'This Parisian ambient project began its life attempting to join death metal and industrial, but over time, the work has morphed into an exploration of ambient soundscapes, focusing on minimalism and mood. With its heavy and ominous feel, the death metal spirit is at times still apparent in the work, but musically deep throbbing bass and deeply layered electronics have taken over and kicked any traces of guitar and blast beats to the curb.
Sylvgheist Maëlström impresses right off that bat with its opening natural disaster invoking tracks “Pompei” and “Katrina.” “Pompei” strikes a chord with its subtle tribal beats and haunting synth lines, and “Katrina” shows a mastery of the slow build as the droning gives way to an intense beat that buffets the listener like the winds of the track’s namesake. This deep throbbing bass beat persists through tracks like “Lahar – Mont Saint Helens,” “Toungouska,” and Eyjafoll,” each taking more of a power noise feel. There is also the excellent oddity of “Kobe,” which feels inspired by the work of Aphex Twin with its breaks and lighter, more upbeat tone. The album also isn’t without its missteps though; “Lisbonne” with its sound coming on so heavy and thick the song feels almost sloppy with its never ceasing wall of sound, and “Xynthia” has issues with its sound levels as its incessant droning overpowers the far more interesting arrangements in the background.
While Sylvgheist Maëlström isn’t an earth-shatteringly new direction for the ambient world, they do manage to push its boundaries somewhat with its melding of different styles and moods. Their oppressive sound and forays into some different genre archetypes make for a memorable and interesting experience, even though it can be a bit too chaotic for its own good at times. Those looking for a purely ambient album may find the style changeups a bit too jarring and intense to chill out to, but ambient fans who sometimes find the music to be a bit to stagnant may find Lahar to be just what they’re looking for.'