The old show biz adage is, always leave them wanting more. With this offering on Malignant Records, Johan Aernus ends his 15-year run as Wolfskin–and he goes out on what, for a realm as downbeat, minimalist and chokingly cloistered as dark ambient, could be considered a high note. I only came across Wolfskin last year when Malignant sent me the re-release of O Ajuntar das Sombras and I’m not the most dedicated dark ambient fan, but there is a un-nameable quality to Aernus’ shadow-thick work that appeals to me. And it’s certainly here on Stonegates of Silence. With Anders Peterson, aka Last Industrial Estate, at his side, Aernus skillfully guides us through an expanse of fog, fear and unpleasant sensations. It’s suitably relentless, rumbling like the turn of a massive grinding wheel, washed through with echoes of oncoming storms and whispers that hint at the truth of an inescapable hell. Grim and isolationist, it’s not an easy listen–but then, if you like dark ambient, that’s not what you’re looking for in the first place. Wolfskin departs with his legacy intact.
Available from Malignant Records.