§ What Is
One of the aims of the Order of Nine Angles, as this writer understands them, is to take the practitioner beyond all abstractions and human conceptualizations so that it is able to perceive and process the universe exactly as it is, so far as human capabilities allow them to perceive it. To undergo this transformation a method for true alchemical change is proposed whereby spiritual death is followed by rebirth and an exploration of the life-giving aspects of human spirituality, only to then transcend both. Death and understanding of what are normally termed ‘bad’ or ‘dark’ aspects of nature are explored through a sinister living, where the term ‘sinister’ is used in the full range of its different dictionary acceptations to coalesce into a concept beyond those prejudices which can only be known when lived.
Some of these practitioners may, if inclined, produce music that is meant to reproduce this stage, or simply to evoke the occult energies that are sensed as propelling and moving everything. These musics, then, tend to be eerie as well as ambient-like. The first must be in order to bring the uneasiness of actual living that makes one always restless even in times of peace. For life is restlessness and motion, imbalance. Only in death do we rest and find stasis.
“You know what I think? If I am tired now, I don’t mind, because I have eternity to rest.”
Music of this type will attempt to lay bare the senses of the listener, thereby executing a ritualistic function rather than containing within itself the germs of communication. It is meant as a mind-altering drug rather than as mythic communication as is the case with even the most minimalist of the great works of death and black metal1.
§ Earth Gate
Released in 117yf, the background constants of Earth Gate are the sound of rain, a distant skin-drum thumping and the pulse of a synth effect that suddenly fades in and slowly fades out. On top of this we hear vocal arrangements that come and go. These are reminiscent of Gregorian chants in accordance to the guidelines for the Sinister Chants as outlined in Naos and communicated through an aural tradition.
“The essence of esoteric performance is for the chant to be sung slowly, each ♦ of the plainchant notation representing a modern quaver, more or less, depending on the ‘mood’ of the appropriate sphere.
The pitch of a piece is relative — and depends on what is comfortable for the cantors or group. The rhythm of a particular piece is easy to obtain with practice if it is remembered that a piece is like a wave — rising and falling with measured cadence, in a flowing manner. It is for this reason that Latin (and sometimes Greek) is employed for the texts, since of all languages, they are most appropriate to monophonic chant. The accent is generally placed on the upbeat, though exceptions exist.”
—Naos, Part Two: ‘Esoteric Sorcery’, Esoteric Chants, IV — Method of Singing, p. 59
As the recording progresses, the chants become clearer to the point where they are very prominent while they started out as being little more than part of the background. This emergence is slow and subtle, and it is eventually accompanied by the occasional sound of thunder at the moment where the chant starts to vary and enters a new phase. Unfortunately, the writer is not knowledgeable or experienced enough to discern what modes and chants are actually used in the recording.
The peak of the composition’s curve is reached when we distinctly hear a woman’s voice singing, after which Earth Gate slowly comes back to the steady plain chants from before. A few variations in the chant happen again towards the end where, for the first time, the beating of the drum speeds up considerably and all chant eventually fades into the sound of howling wind and wolves. At the end, all is quiet, and only the storm and the synth pulse over it remain drifting into quietness and dissolution which only the the pulse survives.
The second ambient work by Eques Sinemus, Hyle, was released in 120yf and it contrasts with the previous release in that what lies at its center is the sound of a simple acoustic guitar rather than the plain chants. As per the dying, trailing quality of the guitar sound, this recording emphasizes spaces between them and the contrast between silence and vibrating modes. In doing so, Eques Sinemus shows great insight into the quality and nature of an instrument by playing on its strengths rather than attempting to create a variation of the previous work’s style with a new instrument.
“The nuances in the rhythm come from the lack – the delicate lack – of respect that we may have for the rhythm. But in this lack of respect, you may define the good artist and the bad artist.”
Underscoring it are very quiet and subtle effects at the very beginning which give way to solo, elongating vocalizations that serve more like an sustained organum that provides a context for the mode of the guitar. There is also always an ever-present zephyr that fills the space. Towards the latter third of the work, the singer has become quieted and we hear a flute replace that same space while providing a faster paced melody, thus functioning as a soprano for the cycling patterns of the guitar.
On and off we may hear a second guitar playing more standard patterns, these come and go along with subtle synth sounds and ambience that gives way to what sounds like a transition from an open landscape to a cavernous, wet setting. Whispers accompany this transition as a soft wind caresses the walls of this natural underground enclosure. This status is maintained long enough for us to get used to it and absorb it, after which such sounds fade away and the steady cycling patterns of the guitar come again in a different mode, perhaps signaling the mind of the adept mastering the outer storm.
Finally, only the howling of the wind through stone passages, and then, a sudden, violent call.
1 Recommended as such: Morpheus Descends Ritual of Infinity, Darkthrone Transylvanian Hunger. One should, however, never overlook the distinctive quality of holistic well-rounded-ness of Incantation Onward to Golgotha — an immortal work if ever there was one.