Who is Crown of Cerberus? There’s little to say about the man known merely as M. Chami, the helmsman and architect behind this ambient/noise project, though you could probably decipher more information from his work with power electronics acts like Disgust and Koufar and thus patch together something of a bio. Crown of Cerberus though is his project entirely, something that exists in its own world.
First emerging with the Awakening release, it was with his 2012 cassette, Her Strength that Crown of Cerberus really gathered some attention, albeit small, in the underground and it was easy to hear why. The tape was simply stunning and outright beautiful as the sleek electronics, ambient washes and sampled voices paid homage to female figures in our lives, whether intimate or familial.
Her Strength employed shorter song structures, dynamic layering and various spoken word samples to enhance the message within. Just take the refrains of ‘Lifted By The Might of Her Mercy’, with its majestic drones lodged in between the industrial synths of various other tracks as it invokes serene and magnetic scenes. On With Arms…, Crown of Cerberus has twisted and morphed into an almost entirely new form and feature.
The new album features two totally disparate 15 minute dirges that, while fragmented, are strangely harmonious. Both protracted pieces delve into two different sides of this man’s noise. Crown of Cerberus is very much like a coin – different sides, same entity.
First song, ‘Exalting Her Majesty’s Beauty From Every Depth of the Ocean, and From Every Mountain Top’, begins to emerge from a hazy mist and sets a surreal tone straight away – one of mesmerism and allure. Lush and almost exotic vocal samples enter the fray soon after and the textures grow in depth and intensity. It’s like Crown of Cerberus has taken a cue from the female vocal sampling of one man ambient/electronic musician bvdub and glossed over it with a harrowing dark shade to make it entirely his, all the while refusing to plummet us entirely into the darker recesses. While there is a shadowy element to this track, it is still wrought with a healthy and life affirming ebullience. However, when the first song winds down and the spellbinding vocals start to fade, we find ourselves lowered into murkier alcoves.
‘Bleeding Gold From Her Wrists’ is the flip side of that coin, where an eerie sense of the unknown creeps in, which feels rather at odds with the serene and warm comfort provided by its counterpart. Intense swirls of noise, almost mechanical-like, come juddering in and out of the track. As the sounds buzz back and forth, it’s feels as if Crown of Cerberus is threatening you, only to pull away to give a false sense of security for a split second.
After about five minutes or so, new ghostly whirrs of suffocating sound begin piling up on the foundation laid down in the minutes prior. Once again the intensity swells and swells but never does Crown of Cerberus resort to simply shifting to burning velocity and amplifying the volume to harsh levels just for the sake of it. These scornful electronics may be created by artificial means but they engorge in a totally natural and fluid fashion.
Soon a brief reprieve descends but it’s not long before the enveloping swathes of noise begin to blossom their rotten flower one last time and slowly pulls the curtain on this record.
With Arms Extended To The Heavens is equally harrowing as it is comforting, two incongruent worlds colliding on one cassette and the whole experience conjured by Crown of Cerberus is utterly enthralling. Just what he does next is both exciting and perturbing.
With Arms Extended To The Heavens is released by Depravity Label.