Album Title: 
Urban Apocalypse
Release Date: 
Friday, November 26, 2021
Review Type: 

Since I did write several reviews before for this project, I will not go too deep into the discography or biography of this solo-outfit by Aleksey Korolyev, who is residing in Georgia nowadays. I will directly focus on this re-release / compilation.

Actually, Urban Apocalypse was originally released in 2011, albeit digitally only, which was the very same year that this guy formed this specific project. About two years ago, the re-issue was ‘reborn’; for the first time in physical format. It comes with reworked visual artwork by Hellcatfairyart aka Mary Kankava, who is no stranger to the labels behind the Satanath Records family (this joint-venture being a gathering of labels run by Sir Aleksey himself). The re-release (on jewel-case, including a four-page booklet) contains several bonus-tracks, being created more or less at the very same era (2011-2012), which brings the total running time of this specific edition up to eighty minutes indeed! The result got released in a partnership of GrimmDistribution, the Ukrainian division of this guy’s musical empire, as well as Russia’s More Hate Productions and Portugal-based Gravações Tunguska.

Almost prophetically, the original album was, and I will quote, ‘dedicated to all victims of political repressions’ because ‘everyone is deprived of freedom of speech’. Back then, in 2011, the Russian society started to undergo the repressive attitude of the tyrannic and anti-democratic government, with quite some harsh consequences for those who tried to protest, to revolt, even to speak out loud. The establishment of that ominously upcoming urban apocalypse got ingeniously translated through Satanath’s aural artistry. Yet imagine; this album got re-released exactly one decade later, and hey, ‘ten years have passed, nothing has changed’. And at this very moment of reviewing the sonic content, we all are confronted with reality, i.e. the useless imperialist warmonger destroying so many lives; a pathetic sickness by a handful of beasts that infects the whole planet.

But, as stated in several reviews before, Concreteweb is not a political platform. And as an open-minded (and handsome; yet that’s another discussion) human being, I think that Music, in (almost) all its forms of expression and execution, can act like a spokesman for (nearly) all convictions, beliefs and opinions.

Yet now: Urban Apocalypse, Satanath’s debut soundtrack. The first ten titles were part of the original release from 2011. It brings an amalgam of different subgenres within the Experimental / Ambient scene, like Psybient, Space Ambient, Dark Ambient, Cosmic Drone Noise Psycho Glitch Astral Ambient (what, didn’t you know this genre yet???) and so on. No, seriously, these efforts have an ambiental core for sure, yet it goes way beyond the ‘tradition’ or the ‘usual’.

The whole certainly comes with an obscure atmosphere. Quite everything in drenched in a bleak, smelly, muddy sauce of oppressive ugliness (damn, one starts getting poetic, apparently). Yet then again, this semi-cinematic material trespasses the borders of ‘Dark Ambient’ in its most virginal essence. It twists and confuses, deceiving the psyche, beguiling the spirit-of-normality. Rules are to be broken, borders are to be trespassed. Moments of spacelike ambience and fragments of metaphysical wickedness get redefined into periphrases of disturbing experimentation, through uncanny drones, infrequent rhythms, unaccustomed electronics, reverberating frequencies and intoxicative noise-sculptures.

Sometimes ghastly and asphyxiating in essence, then again lunatic and pixilated, or rather nebulous and chimerical in execution, these ‘songs’ (hehe, what an eloquent asperity) disturb, confuse, and attract as well. Every single title is different, yet for sure the all-covering coherence is striking. This goes for the bonus-tracks too. The whole experience shows the, eh, let’s call it ‘peculiar’ vision of the protagonist behind Satanath, yet still Aleksey was (and still is) able to have this whole collection sound like a permanently adventurous, evolving, unfurling and effusing mental / aural journey.

The better part got done via digital treatment, via odd experimentation on synth and that whole knobby dashboard-encounter within the studio. Percussion- and string-like additions, soft walls of eclectic or orbital manipulation, transcendental post-cosmic episodes, serpentine harsher noises and sample-like, somewhat remote IDM-oriented injections just strengthen the overwhelming, yet at the same time secretive, experience. Especially the bonus-tracks are more co(s)mic and glitchy in execution, with a more pronounced experimentalism. There’s (little) more decadence, opulence and distortion, creating a surreptitious and corrupted neo-amenity somehow, compared to the tracks that made it to the initial album.

In general, this re-issue shows one of the many weird faces of the Satanath project, being far away from Aleksey’s other projects / bands or what his labels stand for. Yet then again, for those who have that nice frenzy-like deviation / aberration: this is aural eroticism for the mischievous ones amongst us…