AMN Reviews: Flowers for Bodysnatchers – Infernal Beyond (2020; Cryo Chamber)

Infernal Beyond is (give or take) the tenth album from Flowers for Bodysnatchers, a solo project of Duncan Ritchie. An amalgam of dark ambient, field recordings, and electroacoustic manipulation, the album tells the story of a tragic fire in the fictional Ravenfield Asylum of Fairhaven, Massachusetts – and its possible supernatural origin.

Plot aside, Infernal Beyond explores the twin themes of madness and occult, how they dovetail and intersect. In a similar fashion, the music blends several distinct voices encompassing bassy walls, percussive elements, oscillating waves, and various other processed effects. The latter, in particular, is a source of constant change and shifting focus, and includes static, animal sounds, footsteps, mechanical noises, etc. As a result, this form of ambiance does not lull or relax – instead it maintains a heightened sense of tension. Put another way, the album contains a fresh approach, if not in its underlying sounds then in the combinations thereof.

Needless to say, this is not easygoing fare, as a sense of doom and foreboding percolates throughout. But even without this nod toward Lovecraftian horror, Infernal Beyond would still be a stimulating exploration of organic and synthetic sounds. The unknown and unknowable terrors are just icing on the cake.

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