Raison d’être is another one of those bands that I’ve been meaning to listen to for some time. My first knowledge of Raison d’être came from the old CMI homepage. While going through there, I cam upon the description of Raison d’être, which mentioned that it was the perfect music to listen to in haunted monasteries and abandoned factories. How could I not be interested?
There’s a pretty interesting mix of styles on this album. There are sombre, forboding synth melodies oozing in and out of every part of this CD — this is the dominant instrumentation. Raison d’être also uses the ever-popular monk chants in a pretty noticeable as well, creating a definite mood here. But other noises appear as well, mechanical semi-harsh noises that wouldn’t sound so bizarre coming from labelmates Mental Destruction. Ethnic tribal flutes and percussion also chime in, adding to the organic nature of this work.
The album starts off, appropriately enough, with “The Awakening.” Flowing water slowly gives way to chimes, bells, and flutes and then surfaces again. The dark synthwork that dominates this album sweeps across the whole piece. Perhaps a soundtrack to a Tibetan monastery? The synthwork certainly conjures up images of Tibetan monks going about their chants. I’m soaring through the Tibetan highlands, to forbidden and exotic locales. The entire piece has a very calm, contemplative sense about it, somewhat preparing you for what it to come.
Then from the calm into the storm. “Spire Of Withhold” is very dark and abrupt as compared to the previous track. Monk chants are used quite a bit, but they’re European. The whole piece has a sense of urgency and apprehension about it as haunting. This mood carries over into “In Loneliness.” A single soaring chant is punctuated by chimes and gives way to subtle, ominous windswept synths. The single monk’s voice chanting “alleluia” slowly fades away. “Soprhosyne” has this feel as well, and is probably my favorite track. Monk chants mix in with crystalline chimes and bells as soft, melancholy synthwork slowly filters through. Something to listen to while watching the sun stream in through the stained glass windows.
The album ends with “Pathaway,” an expansive track that starts out with muffled rumblings and subterranean noises. The cold winds blow and rattle around. The synthwork gently asserts itself at first and then just surrounds you in sorrow and melancholy. Suddenly you’re in the middle of a rainy day. The track greatly reminds me of some of the songs on Hilmar Orn Hilmarsson’s excellent “Children of Nature” soundtrack.
Is this album dark? Yes, very dark. But it has a very natural feel to it. Rather than trying to conjure up fears of the unknown or dark terrors lurking in some hidden part of the universe, like Lustmord, Raison d’être conjures up an almost darkly religious sense. There’s an interesting mix of eastern and western sounds on here, adding a very ethnic feel to it. The sounds complement eachother fairly well. Any fans of the whole darkwave/gothic genre will do themselves well to check out this release. Not something I’ll listen to at every waking moment, but definitely a mood piece, but one that evokes a sense of power and majesty amidst sorrow.
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I've also written for Christ and Pop Culture, ScreenAnarchy, Filmwell, and Christian Research Journal. I pay the bills by creating beautiful user interfaces and websites for Firespring and Red Bicycle.