The Haxan Cloak

A couple of years ago a crudely put together CD-R with the words The Haxan Cloak scrawled on it made an appearance. The music was sparse, gloomy but also strangely beautiful in a lo-fi way, but merely a taste of what was to come on this self-titled debut for Aurora Borealis. The alter-ego of sound-artist Bobby Krlic who also moonlights as touring guitarist Wild Palms, his debut is as dark and chilling as they come and sees the young musician crafting, organic rituals that could be a soundtrack to some age old horror story.

Making use of various different instruments including cello, violin, homemade percussion and harsh electronics, each track builds layers of sound while withdrawing them at the same time so that on a track like ‘An Archaic Device’ there’s a definite classical sensibility to it, albeit one that fills the listener with an acute sense of dread as the strings slice through the dark ambient landscapes. It’s a style he uses again on ‘Disorder’, except here he builds and builds while what sounds like an army of spiders march through the middle of the track.

The latter half of the album sees him exploring a slightly more electronic side to his craft, with the violent sounds that open up ‘The Growing’ being quite the shock to the system. An eerie throb runs throughout much of the eight minutes, as distorted tribal thuds grow ominously in the background culminating in a powerful appearance from Trencher drummer Liam Sparkes that sees grindcore enter The Haxan Cloaks ever-growing palette of sound. This is a mightily strong debut from a man with an immense scope of sound and talent. On hearing that CD-R two years ago, it’s doubtful you would have thought that something this inventive and unique might surface.



out of 10
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