I’m a big fan of music that tells a story. It’s something that seems to be a consistent trend in the music world recently and Ager Sonus, synonymous with his use of moody, ambient scores, certainly achieves this in his newest album, Mithra. With a mix of minor-key string segments and self-contained motifs in each of the 8 tracks, Ager Sonus delivers a memorable and unusual musical journey.
Taking us back in time to the height of the Roman Empire, Mithras depicts a fantastical ambient score, one that sees you stumble through dark, treacherous caverns and war-torn battlescapes to eventually come across the Cult Of Mithras, a mysterious group that were known to worship the Deity, Mithras.
‘The Settlement’ opens the album; a track with a few minutes of long, rising string segments before teasing elements of light guitar strums. From here, ‘Carpe Noctum’ shows off a much more deliberately paced ambience, using bongos and flickering sound effects between the left and right channels to give the impression of an army marching off to war or, in this instance, searching for the Cult.
The dripping sounds that begin ‘Beneath’ show off a much colder side to Ager Sonus’ ambient music which takes on a dark facade from here, slithering its way past ‘Initiation’ before being replaced by the piano dominated ‘Dawn’. ‘Reborn’ then goes on to re-introduce the harp and guitar strums from earlier in the album along with a bolder sound and quicker chord changes. ‘Ritual’ turns the album toward a much more triumphant, major-key celebration before ending on an ominous, thought-provoking notion in ‘Banished’.
Each track highlights a dominant instrument, helping to keep the album feeling fresh and avoiding stagnation from settling in. From the light, echoed piano chimes in ‘Dawn’ to the methodically paced, drum-heavy ‘Carpe Noctum’, each of these songs feel unique whilst allowing the stringed, ambient segments to dominate the audio channels and keep everything tied neatly together.
Quite what happens narratively during this musical journey is left up for debate and that’s partly what makes Mithras such an endearing listen. It’s an album that allows the imagination to race and for that alone I’d strongly recommend this one to any aspiring writers, painters or fans of instrumental music as a whole.
It won’t be for everyone, and much like his previous work Ager Sonus probably won’t appeal to a broader audience. Tightly composed and consistently engaging, Mithras is another solid instrumental album and one well worth a listen if you’re in the mood for letting your imagination run wild.
Verdict - 7.5/10