Agnivolok / Chaos as Shelter - _Henbane_
(The Eastern Front, 2009)
by: Quentin Kalis (6.5 and 5 out of 10 respectively)
Available as a bootleg for the past decade, the early recordings of dark ambient project Chaos as Shelter and folk ambient outfit Agnivolok have finally received an official release.The latter act is the brainchild of one Vadim Gusis, focusing on creating soundscapes as harsh and unforgiving as the fiery desert of his homeland. Even by the Spartan demands of the genre, this seems too simple and short to effectively draw the listener into his universe. For whatever reason, the track list alternates between the two artists, resulting in Chaos as Shelter sounding little more than drone-based interludes between the meatier material.In contrast to the stark feel of Chaos as Shelter, Agnivolok is a much richer and multifaceted experience. Primarily the brainchild of Vera Agnivolok, aided by Gusis, the combination of Near and Middle East influences results in a near nonpareil release, comparable to few others. Her unique voice could have been better utilized.One cannot fault the artists for wanting a decent edition of something that is already available and for which they don't receive a cent, but I am ambivalent as to whether this deserved the re-issue, especially when both surpassed this a long time ago.
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