I find that I need to get past the first track before I begin to pay some degree of proper attention to Divina Commedia I – Nine Circles. I’m all for theme, but there’s something in this opener, a militaristic drumming element, that feels a bit heavy-handed. Yes, thematically, we are “Entering the Vestibule” and getting ready for our Virgilian jaunt into Hell, so perhaps the strident beat works, but it gets a shrug from me. When Scott Lawlor and his sonic enhancer, Jack Hertz, actually move us into the nine circles, the album begins to work for me. Yet I have to say it never fully engrosses me. What works well here is the attention to detail and the use of textural sounds. Lawlor brings plenty of small bits to an overall sense of darkness (Abandon hope, and all that), creating an atmosphere that is loaded with nice touches and good dimensional work. Even at that, I tend to drift in and out as Lawlor converts Dante’s text to sonic imagery. I have tried several times to figure out what I wanted to say about this album, but other than suggesting that you’ll like it if your tastes run to the moody and gloomy side of things, it doesn’t give me—personally—much more to work with than your standard dark ambient.
Available from Aural Films.