This was another amazing year for the Dark Ambient genre and again, I had a very difficult time fine tuning my Top 10 list. If truth be told, I could have probably created a Top 50 list. Many mainstay projects created some of their best music ever, while a lot up up and coming artist created spectacular albums that could easily compete with the best of them. Either way, these 10 albums are my favorite of the year and I’m excited to share them with you. How many of these albums made it to your Top 10 list?
10. Blackweald – From The Dust Of The Old Hungarian Plains, Emerges The Invisible Claw That Drags Us Into Our Rotting Grave
Blackweald always leaves an quite an impression with each release. On his sole release from 2022, we get to experience a bold blend of space ambient, mesmerizing drones, soundscapes, narrative samples and enough field recordings to create a series of audial adventures that are spread across a ninety minute platform. Not as dark as previous efforts but certainly versatile enough to appeal to a wider audience in the electronic/ambient community.
9. God Body Disconnect – Spiral Of Grief
God Body Disconnect never disappoints and I’m always looking forward to a new album by this project with eager anticipation. On ‘Spiral Of Grief’ we get a nice dose of the traditional narrative parts with soothing drones and soundscapes that are hypnotizing from start to finish. Tracks such as “Memories Become Distant Rooms” and “The Fathomless Heart” are downright otherworldly. However, as peaceful as this recording is, there is an underlying darkness – in the form of desolation – that gives these tracks extra meaning.
8. Ajna – Mors Ultra
Ajna creates a slowly deteriorating realm of alluring drones and space ambient elegance on the nearly two and a half hour opus, ‘Mors Ultra’. Defining a process that lethargically gnaws at the psyche and combining it with an acumen of tonal clarity, this is a highly addictive album that has garnered a lot of playtime from me, hence earning a spot on my list of favorites Dark Ambient albums for this year. Not having a dull moment on the entire album, each track will have you listening (and understanding) with grave enthusiasm.
7. Eshaton – Arheia
This is one of my new favorite projects by Scorpio V. The mastermind behind Metatron Omega and Monasterium Imperi, presents another take on the Warhammer 40k sound with a much rawer style and delivery. Looping tape hisses and layers of Gregorian chants pave the way for this thirty four minute long track, as the grainy production and synth delivery is quite unique and enlightening. ‘Arheia’ presents a dark unknown from an ancient civilization that is part ritualistic and part spiritual – in the sense of how the music has such a strong, dynamic effect. It’s hard to count how many times I’ve listened to this album but even rolling into the new year, that counter will continue to climb.
6. Sana Obruent – Aftoktonia
I first became familiar with the works of Sana Obruent on the 2021 release, ‘Fatem’ and instantly became a fan. To say that I was extremely excited for another album is a huge understatement. This year saw the the release of ‘Aftoktonia’ and as expected, its a triumphant release. Nearly an hour and forty five minutes of minimalistic, looping drones. ‘Aftoktonia’ is an imposing collection of obscure tones and discordant modulations that are as eerie as they are tranquillizing. Sana Obruent excels at creating a world that’s easy to get lost in and ‘Aftoktonia’ is the ultimate, creative set to keep you there.
5. Caldon Glover – Labyrintia
Over the past few years, Caldon Glover has left quite the impression by releasing some amazing albums under a few different project names (a few in which I have reviewed on this site). However, his ultimate collection of Dark Ambient anthems just may be his current Cyclic Law release, ‘Labyrintia’. Deep, spacious drones and pronounced soundscapes make up the arsenal of this gigantic creation. With the backing of a major Dark Ambient label and a killer production, this is one of my favorite recordings of the year. It’s obvious that the passion that went in to the making of this album was spot on, as the distressed cadence and tense settings are sure to render a lasting effect.
4. Tineidae – Mothership
‘Mothership’ has been one of my most played Dark Ambient albums of the year so far. With a bludgeoning sound that reminds me of one of my all-time favorite movies (Blade Runner 2049), this is the empyrean dystopian-themed release of the year. The synth sound is so huge, portraying a trance-filled atmosphere with chronic tones and soundscapes. If this is what the distant future sounds like, please hurl me there now so that I can partake in post-apocalyptic battle for humanity, while playing this soundtrack for all to here. Such a stunning release that should be heard by all.
3. Colonial Skyway – Evening On Earth
When I’m looking for a specific type of music that provides a meditative soundtrack of wonder and openness, I look no further than Colonial Skyway. My go-to artist for all things drone, Colonial Skyway has a niche for turning monotonous noise into asomatous art that is not only relatable but introspective to say the least. Each track has a disparate style but delivers in complete solidarity when played as a whole. Not only does this album provide a level of entertainment value, but is excels at cleansing the mind of reprehensible thoughts in exchange for a positive focus.
2. Mombi Yuleman – Hours Lost
It’s extremely hard to pick a Mombi Yuleman album for a Top 10 list, especially with everything he produces is FIRE! That being said, one thing that draws you in to his music is the conceptual themes that coincide with the audio. For 2022, the album that resonated with me the most was ‘Hours Lost’. Based on the true story of an alien abduction case from 1961, ‘Hours Lost’ has a particularly nostalgic value that takes the listener back to that era for an experience like no other. Deep drones, sinister soundscapes and an alien-like vibe are some of the key factors that ensure this album is the real deal. If you’ve not heard this one yet, you’re missing out on quite the Dark Ambient experience.
1. Metatron Omega – ISIH
Metatron Omega is my favorite Dark Ambient artist and the intonations created by this project are something that must be experienced. Heavily themed in the Warhammer 40k universe, Metatron Omega uses Gregorian Chants along with malevolent ambient tones to create the most powerful electronic music around. Call me biased, but this is not only my favorite Metatron Omega album (so far), but my Dark Ambient album of the year. To top that, “Megalosthronos” just may be the best MO track of all-time. With the use of looping percussion, this song has an unusual groove and form that stands out amongst the rest. Don’t sleep on this exemplary album.
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