Ord / Demonologists

Album Title: 
Secret Ceremonies
Release Date: 
Friday, June 30, 2023
Review Type: 


Drifting into the sacred ocean of creation through the symbolic imagery of death


Country (for what it’s worth): Russia (Ord) & U.S. (Demonologists)

Members: Ord Err (Ord), Cory Rowell (Demonologists), Evan Price (Demonologists)

Production: Ord & Demonologists

Mix: Andrey Volkov / Ord Err / Evan Price

Mastering: Evan Price

Artwork: Ord Err

Type: A5-sized digipack

Duration: 46:10

Genre: Ritual Ambient / Dark Ambient


Secret Ceremonies is a collaborative work by Russian artist Ord Err (also known from Ordahl or When The Moon Is In Her Second Quarter) (singing bowls, dan moi [kind of mouth harp], voice, cajon, percussion, bells, nose flute, piano strings) and the Indiana-based duo Demonologists (field recordings, keyboards, percussion, programming, noise & audio manipulation); the first-named ‘mixing shamanic rhythms with Buddhist traditions, heralding forces of nature with the secret conspiracies of the ancients’, while the latter gets described as ‘an industrial blackened noise / horror electronics’ outfit. Their collaboration comes in a limited A5-shaped format with disturbing cover-artwork via the mighty Aesthetic Death label.

The eight ceremonial hymns on Secret Ceremonies are created ‘for spiritual, anti-spiritual, or personal use […] intended for experimental mind expansion and deep soul explorations / removals’. The album brings a mixture of different kinds / angles of Dark Ambient (Horror / Black / Cinematic / Industrial / Esoteric / Psychedelic / Droning / Cosmic / Ritual / Lovecraftian / … Dark Ambient), mingled with other influences and elements, like aspects of Post-Industrial, Astral Electronics and Ritual Drone. The addition of different found sounds / field recordings, even though modestly used, creates an experimental vibe, while several psychedelic details cover the whole in a sense of mystique and enigma. Things go even further, through the use of traditional, ceremonial and archaic instrumentation, like different kinds of (shamanistic / religious / ritual) percussions. Such moments accompany the listener through his / her travel towards the Inner Eye, unconsciously crossing portals of previously unexplored dimensions, entering the realm of unphysical richness, through transcendence and meditation.

Each single ceremony (the compositions are called Ceremony I, Ceremony II, and so on, up to Ceremony VIII; they all last in between four and seven minutes) differs from all others, yet the whole album has a surrounding coherence. To give an idea, in short:

Ceremony I: after a haunting intro, this turn quite eclectic, with a decadent mixture of morbid drones as basement, and injected with spacelike soundscapes and dry field-recorded noises; no percussions involved in this piece;

Ceremony II: includes (like most compositions) different percussions; in this case: chimes, balls, gongs, bowls and related Buddhist instruments; these percussion instruments are joined by weird samples and both wretched and manipulated synths;

Ceremony III: quite a disturbing track, with bizarre clangs and percussions, and ditto sounds; it’s a creation of discomfort and mental twist, because of the permanent presence of these odd percussions especially;

Ceremony IV: much more doomed and haunting, with murky, abyssal drones and metallic shrieks; it’s like thunderous rumbles, acid reign and industrial mechanics marching forth, slowly yet unstoppable…;

Ceremony V: initially at least as ghostly as the former ceremony, yet less oppressive but rather gloomy; it has a natural vibe somehow, like forest-spirits creating these tunes of nightly rites;

Ceremony VI: includes a somewhat depressing and elementary piano melody, and a bizarre mix of field recordings and percussional sonic addenda;

Ceremony VII: here too, suppressive darkness overwhelms, through cold, desolate drone-ambience; at first quite minimal, soon evolving into fertile proportions, and permanently surrounded by a thick, suffocating nebula;

Ceremony VIII: the most combative piece, with bumping percussion patterns, industrialized textures, doomed piano, roaring thunder, and intoxicating soundwaves; the last part expands, with an overwhelming harmonious grand finale, like a sonic development into some majestic apotheosis…

This collaboration in between Ord and Demonologists has resulted in an intriguing, breath-taking experience, levitating through occult spheres and hovering beyond orbits of arcane mystery and forbidden rites. It’s a soundtrack for the open-minded Dark Ambient fanatic for sure…