Velehentor is the project of 121, a Russian wizard of dark ambience and also responsible for projects such as Closing the Eternity, Moonlight and Valhalla. I have to admit that my previous knowledge of Velehentor or 121 was limited at best with only a bleak memory that I got a recommendation for his previous album Ceremonial Death lingering in the back of my head. The highly intriguing Dyatlov Pass incident that is the inspiration behind this album is a weird story on its own about 9 Russian hikers found dead in the mountains in ways that to this day have not been explained. Naturally a lot of theories have been circulating around the spectacular causes of the deaths and everything from an alien encounter to secret military experiments has been suggested to be the reason. While studying the documentations of the incident I let the album spin in the background, and it really suited the dark and mind-breaking insights that unfurled in my mind.
Dyatlov’s Pass is a re-release of an album that apparently was released without the author’s permission in 2003 and contains one of the bleakest and most desolate musical experiences I’ve experienced this year. This is truly a brooding piece of dark ambient atmospheres that breathes mystery and suspense. The first CD that contains the title track is a long and vivid journey into dementia where shadows creep in the corners of your imaginations. Heavy drones combined with weird atmospheric shifts generate an environment so threatening and dark that it borders on the unreal. The use and abuse of weird samples of what sounds like disturbed singing and distorted vocals adds another layer of dark emotion to the already heavy atmosphere. It is a genuinely disturbing yet fascinating experience to follow the track deeper and deeper into sanity’s eclipse.
The second CD is a split with Ad Lux Tenebre and contains two tracks. Man-Pupy-Njër is another deep and brooding journey that has more of a cultist sound to it with various bells and gongs that chime in harmony with the distorted background. It builds up and mutates into harsher and harsher sounds until the chimes almost vanish into the growling bowels of the drone. It is organic and it is disturbing in a refreshing way yet feels a bit diminished in the presence of the dark quagmire that is Dyatlov’s Pass. The second track is either 7 seconds of silence or sounds on such a bizarre wavelength that my rather modest studio speakers can’t handle them.
The last CD is Otorten. 9 tracks of exactly 1 minute each that combines into a serene song of floating dark harmony quite different from the more harsh and desolate parts of earlier mentioned CDs. The tracks always start with a series of sad tones that lingers on the air throughout the songs and lend a mysterious yet melancholic sensation to the whole scene. The songs keep build up more and more variation and mutates into various atmospheric shifts that all contain that simple yet effective melody.
Velehentor (RU) have crafted a dark ambient masterpiece in Dyatlov’s Pass and it really lives up to the brooding atmosphere of the incident it borrows its name from. The atmosphere is dark and weaves a net around the listener grasping their attention. It is the perfect companion when you stare at the freezing moon wondering what really happened that bleak and stormy night deep in the Ural Mountains.
CD 1-01. Velehentor – Dyatlov Pass
CD 2-01. Ad Lux Tenebrae / Velehentor – Man-Pupy-Njër
CD 2-02. Ad Lux Tenebrae / Velehentor – Untitled
CD 3-01. Velehentor – Otorten I
CD 3-02. Velehentor – Otorten II
CD 3-03. Velehentor – Otorten III
CD 3-04. Velehentor – Otorten IV
CD 3-05. Velehentor – Otorten V
CD 3-06. Velehentor – Otorten VI
CD 3-07. Velehentor – Otorten VII
CD 3-08. Velehentor – Otorten VIII
CD 3-09. Velehentor – Otorten IX