The Howling Void, funeral doom project of American musician Ryan, appeared on the scenes in 2009 with the splendid Megaliths Of The Abyss surprising for their ability to perfectly blend the leaden sounds that the genre requires with excellent melodic openings. The subsequent Shadows Over The Cosmos marked a stagnation in the creative process of the American one man band, partly because, after a debut of such a level, expectations were definitely high but, above all, the development of the songs denoted a certain staticity, almost as if the sonic progression had been inhibited by the desire to create a sound entrusted to more oppressive and at the same time more thoughtful atmospheres. In the meantime, Ryan has further improved in instrumental performance and the current production makes the sounds decidedly cleaner; this premise would presage, for this full length, that definitive leap in quality that was expected: unfortunately, this is not the case, although The Womb Beyond The World still proves to be of greater depth than the previous release. The feeling is that the freshness of the debut has definitely been lost, at the expense of a compositional choice that has led The Howling Void to focus on almost obsessively repeated keyboard scores, with frequent encroachments into ambient (let the closing track Eleleth be proof of this). The three long tracks that make up the skeleton of the record present a photocopied progression: a fascinating opening section, which goes on for several minutes, leaving us suspended until the epilogue in the vain wait for the spark, for something that will make the track memorable.
While I spared no attempt to penetrate the deepest folds of this album and derive from it the emotions that only this genre can give, in the end the only feeling left was that of having come across a work that is valuable in several respects but unfinished; on balance it ends up placing itself in a kind of no man’s land lacking as it is, on the one hand, the mournful melodic sense of Ea and, on the other, too atmospheric to come close to the gloomy gait of Krief De Soli, just to mention two diametrically opposed manners of but equally effective ways of interpreting funeral doom. Ryan seems to have lacked what had succeeded for him with Megaliths Of The Abyss, that is, the realization of an empathic communication with the listener; it is likely, I fear, that the path taken with The Womb Beyond The World is the definitive one but, the fact that the Texan musician was able to produce an intense and entirely convincing record only three years ago, allows one to hope that what was shown in the two subsequent releases can be traced back to a momentary lapse in inspiration and that The Howling Void will be, in the future, able to amaze again.
2012 – Solitude Productions