As someone who writes reviews, I hear a lot of music I enjoy. The downside is that I don't often get to sit and really absorb an album in the way I would like. That said, every now and then an album crawls into my periphery and attaches itself to me in a way that I can't shake. The most recent album to burrow its way into my heart is the newest offering from Crown of Cerberus, a cassette entitled With Arms Extended to the Heavens. The man behind this, known to me only as M. Chami, is also involved in power electronics groups Koufar and Disgust. It's relatively common knowledge that the noise community can be ridden with misogyny and filth, so Crown of Cerberus, a project based on shimmering tape loops with a focus on appreciating women's might to an almost spiritual degree, seems to be something of a reaction or balance to the themes of misogyny within the noise community. Rather than using the female form as a sexual icon of worship or hatred, this project reveres the strength and beauty of the female.
My introduction to this project was last year's cassette, Her Strength, which a fellow HSS writer reviewed here. Describing With Arms Extended to the Heavens is a challenge, as it's more experiential than musical at times, but it does seem to expand upon some of the structures and concepts presented on Her Strength. The A-side contains the ambient bliss of "Exalting Her Majesty's Beauty From Every Depth of the Ocean, and From Every Mountain Top," which rotates around an angelic voice that seems to be looping in reverse, ever upward and slowly unwinding as it ascends. Lower frequencies seem to come from some sort of strings and piano, all swelling rather than appearing in anything resembling their traditional forms. Around the six minute mark, the song shifts in a solemn, slightly less ethereal tone, yet still retains a sense of radiant beauty. As the song slowly snakes towards its end, the familiar loops become convoluted and begin to decay, almost as if the song represents the entire lifespan of some holy and incomprehensible creature. As the B-side, "Bleeding Gold From Her Wrists" enters, it's apparent that this song comes from a far darker place. Shifting and crackling mechanical noise rumbles over the top of a subtle yet equally ominous and beautiful loop. The nightmarish textures displayed here are a fantastic contrast to the sheer beauty and calming ambiance of the A-side. Elements of melody attempt to creep through but inevitably become altered amid the crumbling chaos that envelops this song. While not as instantly accessible and memorable as the A-side, I find a lot more to discover with this track after repeated listens.