Horror movies are so ironically compelling to us. Situations that stretch from the edge of plausible to the maniacally absurd. All told to cathartically exorcise (*wink) our most irrational terrors by projecting them in a tangible form. The Bogeyman, the maligned societal outcast, even the god-like overlords; all personifications of our physical fears. What then do you do when the dread is too abstract to be represented by characters and storylines? When the festering demon is too insidious to be physically manifested? A symphony is perhaps the best way to attempt to express the doom that is on our doorstep that cannot be articulated in any corporeal means.

Italian composer Daniele Vergine's arresting new album is a bleak harbinger of the ominous future that is approaching us like a bullet train. Under the moniker Abiura, Vergine has etched a tale of cultural calamity and spiritual unrest which is boiling over at humanity's core. Greed and gore over compassion and cooperation. Late-stage capitalism run amok. Vergine's soundscapes are stunning, weaving the jarring grinding of metal machinations with the sorrowful bellow of an earth witnessing its own destruction. There's a sense of sleep paralysis to the record. Being forced to watch the horror unfold without having the power to lift your arm to stop it. Vergine's other duties as member/composer with post-metal/dissonant, black metal band Noise Trail Immersion have given him a solid background of conjuring grim sonic assaults. However, on Hauntology, Vergine is stripped of the battle drums and demonic growls, left to convey the dreary outlook on ambience alone.

Hauntology is a continuous symphony carved out into six movements each barrelling further into a demented present. 'Abjection' opens the record much like a sci-fi horror film. A glimmer of fading sunlight in the form of richly distorted, slowly swirling synth. The unassuming characters nervously arriving on a planet, still unaware of the depths of madness that await them. They set up base camp, assess supplies, and the soldiers rag on each other with cheap, mildly funny jabs. 'Blurred Memories of a Lost Identity' scores a look back at the journey to where we are. This is where a narrator would delineate that “For a time it was good, then it all started to crack”. Ringing echoing bells sound like alarms that are yet too sweet to command the populace's attention. The board is set, the wheels are in motion. This engine we created begins to trample the meek underfoot. The sorrowful voice of the earth calling out begins to sing a gentle caution.

The Cage of Precorporation' begins to simmer with menacing static, squealing metal, and war horns. 'Desperate Aim for Momentum' counters with breathy synths recalling humanity's good-hearted attempts at preservation. 'Perpetual Waves Beyond States' slowly revs up the tension with more uneasy dissonance, foretelling a chaotic final chapter. 'The Slow Cancellation of the Future' closes out the album with a final dystopian opus. Wild screams of terror echo in the distance, the system that we set up to regulate our exchanges and drive our innovation has spiralled out into an all-consuming beast. The monster of late-stage capitalism has scorched our earth for some extra zeroes on a computer screen. The last song hauntingly trails off into the infinite showing that this system we've locked ourselves in shows no signs of ending any time soon.

Abiura's Hauntology is pitch black. A piece created to instill a sense of unrest at the prospect of this profit-centric scaffolding on which the world precariously sits. It does what great art should, it expresses the intangible. Yet even without reflecting on its heady themes, the album stands alone as a gorgeous piece of dark ambience that can stand shoulder to shoulder with some of the best horror film scores.

4.5 Stars