Chambers has a lot of things that make for an interesting listen. The tribal percussion, ambient arrangements, and dark atmospheres are something that Senmuth has trademarked over the years, but this outing is even darker and more haunting than many other of the man's other ethno-ambient albums. This is the type of album that should immerse you, and simply allow yourself drift into the creepy ancient atmosphere that Senmuth has tried so hard to create. Although there are a few parts that are easy to lose yourself in, a good chunk of Chambers is a boring and repetitive attempt at trying to create a certain atmosphere without fully living up to its own expectations. Something here is missing - whether it is the often mediocre compositions or occasional lack of a human touch, the majority of this album doesn't exactly "grab" me like other Senmuth albums have. Unless you've heard most of the work from this prolific one-man-act, there are many better places to turn than Chambers.
The music here is self-described by Senmuth as "Ethno Ritual Dark Ambient", which is a good overall description. Although the often sterile sound can take away from an authentic experience in such a genre, it is generally portrayed rather well. The booming percussion gives of a tribal-like feeling, which is complimented by some ambient synths. The main problem in Chambers is the compositions, which often feel lifeless and uninspired. Although there are some nice moments in most of the songs, they are few and far between. Even right after an extremely focused listening session, it's difficult for me to recall more than two or three melodies from the entire album. The songwriting is simply not very memorable and not nearly as immersive as it should be. Although Senmuth does a pretty great job with the sound and arrangements here, the music that's backing it up isn't among his best. I hate to say this, but a good amount of Chambers sounds like background music to something much better.
The production is, as we're used to from Senmuth, excellent. The sound is spectacular and sounds great in every aspect. I have no complaints here.
Although Chambers isn't a terrible album, I don't think anyone aside from die-hard Senmuth fans would find much warrant here. There's some quality on this album, but the vast majority of the release falls into the "what could have been" category. I'll give Chambers 2 stars. If you're not a Senmuth veteran, I wouldn't recommend jumping into this one.
1. Davison's Chamber
2. Wellington's Chamber
3. Nelson's Chamber
4. Lady Arbuthnot's Chamber
5. Campbell's Chamber