AL – 100th Anniversary is a new illustrious double CD compilation that commemorates Aleister Crowley’s celebrated spiritual text Liber AL vel Legis or The Book of the Law. Liber AL vel Legis was written after Aleister Crowley channeled the manuscripts text from a disembodied spirit named Aiwass while in a deep trance induced state. Liber AL vel Legis has in the last 100 years become a seminal text of western occult literature and has continued to inspire and engage readers and occult enthusiasts a century after its original publication.

Following in their tradition of theme-based compilations HORUS CyclicDaemon has conceived and produced a double CD compilation that celebrates the 100 th anniversary of Liber AL vel Legis. AL – 100th Anniversary is limited to 418 copies and will not be republished. The two CD compilation comes housed in a decorative A5 cardboard box that features an illustration of the master thereon on the cover. A glossy A5 booklet and a stunning foldout poster accompany the two CD’s. Each CD represents separate musical approaches, Disc I features song based compositions while Disc II features ambient, electronic and experimental compositions. All the songs presented in this collection are exclusive recordings.

Disc I features thirteen artists including such widely acclaimed musicians as Hexatanz, Duparc, Unto Ashes, While Angels Watch, Belborn, Psychonaut 75, Cotton Ferox & Genesis P-Orridge and Za Frûmi along with emerging artists such as Musterion, Encryption, Abnocto, Atrium Caceri and Transfagula.

Hexentanz the unholy union of The Soil Bleeds Black and self-proclaimed Satanists Psychonaut 75 launch Disc I with the song Oh, Blessed Beast. Oh, Blessed Beast carries over the sound established by Hexentanz on their debut CD Nekrocrafte. The composition begins with a brief passage of ambient atmospherics before erupting into bombastic orchestration. It is hard to tell whether the orchestration is sampled or original but I am taking a guess that it is original. Primitive ritualistic drumming joins the lively orchestration and helps drive the track towards an ecstatic level of decadence. After a short period the orchestration recedes leaving only the ritualistic drumming and a dark ambient atmosphere that supports male and female spoken word. After a laconic recitation from the Liber AL vel Legis the orchestration descends once more delivering the song from the deeply ritualistic to the ecstatic once more. The orchestration has a distinct vintage disposition that invokes a timeless sensation. The song cycles between various sequences marked by drastic shifts between spoken word and fragments of classical orchestration and ritualistic drumming. Hexentanz offers a stellar introduction to Disc I as they expertly capture the elusive spirit of Crowley and the Liber AL vel Legis.

Encryption offers up track four titled The Serpent Flame. Encryption is one of the many bands on AL that is headed by Simon AA Kolle and Simon Heath who are known for their collaboration on Za Frûmi and the music label Waerloga Records. Between these two artists, they comprise five of the songs offered on AL under different monikers. The Serpent Flame highlights these artists combined talent under the name Encryption. The Serpent Flame begins with industrial rumblings and the sound of heavy breathing and lumbering footsteps. The impression of some beast emerging from darkened depths is imposed upon the listener’s imagination. The song is quickly overtaken by symphonic electronics and angelic vocals provided by Lady Clarisse. The music begins mellow and serene then gently builds with the aid of drums and strings mounting into a soaring dark anthem. Lady Clarisse sings text by Aleister Crowley as she weaves a spell of enchantment with her beautiful voice. After a couple of recitations the songs switches to male vocals imbedded in the music. The male spoken word last only a moment as the finale approaches and the song ends.

Track six titled Walpurgis-Night is an incredible offering presented by the UK artist While Angels Watch. Walpurgis-Night was originally recorded for a 1998 cassette release but the song has been exclusively re-recorded and re-invented for AL. Walpurgis-Night is one of the lengthiest songs offered on Disc I as the song lasts almost ten minutes. While Angels Watch recite an entire poem by Aleister Crowley across ambient soundscapes graced with acoustic instrumentation. The real magic is in the recital, which is performed with an impressive confidence. Akin to hearing a professional Shakespeare rendition, While Angels Watch breathes life and drama into Crowley’s words bringing to life the mystical poetry of the Master Therion. The music evolves organically as piano, guitar, and various other instruments play gently over waves of pulsing ambience allowing the male vocals to remain in the center of the music largely unobstructed. The poem is intoxicating as the words unfold an understanding of life, love and mysticism.

Genesis P-Orridge and Cotton Ferox deliver a psychedelic composition of tribal drumming and spoken word as only Genesis P-Orridge is capable. Could such a compilation really be complete without the complimentary contribution of the psychedelic, spiritual, sexuality guru of our age? Cotton Ferox creates an elaborate song filled with acoustic tribal drumming and minimal orchestration that floats the stream of consciousness prose of Genesis P-Orridge. Genesis delves deeply into matters of the self and self-realization. The song breaks from the darker offerings of previous artists drifting into lighter domains of spirit and expression. The drumming has eastern persuasions and the music sounds as if it is wafting in on a dry wind blown down from a far off desert where nomads roam sandy dunes.

The second CD in the AL – 100th Anniversary collection departs from the song based compositions that defined Disc I and immerses the listener in largely experimental electronic soundscapes. Featuring offerings from such renowned artists as Gydja, 4 th Sign of the Apocalypse, The Circus of Scars, Ah Cama-Sotz, Chaos As Shelter and This Morn‘ Omina, alongside side emerging artists Hadit, Silence As Strength, 3LCF (TriLucifer), Artefactum, Satorii and Ossaserpia.

Secret Name is amongst the noteworthy tracks on Disc II. Recorded and produced by Israeli musician Stephan V. Friedman under the name Silence and Strength. Secret Name is one of the longest songs on Disc II clocking in at over nine minutes. The music on Secret Name consists of barren dark ambient soundscapes impregnated with ritualistic percussion, drumming and minor acoustic instrumentation. The mood invoked is one of a secretive ritual that is both solemn and sincere. Utilizing industrialized ambience and steady ritualistic drumming Silence and Strength creates an aural odyssey that leads the listener deep into the catacombs of Crowley’s mysticism. Stephan recites cryptic lyrics behind the music taken from Crowley’s Book of Lies. The music transports the listener into a hypnotic realm of dark ritual that is both inviting and all consuming.

Track five titled Aleister, Aiwass, & Infek is an intriguing experimental composition offered up by Circus of Scars. Notes with the accompanying booklet direct the listener to a website for a better understanding of themes and ideas integrated into the music. If you are adventurous enough to explore the website, you find an unique project created by one Infek Bin Laden. The opening statement on the website explains that Infek created the website 18 months before his immanent death in order to convey his personal understanding of death and hell to other sentient beings. The website consists of small artistic collages and art pieces assembled by Infek before his death. I found the site to be quite interesting and a thought provoking approach to a person’s diagnosis of unavoidable death. The music Circus of Scars has created in homage of Aleister, Aiwass and Infek is its own experimental collage of electronics, bass guitar, acoustic instrumentation and manipulated vocals. Aleister, Aiwass, & Infek is a spiraling journey through experimental soundscapes that gently leads the listener through vacillating dimensions of sound and expression. There is a distinct sense of remorse or remembrance akin conveyed through the multi-layered montage of sounds. Circus of Scars offering is as intriguing as the men he honors with his music.

Chaos As Shelter makes an appearance on Disc II with The Beauty of the Beast. Utilizing unconventional instrumentation such as a washing machine cylinder and a shortwave radio alongside an air pump keyboard, didgeridoo, cowbells, effects and voice Chaos As Shelter delivers a dreamy experimental composition that gives meaning to the term musical experimentation. The Beauty of the Beast groans with whining air driven key boards as reverberating waves of sound cascade across the track. Whispered hoarse vocals emerge from deep within the sighing, rumbling, background of sound. Percussive ramblings wander through cascading waves of sound and music as if lost in a dementia induced reality. The air driven keyboard floats long winded notes over a throbbing vortex of colliding resonance as sounds merge into a cohesive whole and lumber forth blindly. It is hard to encapsulate this offering in words but suffice it to say that Chaos As Shelter exercise their experimental expertise in delivering a hypnotic trance like track created by the innovative use of unconventional instrumentation.

Ossaserpia wraps up CD II with a mixture of classical instrumentation and experimental ambience embodied in the song Donkey Fell Eyesleep. The song notes state that the song was recorded at Brudenia Studio in Russia. This leads me to believe that the musicians responsible for the neofolk / neoclassical band Romowe Rikoito had a hand in this composition. Donkey Fell Asleep is a neoclassical composition that offers shimmering instrumentation that flirts with experimental compositional song structure. Utilizing classical instrumentation, Ossaserpia conjure a beautiful track of spiritually infused song craft. Approaching the domain of experimentalism from a very traditional foundation proves a success for Ossaserpia.

AL – 100th Anniversary is bound to become a highly sought collector’s item given the scope and grandeur of the music and the theme of the release. Merging occultist mysticism with modern postindustrial music has proven itself incredibly captivating. Whether you are familiar with Crowley’s occult offerings or whether you are simply a postindustrial music connoisseur AL is sure to inspire and entertain you. As with previous releases on HORUS CyclicDaemon has highly impressed us at Heathen Harvest. AL is a memorable compilation and we highly recommend this release to all of our readers.

Malahki Thorn