AMN Reviews: Two New Releases From Cyclic Law – Ashtoreth and Saáadon

Long-time label Cyclic Law specializes in dark ambient, drone, and ritual music. They have recently released two new albums with moods that are appropriate for the coming Winter season.

Ashtoreth is Belgian Peter Verwimp, and this release is a follow-up to 2019’s Rites I & II. Here, Verwimp uses overlapping electric guitar, percussion, and voices to create menacing soundscapes. Of note is his broad palette for each of these instruments. The guitar provides heavily distorted chords, drones, and brief melodies with cleanly-picked notes. The voices are both male and female, often wordless or unintelligible, and can be beautiful, poignant, or painful. The percussion is largely based on bell-like sounds. This instrumentation blends into a wafting and moody ambiance. Rites III & IV explore humankind’s relation to nature, evoking ancient rituals and a connectedness that is largely missing from the modern world.

St. Petersburg duo Sádon and France’s Saåad are collectively Saáadon on this new release. Using slow, mid-range drones bordering on the ambient, cleanly-picked guitar, and melancholy vocals, this trio explores the poetry of Donat Mavleev. The melodies drift as if floating on air, and exhibit a range of emotiveness from wistful sadness to a strange and compelling buoyancy. A rough translation of the title is Die (in the morning night), perhaps a bit darker than the constituent tracks.