Chaigidel / Neraterræ

Album Title: 
Release Date: 
Friday, March 17, 2023
Review Type: 

Since I like to read about mythology from Ancient Times, and since the ones from the Middle-East are of an extremely intriguing level, I did recognize the name ‘Lamashtu’. She was a naughty demigoddess (kindness was not her middle-name for sure, haha) in Sumerian / Mesopotamian mythology, daughter of the (important) god Anu, who liked to torture pregnant women and mothers who just gave birth, and to menace new-born children, eating their flesh, gnawing on their bones. She poisoned drinkable water, bewitched cattle and harvest, and did feed on desperation, anxiety and the fearful death of humans. No, she wasn’t that sweet at all.

Then again, Lamaštu or Lamashtu has been a source of inspiration for many ‘darker’, more ritualistic musical acts, in both the (Black) Metal worlds, as well as within the spheres of Occult Industrial / Drone / Ambient / Ritual. In this review’s case, I am talking about a collaborative work of Italy’s Chaigidel and Neraterræ, respectively ‘curated’ by Mattia Giovanni Accinni and Alessio Antoni. They both joined forces during the writing and recording sessions, with Mattia taken care of the final mix too. The result got mastered by Cyclic Law’ President Frederic Arbour, and it’s via this label that the album sees its official releasing opportunities. Of course one can find a digital edition, yet for those who prefer a physical copy, well, there’s a six-panel digipack, which comes with fine artwork by Nihil and Alessio (not a stranger at all, by the way, to this label); the latter also worked on the layout details.

This album clocks almost one hour and brings forth a sermonizing and evoking ritual, a transcendental ceremony of occult ritual and obscure summoning. The whole is covered within a spectral, ghostly / ghastly brume, created through an abundant use of aural techniques and an enormous scala of instruments. The latter goes for synths at the one hand, and other sonic utensils at the other hand. Those keyboards, well, it’s evident that one can expect a rich, somewhat complex burden (and that’s a positive definition!), with hallucinatory fragments, pompous spells, abyssal orchestrations, suffocating drones, mantric anaesthesia, and mesmerizing soundwaves. Sometimes it does limit itself to desolate yet immense sound-textures, then again the ambience exhales a sulphur-drenched character. One cannot exactly define this as ‘melodic’ or ‘harmonious’, yet we must consider it a mysterious and murky aural expedition through ancient mythos and worship, and through the Inner Eye of introspection at the one hand, and devotional guidance at the other (even within that mostly evil nature).

Remarkable are the other instruments and vocalization too. The voices do vary, with ceremonial throat-singing, ominous whispers, evocative chants and obfuscated roars. These vocal additions are rather rare, yet when used, they do fit to the narration. Other physical instruments and effects come from sampling, as well as ‘traditional’ things like different kinds of percussion (cymbals, doumbek, chimes, gong, (Tibetan?) bells etc.), wind-instruments (like shofar and duduk), yet also acoustic strings. The whole does not dwell within areas of Folk-laden ‘Music’, yet all these instruments and voices get canalized into a majestic opus of archaic ritualism and nefarious veneration.

Lamaštu is a colossal work of overwhelming harshness, which begs for endurance and devotion at the very same time. Yet the elegant thing is that the whole experience stands as one huge organic creation. It’s a gigantesque sonic universe with an astounding variety and a monstrous complexity, sadistically (yet also satisfyingly) teasing and confusing the listener’s comprehension and endurance. I will not dissect each single ‘song’ (or whatever else you might call it), for 1) Lamaštu must be seen as one total encounter and 2) too much does ‘happen’ which cannot be defined through human language. It’s a ‘feeling’ veiled within audible elegance that surrounds the audience, that penetrates the human soul.

PS: a review on the re-release of Entrails Of The Earth will be published soon too…