HORUS CyclicDaemon is a label founded in the Czech Republic that has built a sturdy reputation upon releasing highly collectable CD releases. “Lust from the Underworld” is another installment in HORUS CyclicDaemon’s collection. Staying true to previous such theme based releases as Chaos, Lust from the Underground is themed around the concept of “…Love & Eros in mythology, symbolist & decadent art.” With a concentrated focus upon “the story of Hades & Persephone & Koré & Demeter, with a special hints to the work of Peter Greenaway (The Draughtman’s Contract) and the writers of fin de siécle (such as Rémy de Gourmont, Pierre Louÿs, Josephine Péladan, Henri de Régnier, Madame Rachilde and many others…) dealing with obscenity and lasciviousness.”

To realize this project HORUS CyclicDaemon has once again canvassed the postindustrial music arena and the art photography community in order to gather a diverse array of talented musicians and photographers able to translate this vision into a musical and photographic reality. The stunning results of HORUS CyclicDaemon’s efforts have accumulated in a two CD collection that comes housed in a gold envelope accompanied by a glossy book of color photography. Each artist appearing on the two CD collection also has a photographic layout within the accompanying booklet. The photographs contained within the booklet act as an extension of the music adding a visual stimulus to the listening experience. Photographers presented in the book include Adam Holy, Vaclav Jirasek, Zuzana Stankova, Jiri Simacek, Jakub Klimo, Lucie Maresova, Norbert Knapp and Victor Tucek and ReDeSign. The photographic images tend to be rooted in the human nude portraiture and range from very straight forward to experimental. It is worth noting that a couple of male portraits made it into the collection of predominately female portraits. Lest we forget that lust is inspired by both sexes.

Disc I

The Two CD collection begins with a contribution from Jack or Jive. These Japanese natives open the Disc I with Three Swords an ethereal song filled with mysticism and spirit. Chako the bands female vocalist sings over waves of cascading ambience and layered electronics that are paired with minimal drums and percussion. The voice and ambience blend into an uplifting anthem filled with emotion and expression. Unto Ashes contributes the second song titled Wedding Dance of Persephone, Queen of The Underworld. Unto Ashes bring their medieval / neoclassical sound to bear upon the subject matter as they spin their spell using Hurdy Gurdy, Saz and ethnic percussion. The song has a very East meets West feeling and invokes images of veiled women dancing in tents amidst the dunes of a dry and forsaken desert. Unto Ashes achieve an excellent balance of ritual and sensuality as the music entwines the listener with Hurdy Gurdy and percussion while elating the soul with the snake charming tunes of the Saz. Abnocto follows with the third track titled Spiritus Arma. Abnocto is no other than the musicians responsible for the music of Za Frûmi and the fantasy music label Waerloga Records. Abnocto offer a medieval gothic song filled with harpsichord, orchestral drums, liturgical chanting and male vocals all awash in synthesizers. The mood and music will certainly be familiar to fans of Za Frûmi as it invokes images of abandoned castles, vampires, and loneliness.

4th Sign of the Apocalypse leads the journey forward with a track titled All About Narcissus, that leads the music out of the neoclassical and ambient atmospheres as 4th Sign of the Apocalypse delivers a rhythmic industrial track graced with male vocals that incessantly repeat “Its all about me…”

Detritus follows continuing the break from earlier songs as they explore an industrial fused track of looped percussion and uneasy organ chords. The song has a definitive industrial feeling as a male vocalist sings in a harsh whisper and various electronic sounds fade in and out of the organ and percussion.

Romowe Rikoito brings the music back to the acoustic realm in track six titled The Song of Proserpine. The king of Prussian neofolk offers a beautiful song filled with acoustic guitar, violin and woodwinds. Romowe sings confidently over the music telling an endearing tale of myth and magic. The music is of the highest calibre and it enfolds the listener in sweet melodies that linger long after the song ends. Maor Appelbaum follows with the song Down which is a combination of minimal orchestral sounds that are washed through with ambient electronic music. The track is quite hypnotic and is reminiscent of a film score. The music sounds narrative but the story is left to your own imagination. The Mystery School returns the music to a neofolk platform with their contribution Gift. Reminiscent of the offerings found on the Mystery Schools’ debut album and their second album Triangle of the Sun, Gift seems to incorporate the opposing sounds of these two albums. The music on Gift is rooted in neoclassical and electronic music. The song features piano as lead instrument and the ever seductive male vocals that are such a defining element of The Mystery School. The narrative tells a mythical story of love and lust imbued with naturalism and savage romance.

Chaos as Shelter presents song nine titled Leili, that combines acoustic instrumentation with electronic experimentalism in a song that exudes dark ritual atmospheres. A female vocalist chants a steady song as tribal drums and percussion play across atmospheres created with string instruments, ethnic instruments and electronic manipulations. The music is dense and darkly sensual captivating the listener as it transports you to a foreign land to witness forbidden rites. The Polish experimental music alchemists One Inch of Shadow bring the music back from the ecstatic heights of Chaos as Shelter with a slow meandering composition titled I Met Jane at the River, that is based around dreamy bass guitar lines and shimmering, undulating electronics and various sounds. The song features a male and female vocalist whose singing accompanied by the music invokes the feeling of an old David Lynch movie. Hexentanz, which is the unholy alliance of satanic musicians Psychonaut 75 and medieval masters The Soil Bleeds Black, are featured on track twelve titled Ritual Kiss to Satan, that features ritualistic percussion, dark ambience, and looped orchestral samples paired with voice samples from horror movies. Heavily distorted male vocals recite an undecipherable narrative to epic dark ritual music. The resulting song is a dense composition filled with classical orchestration, fierce samples, and sinister vocals. The first disc ends with a contribution from Musterion, which is yet another project formed by the members of Za Frumi. Unlike previously heard projects, Musterion bares little resemblance to Za Frumi as the music is based upon dark ambience and minimal neoclassical orchestration and piano. Musterion creates disturbing atmospheres filled with faltering piano chords, numerous sounds and sinister voices. A male vocalist narrates parts of the song though the narration is hard to follow. What can be digested of the narrative is disturbing and ominous. Musterion ends Disc I on a rather dark and foreboding note reminding the listener that the two disc collection is meant to transverse the underworld.

Disc II

Disc II of “Lust from the Underground” begins with a lively neoclassical / neofolk contribution from Sieben. “Forget Me Not” is a variation of the song of the same name from Matt Howden’s Sieben – Sex and Wildflowers release and is a very fitting contribution. The song uses the subject of the Forget Me Not flower to explore matters of human emotion and sexuality. The music is a lovely combination of violin, drums, and percussion. Mondblut follows after Sieben with “Unser Untergang.” “Unser Untergang” offers powerful yet sensitive atmospheres created with sampled orchestration, acoustic guitar and male vocals. Reverberating strings produce wavering drones around discriminate guitar plucking and subtle sounds. A male vocalist sings in German with a calm intensity while a looped piano melody plays incessantly in the background. The song is cold yet beautiful. Empusae known for their electronic landscapes produces track three titled “Tenebris for the Unborn.” “Tenebris for the Unborn” is a dark ambient industrial hybrid that combines creeping nightmarish soundscapes with corrosive industrial rhythms. This union of sound results in an epic dark industrial song heavily laden with dark ambience.

Delusional Day shifts the mood out of the dark apocalyptic recesses and propels Disc II back towards less murky depth with the song “Lull.” Lull features acoustic instrumentation alongside deep electronic rhythms. Stringed instrumentation is paired with looped electronic rhythms while sensual female vocals soar over the music. The song merges numerous musical influences as it combines jazz, trance, ambience and folk. The Circus of Scars redefines the mood once more with “She’s always drinking Pomegranate Wine.” A Clear reference to Persephone, Circus of Scars delivers a psychedelic electronic song that oozes with experimental electronics. If I am not mistaken Edward Ka-Spell is featured on vocals and his voice fits perfectly with the odd carnival of sounds that compose the song. Cotton Ferox is responsible for track six on Disc II. Cotton Ferox contributes “Manifesto In Dub” which combines experimental ambience and Jamaican style electronic dub music. The song is a careening combination of upbeat rhythms and unusual electronic atmospheres that merge into an uplifting and celebratory song accented by sampled voices and sound clips. While Angels Watch returns the album to neofolk with a classic neofolk composition. “Moonchild” is a pleasant neofolk song graced by classical instrumentation and strong male and female vocals that accumulate into a powerful neofolk anthem. The legendary Pink Dots lead the music back into the psychedelic domain with the song “The Chain.” “The Chain” is everything you have come to expect from The Legendary Pink Dots. Surrealist lyrics are paired with psychedelic rock and electronics that know no boundaries as they blaze a freestyle musical path.

The Hybrids who seem to have gone into hibernation are featured on track nine with a remix of their song “Lust.” Lust features a fragmented mix of electronics and female vocals. Za Frumi finally appears with the song “Through Jakesh Eyes” which is taken from the bands Vampire trilogy. Swelling, saddened dark ambience is paired with ritualistic drumming woodwinds, and string orchestration to create a dark and foreboding atmosphere of gothic beauty. Female vocals sing across the music like disembodied ghosts roaming abandoned fortresses on cold windswept mountains. The music harkens back to times long forgotten and those who time forgot to lay waste. Ossaserpia completes the second disc of “Lust from the Underworld” with the final song “A Lullaby for Greena.” A Lullaby for Greena” combines electronics and neoclassical instrumentation in swelling waves of sounds that entwine and part. The music sounds as if it is ascending towards the sun in a quest to merge with the heavens.

“Lust from the Underworld” is an epic journey through a myriad grouping of music and artists. Horus CyclicDaemon has created a monumental musical offering that has few comparisons in the postindustrial music arena. Having gone far beyond most music lovers expectations Horus CyclicDaemon has created an offering that not only embraces music but also photography and verse. Having accomplished such a grand feat this wonderful collection of music and photography comes housed in exemplary packaging that reflects the attention and commitment poured into this unique release. With only 500 copies of this masterpiece available, I highly recommend that you secure your copy soon!

Malahki Thorn