This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

Please consider supporting this website by disabling your ad-blocker. This website does not use audio ads, pop-ups, or other annoyances. And please support Terra Relicta by giving a little donation if you can! Thank you!!!

Random album

Vortex - As Gods Fall (2018) - Review

Band: Vortex
Album title: As Gods Fall
Release date: 21 June 2018
Label: Cyclic Law

01. Awakening
02. Awareness
03. War Is Coming
04. The Slain
05. Odhinn's Wrath   
06. Hel On Earth   
07. Valhalla
08. The Priestess
09. A New World
10. Awakening II - Apoptose Remix [Bonus]   
11. Phanopoeia - Phelios Remix [Bonus]   
12. Transgression - Visions Remix [Bonus]
13. Odhinn's Journey - The Trail Remix [Bonus]
14. Helsight [Bonus]
15. Awakening III - Vinur Remix [Bonus]   
16. Awakening IV - Empusae Remix [Bonus]   
17. Valhalla - Bergemann Remix [Bonus]   
18. Into The Void [Bonus]
19. Close To The Edge - Operation Cleansweep Remix [Bonus]

If we already have subgenres in the metal scene like is viking metal and pagan metal among many other derivates, why not have also something alike in the dark ambient fields, and yes, you guessed it right, Vortex's new album could be simply classified as "viking/pagan" ambient art. Vortex is the brainchild of German artist Marcus Stiglegger and under this name he celebrates his 10th anniversary, as well the new album, As Gods Fall, marks the final part of the trilogy which started in 2013 with the album named Kali Yuga, and then continued with Moloch which came out in 2015, both albums, like this one were released by Cyclic Law.

If the previous album, Moloch, was a pretty urban sounding complex ritualistic cinematic ambient release, themed about the downfall of human civilisation and urban decay, and if Kali Yuga was focusing mainly on the darkest of the ages in Hindu mythology, we get with As Gods Fall a completely different story, not only theme wise, as well soundwise, but that still connects into this mythical trilogy. On As Gods Fall Marcus explores Nordic mythology of the Edda, this album revives the realm of the Old Gods in their final conflict. But, just like with the previous two albums, also on As Gods Fall the reflection on mythology is used as a metaphor for a portrait of the present world out of balance.

As Gods Fall is deeply cinematic and atmospheric album, but it still feels very much ritualistic, also meditative and deeply immersive, as well it brings some sort of inherited melancholy, and it could be easily used as a soundtrack for any movie or series about Vikings or for any kind of documentary about Nordic mythology. The album has much more flow, rhythm and coherence than Moloch, but it still offers that multilayered sound which was achived with use of varius instruments and vocals that are not a common thing inside the ambient genre. For this album Marcus, like on his past albums, invited many guests (including Michael De Victor of While Angels Watch), providing unique instrumental and vocal contributions.

The album opens up with highly atmospheric and brooding "Awakening", a drone/ambient track which sets the right mood for what is about to follow if we dare to explore all of the deepths of this stunning piece of art. The sound is often thick and the ambiance created is dense and haunting, yet it gives enough space to take a breath or two. The smooth ambiances are often interupted by deafening drones, martial rhythmic lines, pounding percussion, ritualistic chants and above all everything is well backened by otherworldly fragile melodies. Vortex adds some very well inserted guitar lines, just listen to almost shamanistic "Awareness", before the epic sounds of "War Is Coming", where some heavy guitar riffs and martial sequences keep the leading role before the narrative speech takes over the space. "The Slain" offers thumping tribalistic beats over subtle dark cinematic layers, and then we get immersed into the cataclysmic experience of "Odhinn's Wrath", the strongest and as well the most complex track on this album which has many elements, from martial industrial to ethno and much more mixed into one powerful rhythmic line. It's interesting to hear how Vortex is able to build up and slowly deepen the atmosphere in almost each track. "Hel On Earth" is maybe the darkest thing here, while "Valhalla" has some intriguing almost danceable folkish insertions that you wouldn't expect to hear. While we are diving into darkness more and more, the bewitching and one of my favorite tracks "The Priestess" comes, offering a subtle female speech that nicely blends with foreboding sounds in the background and ending with almost unbereable silencing soundscape. The end of this haunting mystical sonic journey is reserved for the rather chilling horror sounds of "A New World".

As Gods Fall is an amazing sonic work of big proportions, not only that it's in many ways unique, it's as well so very dark, deep and multilayered, it has also kind of a vibe that takes with ease the listener into the most obscure parts of Nordic mythology. It's something that in a way could be described as similar to if Wardruna would start making dark ambient music. And yet that's not all, the album comes with a huge 10 track bonus named Helstrom, featuring two previously unreleased Vortex tracks (a special note on the amazing ritual/martial ambient drone named "Helsight") and remixes by Apoptose, Empusae, Phelios, Visions, Operation Cleansweep, The Trail, Vinur and more, offering a completely new experience of Vortex's tracks taken from this and his previous albums. As Gods Fall is absolutely a must, not only for fans of any kind of ambient music, but to everybody who fancies extravagant sonic take on Nordic mythology and Viking sagas.

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 9/10