Picture the setting: a dreary, post-apocalyptic wasteland drained of colour and oozing an inconsolable, insidious sadness. Bare trees sway as a dusty, dead wind wheezes through their boughs and a lone wanderer stares at his boots as he traverses the desolate landscape, images of yearning dominating his innermost thoughts. This is the scene conjured by Blake Green on Aelter IV: Love Eternal, the fourth offering to spring from this side-project brought to us from the mind that plies similarly disconsolate compositions in Wolvserpent.
A sleepily hypnotic blend of dark pop and Gothic-Western sounds, held together by doom’s meandering crawl and approach to building atmosphere, the record offers a sonic experience something akin to a Cormac McCarthy novel. Aelter IV speaks of a forgotten and discarded side of America, immersed in resignation and evoking the kind of despondence normally reserved for dead-end, destitute towns, yet with an occasional glint of hope that pierces the gloom. It’s a simultaneously soothing and disconcerting experience, characterized by Green’s haunting croon and the presence of spectral, choir-like chants that swirl among the eerily solemn Western Noir and Gothic undertones of the music. After an intro track flows into the subsequent four compositions that make up the album, Aelter IV bleeds seamlessly and stylistically into itself, blurring the lines between beginning and end to reveal the underlying strata of forlorn emotion that binds the tracks into one ode to longing and loss. The effect is that that the image of a wanderer forgotten by time becomes engrained within the pace and structure of Aelter IV; his journey accompanied by sorrowful yet romantic soundscapes and carried on the expressive and soporific combination of Green’s sparsely used chords and minimalistic percussion, that come together to produce a sound weeping evocatively with tension and release.
References to Nick Cave and late-era Swans will inevitably surface, yet the atmosphere evoked on Aelter IV often brings to mind a deathly, morose reimagining of Earth’s deconstructed Western-themed drone; Green offering a subterranean, gaunt yin to Dylan Carlson’s sun-baked and shimmering yang. Ultimately however the sound Green crafts on Aelter IV is one of his own, and with its poignant, redolent ambience proving an immersive and captivating creation, it will surely be one that resonates with listeners of introspective music from across genre boundaries.