As we are concluding what has been a most bizarre year indeed, and a New Year is around the corner, it seems quite fitting that there are still plenty of mysteries to keep us occupied for the remainder of what appears to have been one of the most staggering twelve months in our lifetimes. So, with that in mind, straight out of France, come Ingrina, to provide a soundtrack for something as peculiar as twenty twenty has been on a whole.
Little is known of this experimental industrial doom outfit, there are tiny clues on the internet, suffice to say the fairly undiscovered sextet comprises of two drummers, three guitarists, and a bass player thrown in for good measure. The ensemble also seem to be shrouded in mystery, pretty much just as their music is.
This essentially instrumental outfit are heading our way, with an absolutely enthralling opus, six tracks of post-apocalyptic darkness, stooped in clandestine doom, like the backdrop for a tense Mad Max-esque movie, set somewhere in the not so distant future.
Siste Lys is their second fully recorded outing, and comprises of an equal mix of new and old tracks, several of which are reworking’s for twenty twenty release. If pushed for a comparison, I would look toward Filth Pig era Ministry, as the feel of Siste Lys is somewhat similar.
It’s dark and menacing, but not so much heavy, as it’s full of industrial noise. This isn’t Sunday morning listening by any means, its dark nights, low lights, and contemplating the weirder side of life. In actuality, it’s probably the album I’ve heard which best typifies twenty twenty in a nutshell, if this year was an album.
Right from the opening seconds, Ingrina take no prisoners, Jailers is a thunderous introduction. It plays with highs and lows, the slower paced, doomy dark moments are replaced by intermittent wails of guitar, and the sense of unease right from the start, definitely left me uncomfortable for the rest of the album.
Highs and lows, darkness and a little light, and most of all, a sense of a brooding darkness…
Usually, I struggle with fundamentally instrumental albums, but with Siste Lys, the lack of a vocal narrative leaves everything open for interpretation. As I lay back and take it all in, I’m amazed at how easily one track leads in to another, it is so much more than six individual tracks, it’s its own living breathing entity, and its best enjoyed with closed eyes, and no distraction.
Tracks such as Casual resonate with me, and I am taken away with the aural textures, so rich, yet not overpowering. To think there are six musicians all contributing to the sound, and yet it isn’t at all muddy, it’s a delight to hear.
That being said, track four, Stolidity is my true stand out moment. To go back to my earlier statement, and my comparison to Ministry, this is the cut that sets me alight with notions of Ministry. In particular, the afreomentioned Filth Pig era, where they first stripped back the whole dynamic of speed and aggression, in favour of a much deeper, and guttural experience. It’s that darker, foreboding feeling that I take from the track.
In comparison, the following track Now could easily have been lifted from any earlier Ministry album, as it shares a much more aggressive styling, and picks up the pace from a much lower level. This sets up the scene for the final anthem, Frozen, not so much a Disney film, as it’s a cold wasteland, images of singing snowmen are nowhere to be found, thankfully, replaced with a far more mature, and considered approach.
The album ends much as it started, dark and doomy, and as the dying seconds trail off into silence, the afterthought is a sombre one, it isn’t to get up and restart the album, but more so to just appreciate the silence for a minute.
The six tracks roll in at just over half an hour, and what a half an hour it’s been. Highs and lows, darkness and a little light, and most of all, a sense of a brooding darkness, which has something lurking deep within. It will be interesting to see where Ingrina go next, as right now the path could definitely split one way or the other, a more ambient pathway perhaps, or an altogether darker trail, only time will tell I guess, but I for one, will be watching with much anticipation.
Scribed by: Lee Beamish