Though not buried by time so much, this album has most definitely been buried in dust, or more accurately, in cement. There are few bands that grace my ipod that are as obscure as “The Angelic Process”. In my experiences of talking to people and reading forums, this is a band that almost never gets brought up. They have no wikipedia page, Encyclopedia Metallum does not recognize them as a metal band and the closest thing to an official website is a myspace that was last updated June 3rd, 2009. Since there is so little information about the band, this entry is mostly going to focus on the album.
As far as I know The Angelic Process consisted of two members: M. Dragynfly and K. Angylus, of whom I have read several posts say were a married couple from the U.S. (GA). M. Dragynfly, the principle song writer, guitar player and singer, commited suicide in 2008 after sustaining a hand injury that rendered him incapable of playing music for the rest of his life, which evidently became a problem for him. It’s a sad story and “Weighing Souls with Sand” is a fine epitaph in rememberence of the life of such a talented being.
The music that The Angelic Process perform is a mixture of drone, post rock, ambient and metalgaze, that fell just a few centimeters too far from the metal tree for Enyclopedia Metallum to acknowledge their place among other drone staples such as Sunn O))), Earth and Black Boned Angel. I’m not entirely positive as to why the great overlords of the Metal Archives believe this to be the best move since this is music that is crafted for fans of metalgaze acts such as Alcest, Lantlos and Amesoeurs as well as drone fans, then again this website is but one authority on metal music.
Drone is a funny genre that takes many forms, it can assume the most primitive basic mutation of heavy music, exemplified by the soul crushing, shifting tectonic riffs of Sunn O))). It can also evolve into the polar opposite of this monolithic minimilist approach into a color filled, flurry of flashes and helixing moods, ascending to ethereal heavenly heights of euphoria, before plummeting into the slow dismal depths of meloncholy and solitude, sorrowfully mourning in loss– a.k.a The Angelic Process. This is a band who’s take on the drone formula is so unique, I honestly have never heard a band come close to relating to their sound, other than the various blackened shoegaze projects of Neige of Alcest fame, and even then the relation is one not of sonic properties, moreso one of mood representation.
“Weighing Souls with Sand” was the last album produced by The Angelic Process and the pinnacle of their sound. From front to back this piece shifts between the most pure emotions and a plethora of hues. Mixing Nadja, Neurosis, various post rock bands and heaps of shoegaze buried beneath a metric ton of distortion and reverb, this album achieves a sound much more coherent and structured then the shapeless tones that make up typical drone, which is done through repeated choruses and flagrant use of percussion; both of which are aspects seldom used in this genre.
It is almost appropriate “Weighing Souls With Sand” was such an underground relsease since the music itself describes a multidimensional landscape that permeates with an overwhelming feeling of being lost within the aether, almost like a window into a cosmic desert that has long been forgotten. The clandestine level of publicity recieved in light of this release is also very unfortunate, not only because the artist should definitely be recognized for creating such unique music, but because there are a many techniques and characteristics used that a lot of still existing bands could take note of. The gorgeous atmosphere this album breathes is one that we could benefit from hearing more often in modern metal.
“Million Year Summer” is the first true song on the album after a short pointless intro entitled “The Promise of Snakes”, one of the faster songs on the album, it is filled with sadness and at the same time there is a tone of acceptance, perhaps even glimmers of hope. This was the first song I heard by the band, and the very one that convinced me to get this album. My favorite song by far is “Dying in A Minor”, truly bleak and despondent, this is a track that moves at a snails pace and drags you painfully through feelings of loss and regret.
In my opinion this is an extremely underrated album, maybe not one of the most underrated in all of metal, but definitely within the drone subgenre. “Weighing Souls With Sand” is one of those albums that begs the listener to voluntarily experience melancholy and a bit of gloom, but in a warm and inviting euphoric tone, unlike the terrifying and self destructive suicidal black metal bands. If you are a fan of doom, black, drone, shoegaze, or any other form of ambient extreme music, I highly suggest you check this album out. It is up to the fans to unearth these unknown gems and polish them into classics so that the lives of those who forged them weren’t for naught.
-Chaz 10/8/2011 4:19pm