Secred Druid Society is an ambient-based band from Australia, and this is their debut album which was released after two EPs. The album is themed around the Earth's unfathomable inanimate elements that continue to go on through time, unaffected by humanity.
Aurally the above stands for calm but brooding, droning but still peaceful ambient layers that paint images of monumental landscapes. There may be some lower rumbling in the background, but the main focus is on the slowly moving and slightly delayed layers of humming ambience and the bit harsher electronic layers, which create a vast and chilling soundscape when put together. The individual sounds aren't too fleshy for the most part, but their often echoing sound and many layers make them sound more massive. The layers also give the songs some variation and structure, despite the fact that they don't have a real compositional progression; they're aural landscapes, if you will, and their variation is created through the listener focusing on it's different parts.
The structures have a lot of motion in them, but it seems to go to waste every now and then; it is as if the elements are moving and changing without an aim or purpose. I'm not sure if it's simply due to the concept, but I think that if the soundscape (or landscape) is meant to be cold, edgy or simply overwhelming, there should be something to which these different aspects were targeted at. Now it feels as if the album goes on without really caring or even paying attention to its listener; you can walk into the soundscape, but "interacting" with it seems to take some work.
The album isn't half bad, but I feel it doesn't achieve the dense structure and massive, even epic proportions in it's build-ups that the concept would call for. I like how the band seems to have had it's own vision of the end result and has sticked to it, instead of making it more conventional or easily digested, but I think that the soundscape could've been made stronger without abandoning the slight harshness of the ambience. The album sounds cold, but seems to lack motion which would give the coldness the spark of life it would need to fully enchance the listener. Maybe a small dose of more organic approach would've done the trick? Also, I can only wonder why the track "Dawn Over the Deserted World" has such an amount of amplified coldness in it, as it could've been used as a spice in the other tracks. The track sounds pleasing as do the rest, but it stands out too much with it's sharpness both in its sound and progress in its patterns.
I can see the landscapes, but they don't absorb me to their world. The band handles its concept well, but I find it very difficult to enjoy the album due to it's lack of life, so to say. I would've expected the landscapes to come alive and devour me, but had to settle for gazing at them and their movement right amidst them, without really being noted.
Bonus points are awarded for the beautiful packaging and booklet, both of which really lift up the album's value and enchance it as an entirety, and as an entity.