a seed from a flower. The next two songs, Still Waters and Sacred Ground follow familiar ground, but experiment enough to make each song different. Maelstrom used samples of water washing abroad a shore as an intro, and Northumbria used that sound to slowly build in a heavy, suffocating drone sound. It's a sound of both fear, mystery, and exploration. And it was gorgeous. The next track, A Door Made of Light, had two parts. The first is longer, with a lighter and brighter sound crawling through it, but the second part was much more to my liking. Equally ambient as it was acoustic, the sound was refreshing and well received. And, while I enjoyed the next three songs, especially Helluland, I cannot find new words to describe what I came across. Perhaps it's because similar sounds appeared, although slightly different, but to say what I said already would be redundant. But, however, the last track actually had a sort of noisey metal approach near the end of its duration; heavier and lo-fi guitar work blended seamlessly in with the drone approach, crafting a biting and powerful end to a good album. Perhaps this album is a good sign for Cryo Chamber; expansion into slightly different genres is always good for a label that usually sticks with the same formula. Now, that's not a bad thing, as there are plenty of dark ambient artists out there just waiting to be discovered in full, but giving out love to something that plays with the genre ever so slightly different is welcomed. Good on them for discovering this project, and cheers to Northumbria for making a well thought out album that easily reflects its Viking history influence. 450
Brutal Resonance

Northumbria - Helluland

7.0
"Good"
Released 2015 by Cryo Chamber
This is a rather refreshing release coming from Cryo Chamber, a label dedicated to dark ambient productions. As they rather are on a strict regiment of electronic based drone, ambient, dark ambient, and sometimes slightly noise filled projects, seeing a guitar based project on their label is quite eye catching. Now, don't expect anything smashing or shocking to the roots, because even though it is guitar based, it is still ambient and drone down to a tee.

Anyway, the two fine gentlemen who have recently joined the label would be fellow Canadians Jim Field and Dorian Williamson who both operate under the name Northumbria. Northumbria, I'm going to take a wild guess here, probably refers to the medieval kingdom of the same name, which is now both a part of England and Scotland.

Be it as it may, their album, Helluland has separate inspirations. As put by the label, the album "...was heavily inspired the Norse discovery of Baffin Island in Canada over a thousand years ago. The Vikings called this new discovery Helluland... 'the land of flat stone' in Old Norse." Seeing where they got a majority of willpower to write out this album, I ate it up pretty fast to see if I could imagine lovely pictures of an past Viking discovery.

And, well, the album certainly plays off like a well loved soundtrack to a Viking voyage, starting off with Because I am Flawed I Forgive You. The guitar work almost seems hidden; as one string is plucked, the sound echoes for a long wind of time. It hums and carries us on this adventure, guiding us as it would a seed from a flower.

The next two songs, Still Waters and Sacred Ground follow familiar ground, but experiment enough to make each song different. Maelstrom used samples of water washing abroad a shore as an intro, and Northumbria used that sound to slowly build in a heavy, suffocating drone sound. It's a sound of both fear, mystery, and exploration. And it was gorgeous.

The next track, A Door Made of Light, had two parts. The first is longer, with a lighter and brighter sound crawling through it, but the second part was much more to my liking. Equally ambient as it was acoustic, the sound was refreshing and well received. And, while I enjoyed the next three songs, especially Helluland, I cannot find new words to describe what I came across. Perhaps it's because similar sounds appeared, although slightly different, but to say what I said already would be redundant.

But, however, the last track actually had a sort of noisey metal approach near the end of its duration; heavier and lo-fi guitar work blended seamlessly in with the drone approach, crafting a biting and powerful end to a good album.

Perhaps this album is a good sign for Cryo Chamber; expansion into slightly different genres is always good for a label that usually sticks with the same formula. Now, that's not a bad thing, as there are plenty of dark ambient artists out there just waiting to be discovered in full, but giving out love to something that plays with the genre ever so slightly different is welcomed. Good on them for discovering this project, and cheers to Northumbria for making a well thought out album that easily reflects its Viking history influence.

Apr 01 2015

Steven Gullotta

info@brutalresonance.com
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.

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