Can you feel the frosty wind? Sense the lonely vastness? Do you see the endless darkness of the universe above you? Welcome to the icy beauty of Antarctica. A place so cold it’s freezing every breath – a land made of black ice, beyond time and space. The shimmering darkness gives way to songs of void and solitude, breezing over shattered rocks. Majestic (“Hope Dies First”), impetuous (“Shroud Of Distress”), wild (“The Void Of No Void”), longing (“Starless Aeons”). Songs like the face of Antarctica – graceful and terrifying, deeply haunting and deadly cold. The wind takes the sounds along and up to the tremendous sky. The light vanishes, embracing eternal darkness. What lies beyond? Only the fading stars do know…
Nonexistence is musician Philip Santoll, who describes his style of music as Cosmic Doom Black Metal. He is backed by Finnish multi-instrumentalist and FME awardee Tuomas Saukkonen, famous for Black Sun Aeon and Before The Dawn amongst others. Although receiving numerous enquiries, Saukkonen reserves the privilege of producing only one or two albums each year. His choice for 2011 fell on Antarctica. “We have a lot in common”, Saukkonen smiles, sharing the same passion and dedication for music as Santoll. “I live nearby in a place called Oblivion which is a very similar place to Antarctica.”
“After the troublesome production of my first album ‘Nihil’, which I produced and recorded all by myself, I wanted to try out a complete new approach this time – by drawing on someone else’s creative influence”, Santoll explains, “for the first time in ten years! Tuomas got my attention with Black Sun Aeon, whose debut album deeply impressed and touched me.” Not only did he win the Finn as a producer, but also as a session musician: Saukkonen plays all bass and drum tracks on the album. “Besides having the creative potential of this dedicated and exceptional musician, Nonexistence also had the chance to raise the sound of an authentic band lineup. This improved both genuineness and dynamics, leading to songs deep and full of life.”
Musically, Santoll describes Antarctica as the setting of an acoustic journey through a dismal no-man’s-land, wandering in darkness, solitude and coldness, to inner abysses and fading stars. “Nonexistence unites the iciness, gloom and intensity of black metal with the melancholy, elegy and power of Doom Metal. For me, the strengths of both styles complement each other congenially, allowing me a diversified songwriting without any stylistic boundaries. No need for dull thrashing or whiny self-pity.” The dynamic result combines bombast à la Dimmu Borgir with Arcturus-like avantgarde, additionally introducing a melancholy known from bands such as My Dying Bride. “The album is cold and massive as it is beautiful and raw”, Saukkonen adds. “Just like you would imagine the majestic and grand Antarctica to be.”
Antarctica (2013) – BUY
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