Coil - Astral Disaster

The solstice releases gave an indication of the new sound coil was embracing. This is the first full album using the quasi ambient sound they cultivated during the late 1990s. This album is made up of three short and three long tracks. Most use quite repetitive mantra like motifs and act as meditative pieces rather than in your face exhibitions in experimentation.

The second track 'The Mothership and the Fatherland' is an example of this. Itís nearly twenty-three minutes long and is a quiet ambient piece using light tribal sounding percussion, ghostly distant voices and other such oddities. While I say itís repetitive I donít believe any obvious loops were involved (except maybe the drumming) It all progresses nicely, sometime becoming more complex then dying down for a couple of minutes before building back up again amid synth washes and analogue drones. Itís frankly lovely.
The third track is '2nd Sun Syndrome' which has a lot of funny squiggly synth loops and noises, this isnít so good, but serves as a good introduction piece to the album's best track and in my opinion one of Coil's best ever tracks 'The sea Priestess'. Most of the music is made up of layers of choral and high pitches synth noise massed in the most atmospheric of ways. There are eastern sounding bells and swirling half heard sounds buried in the mix too. Once you get accustomed to the walls of ambience John Balance starts his recitation. The lyrics are inspired and seem to transcend the dense layers of sound, rising above it like some deity. Quite simple this song is trance inducing. I once nearly crashed my car listening to this at night. This song alone is reason to buy the album.

Next up is 'I Donít Want to be the One'; another good song, again with good lyrics from Balance. The theme is about the visions he has and how he sometimes wishes his wasnít the one to have them. The final track is another long ambient work out. Again it uses similar tribal drums to the second track and is again highly absorbing. It has Balance's voice warped into the voice of a small child. he talks about the destruction of the sea and some other abstract poetic devices.

I must comment of the superb production here, sometimes ambient music and especially ambient music this complex becomes a bit of a haze of synth layers making it a bit dreary but Coil's production makes sure that every single nuance of the many layers is clear as crystal. A great album to escape the world with.