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High Aura'd

Sanguine Futures

(Bathetic; US: 10 Jul 2012; UK: 10 Jul 2012)

Much like recent releases from Thomas Köner and Locrian/Christoph Heemann, High Aura’d's Sanguine Futures worms it way beneath the skin, luring you in with its bewitching tapestries. Hypnotic ambient drone forms the bulk of Sanguine Features, with “Mercy Brown”, “The Northern Sky Ablaze” and “Sleep Like the Dead” carried forth on diaphanous tides (swells of splintery noise and/or subtle orchestration rise throughout). “River Runs Like Jewels” and “La Chasse-galerie” are fuller, denser works, the latter containing a feverish heart, and the delicate evensong of “Methodist Bells” guides you to the end.

Sanguine Futures is bursting with beauty (much of it heartbreakingly rendered) but the album also echoes with foreboding—a feeling emphasized when delicacy gives way to crestfallen, tenebrous noise. That sense of dread ensures that as Sanguine Futures crawls forward, it remains a palpable auditory pilgrimage of both darkness and light, where the presence of corruption is acutely felt, even when it is veiled. Sanguine Futures is mesmerizing, but it is not a passive experience. It lulls and it transfixes, but while you bathe in its kaleidoscopic ebb and flow (which evokes love, warmth and nature’s precarious splendor) it is also unafraid to illuminate loss, isolation and ruination. Ultimately, Sanguine Futures makes for a deeply personal and insular journey. Where it will lead you is, of course, unknown. But it will certainly be an intensely enlightening voyage.


Craig Hayes is based in Aotearoa New Zealand, and he is a contributing editor and columnist at PopMatters. Alongside his reviews and feature articles, Craig's monthly column, Ragnarök, traverses the metal spectrum. He is the co-author of PopMatters' regular metal round-up, Mixtarum Metallum, contributes to radio shows and numerous other sites, and he favours music that clangs, bangs, crashes, or drones. Craig can be found losing followers daily on twitter @sixnoises.

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