19. Lustmord - Heresy (Soleilmoon Records)
When speaking of certain types of music, one can (in most cases) identify the artists who define the various genres. When one thinks of grunge: Nirvana; when one thinks of jazz: John Coltrane; when one thinks of blues: Robert Johnson; and when one thinks of dark-ambient: Lustmord. You may already be asking the question, "Hey Amneziak, is dark-ambient really a genre, and is it even large enough to consider it on the same level as the others?" The answer is both yes and no. No, it's not as large as the others, but yes, it is an ever-growing movement that has congregated a number of supporters.
Not only does dark-ambient music have quite a following, but it has motivated many musicians to incorporate its dark atmosphere into their own works: particularly in the doom, black, and death metal sub-genres. Now, chances are you haven't heard much of anything about Lustmord, so why should this name immediately come to mind in regards to dark-ambient music? For starters, Brian Williams, the solo performer of Lustmord, made Heresy before the dark-ambient genre had been clearly defined. In a sense, he started the entire movement with this recording; or at least that's what some people believe. And second, because there have been so many albums since its release that have tried to imitate the atmosphere and imagery that it so greatly possesses.
Broken up into six parts, Heresy defines a sound that embodies cold, dark, and empty surroundings. The album was recorded in several cavernous locations, and then it was manipulated in the studio with help from London-based artist, Andrew Lagowski. The cover art, which is the painting "The Great Day of His Wrath," by John Martin, is the best indicator of what Heresy sounds like. You have a sense of being trapped deep in the bottom of a deep cave where you are forced to listen to some eerie rituals taking place; only these ritualistic activities are just far enough away that you can only imagine them in your head. Echoing drones and noises are the best examples of how this album gets its ambience, while the rest comes from distant cries of humans and animals. The imagery it portrays is not something you'll have to work too hard at to find.
Brian Williams has gone on to record many great albums since, including work for movies, commercials, and collaborative material with Robert Rich. However, Heresy is my favorite of the lot. It's an album that executes everything perfectly. I love my music dark, and it never lets me down. There aren't too many albums that encompass the same consistency as it does. Even though there are albums with darker and scarier themes, this should be the first thing you hear if you are new to this type of music. Once you have, the name Lustmord may even be the first name that pops into your head the next time you think of the dark-ambient genre.