Album Title: 
Release Date: 
Friday, December 1, 2023
Review Type: 

This review actually deals with a quadriptych (or tetraptych, if you want to), (recorded and) released over several individual moments in less than one month. Yet since all four chapters must be seen as one whole (dixit the author / composer), the four of them will be reviewed as being one total experience.

First this. Utryn is a new outfit by no one else but artistic chameleon Rachid Abdel Ghafur, whom you might surely know from the mighty Zebulon Kosted, as well as other side-projects such as Vrozlyd, EYF, Obsidian Mirror or Themis. And purely FYI, yet the guy is known as well for his stunning visual artistry, being an inter-dimensional artist.

This one-off project continues the story of Emperor Zebulon Kosted and the revolt of the Synthetics, being his former biomechanical slaves, with the entity Utryn as protagonist in this part of the magnificent story. Utryn was born (or is it: created) to take revenge on the treason of the emperor; Utryn, being a child of the planet Synthos, who is, prophetically, considered to replace the false king, and to rule the Vrozlyd planet, and their original inhabitants, as their honest leader – or not that honest after all...

Actually, the Utryn project is another episode within the huge saga of the treacherous emperor who, through manipulation and deceit, brought a peaceful intergalactic civilization in trouble, as it actually goes for quite some essence within the Cosmos; through time and space, through science and knowledge, through flesh and metal. This new four-part chapter narrates about a new enemy, and the inevitable warfare in between two self-thought demigods. Yet as said, it’s one chapter in this immense story, released through four individual yet hugely coherent releases: Utryn, Revenge, Spells And Sorcery, and Deception, Depravation, Destruction. The whole sonic experience lasts for – and please sit down before you lose your balance – a modest sixteen hours (!).

I am not completely sure about the first album, yet the better part (two to four; probably the first one too) was recorded at the Zond Studio in Calumet, Michigan. That’s where Rachid lives right now, after he has been Leaving Montana (hehe, got it?). So, he physically moved over to Michigan instead of transcendentally and meditatively to Vrozlyd (another mind-twister). Another interesting element is the visible side. Rachid is, as said, an extremely talented visual artist too (cf. my second paragraph), yet this time (once again, I am not sure about the first part) the cover artwork and graphic design were taken care of by Pan Merakli. It’s not a first collaboration, by the way, and then I am referring to their stunning split Shaping Fatal Principles (with Pan’s outfit Act Of Entropy, more specifically, and Zebulon Kosted). Anyway, the cover artwork is of an unbelievably awesome fairness! And it does fit so well to the conceptual content, cf. the encompassing crystal pyramids and swirling vortexes as viewable accompaniment to Deception, Depravation, Destruction.

PS: the cover artwork used for this review is the one for Utryn, the first chapter, for it sort of ‘starts’ the adventure; the release-date I mentioned, then again, is the one based on the release of the final episode…

The first self-titled part is the shortest, for it lasts for nearly forty-five minutes. It’s divided into twelve titles, which do tell about the new ruler and his intentions. He has come To usurp The throne of Emperor Zebulon Kosted While the universe Watches silently Waiting to see What will happen His fate intertwined Turned horrid Twisted and mutilated Enough to succeed?... With He Has Come…, we do enter a realm of psychedelic astral-laden ambience, mingling Dark Ambient and Space Ambient with hints of Horror Drone, Ritual Noise and ANW (like …Waiting To See…), and that will be like a guideline through this first chapter. And even-though the twelve shorter ‘tracks’ (in between three and five minutes) are quite alike, still all of them are individually differing in structure and execution; yet coherent in atmosphere and concept. There’s an asphyxiating obscurity that covers the long-stretched fragments, while being veiled in a rich, even decadent dose of multiform synth-layers. Hypnosis and paralysis are the result, which the listener will undergo while experiencing the intoxicating sonic industry. Waves float by, crawling forth, expanding then again fading. Seemingly soundtrack-wise formations of trans-universal finesse are gathered to create a visionary state-of-mind, narrating about the transcendental journey of the story’s anti-hero. Sometimes, things turn rather plasmatic, then again the sound-palette breathes a sensation of metallized mechanics (…Twisted And Mutilated… and the likes) and / or sub-terrestrial callousness (like …While The Universe…).

Revenge is a harsher effort to experience, for it consists of twelve macrocosmic pieces too that clock in between forty-four and one hundred minutes (each) (the most clocking around fifty minutes, for your convenience)! It guides us through the mind of the protagonist, through memory, reflection, questioning and resolution after self-isolation. Mind the carefully yet intelligently chosen track-titles, by the way! It would be quite easy to say that the chapters on Revenge are comparable to those of the untitled first instalment. Actually, it is, with exceptions of the average length, evidently. Here too, the well-balanced combination of Space and Dark Ambient, injected with subtle yet specific, and carefully-chosen hints of Noise and Industrial (a general approach by undersigned, I admit)), and including the multiple amount of soundscapes and sonoric lines, plus the addition of gloomy and haunting waves and whimsical sound-sculpting, results in a trans-cosmic venture through the infinite spirit and the vastness of introspective comprehension. Seen the anti-mundane length of this ‘album’, it might be a challenge to ‘get through’ (though, I did, twice, hehe), but in a hypnotic, even sanctified sense, it results in a semi out-of-body experience, where levitation and fantasy collide within the listener’s soul. All twelve hymns on Revenge appear like a mesmerizing, then again inquisitorial, wall of sound, delving deep into the unconscious being. The story of the being Utryn evolves, defining his intentions, his contemplations, his will to rule. Translated through a well-thought equilibrium in between slow spheres of ancient commemoration and harsher moments of future events, the conquest opens up. More than before, the addition of Ambient Noise Wall is of importance during quite some fragments, and the harsh machineries are less prominently represented in most sections (cf. majestic epics like Replenish or the oppressive drone-work Reform). Yet still quite some mechanoid elements demarcate the essence of this power-lusting quest. Monotone layers of white noise at the background get permanently penetrated by luxuriant sound-transmissions, at the same time scorching and arctic. Even the eldritch character of cinematic-oriented Ambient gets revealed (like several excerpts in, for example, Request, Replace, and others). Minimalism and lusciousness float, hand in hand, through the immensity of space and psyche, permanently creating wonder, awe, as well as apprehension and solicitude.

With Spells And Sorcery, the story continues as a two-piece soundtrack (with both pieces having a total running time of about forty-five minutes each). Utryn returns after his in-depth yet all-transcending contemplation, with one goal: the ancient, false emperor must suffer by the use of high-technological magic. In the vein of Revenge, this diptych is like a sagacious amalgam of dreamlike ambience, haunting drones and incandescent noises. Spells stands for a magic conjuration, bewitching and slowly stifling, cloaking the whole in a dense, horrifying, even repugnant fog of suffocating thickness; yet through the obscurifying nebula, a feeble ray of light shines through, like an phosphorescent orbit escaping from a black hole. Sorcery then again reflects an impenetrable darkness, translated through psychoid noise-constructions and industrial sound-destructions. It’s the most frenzy Noise-based creation, acting as a fine counterbalance to the rather absorptive, almost magic, first composition on this third chapter.

The quadriptych closes with the threesome Deception, Depravation, Destruction (clocking fifty-five minutes up to an hour, each of them). The divination of the inevitable battle of the tyrants comes closer, more realistic. Two armies prepare for triumph and inescapable fear. All three of them are like the symbiosis (once more) of what the former episodes brought too: mingling Noise, Ambient and Drone with a horrific, bleak, intolerant attitude, yet also with a satisfying finesse. Deception exhales an anesthetizing wind, like an inescapable icestorm, and a rain of sulfur and acid. This noise-wall is like a wolf clothed in a sheep’s skin: seemingly calm and floating, yet intentionally deceptive (therefor the song-title is well-chosen once more) and treacherous, for beneath the surface lies a hideous malignancy unseen. Depravation then again sounds sharper, more piercing and scurrilous, by subtly (or actually: not that subtle at all) adding high-pitched electronics and screeching pulses into the noisy husk. It’s like the aural symbolization of corruption and perversion, of lust for power and authority, translated through thick layers of manipulated synth-based clamor. Destruction, finally, arrives like an overwhelming, dark-edged rumbling wave, like a penitent elegy to the conquered enemy, or like a hymn for an army ready to commence its march of conquest. Thundering patterns, droning surges, murky shapes of phlegm, wielding through dimensions of utter intolerance and determination, totally covered in a bleak, uncomfortable palette of aural opacity…

To discover / uncover the whole ‘utryn’-saga needs persuasion, perseverance, endurance, courage – and time. Yet then again, this experience is such soothing pleasure for the ears, for the mind, for the concept of fantasy and open-mindedness. A challenge, yet a gratification for those who dare to join the adventure…