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Coil - Autumn Equinox: Amethyst Deceivers CD (album) cover



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siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic
5 stars AUTUMN EQUINOX: AMETHYST DECEIVERS is the third edition in the Season series of limited edition Equinox/Solstice releases by the bizarre experimental electronic act COIL. The third Season was originally released on 7" and limited to 100 copies on dark red vinyl and 40 copies on light blue vinyl. The original vinyl from 1998 only contained two tracks "Amethyst Deceivers" and "Switches" while the CD version contains three extra tracks "Regel," "Rosa Decidua" and "The Auto-Asphyxiating Hierophant." The CD has a running time of 23:36. This Season along with the other three CD versions can all be found together on the compilation "Moon's Milk (In Four Phases)"

"Regel" starts with a high pitched undulating freaky sound accompanied by wolf call vocals and some chanting but only lasts 1:13 so ends fairly quickly

"Rosa Decidua" starts off slow, sensual and lugubrious and then is joined in by the diva vocal duties of Rose McDowall and the male spoken poetry of Robert Lee. This one has a beautiful floating melody that is only expressed by synthesizer sounds that flow around each other like oil and water in a lava lamp but keeping each other in check to provide a larger sum of the parts. The intensity ratchets up. This one is like a more tripped out percussion-free version of Dead Can Dance. There is some sort of underlying folk music to it but it is properly obfuscated by the undulating synthesizers and vocal tapestry

"Switches" changes the mood from ethereal and floaty to more dark, dank and industrial. A monoambience permeates the sonicscape and remains floating for a while before synthesized scary sounds start to "talk" to each other. One is deep and kind of buzzing in sound while the other is more like a cat's meow on helium. There is also a train whistle type of sound that joins them. Emphasis is on sound dynamics entering and exiting the stage. No melodies here. This is just plain weird and otherworldly

"The Auto-Asphyxiating Hierophant" is yet another bizarre creation. It has a tom-tom drum beat that irregularly beats and keeps the synth sounds that are swirling about from creating a complete collapse of sanity. There are electronically processed vocals that are narrating some sort of tale but fairly unintelligible. The drum beat actually makes me think of a giant walking towards me as i try to hide under any suitable object in his oversized castle. It's hard to believe but every single track on this one outweirds the next. It ends with some kind of pulsating synthesized sounds that would actually feel at home on a Pink Floyd album but they cede way to the avant-chamber music again. The tension on this one is almost unbearable!

"Amethyst Deceivers" feels like standing in a sandstorm and having the grains of sand blowing start to sing but then once it all settles we hear a bizarre angular melody on synthesizers with a swooshing sound in the background. A freaky vocal begins to narrate a tale. This is not only my favorite of the Season series but one of my favorite COIL albums overall with one totally freaked out mind bleep after another. These guys really had a way of taking the listener to an entirely different musical dimension and messing with your mind like no one else

Report this review (#1616457)
Posted Tuesday, September 27, 2016 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars This is the 3rd EP in a series of EPs based on the 4 seasons by Coil. It was released on the Autumnal equinox in 1988 which was fitting of course. Coil was an experimental and mostly electronic duo that has released quite a few albums and have also worked with many artists like Depeche Mode and Nine Inch Nails doing remixes. Their music is typically quite dark and unsettling.

It starts off with a short track called 'Regel' which is made up of strange electronic noises and vocals that are a combination of singing and high pitched calling. This ends quickly and goes to 'Rosa Decidua'. This one is very atmospheric with synthesized keyboards (organ and etc.) and a nice female voice, guest vocalist Rose McDowall from Strawberry Switchblade, singing from what sounds like a distance. Soon a poetic reading starts while all of this is going on. This is a nice track with a lot of depth. There is also a nice tenor voice from Robert Lee from 'Sorrow', another guest vocalist, singing in counterpoint.

'Switches' starts out with an echoing, ambient drone. Soon, electronic noises and pulses come in, making some very interesting and captivating noises. This one is really unsettling when listening through headphones and can really scare the flibindigibits out of you. Make sure you at least have a good stereo set up to get the real effect of this track. This track really shows the ingenuity of Coil, and is worth getting the EP for. Simply amazing.

'The Auto-Asphyxiating Hierophont' is a more majestic sounding track, yet it is still quite unsettling. It is also more melodic, but in a very discordant way. There are processed, chanted vocals here, which sounds like a male and female doing a reading at the same time. While this is going on, there are strings and a thumping percussive noise playing along. Again, this is very spooky and unsettling. At the end this is all replaced by electronic noises before the strings come back in again without percussion or voices.

'Amethyst Deceivers' is the last track on the EP. There are again electronic effects with an electric harp and guitar/bass playing while more chanting is going on by McDowall. Additional voices are layered in later.

This is a very beautiful addition to the Season EP cycle. It is very ritualistic sounding, and gives one the feeling of an old folk/pagen folk music and chanting but feeling very up to date with the orchestration and instrumentation. This is one EP that is worth searching for, especially if you like this style of old ritualistic folk. When combined with the entire song cycle, this is an amazing work, but alone as it is on this EP, the biggest drawback is you wish it was longer. However, I can easily give this one 5 stars as it is the strongest EP in the cycle. You can also find the entire cycle on the release 'Moon's Milk (in Four Phases)'. This is the way I would recommend getting these 4 EPs for those that are curious.

Report this review (#2024159)
Posted Tuesday, September 11, 2018 | Review Permalink

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