Archon Satani - _The Righteous Way to Completion_
(Cold Spring Records, 1997)
by: Andrew Lewandowski (8 out of 10)
During its best moments, _TRWtC_ marks a fitting requiem for one of the pioneering dark ambient artists. M. Stavostrand, Archon Satani's sole composer on this release, finally achieves a successful integration of the minimal and insinuating ambience of his previous two full-lengths with the hellish melodies of the apocalyptic dirges found on his debut, the seminal _Virgin Birth (Born Again)_. Fueled by ethereal drones and enigmatic atmospheres, each of the four tracks drift aimlessly through an inhuman universe of unspeakable horror. Archon Satani's sprawling landscapes parallel the creations of H.P. Lovecraft; both fabricate a dimension shockingly reminiscent to our unpopulated natural world, yet still horribly disfigured. This ambience is aided by thundering percussive passages, adding a sense of absorbing, bass-heavy power to the otherwise nebulous sounds. Yet the percussion can also detract from the album; its incongruous mastering can overwhelm the subtleties of the music. Stavostrand also builds the second track, "Another Great Moment in Paradise", around the drums, leaving only the most sparse and repetitive of drones occupying the background. Thus, a fourth of the album fails to transcend desolation. Luckily, the rest of the album showcases Stavostrand's ability to create a thriving soundscape beneath a seemingly desolate aesthetic.

(article published 12/8/1997)

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