Boomkat Product Review:
Imperious, vital doom from some of its most dedicated and decorated practitioners. Stephen O’Malley, Oren Ambarchi and Attila Csihar formed Gravetemple as a more abstract, exploratory adjunct to Sunn O))) in 2006, and when they reconvened for live actions in 2008 they were joined by Aussie drummer Matt ‘Skitz’ Sanders. Interestingly Ambient/Ruin, originally made available as a self-released CD-R in ‘08 and now presented in a sumptuous vinyl edition on SOMA’s own Ideologic Organ imprint, isn’t a live document but a studio-sutured creation - made up of parts recorded separately in Japan, France, Australia and Israel. The result is a work of head-crushing power but also incredible depth and finesse, encompassing tape collage, concrete and field recordings as well as guitar, drums and electronics of all kinds. O’Malley describes it as “a suite of heavy minimalist/maximalist music, black/death metal and drone...the music, literally, of Sadistik Exekution meeting Phill Niblock”, and if that doesn’t get your juices flowing, nothing will. The opening and closing sides, with their slo-mo riffage shrouded in fire-crackle, synthesizer sicktones and Attila’s unmistakeable vocal exhortations, are killer, as is the primordial drone assault of B. Side C is a hell-sent cyclone of ghoulish screams and blast-beats so frenetic that they have a strobing effect on your ears. Though the atmospheres they conjure are nuanced and teeming with detail, this is still oppressive, hands-around-the-throat stuff; these boys are honestly not f**king about.