Review 1956 : Autarkh – Emergent – English

The Autarkh machine returns with a second album.

Two years after his first offering, Michel Nienhuis (vocals/guitar, Our Oceans, ex-Dodecahedron, Strapping Young Lad,) accompanied by David Luiten (vocals/guitar), Desmond Kuijk (bass) and Tijnn Verbruggen (synthesizers/ drum machine) continues to develop his singular universe with the arrival in 2023 of Emergent, on Season of Mist.

Open Focus immediately puts us back into this « contemporary » mix of Industrial influences, oppressive slowness and disconcerting effects, from which emerge intense vocal parts, saturated or otherwise. The haunting approach of this long track hypnotizes us thanks to the very present melodies and vocals, before gradually fading out to let Strife and its heady introduction take over, revealing disturbing abrasive parts between two dark cuts. Ominous tones punctuate the composition, as they do on Duhkha, which reveals a few catchy elements to contrast with the ominous sounds in the background, contributing nonetheless to the cold atmosphere that intensifies on the foggy finale before exploding on Trek, a devastating track whose few airy effects will be our only landmark under the mechanical hurricane. The band does, however, provide a few calmer, occasionally soaring moments, as Refocus returns to its effective automatic patterns and the strange voices that wander through the rhythm, particularly effective in making us lose track of time before Aperture, a sort of soothing interlude. The disturbing backing vocals lull us back to Eye of Horus, with its relatively accessible alternative influences, which combine easily with the band’s ambient elements. Countless Kaleidoscopes returns with its gratuitous dull heaviness, interspersed with an intriguing ambience, before the album comes to a close with Ka, a composition of fascinating, contrasting darkness that eventually becomes almost soothing, incorporating choirs and a regularity as imposing as it is impressive.

Once again, Autarkh develops a unique universe. As familiar as it is unfamiliar, Emergent is sure to contribute to the band’s growing reputation, as it doesn’t hesitate to tap into Industrial’s soothing coolness to hypnotize us.


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