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CUT THE LIGHT approach tenebrous forms through black formlessness on “Aphotic”

Black Mara Records from Russia is a label this world needs when dark music has grown alarmingly safe and predictable. The dark ambient genre seems especially tame these days, often with artists prioritizing production values over content, or building pretentious themes the music can barely live up to let alone recreate.

The debut album from Cut the Light, a mysterious project with little to no background information, give us a refreshing blast of straight up darkness, and once more we are plunged back into the glory days of the genre, the focus itself once more being on pitch black atmospheres and fear. The term “Aphotic” itself refers to pure and absolute darkness, a place devoid of light, where demonic energies take being.

As for the recording and composition, the theme is definitely consistency, hearkening back to the days of Lustmord’s Paradise Disowned or early Endvra, where nearly every track is given the sonic backdrop of water. Water is the conduit spirits use travelling into this world, and the recording is made out to be like some sort of trip down a subterranean riverway, the waters and shores and cavernous walls and ceilings teeming with all forms of malignant life as all manner of sounds and voices and beastly moans enter the fray just out of reach of the lone traveler’s dying torchlight.

The composition itself is straightforward enough, not trying to reinvent the wheel of the genre, but pushing the envelope of tension and dread with each track, as more and more layers of subterranean madness are explored. Where an album like Lustmord’s Heresy would focus on the environment itself, and the deep subterranean rumbles from the bowels of the earth, this record takes form from the point of view of a lost traveler exploring those lost passages and encountering long-lost forms of predatory life and horrors better left undisturbed. At the heart of the album, one can even make out unearthly chanting and singing suggesting we’ve crossed the threshold to an undiscovered civilization, where their bestial rights and sacrifices to long undead gods continue unabated in the black-lit realms unseen by any human eyes.

Even to seasoned dark ambient listeners, this voyage is not for the timid or the weak. The atmosphere of this record is as obscure and genuine as a proper dark ambient record can possibly get, though be forewarned … the moment your mortal eyes glimpse the pale shores and Cyclopean ruins of the lowest realms, you won’t be coming back!


BLACK MARA presents the pitch black entity in a unique bound book with dark illustrations and description of spirits. Inside the handmade book features: audio CD, bottle of natural black oil, and black candle.