Review: Ana Fosca – Soma (Nazlo, Aug 23)

Imagine exploring a mysterious abandoned building and upon finally reaching the lowest basement level you see the thing that adorns the album cover of Soma, the dank, dusty air crackling with terrifying supernatural electricity as you behold its twisted form in heart-stopping horror. The piece is actually a sculpture by artist Kristoffer Moth (I am not sure if it was made physically or digitally), but that doesn’t compromise its power as an object of inexplicable malevolence, an element that only adds to the bleak darkness Ana Fosca conjures on this new album. “Catalonia” is a seething, sinister opener, its body of shadow swelling into psychedelic blasts of caustic noise and contracting into formidable low register rumbles. I was not expecting the mostly spoken vocals that first appear in the following track, “Ease,” but interestingly this ostensibly more human addition actually takes things to an even more horrifying place, the presence and intelligibility of the words steadily and hopelessly eroded by increasingly intense interference until there’s nothing left of the speaker but mangled digital gibberish and enveloping, razor-sharp noise takes control once more. Fosca definitely operates within the conventions I associate with death industrial music, but everything I normally dislike about the genre is entirely avoided: the rhythmic elements are not relied upon too heavily, instead serving as ominous, tension building pulses that don’t get in the way of the atmosphere; the vocals aren’t at all cheesy or overused; each track offers something different and unique. I mean, “Meshes of H” sounds like the grisly death of an old semi-sentient artificial intelligence. The title track features a heavily distorted tornado siren. It’s awesome.

“Silence… in search of… silence… in search of… silence…”