Dense Vision Shrine – Magic & Mystery

Most reviews will probably start with the information that Dense Vison Shrine is a new project from Karsten Hamre. You know this name perhaps from his projects Arcane Art and especially Penitent. I believe that this act has ceased to exist, but Dense Vison Shrine is a worthy successor. But the music on this disc does not need the link to Penitent to be appreciated, it has enough quality of its own. The label, Iris Light, has a lot of confidence in this album, it’s no coincidence that ‘Magic & Mystery” is their first dark ambient release in five years.

Though you won’t find anything really innovative or unexpected on this album, it’s certainly a solid dark ambient release. Deep drones, dense pieces alternated with a more spacious sound, and a pervasive dark mood. Music in the vein of classic Cold Meat acts like Raison d’Etre, with atmospheres reminding of cathedrals. This sacred feel is also reflected in the religious cover art. My favourite track is probably ‘Town of Twisted Towers’, which is quite orchestral. Also very nice is ‘Dark City Nights’, which is quite threatening and dramatic. Other references you think of when listening to Dense Vision Shrine are Lustmord (as always with this type of music) and Inade.

But although the atmosphere is dark and gloomy, the music of Dense Vision Shrine is surprisingly relaxing at times. The songs are long and they evolve quite gradually, without reaching real climaxes. Very nice dark background music, also suited as a soundtrack. And apart from the 6 tracks on this album, you are also treated to 2 multimedia movieclips, which you can view on your computer. The images for “Snowsand’ and ‘The Stronghold’ are suitably dark. More slideshows than movies, with pictures of gravestones, caves, woods, churches and some scary torture stills.

artist: Dense Vision Shrine
label: Iris Light Records
details: 6 tracks, + 2 multimedia clips