Dhul-Qarnayn - Jilwah
Shaytan Productions
Ambient, Ritualistic
1 songs (27:26)
Release year: 2008
Dhul-Qarnayn, Shaytan Productions
Reviewed by Goat

Another band on the rather excellent Shaytan Productions that uses the ethnic music of their homeland to great effect, Dhul-Qarnayn here present a one-track single that explores the Ambient side of the band. Hailing from Bahrain, the one-man project proves willing to take the listener on a trip through terrain that normally would not be associated with Black Metal, and indeed there’s little of that throughout this piece. After a sampled spoken word section in Arabic and some Folksy strumming, Arabic wails begin to sound out and are quickly distorted, before fading away as the track returns to the strumming. A large section of the piece is taken up by female-led chanting (again in Arabic) having a strangely calming effect, before a dip into strangely epic ambience with background rain gently massages your consciousness. More spoken word, some spooky flute, male chanting and ambience follow.

And that’s pretty much it! The promotional notes to the single partially explain it, that this concerns the black book of Satan (yezidi), and that it is chiefly for those that wish to meditate upon the black book of Al-Jilwah. Now, if there’s one thing I know next to nothing about, it’s Islamic mysticism, and given that Satanism in Islam takes an entire different trip than it does in Christianity, I’m assuming that this will be a new experience for a good 95% of this site’s readership. This is surprisingly simple, yet in terms of taking the listener to worlds completely different from their own it’s utterly effective – it reminded me strangely both of the film score work of Lisa Gerrard and the invocational chants of some of Alice Coltrane’s albums from the seventies. The one way in which Jilwah doesn’t quite work is in the periods of silence between sections, as short as they are; if one could fade into another the piece would appear to be more unified, but again, as I know nothing about the subject matter I’m sure that there’s a lot that I’m missing.

Assuming again that readers are in much the same situation as I am in regard to the meaning of the ritualistic elements of this piece, and looking at Jilwah as a piece of music in its own right, I must admit that it’s not the best atmospheric piece I’ve ever heard. However, considering that it is limited to a thousand it seems that this was not meant for common consumption, and after checking some of the band’s other releases out (via the homepage, linked above, and the MySpace, linked below) the difference in sound is enough to convince me that Dhul-Qarnayn offers more than inscrutability, as deep and complex as the likes of the Beyond Human Malice EP are, available to download free from that MySpace link. Ultimately, whilst I can’t recommend Jilwah (good luck even getting hold of a copy!) Dhul-Qarnayn is a name that anyone with an interest in hypnotic and ritualistic Black Metal should remember, especially from such an exotic background as this.

MySpace (no samples of this release, I'm afraid)
Killing Songs :
Goat quoted no quote
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