This split presents three fairly young but noteworthy names, all of whom have crafted very different presentations of darkness. Lithia Spectre and Mentalny Kolaps are solo-projects from Croatia, whereas .SCARlet. comes from Germany.
This release seems to be the most official one to date for Lithia Spectre, whose part consists of three songs and nine minutes' worth of dark piano music. Aside of the first song's fitting but cheap-sounding aquatic effects and synth backing they don't present anything else than haunting and dramatic atmospheres done with a piano alone. The soundscapes sound professional and full enough, and the compositions have a good dose of atmosphere and appeal to keep the listener's attention for their duration. There's some stuffiness and imbalance to be heard, sure, but I think it only adds to the songs' feel in a positive way.
It's simplistic and short, but pleasing. I would surely like to hear a stand-alone EP from this artist. When adding the minus points for the intro's lack of finesse, her contribution gets a grade of 7- / 10
.SCARlet. presents fifteen minutes of dark and droning ambient with a touch of noise. The opening five-minuter "Halbmondfenster" is a really simple tune, consisting of a few layers of soft and slowly waving ambient that slowly turns darker and harsher. The song has a bare structure, but it works decently although it does sound rather usual and inadventurous. The following ten-minuter begins with a few minutes of pretty silent, almost minuscule layers of high and harsh notes creating a nicely ethereal and distant feel. The soundscape starts getting louder and more distorted, and by seven minutes the song is a distorted and noisy drone with some soft synths backing it up.
The songs build up with their own natural pace, but lack the character and power that would make them interesting and appealing. The soundscape is too sharp and even artificial when it comes to the distortion, and the songs don't achieve a feel of power and unison. Instead, they sound like a flow of more or less disconnected sounds that lack the contact to each other, as well as their overall purpose within the song. The artist seems to have a decent vision of how he wants to sound like, but as of now his mixture of noise-drone and dark ambient lacks the general idea that would showcase the enthusiasm and effort, and that would carry through the songs and give them their characteristic sound and traits. I think the artist might benefit from choosing a more specific theme for a track or an array of them, as it might help him notice better how and when to employ different sounds, as well as how to get the desired effect out of them. These two tunes get a 5½ / 10 for their occasional eerie feel, as well as the nicely layered structure. I would like to hear something newer from the project, just to see how its sound and determination has gone forward. Also, I can't help but wonder if the songs would've worked a lot better in a noisier context instead of a this dark one?
The last one, Mentalny Kolaps, has just one track with a lenght of nineteen minutes. It seems that his style hasn't gone through any radical changes since I've last heard his music, although I remember that the "Reminiscence"-tape sounds softer. The song presents slowly growing, calm and deep dark ambient-soundscapes, with a touch of noisiness to make the music a bit more threatening. The just a bit harsh and echoing electronics team up with some soft and soothing sounds as well as even violent explosion-like bits in the background every now and then, creating a nicely waving, layered and vivid mass of sound. It has a good dose of natural variation, but remains too much of an even field of sound with not enough high points to give the listening a flow or a rhythm despite it. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of details with the tune, but they're so in-built to the soundscape that they don't draw your attention even after multiple listens, and thus make the song a too easy one to push to the background while focusing on something else. The artist should focus on creating a soundscape with more diversity, as well as clearer variation between clean and crude sound between the songs' layers. A good tune, if you have the focus it needs. 7+ / 10
"Black Aura" is a decent split between three different dark acts. Each of the bands has enough time to convince the listener, and the overall lenght was spread between them so that the most easily approached act had the shortest playtime, and vice versa. Although the album looks rather dull, it's still clear that it wasn't put together in a minute. Worth checking out if any of the bands sparked your interest.