Label: Blackened Death Records
Hyperborean is the kind of album that requires a certain place and time. Listened to in the wrong environment or mindset, the debut album by The Coldest Silence will utterly miss the mark. It’s not the kind of dark ambient album that will always draw you in, warping your mood to suit its intentions; and that’s absolutely fine, it’s something that can be true of even the style’s best records. But when things are right – the dead of night, accompanied only by the demons in your mind – it is an album of considerable might.
Key to this is the minimalism that is employed so effectively throughout. There are numerous long, drawn out drone passages built upon echoes and percussion hits that feel too spacious to be properly called rhythms. What vocals there are consist of tortured, barely human whispers, full of pain and loss. Hyperborean is hardly a comfortable album, and the atmosphere it conjures is undeniably bleak and unsettling. As such, it is perfectly suited to listening in solitude, with minimal distractions, letting the atmosphere take you where it will – which is inevitably somewhere unpleasant, yet not without its own, twisted charms.
The only real complaint that can be made is that at times, it is almost too minimalistic. The title track is built upon sounds so sparse and distant that they are almost not there, and whilst it does emphasize that this is an album best listened to alone, with headphones and no outside distractions, it doesn’t take much to intrude upon its ethereal spell. It’s a shame, as what the album does, it does rather well, but it can be difficult to properly appreciate it if the listening environment isn’t right (though to be fair, this is true of all minimalist, atmospheric genres). I find tracks such as “Terror Realms” to be much more effective, with their more solid (in a textural sense), comparatively noisy foundation.
Don’t let this distract from how strong Hyperborean is as a whole, though. It is an album of real horror and darkness, delightfully unsettling and cathartic upon conclusion. It’s certainly not an album for casual listening, but nor is that its intention or purpose. Hyperborean is an album for the darkest of nights (in every possible sense) that is sure to leave a lasting impression.
Hyperborean is available to stream and download via Bandcamp.