Rasalhague is the Dark Ambient/Industrial project by Kerry Braud of Indiana, and 'Rage Inside the Window' is Rasalhague's first full-length release, on Malignant Records no less. For the curious, the name Rasalhague comes from the name of the brightest (yet dying) star in the constellation of Ophiuchus (47 light years from earth), and originally comes from the Arabic phrase meaning "the Head of the Serpent Collector." It's been awhile since I've heard anything new from the Malignant label (not that they haven't been putting stuff out) but Malignant has always been known for quality Dark Ambient music in my book. What put me off from listening to this disc sooner is what it is thematically based on- the true story of little Danielle Crockett (aka, 'The Girl in the Window') from Plant City, Florida, who was kept isolated in squalor in a closet-sized room of a filthy house for years by her mother, Michelle. The details of the case are truly too disgustingly wretched to go into in any detail; you can look it up on web if you're curious. My preconceived notion of what might transpire on this CD envisioned screams, cries, weeping and all sorts of horrific exclamations and outbursts woven into the fabric of the music. Fortunately (and to my great relief), such was not the case for the most part.
On 'Rage Inside the Window' Rasalhague cooks up some of the best creepy Dark Ambient music I have heard in a long while. It really sounds like music of the abyss, perhaps the abyss of the mind. The atmosphere is low, slow and sludgy with occasional higher timbre drones and sounds slicing through the thick, oppressive murk. Rasalhague has obviously been well-schooled in the genre's predecessors, and know what works in this kind of atmosphere and what doesn't. Comparisons to projects such as Raison d'Ãªtre, Lustmord, Desiderii Marginis and a host of Cold Meat Industry bands are inevitable, although there is some amount of difference in Rasalhague's execution. The sound is large, often huge and full without being cluttered, yet subdued in a sense, even when great slabs of muffled noise crash like waves of lava on the shore of Hades. The atmosphere Rasalhague creates on and 'Rage Inside the Window' is oppressive without being overbearing, a feat in itself. While no track in particular stands out on its own, the work stands out as solid, classic Dark Ambient, a tenebrious delight from start to finish.
Last Halloween I went to Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights, an event where they set up a number haunted/spook/horror houses at Universal Studios. This CD would be perfect as background music for one of their horror attractions. It would even be great to play in the background while handing out candy to costumed trick-or-treaters on Halloween. (The little urchins might think twice about gaming the system and returning for a second handout in the same night.) If you're a Dark Ambient fan, this CD is a MUST HAVE. The CD comes in a very cool oversize six-panel digipak too, with suitably macabre artwork too. Well done!