Fahl is another group of artists from “Die Neue Runde”, which is a relatively new group of musicians, authors, and visual artists that seem, at first glance, firmly placed in a Germanic artistic state, but in reality represent a larger portrait of universal art. Despite the seemingly mysterious title, the group has declared that there is nothing that lies veiled behind their motivations and that they are simply a group of close friends. This would certainly seem to be the case with Fahl, as the only other artist that we’ve covered from Die Neue Runde so far is Miel Noir, whom themselves are a duo (Dimo Dimov, Marcel P.) that both also operate in this project alongside one Cornelius Waldner of Sagittarius fame. While this is, to date, the sole offering from these three artists as one unit operating under the guise of dark ambient — it is by its very subject matter the most tenebrous effort put forth by any one of these musicians so far in their career — and yes, this includes Cornelius’ black metal past with projects like Hailstorm and Warloghe, granted perhaps it is on a different level entirely.
“The Paths to Emptiness” finds Fahl walking the edge of existence itself, following a philosophical path through the texts of The Mahabharata into the end of the Dvapara Yuga and the inevitable rise of the Kali Yuga. For instance, the second track contains a great deal of reciting from the texts in “The Book of the Forest”, or the third book Vana Parva. These texts speak of the coming of the end of the Yuga and the symptoms thereof, of the ceasing of trust, of the deception of all by one another, of all men coming to be the same in every respect without distinction, of men whom slay one another and whom do not respect nature. It tells of apocalyptic imagery, of the fall of the spirit of man and of the descent of his will into the abyss of darkness. These are words of the coming void, of the infinite veil of overwhelming black. Whispers of the end that are spoken both through tomes of spiritual text and through those of their own writings. Distant mumblings on occultist visions and ritual performance, emphatic voices pronouncing fields of illuminated bones and torn flesh.
Musically, the album ranges from genius droning splendor that is highlighted by its subtle industrial influences to comparatively unpleasant Casio-style synth which, thankfully, only appears in sparse moments. For the most part though, the arrangements as created by Marcel P. and the performance of Dimo Dimov, is flawless if not inventive. Later tracks will feature minimal Eastern instrumentation in a largely dis-harmonic layering which is obviously used to create an incredibly uncomfortable, if not surreal, experience. Moments of rhythmic industrial are pushed into the mix in such a subtle manner that they work to build minor climactic moments in the compositions and are present only to those who focus enough to notice. Lulling electronic drones fade in and out, building and collapsing underneath Waldner’s maddened speech. The atmosphere is that of which accompanies a lone room — a production that is desolate in its minimal performance, pulling away from the tendency to create a thick sound. In addition, distant screams and whispers are added throughout tracks on top of indiscernible noises that give the feeling of something monstrous lurking across the room, in the shadows that inhabit the distance corners away from the spot where you lay in wait — immense and all-encompassing mental agony.
This album is simply frightening when you let it get in your head. At first, as one is expecting dark ambient, the focus on voice is hard to get past, but when your ears get to a point of acceptance with them, all visions created from the music focus around one central character, speaking in tongues, speaking from a place of insanity, and the voices that spiral around him in pitch black darkness, be they his own disembodied echoes or the coming manifestations of deities and demons. And all you can see around him as he speaks from blurred visions and from prophetic writings is his world — our world — falling to ruin. It’s utterly oppressive and devastating with the exception of the mentioned moment of bad judgement regarding synth and, without a doubt, one of the best releases that these three artists have come together to release. Whether there will be a future for this project or not remains to be seen, but there is something promising waiting, begging for further explorations of the cavernous sound that envelope the infinite spiritual journey within.