The noose on the cover tells you everything you need to know about `Excavation', a nerve-shredding journey into the soulless mind of Haxan Cloak (Bobby Krlic). `Excavation' is his second album, following his self-titled debut from 2011. If the noose is no indication, the name Haxan Cloak should send a shudder through you, as his is a music full of menace, mystery and darkness. Krlic has moved on from his debut which had mostly acoustic elements, `Excavation' retains these elements but the album has more of a refined electronic palette.
For half the album i was surprised by how aimless `Excavation' sounded, which had nothing to do with the sleepy pace of the music. The music is meant to be ominous and weighty, but there's so little intrigue that you fail to notice if any sense of a presence exists at all. It isn't till the last 3 tracks that the music starts to take a grip on you, with the deliciously moribund trio of `The Mirror Reflecting (Part 2)', `Dieu' and `The Drop'. These 3 tracks encapsulate all that is great about Haxan Cloak, showcasing the deepest and darkest electro you could imagine. Constantly shifting textures and melodies, equally relaxed whether visceral or ethereal, creates an emotional smothering punch of a sound thats as foreboding as it is alluring.
The music of Haxan Cloak is familiar territory now, what with the likes of Vessel, Emptyset, Raime, Andy Stott, Roly Porter, Pete Swanson, Vatican Shadow to name but a few purveyors of the hybrid industrial-dub-ambient-doom-techno community which has flourished in the last few years. Haxan Cloak doesn't yet stand out amongst this crowd of doom merchants, `Excavation' is certainly a refinement from his debut but is crippled by a lack of ideas until the last few tracks. If those 3 aforementioned tracks were an EP, you'd have died and gone to hell and loved every delicious second of it.