Aethenor Faking Gold and Murder

In Sunn O))), Stephen O'Malley adopted the elements of robes and fog not only for their visual impact but also for their attachment to ceremony and ritual. So, bringing Current 93's David Tibet in as a collaborator on the newest instalment of the Aethenor project makes perfect sense. The low end rumble and sweet voiced recitations hold parallels to the Murder Ballads collaboration between Mick Harris and Martyn Bates in the late '90s, a marriage of dark ambience and folk balladry. These pieces, however, also have some wonderful wildfire drums and lingering percussion flare-ups courtesy of Nicolas Field and Alex Babel. Alexander Tucker makes an appearance to let a little hint of light touch the grey edges. Whether you find Tibet's magickal sermonizing austere or knee-slappingly goofy is partly the make-or-break here. Either way, there are enough threads of gold glittering through the dark bedrock of the four pieces to overlook any unconverted lead. (VHF)