Dante Tomaselli - Witches
Released by: Dante Tomaselli
Released on: March 24th, 2017.
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With 2017’s Witches, Dante Tomaselli releases his fourth album (you can read our coverage of the first three here) of spooky, soundtrack inspired instrumental music. The first of the thirteen tracks on the album is Atheist. This two minute opening track is a strange mix of ambient noise, samples and pulsing, John Carpenter-esque keyboard work. It sets the tone for what is to come quite nicely, aligning itself to a retro aesthetic while at the same time forging out its own unique style.
From there we move on to The Devil, a three minute continuation of the first track, again working in some interesting samples that make sure you’re paying attention while simultaneously continuing to build mood and atmosphere. It’s a weird, trippy soundscape full of swirling evil and tone deaf and brimstone preachers. Kundalini Serpent is a bit livelier, far more rhythmic, even danceable, really. The keyboards pulse and the drum machine keeps time while an exotic, Middle Eastern influence seeps into things in interesting ways.
Lucid Dreaming is a two minute mellowed out sort of trip, with some ambient noise worked into the track for good measure. Otherwise, it’s a bit more calming than most of the other material here. Caverns Of Hell takes things back into horror movie territory, it’s four minutes of howls and growls, guttural echoes and strange waves of darkness that roll over you like a bulldozer. Religion returns to the strange sample archive that Tomaselli was pulling from one some of the earlier tracks. Similar themes are explored here – weird religious ranting, equally odd political leanings, that type of thing. Dirgy percussion plays out behind this while the keyboards continue to swell and throb in bizarre ways.
Witches' Sabbath sounds just like it should – ominous, eerie, spooky, otherworldly. There are times where an industrial influence works its way in and the track goes from ambient to heavy, but those moments are fleeting. Most of the time this one is two and a half minutes of pure atmosphere. The Moon is a bit livelier, hardly celebratory or lighthearted, but definitely less dark than some of the other tracks here. There’s a break early in the film that makes you anticipate something – you don’t know what, but you know something is coming. It gets there, and when it does, you almost feel relieved. River Styx is on the longer side at just over four minutes. The title is appropriate. The track has a very liquid sound to it, and at one point it shifts in tone enough that you feel as if you’ve crossed over.
That track segues directly into The Black Hole, which is almost eight and a half minutes of sonic hell (now we know what we’ve crossed over into!). The track has an industrial whiplash to it, the kind that pulls you in and then pushes you out over and over again. Witch Hunt is a quick one minute barrage of pulsing keyboards and ambient noise that is over before you know it – but it does serve the purpose of leading you into The Dungeon, which is four minutes of gothic sounding instrumentation delivered with equal parts fervor and sadness, but again with that same pulsing keyboard keeping time… and more of those insane samples. It all comes to an end with The Ocean, a three minute track that sort of summarizes the whole experience. Strange and ominous tones mix with quirky rhythm and then… silence. It ends abruptly, but appropriately, another great soundtrack from Tomaselli for a film he’s yet to make.