ATF (previously reviewed here) has reached eleven years of age. To celebrate the occasion, this double-album was released on the Walpurgisnacht of 2012.
What the thematic main CD presents is a holistic five-track ritual of flesh, blood and growth. The songs are based on splendid and skilledly crafted echoing ambience with a slightly eerie but non-hostile feel. This both metallic and wooden ambience is layered and detailed, and varies pleasingly in pitch and structure-wise from soft background sounds to stronger toilings and wailings that slowly get a tight grip around the listener. You're now surrounded with an aura of mystery, a feel of unknown with a welcoming feel.
The ambience has a lot of character on its own, but its the percussions and other ritual instruments that give it its true power. From gongs and various chimes, singing bowls, rattles, wooden echoes and the opening song's sounds that sound like cutting a piece of meat, the songs offer you something fresh, thought-out and highly affecting.
The songs are not only potent ambient, but certainly suitable for solitary rituals you might practice. The source sounds and mixing are in perfect check, and the atmospheres progress slowly and with all the self-certainty they need. Despite the slow paces, boredom won't be in sight.
As if the actual album wasn't enough, the bonus CD consists of over an hour's length of compositions and experimentations with acoustic instruments. I won't get into detail with this one, but in case you're wondering what the acoustic and ritualistic instruments used by ATF sound without any posti-editing nor manipulation, this one will definitely interest you. It's more experimental and happily energetic, less of a holistic experience, which makes it very different from the actual main disc. Still, it's more than just a very valid bonus. If the disc one is a growing experience for the spirit, the bonus disc is a relaxing one.
If you enjoy dark ambient, ritual music or just acoustic ethnic instrumentation, there's no reason you shouldn't buy this album.