I've heard Emme Ya on a couple of compilations, such as The Pentagram and Sex Magick by the label Quartier23, but this is the first time I've heard an actual full release by them. "Beyond the Secret Flame" is Emme Ya's debut album, and as many of you might've already noticed from the song titles, it's themed around "Liber AL vel Legis" or "The Book of the Law" by Aleister Crowley.
Occult themes often call for occult music. "The Secret Flame" starts with some waving and eerie electronic ambience and lower, thin droning in the background, both of which sound very minimal but nonetheless intriquing and highly atmospheric. One of the album's core elements is also revealed right up front; a slightly echoed and softened low male voice reads the three chapters from The Book of the Law almost throughout the album, all three in their respective tracks. As the voice has some softening effects on it you often can't tell what it is speaking, and so it mostly serves as an another instrument on the album (unless you're more familiar with the book, naturally). The opening track features some tribal percussions and drums to create some high points and variation to both the composition and it's atmospheres, and they truly add their own mysticism and create a highly pleasing combination with the looping ambience.
The opener stays in a constant form throughout it's lenght, flowing forwards with very little variation, and the same goes for the following two tracks as well. "The Coiled Serpent" consists of even more minimalistic ambience and the tribal percussions have changed to some sparser and more mystical ones, with the main highlights being created by some louder chimes. The track has an even deeper mystical feel than it's predecessor, and lasts equally well through it's lenght despite the repetition and the lack of real variation. The vocals (if you want to call them that) seem to have a bit more room to show their vastness and true character and variation as well, and work surprisingly well as soon as you get accustomed to them.
"The Throne of Power" starts with some more powerful drones, rather akin to a ship's horn. The soundscape is not as easily separated into parts, as it seems to be based on a layer of field recordings or other sounds that are hard to identify, along with the aforementioned drones giving the song power and drive. The layer of droning is denser and more powerful than on the earlier tracks, and it has a more overwhelming, even (to some extent) invasive feel. The distant crackles and what-not make the again simplistic soundscape sound more complex than it really is, and keeps the listener's interest up really well.
Overall the album is really pleasing, but be take heed that it'll pretty much need your fully attention and a loud volume level to function as it's meant to, simply due to it's bare structure and nature. The artist could've given the songs more detail, and the vocals could've been executed in a way that would've made them more interesting on their own.It's a really good droning ritual music album, if you're willing to give it time to comprehend the artist's vision about The Book of the Law. I bet that the artist knew that the album is quite difficult to grasp or understand, but he still remained true to his vision and ideas instead of taking the album to a more easily approachable direction. I respect that. Ritual music, to be enjoyed and explored in solitude.