Aerial Ruin – Valleys of the Earth (Vendlus Records)

Friday, 22nd March 2013
Rating: 8/10

A man and his acoustic guitar. A sad man (we think) and his (equally) sad acoustic guitar. This shit will claw at you, which must be the MO for Erik Moggridge and his project, Aerial Ruin. On Valleys of the Earth, Moggridge takes the barest of elements and turns them into an honest, often morose outing that eschews dominant distortion of the gentle peddling of an acoustic guitar. It’s like the stuff you’d come up with if you had to stare out the window during a cold winter day, except Moggridge beat you to the punch.

Moggridge has a one-dimensional tone to his voice, yet it’s so simple, that it has a degree of grace to it that it’s practically soothing. The sobering opener “Amends,” dreamy “Lonely of Need,” and poignant “Hammer” are able to capture a myriad of moods, none of which are of the sunny-day variety. The folk-oriented tone “Sacraments” has an uneasy indie rock feel to it, while “Saint Yesterday” captures some graceful acoustic picking from Moggridge that would give Agalloch in their prime a run for their money.

Remarkably foreboding, Valleys of the Earth essentially forces challenged-for-words journo’s like yours truly to get creative when describing how dark an album really is. And this is incredibly dark stuff with no real parallel, except for the imagery of when one steps outside on a cold winter morning and there’s nothing but the howl of the wind…and Aerial Ruin to accompany it. Hopefully that helped.

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