Review by: Meriel Longmore
Review score: 5/5
“Spires Over the Burial Womb” is the debut release for HAMMEMIT; the new identity of UK Black Noise project EMIT; though now featuring additional members to the enigmatic U.I./Malachi. Released by the well-respected label Total Holocaust Records (a personal favourite of mine), this is a truly stunning album, steeped in confounding mystery and evoking a morbidly religious Medieval atmosphere. After following EMIT for a number of years I was keen to hear the difference in direction that inspired the name change to HAMMEMIT, and I have to say that the album is perhaps the most consistent and effective to date. Whereas EMIT are in a similar vein to ABRUPTUM (although undeniably superior to ABRUPTUM), HAMMEMIT is totally fresh and individual. After many productive years in existence for EMIT, “Spires Over the Burial Womb” is a superlative work that takes the band to a higher level of evolution. The name change to HAMMEMIT does make perfect sense when considering that this album is clearly marking out a new phase of creative invention.
One of the aspects of this album that is so magnetic is the skill of HAMMEMIT to transport the listener to the darkest of Medieval times, no doubt one of the most fascinating and sinister periods of History. The term “Medieval” can be thrown around a lot when it comes to both Metal and experimental releases, but in this case it would be fair to say that HAMMEMIT has a genuinely Medieval ambience with an accomplished sense of historical vision. Overall the composition of the album utilizes modern electronic effects and techniques with simple structure and subtle Dark Ambience, yet the effect is colossal. I tend to think of Black / Dark Ambient as having a sort of “Butterfly Effect” when listened to; minimal yet profound and compelling in its execution. The tracks on offer here tend to feature what sounds like creepy Ambient soundscapes combined with unearthly strummed guitar effects, ethereal keyboard / piano pieces, monastic chanting, eerie spoken and whispered voices. There is an esoteric / occult religious theme running throughout the release in terms of both sound, lyrical content and aesthetics. I am by no means an expert on these matters but as far as I understand the name “Hammemit” is taken from the Egyptian Book of The Dead. One thing is for sure, this album is certainly thought provoking and fires the imagination. “Spires Over the Burial Womb” can lead the mind to themes of secret Masonic ritual, the Knight Templars, majestic ruins, alchemy, ancient magic and dark archaic wisdom, for example.
As HAMMEMIT have forged such an original sound, it is difficult to compare with other musicians or bands. However, the closest comparison would have to be to DARK AGES (Ukr), although DARK AGES tend to be inspired by pestilence and plague more specifically. Both HAMMEMIT and DARK AGES do however evoke nightmarish soundtracks to Medieval times using Dark Ambient techniques; in this sense the comparison is relevant. “Spires Over the Burial Womb” may appeal to those who appreciate artists such as VALEFOR, DARKNESS ENSHROUD, BLACK FUNERAL, VOMIT ORCHESTRA, AGHAST (Nor), BLACK SEAS OF INFINITY, EXTINCTION, etc. HAMMEMIT is an ideal choice of music for those who wish to find escapism in its most enjoyable and macabre form.