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Album Review: Corona Barathri + Emme Ya – Misterium Evigilationis Leviathan

Our loyal Vault Hunters may recall that about a month or so back I interviewed Affectvus and Kein, the duo behind Russian ‘diabolical ritual ambient’ project Corona Barathri, to coincide with the release of their Nox Mali EP. If you happened to miss it, or if you’ve got a short memory, here are a couple of things I said about them in the intro to that piece:

  • To call what they do unsettling is actually selling them short – there’s something so legitimately dark and foreboding at the heart of their music that it fucks with my head, and not always in a good way.
  • … the dark soundscapes, unidentifiable instrumentation, and ritualistic Latin chanting across its four lengthy tracks still make me want to lay salt across all possible entry points to my bedroom – you know, just in case. In other words, it’s utterly enthralling, even if I don’t quite have the nerves to listen to it all that often.

So when Affectvs messaged me a couple of weeks back to tell me about Misterium Evigilationis Leviathan, Corona Barathri’s recently released split/partial collaboration with South American project Emme Ya, my reaction fell somewhere between a curious ‘holy shit – already!?’ and a more trepidatious ‘damn…I’m not sure I’m ready for new music from them yet.’ Since I’m writing this review, I’m sure you already figured out that my curiosity won out, and I’m glad it did. While Misterium Evigilationis Leviathanis still unmistakably a Corona Barathri album, there’s something…different in the music here compared to what can be heard on Nox Mali or Diabolical Path [Part I], that will likely make me come back to it more often than I do their previous releases.

It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly why Misterium Evigilationis Leviathanfeels less foreboding than Nox Mali, but I think it starts with the use of more familiar instrumentation in their songs. Ayzen Kaoz of Crimean black metal band Nahemoth adds guitar to “Melek HaTehom [LWYTN – MLK HTHWM]” and “Misterium Evigilationis Leviathan,” which gives them an entry point for newer listeners that Nox Maliseemed to lack. The first of those tracks is also the only one to feature Fosco Culto’s unbelievably disconcerting chanting, which never fails to chill my blood. She provides sung vocals elsewhere on Corona Barathri’s side of the split, but they’re almost calming in comparison to when she starts intoning in Latin…

None of which is to say, however, that Misterium Evigilationis Leviathan somehow represents a kinder, gentler side of Corona Barathri, because nothing could be further from the truth. It’s darkness may be a bit more palatable, or go down a bit more easily, but it’s still an incredibly dark listen all the same. Emme Ya’s half of the split, however, offers no such comforts – it sounds hellish in the most literal possible sense of the word.

Some of our Vault Hunters may recall that Emme Ya provided some of the dark ambient interludes on Pyreficativm’s संसारकापथ, which we premiered a couple of weeks back. The ritual instrumentation on those interludes had more of an esoteric feel about them that fit perfectly with the album’s searching feel. Misterium Evigilationis Leviathan’s “O Tehom, Ars Leviathan” and “Theli Ipakol Theli Marag” both work to disorient the listener with clashing synth tones, sparse yet ominous percussion, and demonically deep vocals speaking about…well, I’d honestly rather not know.

Taken as a whole, Misterium Evigilationis Leviathanis a varied and enthralling listen, and would be an excellent entry point for anyone curious about diabolical ritual ambient as a genre. Grab a copy from either Noctivagant Collective or Corona Barathri’s Bandcamp page.

 

 

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