Cellblock Reviews


Dark. /ultra rock

Imagine… you find yourself in an old deconsecrated jail, facing a nerver-ending corridor lined on both sides by cells. The walls, once white, are covered by a texture which appears to be a mixture of rust, mould, mud and dried blood: the smell and the appearance of stirred past. ATRIUM CARCERI leads you along the corridor and shows you the proof that walls have memories.
Cellblock… imprisonment, the listener’s unhealthy claustrophobia. Between the keyboards’ layers which create an oppresive but also evanescent, elusive atmosphere, the sounds seem to come from far away. First, this beat, slow at the beginning, a heartbeat, the listener fears that it will stop, that life foresakes it, but the heartbeat speeds up, the fear, the anguish, it’s becoming a hellish hammering, an insane countdown, a panting breath comes over it, this track was called Entrance, you’ve entered the corridor, you’ve dived into the bleak atmosphere of an unhealthy past.
The work as a whole follows an obvious progression, it unveils itself and surrenders little by little, by the second. Some fleeing sounds are added to the morally straining atmosphere, as one who would seize a strange shape at the corner of his vision of field. The industrial sounds are a perfect reproduction of the carceral universe: a sound of steel, the loading of a gun, a far-off explosion, doors that open on mystery, on the unnamable, cries, souls and often only a deafening silence echoes them. The hypnotic rythm materializes a ghostly presence by your side… Are you sure you heard this sound? The narrow windy boundary that separates you from the jail is growing thin. You sing into paranoia, it’s becoming impossible for you to tell the difference between the jail’s universe and your own.Your own nightmare begins, but a morbid fascination prevents you from stopping this “macabre danse”.
Let yourself be overcome by the deep reflection crouching in the heart of the notes and at last unveiled in Reborn, associated with owymoron to an autopsy report: a great deal of life is struggling in this hostile void, even the deads don’t want to leave… Don’t try to make sense of all the sounds, juste pay attention, let them impose themselves on you, imagination will do the rest. It’s your imagination alone that makes this work unique and different for everyone. Inner Carceri: may be this jail was nothing else than your own body, your own mind. May be this trip was not so much a journey into a deconsecrated jail but a journey into yourself.

Beauty and Pain

Looks like CMI is going back to the more retro feel of bands like Arcana, Raison De Etre, Sephiroth and Desiderii Marginis. Odd Glitches, Minimal Symphonic string arrangements and a Dark Dark overtone. Atrium Carceri almost feels like were Raison De etre left off years ago and Sephiroth have just started exploring. This has a very occultish vibe to it as well at times almost like Schloss tegal or Kerovnian. The Haunting pianos and what sound like trapped demonic forces are so important to the overall effect of this title.This is one extremely impressive dark ambient release. And will be welcome addition to all the CMI artist you have grown to love.

Paniscus Revue

Quiet, subdued, yet haunting little soundscapes from the Simon Heath asylum. Although each of these twelve tracks seems more like a fragment or a glimpse into the darkness of Atrium Carceri than a complete piece, together they jigsaw into a goosebumping soundtrack. Whispering echoes, cautious footfalls, and muted voices sweep through the darkened halls of Cellblock, along with the occasional feral sound of an animal or invalid who has returned to take up refuge in this damaged nest. Abuses of long ago are recalled and relived, as broken restraints click and clatter and something moving in a sack is dragged through fallen corridors, past boarded-up rooms where unspeakable acts might still be occurring. (All coming back to life and taking place in the middle of the night, of course.) All the while hushed electronic tones are lending an atmosphere of subtle menace to the entire exploration, manufacturing an understated ambiance that very capably creates an impression of abandonment while at the same time building a hesitant apprehension of what may break through the barrier of bad memories and dreams being resurrected here. Each time I’ve listened to it, Cellblock has brought the film Session 9 very forcibly to mind, and if you enjoyed the film you will no doubt appreciate this recording.

Maurizio Pustianaz/Chain D.L.K.

Old jails’ walls sweat desolation and pain. By looking to the cover of the Atrium Carceri’s debut album CELLBLOCK, you can feel it and you can almost smell it. Also the other photos of the booklet make you feel a sour taste into your mouth while you watch them and this is a good starting point, if you think that you haven’t listened to the music yet. When you put the disc inside your CD player, the walls of your room start to rot and you begin to understand what was that certain look painted on the doll’s face, that is looking to you by the rear cover… Simon Heath (member of Za Frûmi) made an impressive debut album by recording twelve tracks full of pathos and diversified atmospheres. Simon wanted to expand the concept of darkwave music by creating well done sick soundtracks, packed with interesting samples (whispers, gates creaking, Japanese voices, metal percussions, etc) and tense moments. Fortunately all the cure he put into the recordings and into the composition won’t allow you to get bored or to get relaxed. Warders are coming to get you… this is your new nightmare!


This is a solo project of Simon Heath, member of Za Frumi (Waerloga Rec.). This is his debut album with the well known (to the lovers of darkest sounds) Swedish label Cold Meat.
Cellblock are cries from deep within the prison. At first sight it could be unimaginable to think of enough inspiration by three walls, small window and a grate. Not for Atrium Carceri, that tells more than that. He tells stories that those walls have seen – from entrance to despair. Stories of their dwellers, their insanity and for some hopelessness. Ambiental complex and abstract music is filled with dreadful sounds that chill you down the spine during the whole voyage.
Put the CD in, close your eyes and immagine yourself trapped. Now what do you feel? You’ll be able to label this album as a masterpiece.
Reviewed by Editeur