Top 10 Dark Ambient Releases Of 2019

I’ve been a huge fan of dark ambient for quite some time now but this is the first time that I’ve had to put together a Top 10 list of my favorite albums of the year. If the truth were to be told, this could have easily been a Top 50 list as there were so many exceptional releases this year. Instead, I want to give props to the following 10 amazing albums that have impacted me in multiple ways. Although there were many more astonishing dark ambient albums that were released in 2019, these are the ones that (in my opinion) have set the standard for modern dark ambient.

10. God Body Disconnect – The Mist Between The Mirrors

What a way to start this top 10 list. Right from the opening field recordings and narrative remarks, I knew instantly this was going to be one of my go-to dark ambient albums! Themed around emotional subjects such as disappointment & isolation, this recording is as therapeutic as it is relaxing.

9. Xerxes The Dark – Tower Of Silence

Xerxes The Dark is in my top 5 favorite dark ambient recording artists of all time, but XTD didn’t make my list based on a biased decision. ‘Tower Of Silence’ is simply XTD’s best release to date and one of my most listened to albums this year. Every track is haunting and addictive and will give you the feeling of being trapped in a post-apocalyptic industrial wasteland.

8. Melanohelios – VII: Warmth Within Endless Emptiness

When it comes to space ambient, Melanohelios is one of the best in the business. On ‘VII: Warmth Within Endless Emptiness’, the drones are longer, chilling, and gives the sensation of relentless confinement on a doomed space mission. Seventy two minutes of vacuum filled incarceration will leave your senses void of all intelligible emotions.

7. Ruptured World – Archeoplanetary

I’m such a huge Ruptured World fan and the second album of the Planetary series, ‘Archeoplanetary’ is as good as they come. Whereas most Dark ambient recordings leave room for the listener to provide an imaginative scenario to match the music, Ruptured World prepare a captivating narration throughout the whole recording.

6. øjeRum – Without Blood The Sun Darkens

‘Without Blood The Sun Darkens’ is one of the most haunting and mesmerizing dark ambient albums I’ve ever heard. Consisting of a single, fifty nine minute track of repetitive and impassioned synths and pads, this song is about reflection and memory. This is still one of my favorite meditative albums to listen to.

5. Winterblood – Finsternis

‘Finsternis’ is a very enthralling and hypnotic work of art that will leave you in a trance-like state throughout the hour long recording. Winterblood is like a dark ambient accomplice to the black metal band Paysage D’hiver, as I receive the same type of ardent pleasure from both artists. This album is a MUST HAVE for any true fan of dark ambient.

4. Neraterræ – The Substance Of Perception

Alessio Antoni has summoned an all-star line up for his debut project Neraterræ and the result is the impeccable recording, ‘The Substance Of Perception’. Each track is sonically different, yet they are produced as a seamless dark entity that is fathoms above most others. I cannot wait to hear more from this amazing project!

3. Ager Sonus – Mithra

‘Mithra’ is probably the most musically diverse album in my top 10. Taking us back to Ancient Rome, Ager Sonus uses subtle stringed instruments and grandiose drones to create a vision of enchantment and fascination. I still listen to this album on a weekly basis and although it was released in March, it continues to grab my attention with each and every listen.

2. Monocube – Substratum

Monocube has to be the dark ambient sleeper artist of the year. With almost no attention drawn to this album prior to its release, I downloaded it solely based on the reputation of the Cyclic Law label lineup. One of the best decisions I made all year, as ‘Substratum’ is a mammoth of an album. The hollow – but frightening – drones will make you feel claustrophobic and uneasy and will leave you with a sense of uncontrollable anxiety. Although very minimal and austere, I tend to find new ambitious elements every time I listen to it.

1. Metatron Omega – Evangelikon

Metatron Omega is another one of my favorite dark ambient artists and anytime there is a new release available, it’s an instant purchase from me. ‘Evangelikon’ is a mastercraft in ritualistic dark ambient music with beautiful Gregorian-style chanting and unnerving drones. I listen to this album continually and it’s without a doubt my favorite dark ambient album of the year.

Top 10 Dungeon Synth Releases of 2019 by The Dungeon In Deep Space

This has been a fantastic year for dungeon synth! More artists, more releases, and a more diversified range of sounds being infused to keep things as interesting as ever. Even with the successful DIY approach of many artist, more micro-labels have surfaced with physical releases/distribution and even merchandise. That all being said, coming up with a top 10 list out of what seemed like a million dungeon synth releases this year was extremely difficult. However, I decided to keep it simple and resorted to the albums that I continue to listen to on a daily or weekly basis. Whether you agree or not, I hope you enjoy my top 10 dungeon synth releases of 2019!

10. Varkâna – Ahrimanic Chambers

Varkâna’s conceptual album based on the death spirit known as Angra Mainyu, is extremely dark and has a chilling mix of droning dungeon synth keys, live drums on several tracks and ambient undertones throughout. Top quality work on this excellent album and a well deserved entry in my top 10 list.

9. Borg – The Triumph Of Spring

Borg’s ‘The Triumph Of Spring’ is probably the black sheep of my list. It’s strange, quirky, unique and full of harmonized (what sounds like) kazoo solo’s, but I find myself returning to this album quite often. The entertainment value is extremely high and the music is as close as you’ll get to comedic, medieval music. It may not be for everyone but I absolutely love this!

8. Wayfarer – Ata Amutar

Wayfarer create a very unique brand of dungeon synth. The songs are very long, constructed as if they could be part of a fantasy movie soundtrack, and yet they are all very different and flow together so well. Although there are a few uplifting parts, most of the vibe on this recording is bleak in nature. For those that like background music while you’re working, studying, sleeping, etc., then this superb album may be right up your alley.

7. Solus Woods – The Wanderer

Solus Ritual is so much more that your average dungeon synth artist. Leaning less on medieval aesthetics and more on ritualistic ambience, Solus Ritual is in a class of its own. Although I reviewed two other amazing albums by this artist earlier this year, “The Wanderer” is the album that stands out as the shining gem in the discography for me.

6. Dungeontroll – Labyrinth Of The Golden Princess

Dungeontroll have released four albums this year and “Labyrinth Of The Golden Princess” is hands down the best offering of the four. The music is amazing fantasy synth, with a touch of melancholy and somber expressions . Additionally, the untold story behind the concept is one that manifested with me from the very beginning.

5. Aufhocker – False Confessions

This could very well be the soundtrack to your worst nightmare! Although, not a nightmare filled with bludgeoning horror, but one filled with eerie visions and mystic, abandoned places! This is very well crafted and is surprisingly not as one dimensional as you would expect from an album containing eighty minutes worth of music! Of the ten Aufhocker albums that were released in 2019, this magnum opus is my absolute favorite!

4. Blue-Ghost – Coral Sea

Although the musical components are true to dungeon synth, the story is based around Naval battles in the Pacific that occurred during WWII. The music is depressive and somber and probably accurately represents the emotional state of the sailors back in those times. Absolutely genius!!

3. Nameless King – Sovereignless Souls

This was the third release of the year by Nameless King and its an outright monster! The crystal clear production allows the multiple layers of keys & synths to take the spotlight and the result is one of the most majestic sounding DS releases of the year. The songwriting is spectacular and I can easily imagine a life in medieval times every time I listen to this magnificent recording!

2. Immateriæ – Leere

Immateriæ successfully uses dungeon synth fundamentals to an advantage by creating a retro-style space exploration ambient album. This is something new, fresh and unlike anything else I’ve ever heard in this genre. Four tracks and nearly thirty minutes of spacey dungeon synth is exactly what I needed to hear at the time of its release and I’ve not stopped listening to it since.

1. Inoriand – Silence

Inoriand’s ‘Silence’ was released in May of this year and I’ve not stopped bragging about it since then. Ethereal and dreamy, this cold, winter synth masterpiece evokes the feeling of dread and isolation but not necessarily in a negative way. With ‘Silence’ I imagine being stuck alone in a fire-lit cabin on a winters mountainside with no contact to the outside world. Such an incredible & amazing album and my top pick for dungeon synth album of the year!

Minimalist Dreamy Drones Produce Maximum Effect On ‘Virtual Goddess’ Transmission By Seffi Starshine

Vaporwave specialist Seffi Starshine has built a short, yet elaborate career on music’s more obscure and experimental components. The naiad and co-founder of Girly Girl Musik & Fireflower Vapor has released numerous solo and collaborative efforts ranging from drone, dark ambient, vaporwave, naturewave, electronica and other forms of esoteric music that you may have never heard before. However, on ‘Virtual Goddess”, Seffi Starshine successfully launches into the atmospheric pressures of space ambient and the result is a chilling, atmospheric album packed with nominal, galactic drones that will take you on a bleak, orbital adventure. At just under fifty minutes, these five basal transferences may just put you in a state of deep space hibernation until you’re ready to submit to the goddess herself.

The albums anterior transmission, “Office Drone Blaster” gently evolves from out of thin air and induces shapeshifting sound effects as droning pads seer through the cosmos like a spacecraft exiting our solar system for out worldly adventures. The sound is extremely fluid yet gradual in the way it approaches in and out of climactic tones. “CGA Sunrise” immediately takes flight in a monotone sound as if a spacecraft traveling at warp speed has just passed Max-Q, where the air has become lighter and communication conveyance to mission control has ended abruptly. “Virtual Goddess F.A.E.” has a more gloomy sound and the hollow radiance of synthesizers produce a dismal resolve to depict an eerie point of no return for a doomed spacecraft that has lost its navigational way. “DOS By Dusk” fades in and out of higher frequencies beautifully as if properly maneuvering through a celestial waste field. The layered synths create a very subtle atmospheric presence and this proves to be a very diverse track. The final track on the album, “Sleepytime For CGA Sprites” is an eighteen and a half minute journey through time and space in which there is no control over any matter or being, past or present and the power of the layered drones represent the feeling of hope and relaxation. The lush tones weave in and out of emotional state of consciousness and never break the continuous pattern of evolvement.

Whether intentional or not, Seffi Starshine has crafted a fascinating space ambient album. With minimalist, dreamy drones and expertly crafted sonic arrangements, ‘Virtual Goddess’ borders between ambient and dark ambient, as there are multiple moments of eeriness that can easily thwart this recording in either of those directions. This is one of those recordings in which you can sit back, don your favorite earphones, close your eyes and loose yourself in a world where space – and the vacuum-like void it creates – overtakes your conscious. Support this brilliant and versatile artist by downloading ‘Virtual Goddess’ from the link below. Additionally, check out her other projects via Fire Flower Vapor & Girly Girl Music at the links below.

Please Like/Follow my blog so that you’ll get first hand updates every time I post a review. Thanks for visiting the Dungeon!!


In A Mythical Village Far Away, Whitewood Inn Accomodates Spectral Patrons On Chimerical Demo Release

In a fabled land, back in ancient times, a small group of battle-stricken warriors traverse the mountainous countryside in search for a new, safe place to call home. As they pass through foliage of trees and overgrown wild shrubs, the forest’s thick canopy has no mercy for the traveled path laid before them. However, in the distance, they see a small opening that may bestow hope and opportunity. As the small group of wounded warriors make their way to the opening, they come upon a gate to a small village, oddly situated in the middle of nowhere. Before they make their presence known, the gate opens and they are greeted, welcomed with open arms into a new mythical community hidden away from plain sight. The first large structure in sight is a wooded domicile, large in nature and well maintained. The sign in the front reads, “Welcome To Whitewood Inn”. This is the exact scenery that comes to mind when listening to the debut album by Whitewood Inn. It provides the necessary spectacle to drift back in medieval times and fantasize about a folkloric place full of seclusion and positive spirits. The eight tracks contained on this recording conceptualize a story of whimsical adventure and absolute somber vibes.

“Over The Mountains To Whitewood” starts with a lush, dreamy synth arrangement and sets a bleak atmosphere in this beautiful story where triumph ultimately reigns over tragedy. As depicted in my imagination, the wounded warriors have auspiciously made it to Whitewood and are greeted with open arms. However, does all appear as it seems? Is this mythical setting in the middle of nowhere too good to be true? Alluring orchestral parts complete this lead off track and will leave the listener craving more. Never fear, because “A Stranger In Whitewood” is an absolute companion piece to the first track! The haunting tone in the opening riff is amazing and is amplified by a simple (but effective) drum beat, audio voice samples and some all-around creepy vibes throughout. “Tales By The Hearth” opens with a crackling fire and a forest synth arrangement and features spots of ambient tones to add a layer of dismal texture. More audio voice samples can be heard but they are barely audible, adding to the mystique of the recording. Next up is “The Apothecary” and it’s a more uplifting tune, as if the warriors are traveling throughout the village and seeing all of the amenities that are available. The “Welcome To My Store…” narration is most suitable for the story of Whitewood and is my favorite part of this track. The synth arrangements in this song are more inline with traditional dungeon synth and makes for a very entertaining endeavor. “The Necromancer” has a very dark and dreary sound and contains more various styles of voice narrations. This song would fit right in on a fantasy-based movie soundtrack. “Sanctum Of The Fallen” commences with what sounds like the narration of a village priest or spiritual leader, as he provides some some sort of divine guidance over the members of the Whitewood village. The base of this track has an ambient structure with some ariose keyboard arrangements. “The Emerald” has a very mellow, yet ominous sound as the acoustic guitar cords creates a peaceful atmosphere. However, the backing keyboards forge an uneasy adjustment and provide a more desolate counteracting sound. This works out quite well and the song turns out to be one of the most eerie recordings on the album. The final track, “Villagers Gather In The Square” is another uplifting track that again features some well though out voice narrations, and excellent orchestral arrangements to intensify the dungeon synth parts. What an excellent way to end such a wondrous album, as our wanderers have finally found a trustworthy place to call home at the Whitewood Inn.

For a debut dungeon synth album, this is such an astonishing effort! From the songwriting, musical arrangements, and the amazing untold story that builds in the imagination, ‘Whitewood Inn’ checks all the blocks for a stellar album. I hope that we’ll be able to hear more from this artist in the very near future. Although I would love to hear a continuation of the mythical village and the ghost stories contained within, I’m sure branching out in other directions would be magnificent as well. Please support this brilliant up and coming dungeon synth artist and download ‘Whitewood Inn’ from the link below.

Please Like/Follow my blog so that you’ll get first hand updates every time I post a review. Thanks for visiting the Dungeon!!


Neraterræ Summons An All-Star Cast Of Artist For Blistering Debut Album, ‘The Substance Of Perception’

This year has been an amazing year for the dark ambient community. Not only have we heard incredible releases by both independent and well known artists, but there has been an overwhelming dynamic of collaboration releases as well. Some of my favorite collaboration albums thus far have been the terrifying, polar ambient release by Ugasanie & Dronny Darko called ‘Arctic Gate’, the futuristic sonic assault by Dronny Darko & RNGMNN called ‘Sector Hydra’, the dark chamber sounds of Atrium Carceri & Cities Last Broadcast on ‘Black Stage Of Night’ and the claustrophobic droning sounds of ‘Symphony Of Dying’ by SÁDON & Treha Sektori. However, when an artist releases an album and assembles a renowned & talented group of dark ambient artists to collaborate on each track, it’s sure to garner some immediate attention. That’s exactly what Italian dark ambient artist Alessio Antoni has done with his project, Neraterræ. On his debut album, ‘The Substance Of Perception’, artists such as Xerxes The Dark, Ugasanie, Flowers For Bodysnatchers, and Alexey Tegin from Phurpa (just to name a few), lend their talents to take this recording to extreme heights and fill all the voids that are left open in the confined drones of each track. This results in not only a prodigious collaboration album, but one of the best dark ambient recordings of the year.

The albums spectacular lead off track, “Shadows Of Regret (feat. Northaunt)” begins with a soothing rain shower field recording layered with dreamy key arrangements. Spoken word narrations and deep droning soon takes over to alter the dynamics of the song while it consistently puts the listener in a hypnotic state. The sound level increases as each drone pad migrated to the next and then they wind down to an ending narration. “To Reveal The Unseen (feat. Alexey Tegin from Phurpa)” is one of my favorite songs on the album. There is something about combining dark ambient and meditative BON chanting that magnifies and intensified the listening experience for me. Although the droning elements are simple, yet effective on this track, it’s the terrifying chanting of Alexey Tegin that solidifies the evil sounds of this recording. I could seriously listen to a whole album of this! “Becoming The Nightmare (feat. New Risen Throne & Treha Sektori)” continues with some of the elements of the previous track but in a more dark industrial way. Instead of chanting, there are some malevolent whispering vocals that are spine chilling! The terrifying soundscapes are enough to put the listener in a state of madness, as if they are enclosed in an industrial wasteland with no way of escape. This is also the longest track on the album, so there is plenty of time to submerge into the realm of this massive recording. “The Wicked Pulse Of Conscience (feat. Taphephobia & Infinexhuma)” is a depressive dive into gloomy soundscapes and impulsive field recordings. As the pads drone on and take the listener to a deeper state of relaxation and abjection, melodious keys infiltrate the airwaves as if light is trying to pierce through the abundant cloud coverage. However, it is apparent by the end of the song that the clouds are impenetrable by any light sources or emotions that match them. “That Which Shall Not Be Witnessed (feat. Xerxes The Dark & Treha Sektori)” is my other favorite track on the album. The minimalist drones and bizarre pad arrangements combined with industrial-like soundscapes and more haunting whispering, gives a frightening sensation when digesting this one in a dark setting. These are all of the elements that make for a perfect dark ambient track and they are arranged immaculately. “Beyond (feat. Ugasanie)” is everything I expected it to be, especially since Ugasanie is providing his unique polar ambient input. Very minimalistic and creepy, just the way dark ambient was meant to sound. The final track on the album is “Echoing Scars (feat. Flowers For Bodysnatchers)”. What a stunning way to end such a dark and adventurous album. Although there are some disturbing droning sounds inhabiting the whole song, it’s the exhilarating acoustic piano work of Flowers For Bodysnatchers that makes this track gnaw at your senses. Although it’s gloomy and disturbing, it’s also beautiful and peaceful as well.

Alessio Antoni has created a near flawless dark ambient recording with his Neraterræ project. With the various collaboration efforts on each track, there is enough contrasting material to manipulate your senses in many directions, yet Alessio does an impressive job keeping everything composed in a way that it progresses without hesitation. From the production, musical arrangements, field recordings and soundscapes to the well represented album cover, ‘The Substance Of Perception’ has everything you need in a single dark ambient album. With this definitely being in my top five favorite dark ambient recordings of 2019, I highly recommend checking this album out right away. Please support Neraterræ by downloading the album at the link below.

Please Like/Follow my blog so that you’ll get first hand updates every time I post a review. Thanks for visiting the Dungeon!!


Foal Projects Opulent Sounds On Fantasy Synth Debut Album, ‘Denu Of Wind’

This year has definitely been a resounding year for dungeon synth. Although there has been a resurgence of the genre within the past few years, the amount of artist and releases this year have been quite explosive. Even though the majority of these projects have leaned more toward DIY ventures, they’ve been crafted with extreme professionalism and a maturity not quite experienced in most other genres. Newcomer Foal is no exception. Although the sole musician of this outfit has previous recording experience with shoegaze, black metal, drone, & noise projects, the decision to release his debut dungeon synth craft known as ‘Denu Of Wind’ will be a pleasant surprise for dungeon synth fans. Although this five track album comes in at just under fifteen minutes, it’s some of the most brilliant fantasy synth that I’ve heard all year and it’s as if a seasoned dungeon synth artist laid the foundation for this recording.

“The Succulent Stream” begins with a beautiful and clean keyboard melody that is reminiscent of an early 90’s black metal album opener. About halfway through, the soulful sounds intertwine with densely layered keys that are toned just right to create a very atmospheric and euphoric dirge. “Goatmen Of The Fog” opens with the chirps of early morning birds and is soon followed by traditional dungeon synth keys. Alluring orchestrations follow suit and construct a buildup to a very cinematic ending that could be used in a fantasy-based movie soundtrack. “Moonlight Quest” contains some echo-like key arrangements that can easily put the listener in a state of reverie. With its dreamy patterns and trance inducing looping melodies, this is one of the stand out tracks on the album. “Tales Of A Ruined King” takes the listener back to medieval times when a kingdom in a distant land became disarrayed by malicious king and he was overtaken by a mutinous group of knights. The music has a luminous mix of forest synth and fantasy synth elements. The final track on the album is the astounding “Bells Of Lake Bled”. Although the melody in this track is a bit on the depressing side, it’s equally fascinating to the ears and imagination. As the tolling of the bells blaze on, I imagine a group of warriors returning to their kingdom, after suffering defeat. Although they’ve survived the ordeal, many of their comrades were lost and they now their kingdom faces an uncertain future.

Foal has written an admirable debut album in ‘Denu Of Wind’. The five tracks that are contained in this relatively short album are extremely well thought out and flow together perfectly as if they were put together in storyboard form for a soundtrack. Producing a well diverse musical output ranging from traditional dungeon synth, medieval ambient, forest & fantasy synth, Foal has released a debut that will surely garner multiple listens. This is one artist I will definitely be keeping my eye on and I recommend that you do the same. Show your support by downloading ‘Denu Of Wind’ from the link below.

Please Like/Follow my blog so that you’ll get first hand updates every time I post a review. Thanks for visiting the Dungeon!!


Mombi Yuleman Takes Us On A Supernatural Maritime Endeavor With ‘Mesozoia Oceana’

Oceanic themed ambient recordings hold a special place in my heart because I can personally relate to living a life at sea and being isolated from society, city lights, and technology for weeks and even months at a time. The quiet, droning atmospheres with the seaworthy field recordings and soundscapes provide a soothing sensation, even with the eerie, dreadful thoughts of the hazards many fathoms beneath. Some of my favorite aquatic ambient albums are Max Corbacho’s ‘The Ocean Inside (2012)’ and 2018’s collaboration between Ugasanie & Xerxes The Dark called ‘Abysmal’ – which I personally consider one of the greatest dark ambient recordings of all time. I’m excited to say that Mombi Yuleman’s ‘Mesozoia Oceana’ can join that group of superior amphibious ambient recordings. Musically, I would place ‘Mesozoia Oceana’ right in the middle of the aforementioned albums as the ambient textures are extremely calming, yet not quite as dark as ‘Abysmal’. However, that being said, this is a well written, well recorded album that is full of surprises and will sure to please all fans of dark ambient music.

The astonishing lead off track, “Basilosaurus Cetoides” commences with various soundscapes and a tribal drumbeat, as if a vessel is pulling out of the harbor and setting sail to navigate uncharted waters. The song quickly winds down to a ghostly, droning tone with aquatic samples, and soothing keyboard loops. “Hydrotherosaurus Alexandrae” is a spooky and minimalistic dirge that sounds icy cold, as if a wrong navigational turn has taken a group of mariners to a part of the ocean that is over ran by giant prehistoric entities that have their boat quietly surrounded. “Carcharodon Megalodon” contains consoling yet creepy low toned pads, complimented by a various bizarre field recordings, that would give a negative sensation to any sea-going vessel and it’s crew as they cautiously make their way to safety. “Kronosaurus Queenslandicus” begins with a freakish sound as if a previously unidentified deep sea monster is calmly navigating the waters of its territory. A low-frequency droning sound starts to play as we continue to hear peculiar noises in the background. Throughout this near twelve minute long track, we hear the sounds of this prehistoric creature swim back and fourth, as if it’s stalking its prey for a routine meal. The final track on the album is the very climactic “Shastasaurus Sikanniensis’. Featuring cinematic-like drum beats, melodic keyboard tones and more aquatic creature grunts, this tune summarizes the concept of the album and provides a final underwater meeting place (or resting places) for all of these prehistoric beings. Although the middle section of the track leans more toward a dark ambient atmosphere, the final minute or so picks back up with the tribal drum beats, as if offering a final climactic scene.

Mombi Yuleman’s ‘Mesozoia Oceana’ is a very impressive dark ambient album, worthy of multiple listens. These five tracks accomplish a lot dynamically, inside of forty seven minutes. The songs range from ambient to dark ambient and are filled with a lot of creepy and eccentric soundscapes and field recordings. Everything is put together so well, you’ll feel as if you’re in a deep-sea vessel, surrounded by prehistoric creatures with no means of escape. Please support this brilliant artist by downloading this amazing album at the link below.

Please Like/Follow my blog so that you’ll get first hand updates every time I post a review. Thanks for visiting the Dungeon!!