Experimental Iranian musician Xerxes The Dark produces a distorted soundscape in his new ambient and drone metal album Soundtrack to the Blind Owl, referencing the major Iranian literary force, The Blind Owl, a 1937 Sadegh Hedayat novel which was subsequently banned due to its link to suicides across the country, including the author’s himself, who took his own life 10 years after penning the story.

Xerxes The Dark, who also uses the pseudonym Morego Dimmer - deriving from his name Mohamadreza G. - describes the album as “creepy,” and listeners are invited to imagine the tape as the sound accompanying Hedayat’s original story: a disorienting vision of a man’s descent into desolation.The artist makes it easy to obtain such a picture through the intensely unnerving effect induced by the edged industrialism of the album’s harsh riffs and the punishing shifts in modulations that disturb any sense of bearings.

A comfortably distinct and dissimilar sound, Soundtrack to the Blind Owl resembles its inspiration in its deliberately unpleasant form of surrealism and the terrifying portrayal of a personal dystopia.

Flowing as one warped sound without clear borders between its six songs, the album’s blend of assertive distortions over ambience gives it an all-occupying character of invasiveness, trapping listeners within its seemingly unending abyss.

But Xerxes The Dark never promised to deliver an easy listen, and while it demands committed listening, the album as a rendition fulfills its intention and conveys a dark-mirrored image of disfigurement.