It’s been quite a while since I wrote anything about the bands and music I wish more people were aware of. Last time I wrote anything about music was when I wrote about 2015 videogame soundtracks last year, but, apart from that, it’s been 5 years since I wrote about 2 really interesting bands – Floater and Soul Coughing. This time I want to write a couple of words about a Saint Petersburg-based project, which is, sadly, technically not existing anymore. The masters of haunting, dark and yet hopeful melancholic ambient – Anthesteria.
As it often happens with me, I actually learned of Anthesteria through the games. You see, even though this mysterious project existed since 2000, in mid 00s it became an integral part of a no less mysterious small game development studio called Phantomery Interactive and composed music for both of the projects Phantomery were able to release before, sadly, quietly dissolving somewhere in late 2010. Although, it’s alumni worked on other projects, most known and similar to old ones being the free first person first person adventure game called Process.
Anyway, point is Anthesteria was responsible for creating beautiful and haunting melancholic soundtrack to Sublustrum (known as Outcry internationally, because The Adventure Game company are idiots), slightly reminiscent of the mood The Cellar of Rats were going with Scratches soundtrack, yet much less focusing on orchestral beauty and creepiness strings can bring, and more focusing on multi-layered ambience and melancholy. And they were also responsible for the dark and brooding electrifying ambience of Phobos 1953 (which had an even more terrible international title of 1953 KGB Unleashed, which, in addition to all that, is currently sold illegally digitally with Phantomery not getting paid). To give a good sample of how it sounds, I’ll embed the title theme:
And if you’re suddenly getting Metro 2033 vibes, it’s not accidental, as Anthesteria later went to compose the soundtrack to the original Metro 2033, some outtakes of which were, seemingly, even included in the updated Redux version in newer parts (like this unused mix of the main theme here). If you’re anything like me, the soundtrack of the original game was a huge part of it’s success, with its mix of this kind of dark brooding ambience and simple guitar tunes. Something that got lost in a much more bombastic, but more plain, production of the sequel.
If you got interested, and I hope you are, the next sad part to tell would be that getting their music today might be a bit problematic. Apart from the fantastic Phobos soundtrack I linked above, the same label also published the Anthesteria’s unreleased tracks compilation. Technically, it’s more of a “tracks that were released in various forms previously, but can be hard to get today”, but still, it’s a shame that it doesn’t seem possible today to get the other releases of the project digitally, apart from these two. I definitely urge you to give Anthesteria a listen.