To some extent, this particular review is like coming full circle. Back when I first started The Dungeon In Deep Space in August of 2019, my very first review was the second album in the Planetary series by Ruptured World called, ‘Archeoplanetary’. I’ll admit that – although it was a great album – my review was pretty lackluster, probably due to the unforeseen direction of this blog. Now, nearly four years later, I’m extremely excited to review Ruptured World’s latest offering, ‘Xenoplanetary’. This appears to be the forth and final installment of the Planetary series and if that’s the case, it concludes this epic story in a magnificent blaze of glory. Although not your typical Dark Ambient album, Ruptured World has expanded the audial palette to include hypnotizing, electronic beats and remnants of dark noir jazz. With that – and including a story that is masterfully narrated – this album has already reached S-Tier status (for me at least), and boldly catapults the Dark Ambient genre to searing new heights.
Wasting no time in showcasing the new sound described above, “Emergency Thought – Cast Distant Messaging” slowly fades in with a mechanized, electronic beat that is more reminiscent of a sound that you would hear in a smoke filled Jazz club than with a typical upbeat percussive style. A looping keyboard chop plays a somber melody while droning soundscapes provide a textural backdrop of mesmerizing beauty. Sporadic sound bytes of communication frequencies and radio transmission acts as a prerequisite for the storyline and after a short break, that’s exactly what we get. The Macrae family legacy begins to unfold as a short narrative contributes to the preface for the rest of the album. “Tenebrous Wetlands” commences with a continuation of the narrative as a slow blend of drones and elongated keys softly plays in the background. More communication anomalies can be heard and the drones continue to expand as the song unfolds. About halfway through, massive synth tones create a dreamy space of haunting atmospherics and obscure melodies. “The Cruel Darkness” is where this ominous story takes a menacing turn. While the narrations continues on with this compelling story, the music feature another killer drum beat, alongside an atmospheric ride through spacious drones and harrowing synth effects. As this track continues to slowly build, a sense of angst begins to take over. Layers of keyboard chops and industrial modulations intensifies, albeit in a looping pattern. “The Telekinetic Amassment Of Being” start with the perpetuation of Phoenix Macrae’s mission with a strange twist on the spoken word delivery that includes voice manipulations, echo effects and eerie loops. As the story unfolds, immense drones proceed eloquently and take over as the focal point of the track. As this sound modulates at a steady pace, soothing drum textures and harmonious synth play a darkened groove that only Ruptured World could pull off in this type of musical adventure. This combinations creates a trance induced pattern that is imposing as well as easy to get lost in. With an eager enthusiasm, the entertaining escapades of Phoenix continues to play out on “Enter The Labyrinth”. A chaotic blend of radio transmissions unfold, as it provides cryptic clues for this ever evolving story. In the meantime, peaceful synths produce an evocative drone while looping keys evolve expressively. This track is really serene and it’s overall alluring tones make this one of my favorite songs on the album. Throughout the song, narrative elements can be heard but this time, they take a backseat to the mesmerizing and melodic intonations. “The Magnitude Of Luminescence” continues with a realized arrangement of amazing storytelling and an array of communication signals. As the mission continues, obscure effects begin to alter the transmissions, while effervescent drones slowly make their way into the arrangement. The inclusion of field recordings and synthwave-styled compositions adds a new element to this already impressive album. The layers of electronic arrangements seem to continue endlessly before abruptly coming to a conclusion. “The Daze Of Foreboding” begins with calming drones that can easily be interpreted as the dawn of a new day. As the continued radio transmissions slowly fade away, a jazz-like drum pattern begins to take shape. A consoling synth melody sounds more like a new wave song structure but the combination with the rest of the electronic elements are so addictively satisfying. The main key pattern also sounds like an alternative take of the keyboard melody from the first track. As the album winds down, “The Exhibition” concludes the narrative portion of this accomplished offering. The unforgettable spoken words exhibit an exhausting odyssey of family resilience and exploratory happenings that are unlike any other Dark Ambient recording I’ve ever heard. This eight minute track is mostly made up of these compelling narrations, while distant soundscapes produce an eerie atmospheric vibe. Only within the final few minutes, do we hear an increase in instrumentation, as it fulfills a sonic voyage to be remembered. The final offering is “The Agony”. Although only being just under two and a half minutes in length, it’s one of the most ominous compositions on the album. Heavy use of reverb and inaudible vocalizations enhance the listening experience for this bleak dirge that features elements of classic synthwave and industrialized drones.
Ruptured World is one of the most compelling artists in the Dark Ambient genre and the inclusion of abundantly used spoken word is both unique and rewarding. For a majority of Dark Ambient releases, the listener is able to interpret the music into their own story. However, with the Planetary releases, we are treated with the best of both worlds. With the forth installment, ‘Xenoplanetary’, Ruptured World has defied the odds yet again by adding to the musical ferocity, both elements of haunting jazz beats and looping keys. It goes without saying that this is the most exploratory of the Planetary releases and easily my favorite. This is surely a series that will be enjoyed for many years to come, and at the same time, I’m eager to hear of new adventures that Ruptured World will explore in the future. ‘Xenoplanetary’ is a Dark Ambient album of the year contender so don’t pass this one up. Click on the link below to experience this amazing album and story.
Please Like/Follow my blog so that you’ll get first hand updates every time I post a review. Thanks for visiting the Dungeon!!