Greek duo Martyria (Lena Merkouri, George Zafiriadis) recently delivered their self-titled disc rich with five smoky spirituals on Malignant Records. Didgeridoo and drone combines with silky lithe vocals in a soothingly inebriating mix on Pneuma. Available in digital and compact disc formats as well as clear vinyl via Hammerheart. It’s as if they took some of the best elements of Dead Voices on Air and Dead Can Dance, and filtered them with their own variations on a funerary procession theme, and then added layers of chimes and reverberation for good measure. The entirety of this cerebral dusty ambient record runs only forty-one minutes, but the impact is deeply sensory and guttural without any cloying after effect. I’m lost in this inventive balance of dark drama and the trance-inducing thematics of Nyx. It’s airy, even with the bottom of the bass drum, and choral elongations. It’s partly post-apocalyptic in nature, the cover art alone has a dragon eating the Earth (or Mother Nature). Be afraid, be cautious, you have been warned.
Eschaton leaves us stranded in a sandstorm. They’ve incorporated some tactical field recordings atop effective wind instruments and vocal layering that grabs you in the chest. Like Gregorian chant at times, and other ritual musics, this resides in the depths of mythic Middle-earth. When the male and female voices merge it becomes a bit of a heterotopia or what philosopher Emmanuel Levinas termed ‘the Other’. There is anguish here, voices almost morphing into siren raids, and it’s all so subtle and distinct. The title’s implication of the end being nigh is oddly summoned on this final track. It’s haunting beauty dissipates in the quietude of a windstorm. Definitely for fans of tribal meets spiritual sounds with a diverse world music scope. A powerful debut.