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Aythis - Secrets From Below (2021) - Review

Band/Artist: Aythis
Album title: Secrets From Below
Release date: 2 April 2021
Label: Self-Released
Genre: Ambient, Post-Rock, Neoclassical, Shoegaze, Darkwave

Tracklist:
01. Just Like A Tear
02. Into The Blue
03. Faint Butterfly
04. Ashes
05. Secrets
06. When Your Ghost Wanders
07. The Light That Turned Into Crystals
08. Homelights
09. Facing The Shadow
10. Falling (Twin Peaks Theme cover)

The Dutch artist Aythis is back after more than five years since the magnificent album The Illusion And The Twin. This time with a slightly different approach, the solo project of Carline Van Roos, known for her work in the atmospheric doom metal band Lethian Dreams and doom/death metal band Remembrance, returns with her fifth full-length, a soothing, melancholic and ethereal album aptly titled Secrets From Below. On this new album, she offers ten deeply emotional songs which will take listeners into hidden places of their mind. The soundscapes gently allow the listener to embark on an immersive yet mesmerizing trip underneath the earth's surface, into the desolated forest, the above and the below. The album is full of poetic metaphors, most likely to offer a meditative journey into depths of the unknown, and into such attractive mystical darkness.

Secrets From Below differs from what we were used to hearing on her previous album. This time the songs are way more guitar-driven, with a more haunting melody and more shattering shoegaze. If the ambient/neoclassical sound was the main focus before, this time is in the background and deepens the atmosphere. The main thing in the Aythis case was always her fragile, emotional and melancholic soft voice that gently like a soft breeze of warm air embraces all the senses. Sometimes it might sound mellow, but once you get into this sonic art properly, relaxed and unburdened, it does carry you away like the autumnal wind that carries dead leaves.

Gentle, soft, but immensely dark and full of emotions. From the epic and depressive start with "Just Like A Tear" until the mesmerizing ending with a beautiful cover of "Falling", the main theme song of the Twin Peaks series, the brooding, sensual melancholy comes in waves, as well exploding with immense but smooth power in "When Your Ghost Wanders". In the beginning, it might feel too linear and repetitive, but you need to let yourself go with the flow and it'll become very enjoyable, with many new layers appearing from below the earth's surface. There's a mask and behind it, Aythis in an intimate manner reveals all of the hidden aspects of her deep sonic ethereality in strong connotation with nature and mysticism. "Homelights", the song that embraces with its immense strength on the crossroads between dark ethereal ambient and post-rock is bringing in mind Aleah, Darkher and Chelsea Wolfe. Of course, done in Aythis' way, and is a fine example of how the reverberate soothing acoustic guitar lines, ritualistic percussion and otherworldly cinematic dark ambient can sound so very dense, powerful and vivid.

Carline makes atmospheric, deep and melancholic music with poetic lyrics inspired by dreams and isolation, that can wake up the inner ghosts. Aythis' dreamy sonic world is somewhere between gentle obscure shadows and the blinding light, and don't be surprised if you'll wake up from this dream world with your eyes full of tears, but still bitterly smiling. This music is timeless and Aythis is isolated from human nature. Let yourself be taken away by the depth of immensely poignant slowly evolving soundscapes, by the alchemy of sorrow, a fragile ethereal voice, lush keyboard atmospheres, neoclassical touch, haunting guitars and simple but hypnotic melodies. If you like to be carried away by dreamy atmospheric soundscapes and if anything Aythis did before appeals to you, as well if you enjoy the music of Aleah, Ison, Lethian Dreams, All My Faith Lost..., Dead Can Dance, Suldusk, Darkher, Lamia Vox and similar, then this is a must.

The review was written by Tomaz
Rating: 8,5/10

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