This is my second Celestial Ephemerides posting but the first one that dives into the Dark Ambient genre. Like I mentioned previously, I’m hoping these summary reviews will tide you over while I plow through my endless list of review requests with the hopes of getting caught up one day soon. All of these albums are incredible and it would be awesome if you would show your support for some (or all) of these amazing releases.
1. Cryo Chamber – Tomb Of Wights
Cryo Chamber Label’s Tomb Series, is one of my favorite collections of Dark Ambient releases. Instead of the typical collaboration effort, the Tomb series brings together many artists and allows them to provide their own cinematic input based on the theme. ‘Tomb Of Wights’ is an exceptional addition to the series and features some of my favorite Dark Ambient artists. The majestic quality of these tracks flow effortlessly, while magnificent drones and soundscapes provide a groundbreaking experience in audial sub-harmonics.
2. Deus Ex Lumina – Summoning
‘Summoning’ is a very unique album and is not typical of the Dark Ambient genre. Monolithic drones and callus soundscapes lay the foundation for vibrant orchestrations and symphonic melodies. Additionally, beautiful female vocals and worldly musical intonations can be heard throughout this recording, adding a delicate layer of harmony and variety. This is one that you can definitely go back and listen to over and over again.
3. Hiemis – Radix
Hiemis is the real deal when it comes to introspective Dark Ambient. Taking a minimalistic approach, Hiemis builds upon dreamy drones that border warm and dark ambient variances and instead of relying on heavy use of field recordings and sonic soundscapes, rich synth textures creates the dynamic and robust atmosphere. ‘Radix’ epitomizes all of these qualities and delivers an auditory masterpiece that is equally soothing and appealing to the depth perception of a cinematic music imagery.
4. The Oracle – Hypogeum
‘Hypogeum’ is way more than a Dark Ambient album; it’s a visionary conquest in experimental & electronic music in general. Although robust drones are used through this recording, it’s the excellent use of percussion, industrial soundscapes and the variety of synth tones that makes this such an adventurous outing. This is an audial experience that must be heard to be understood and thoroughly appreciated.
5. Harrogat – Ignotvs
When I’m in the mood for indisputable drones of the highest order, I usually look no further than Harrogat. ‘Ignotvs’ is a deep dive into the bare essence of Dark Ambient music and focuses on elongated drones and extremely bleak atmospherics. One advantage of this style is the complete embodiment of mind over matter and the ability of the listener to submerge themselves into a deep state of relaxation and remission from reality.
6. Sydalesis – Dark Beam
Although not quite Dark Ambient, this is some of the most exhilarating ambient music that I’ve heard in quite a while. I can sense a huge Max Corbacho influence on these tracks as ‘Dark Beam’ has an effervescent quality about its tone and overall seamless flow. The Space Ambient quality that can be heard throughout is like an emotional ride through an euphoric realm. Very high-quality ambient music here.
7. Vortex – Helioz
‘Helioz’ is a daring Medieval adventure told through experimental musical and divine vocal narrations that will transport the listener back to ancient times. From whaling guitars, galloping tribal beats and engaging drones to foreboding soundscapes, this albums is the complete journey for the wandering mind. I guarantee that you won’t find many albums of this kind, that are completely enthralling and mesmerizing. Good luck waking up from this mystical expedition once the final song finishes.
8. Undirheimar – Heljarrúnar
This album is beyond amazing! Undirheimar sounds like a cross between Wardruna, Phurpa & Ashtoreth and ‘Heljarrúnar’ is a result of that fantastic fusion. This is ritualistic Dark Ambience at its most imposing stance. The overtone singing chants are the sustenance of these tracks, but the deep drones and primal percussive parts play a huge factors in creating an over-the-top cinematic experience. This is a must-listen for fans of ritualistic music.
9. Desiderii Marginis – Departed
The variation of musical compositions on ‘Departed’ is beyond compare. From subdued drones and alluring soundscapes to astonishing vocal effects, this album has quite the mixture of Dark Ambient components to invoke various emotional states. In addition, evidence of synthwave can be spotted in several tracks, broadening the scope of sound to a more satisfying level.
10. Cernichov – The Mold Legacy
Pulsating, industrialized noises, distorted modulations and a conglomerate of obscure drones make up the bulk of the landscape on ‘The Mold Legacy’. These trance-like compositions are as crushing as they are mesmerizing. Although every track offers something a bit different, don’t expect smooth soundscapes and translucent textures. This album is a maniacal platform for agony relief, yet at the same time the listener will feel totally enthralled with the spacious vibes of each arrangement. This is not one to be overlooked.
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