Yen Pox – Between The Horizon and The Abyss (2015) – Yen Pox are a two piece dark ambient project spread out between Indiana and Washington state. They’ve been together since 1993, though it’s often rare that they have the time to collaborate on a record. Their last album was in fact made way back in 2002, with a mere 10″ being produced in 2011. So this my friends, is the first real Yen Pox recording in over a decade. But to fans of industrial tinged and truly horrifying landscapes, this record certainly seems worth waiting for.
Let’s not focus on who these individuals are, as I feel that kills the mystique of the piece. I’d rather consider them as tools to my nightmares, which is definitely what this album is made from. It all begins subtly with “The Awakening 6:29” which almost seems mantric in a way, it feels as if some ancient being is rising from its slumber and all of its recently risen servants are praising its existence. Though from the metallic sounds I hear in the background beneath the mists, there are signs that this great being could be more machine than organic.
“White Of The Eye 9:41” sounds a bit orchestral, even though it doesn’t feature an orchestra. There’s something truly theatric about this one, as foul and pummeling winds seem to envelop what at times can feel rather angelic, almost as if heaven itself is being sealed inside of a rolling maelstrom. “Cold Summer Sun 9:44” feels quite mechanical, and almost feels as if it embodies a chorus of robotic birds and insects. In a darker version of Sonic The Hedgehog, this might very well be the atmosphere of a dimly lit and far more brooding version of the Metropolis Zone. It’ll raise the hair on the back of your neck, that’s for sure.
“In Silent Fields 8:59” feels more ritualistic, as the chants of several higher beings seem to serenade a welcome something that I simply cannot discern from my mind’s eye. It’s gone completely blank, to be honest; but I can assure you that such an artifact is truly world altering in nature. As the song continues, the veil around such a mysterious object begins to fade, yet it ends right before the seemingly foul package is revealed. Though the chants of higher beings accompanied the unveiling of this item, it would seem that they do not have their best intentions in mind. “Grief Ritual 8:40” feels quite like an accompaniment of horror. It feels like it could become the soundtrack to a devious section of a visual novel, the moment by which one becomes horrified and truly revolted by what they have just seen or read. This piece is the epitome of fear and it truly makes me shiver.
“Ashen Shroud 10:23” seems to continue that feeling, albeit continuing the ritual chants. It almost feels as if these ghostly chants are weaving inside and outside of decayed mechanisms, the futile remains of a once great civilization. Perhaps this is the mourning for what is to come. “Tomorrow In Ruins 8:48” seems to further exemplify that, as a variety of strange sounds seem to further serenade the dismay of man at the moment of his demise. When “The Procession 11:08” finally comes, it sounds like doomsday is finally upon us, as if the world itself is being sucked through a black hole and there’s absolutely no escape for any manner of existence. A hoary laugh bellows from the ancient ones, as they trill at the moments of our demise, with such horrors communicated through the foul screams of the universe itself, as if the tears of a thousand angels simply vanished and turned to dust.
All in all, Between The Horizon and The Abyss is truly frightening and I really mean that. I absolutely would not play this record in a dark room, nor while walking through the woods at night, nor walking through the remains of an abandoned building or even while night driving. It’s just far too frightening and it feels as if it could become the soundtrack for literally thousands of yet to be spawned horror franchises. Only the best of terror lurks within this album, yet it’s moments of ethereal light make the darkness seem that much more thrilling.
(8 Tracks, 73:00)