Album Title: 
Liminal Spaces
Release Date: 
Thursday, July 20, 2023
Review Type: 

Because a new Vyormouth album has been released, first some words about this one, Liminal Spaces.

A ‘liminal space’ is the translation of a state of mind, when an individual becomes scared by something trusted, like being in an ordinary space (like a room or an alley) yet getting overwhelmed by irrational yet anxious visions about that physical place. It’s the psyche that works disturbing, creating unreal and irreal visions of the trusted, like a subconscious interstate in between the ‘known’ of the past and the ‘unknown’ of the present / future. It’s a psychoanalytic concept that… Nope, this isn’t a psychological essay yet a review on an album, so I’ll leave you here. In case of interest, you might surely find related information on the net; search for Victor Turner (who described this as a ‘rite of passage’) (and FYI: even our dearest Mister Freud did work within these conceptual worlds).

Since the psychological concept of ‘liminality’ as mental transition refers to both mental and physical matter, it might be a unique idea to translate this into sonic proportionality. And that’s exactly what Vyormouth try to achieve with the album Liminal Spaces. It’s an extremely lengthy experience, consisting of three compositions that clock more than one hour each. Indeed; Liminal Spaces clocks over three hours (!). Seen this extended duration of each soundscape, the ability to create that story of disorientation, claustrophobia, discomfort, distress, seclusion and anguish might work well to accompany you, the listener, through these asphyxiating dimensions.

The album opens with The Hidden Basement (65:07), which is a sonic definition of ‘aural disorientation’ for sure. It actually starts quite calm, yet with an ominous tension, a calm before the storm. Long-stretched waves appear, slowly expanding, climbing up towards a bigger picture. In a beautiful yet menacing way, these ambient textures intensify, lingering, inevitable. Step by step, additional layers of synth, percussions, and drones join, generating a dystopic, claustrophobic sound-palette. The impendence that characterizes the atmosphere is heavy-weighted, despite the illuminating sound. At almost one third, things evolve into, or towards, a rather cinematic-experimental format, with reverberating loops, sampled injections, and manipulated strings, followed little later (at about half an hour) with endarkened waves of isolationism, doom and apprehension. Monotonous and elongated yet hypnotic soundscapes and some percussion-like effects float by, eventually developing into some ambiguous sonic experience, where fairness and precariousness mingle and morph. As from the last quarter of an hour, things turn more creepy once more, with a slow beat-like pattern, terrifying drones and somewhat industrialized noises, crawling near an abyssal apotheosis.

Mirror Land (61:18) starts quite ‘intense’, seen from aural point, with a corrugated pattern and intoxicating soundwaves. Soon, mechanoid imprints join, like reflections of nightmare-like memories, followed by additional strings and field recordings, while still being gathered around that hint of a cold sea wave on a weathered shore. The whole intensifies through lengthily-strenuous echoes and somewhat futuroid additives, delving deeper into dimensions of subconscious and perplex disturbance. This story breathes a more experi’mental’ist air, for Mirror Land brings forth more field-recorded samples, outsider touches of sonic empiricism, and electronic treatments, interspersed with Ambiental fragments. Yet still, throughout the whole ‘song’, a coherent sonic ‘spine’ sort of acts like the continuously beating heart, reappearing time after time, as a magic glue that connects the anxious fragmentary visions behind this barren land of mirrors.

The third elegy, Haunted Manor (60:02), is a mesmerizing piece of darkest Ambient, consisting of an abundant collection of ethereal drones and ominous soundscapes. It represents claustrophobia and constriction, even reverence, defined through inauspicious keyboard-lines and adjuvant sounds and samples. Despite a hint of hypnotic monotony, this piece is generous in its details, with a permanently evolving identity, and a modest yet prolific presence of subtle yet important aural elements. It creates a veil of dejection and discomfort, of awe, of tension and excitement, all at once, with its permanent evolution through spheres of bleak ambience and haunting imagination.

Liminal Spaces by Vyormouth is a digital-only release, available via ZeroK, a label that is part of the Unexplained Sounds Group collective. Mind the black-and-white cover-artwork, which represents the concept of liminality too, and which therefor totally fits to both concept and the sonic representation of this psychologic / psychiatric theme. And purely for your information: the whole has been mastered by, of course, no one else but this USG’s family chieftain Raffaele Pezzella himself.