Cameraoscura Lay The Haunting Foundation For A Dystopian Future With ‘Quod Est Inferius’

When it comes to setting a scene for a dystopian future, I immediately think about movies such as “Blade Runner”, “The Running Man” or “Total Recall”, where overcrowding in a technology consumed society is ruled by government furnished law enforcement. The buildings seem to be built a mile high, with flying cars, gas masks and the skyline barely sees any sunlight. The music that portrays this era is dissonant, dark and ritualistic to surmount to the equivalence of misery and oppression in human culture. If there is one current artist that characterizes these exploits, it’s Cameraoscura, and their latest offering ‘Quod Est Inferius’ depicts a horrid scene of a bleak future with civilization on the brink of destruction. This album is like a day in the life of a citizen, fighting for survival while abandoning all hope.

Establishing the scenario that will cause uncivilized turmoil is “Atanor”. Creepy soundscapes and bludgeoning drones are introduced at a frightfully low tone and eerie spoken words counteract the disparity. Suddenly, at around the three and a half minute mark, rhythmic electronic beats cascade through the layers of sound and embed a cadenced pattern that is rarely heard in this form of music. The outcome is simply amazing! “Admixio” has the soothing but crisp sounds of retro synth wave with the occasional low growl. Mesmerizing soundscapes provide a wall of sound as this track represents the less chaotic form of dystopia, but at the same time, showcasing the horrifying extinction of existence. “V.I.T.R.I.O.L.” Is another consoling arrangement, but as the track crescendos in volume, austere frequencies send a chilling reminder of dark times. Once again, a downtempo style beat comes into play and mixes well with the keyboards and drones of this track, putting the listener in a trance-like state until the very end. “Interitus” covers a broad range of low-end sounds in pure dark ambient fashion while at the halfway point of the song, an EDM style beat starts up at a ferocious pace (for this type of music at least), and takes us on an unhinged path of life at dawn, where the sun is never fully exposed, but the pain of survival continues. “Attera” is a short track full of deranged industrial sounds and euphoric samples, complimented by a harsh beat, as if the ultimate battle between citizens and government were suddenly taking place with hopes of setting a new outcome for the dystopian wasteland it has become. Following the harshness is “Solve”, a short melodic piece that introduces beauty amongst the chaos with its melodic keyboard tones. The final track on the album, “Ultima Necat” starts with serene synth tones and effects that bend from side to side. Abruptly, a distorted guitar riff begins playing slowly, over and over again, while layers of harmonious discord play compliment to the harsh noise. Whether it’s the end of mankind, or the dawn of a new beginning, this track sets the bar for climactic album endings, especially one that deal with a specific and relatable theme.

Cameraoscura are on to something new and exciting within the dark ambient community. While still maintaining the complexity of sequencing drones and soundscapes, danceable beats are added to several tracks to breath new life in the genre. I must say it works very well. It may not be for everyone, but I certainly love this style and hope that Cameraoscura will continue down this path of musical innovation. I highly recommend checking this out and I’m quite certain you’ll not be disappointed.

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Links:

https://totenschwan.bandcamp.com/album/tsr-100-quod-est-inferius

The Legendary Mortiis Returns To His Dungeon Synth Roots On Meritorious New Album, ‘Spirit Of Rebellion’

It’s one thing to be prominent in two different genres of music, but to be considered (by many) to be The Godfather of one is an amazing feat – especially when you leave that genre for several decades and then make a ferocious return as if you’ve never left in the first place. That artist is Mortiis and his genre of dark desires is none other than dungeon synth. Blasting out on the black metal scene in the early 90’s as the original bassist for Emperor, he recorded the infamous ‘Wrath Of The Tyrants’ demo and ‘Emperor’ EP before splitting with the band and creating the Era 1 material of his solo project known as Dark Dungeon Music. I’m not even sure if he knew at the time what an influence those earlier albums would have on the dungeon synth community for generations to come, but he’s inspired a magnitude of artists and labels to create music with the same passion and desire. After the 1999 ‘Stargate’ release, the music of Mortiis began to take on a new form and the dungeon synth sounds were laid to rest…but not forever. Mortiis has finally returned to his roots and has graciously presented us with the magnificent ‘Spirit Of Rebellion’. Although it was intended to be a reworking of the 1994 masterpiece, ‘Ånden Som Gjorde Opprør’, it formed a life of its own and warranted a new title. The outcome is an explosive revival of the Era 1 material and I couldn’t be happier.

The twenty four plus minute long “A Dark Horizon” blasts into a battle worthy anthem with layered keys, pounding percussion and cinematic orchestrations that are film worthy. Depending on the version of the album you get, either the two songs are in a single format, or broken into multiple parts. For the sake of this review, I will reference the various parts of each song when describing the music. Part II of “A Dark Anthem” is haunting canticle with vocal effects that are sure to give you goosebumps. This is just a precursor to Part III which goes full throttle with the electronic vocal effects and pulsating drums as if unavoidable bloodshed is about to commence. However, the tempo changes to a more melodic structure and Part IV finds elements of forest synth as if a scenery of peace has been the vanguard of a mythical village, hidden away deep in a sacred forest. In terms of pure keyboard effects, Part V is the most old-school dungeon synth sounding part in the whole song. This multi-track effort has tons of melody and the background arrangement is memorable enough to stick with you for days on end. This beast of a song ends on a high note as Part VI perfectly summarizes this audio adventure with a welcomed reprise that features elements of the opening moments of the track. The second track, “Visions Of An Ancient Future”, is another top quality musical experience that includes over twenty six minutes of advantageous dark dungeon melodies. Part I is a high-tempo intro with a mix of goth and cinematic qualities. The grandiose elements of Part II are mesmerizing, especially when the electronic vocal chants kick in. The atmosphere continues to grow and remains overpowering throughout the remainder of the track. Part III contains warm elements of forest synth with ambitious effects thrown in to create the perfect medieval ambience. Part IV continues the medieval theme of the last track but takes it to a larger scale with the increased percussion parts. The somber keyboard arrangements create a sense of negotiation between good and evil, as the track continually sways from loud to softer parts. Part V has grim, eerie synth effects that keep this track interesting yet again. As the massive backgrounds continue to play without being overpowering, the dreadful melodies in the foreground carry on aggressively. Part IV is another bold and energetic piece that has an uptempo vibe and a strong mix of all of the elements present thus far in this mammoth of a track. Part VII has a tenacious medieval and fantasy synth vibe and features some awesome percussive sounds and keyboard arrangements. This is not only an excellent way to end this song, but an admirable finale to a spectacular album.

Whether this return to Era 1 material is short lived or an enduring comeback, Mortiis has accomplished an incredible feat – especially after being out of the dungeon synth genre for so long. There is nothing that I would love more than for Mortiis to continue down this path and continue producing material of this nature. If that turns out to be the case and ‘Spirit Of Rebellion’ is just the start, then we are in for a treat, as this album is as good as it gets. If you’re a fan of DS and you’ve not heard this album yet, what are you waiting for? You will not be disappointed as Mortiis once again sets the standard, just as he did nearly thirty years ago.

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Links:

https://downloadmusic.mortiis.com/album/spirit-of-rebellion

Infinexhuma Assembles Dismal Drones And Manic Soundscapes On ‘Unasan’ That Resonate Into Eternal Obliteration

The subtleties of darkness are all around and coagulate into many forms. As the adversaries of evil try to expose the inherent workings of malevolent entities, the bleak becomes gloomier and dreary, causing a longing for inner peace. This longing turns into a desolate energy in the form of ‘Unasan’, the near two hour master work from Infinexhuma that is saturated with ritualistic drones, resounding dark ambience and industrial-strength soundscapes. Comprising of some of the most well thought out arrangement I’ve ever heard on a dark ambient recording, these tracks have a trance-like quality that will captivate you from beginning to end. Also, for the most part, it is a very minimalistic recording, but the nuances that are mixed in is what makes this stand out amongst its peers.

The aptly titled album opener, “The Warning”, starts with spoken word intro, as if the devil himself is conveying a cautionary message. The sizzles of a crackling fire and forceful winds in the background set a scene of spiteful terror. “Asahskar” has a very deep and cold drone that is oddly soothing, while the sounds that resemble the random strums of a distorted guitar provide a chilling ensemble of dreariness. The fourteen minute long “Suffocation” is a horrific sounding drone with terrifying audio and voice samples that will make your skin crawl. As the deep tones smother your intrinsic senses, mind-altering harmonies can be heard, creating a layer of beautiful eeriness. “Feel Their Eyes” is like waking up in the middle of nowhere, as this industrial ambient nightmare grows louder and stronger, reeking havoc on the state of mind. “Fighting Back” features some beautiful keyboard sounds, wind chimes and various other field recordings to go with the very relaxing ambient texture that flows ever so smoothly in the background. “Dreaming In Nightmares” continues the winning combination of sparse, yet eclectic vocal patterns, futuristic soundscapes and field recording. If this is the sound of true nightmares, then you better fight to stay awake. “Freedom Window” is a nice change of pace as it begins with an alluring piano arrangement before fading into a minimalistic drone. The detail in this track is immaculate and it’s one of the most creative efforts on the album. “Past Taker Oni” begins with a wall of static-like sound followed by a horrifying narration, as if evil has spoken yet again. Although barely audible, you can tell that the message being conveyed is meant to terrorize it’s listeners. “The’u Rang Pit (feat. Neraterræ)” contains inhuman sounds and deep grumbling as if the lifeless bodies of purgatory are being processed for an afterlife of eternal damnation. The soundscapes are so heinous sounding, listening to this at night through headphones are bound to give you nightmares. The clean piano arrangement at the end of this track is incredible and fits perfectly with this song. It’s almost meditative in nature and I don’t want it to end. “Violent Tara” begins with the creepy sounds of Tibetan bells played randomly. Spoken word augments the usual drone space in this bizarre track, as other demonic vocalizations can be heard a well. Is this song doesn’t mess with your mind, then I don’t know what will. “Peace Beyond Death” is another fantastic drone that proves that it’s always possible to do more with less. Through minimal droning, the exquisitely places soundscapes create such a monstrous atmosphere on this track, that I consider it one of my favorites on the album. “The Edge Of Resistance” is another track that pushes the fourteen minute mark. Starting with what sounds to be digital water drops, it soon turns to a frigid drone with malevolent textures and soundscapes. The final track on the album is “Goodbye Host”. Starting with church organs and a spoken word narration in the form of a prayer, it morphs into a very unique drone/rock song, with a nice drum beat and bass line, as if it were being used as an “ending credits” song for a movie. Even those this track is different from the rest of the album, dynamically it fits right in and I think it is the perfect ending to the masterful album.

It’s no wonder why Neraterræ chose Infinexhuma for a guest spot on his 2019 album, ‘The Substance Of Perception’. With his keen sense for detail, audial imaging and dynamic approach to these types of arrangements, Infinexhuma is a champion of the dark ambient genre. ‘Unasan’ is just an example of exactly how good he is at crafting dark ambient and drone music while keeping it interesting and challenging to the listener. From calm piano arrangements to harsh industrial ambient sounds, ‘Unasan’ has it all and you won’t be disappointed in this near two hour long recording. Please support Infinexhuma and download this excellent album from the link below.

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Links:

https://infinexhuma.bandcamp.com/album/unasan

Dryads Presents A Compelling & Quixotic Odyssey With ‘Those Who The Winter Path Reveals’

In the realm of dungeon synth, musical adventures don’t always have to be dark and intensified, although that seems to be a common topic as noble warriors decussate enemy territories to defend their kingdoms. However, rightfully so, as it makes for an awe-inspiring theme to attach to these tuneful arrangements. There are also other motifs that reveal majestic exploits of various intents that are equally as fulfilling when matches with the sounds of dungeon synth. On the latest release by Dryads, ‘Those Who The Winter Path Reveals’, I get the sense that this a journey about discovery and seasonal enlightenment. With the paths of everyone and everything that is crossed along the way, a new story and beginning unfolds.

The adventure begins as “Grace And Nobility Of A Summoned Snowstorm” swoops in with lavish soundscapes and pleasant keyboard intonations. Like setting out on a daring, arctic campaign this track sets up as a nice introduction for the album with its brisk pace and tonal sequences. “To Cross Ice Bridges With An Iron Horse” continues the sense of a wintery environment, but added discordant keys and darker accents in the melody give the feeling that gloomy times are ahead. “A Palace Of Glacial Dreams And Conquests” is an atmospheric undertaking with its grandiose soundscape presence and harmonized keyboards that provide a melodic structure of listening pleasure. “In Dreams, The Outcome Of Each Contest Unfolds A Part Of Our True Self” is a cold and brooding piece that would easily fit in a horror movie soundtrack. Exuding a ruminating depth that combines low-end drones and a creepy piano arrangement, this track illuminates a fascinating scene of bewilderment. “This Is The Coldest Journey, Yet You Are Not Lone” continues the same sense of dread from the previous track while combining winter-like field recordings that bring out the nature side of things. “Polar Rites” is a cold, winter synth track that slows down this musical journey but maintains the alluring spirit of the album. The dim soundscapes bring out an element of evil as you can feel the track getting more bleak as it nears the end. Next up is the title track, “Those Who The Winter Path Reveals” with it’s chilled & somber vibe, reveals an excellent cinematic sound. “Forest Omens” begins with some bizarre sequences before a harmonious keyboard arrangement fulfills the darkness. The sound of birds chirping in the background reveal the winters clash with daybreak and a sudden warning of evil lurking in the forest. The albums final track, “The Fallen Of Vidhein Castle” is an upbeat song, signaling the near end of the harrowing winter journey. Although there is light at the end of the tunnel, it’s not been an easy adventure. Oppressing soundscapes and orchestral arrangement are the standout elements of this track, ensuring that the album ends on a definite high note.

Dryads is an excellent dungeon synth artist and with ‘Those Who The Winter Path Reveals’, has sealed them as a new driving force in the winter synth community. There is a lot of adventure and masterful storytelling going on here and the overall beautiful tone of the album will leave a lot of room for interpretation. Show your support for this aspiring artist and download this amazing album at the link below.

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Links:

https://dryads.bandcamp.com/album/those-who-the-winter-path-reveals-2

R0[nought] Transmit Caustic Drone Sequences On Dismal Dark Ambient Album, ‘Pestis’

Take a moment to imagine an abandoned, industrialized city in a not so distant future, where a heavy leakage of pollutants has caused chaos amongst its civilization. As toxicity fills the air, anarchy quickly turns into desertion as the physical elements of the city start to deteriorate. However, this desolate environment does have life after all, as the seemingly rapid infestation of diseased rodents and bugs manifest at the heart of the contamination and feed on the remains of whatever is left from the catastrophic occurrence. This is a new dark world and with no hope of a possible human return. With that, I present to you ‘Pestis’ by R0[nought], a turbulent, dark ambient adventure that portrays this vivid narrative with its morose drones and potent soundscapes. These six ghoulish tracks provide the textures of endless nightmares through the essence of addictive, yet bleak noises that grip you like a straight jacket.

Blighted album opener, “Xenopsylla Cheopis” accelerates with volume like an early warning alarm, alerting everyone that imminent danger is on the horizon. The bleak soundscapes create an audial distress vessel as the anxiety-filled drones never let up from start to finish. “Miseria” should be called horror ambient, as the dismal sounds in this track, are downright disturbing at times. Brief synth pads add a cinematic quality, but it doesn’t take away from the near ten minutes of terror that this composition provides. The claustrophobic drone sounds on “The Forsaken Dead I” will provide a feeling of consternation as you continue you battle with anxious thoughts while listening to this recording. You’ll find yourself drifting off to a dark place, hoping that you’ll be able to return once the song is over. “The Forsaken Dead II” continues the same unrelenting experience as the previous track, however, elements of industrial ambient are thrown in to increase the mental suffering. “A Blackening Of The Flesh” has components of space ambient but various malevolent sounds create an unpleasant sense of doom, like a flesh-eating virus manifesting its way throughout the spacecraft to claim the lives of all onboard. The albums final arrangement, “Carrion IV” is eleven and a half minutes of maelstrom induced ambient that shifts through dark colors and gray’s, setting an apocalyptic tone for the cold, dark ending. As the song slowly winds down, it fades into a deep, black drone that represents total annihilation.

R0[nought] has gone above and beyond in conceiving a terrifying dark ambient album that empowers the listener to open their imagination (and fears) to conceive a story that conceptualizes the music. Although there are many forms of dark ambient, ‘Pestis’ is extremely bleak and frightful and is slightly more dismal than your typical ambient recording. Additionally, I appreciate how elements of other types of musical disciplines are added, showing a keen versatility of the artist. This is one album you don’t want to pass on so please support this brilliant artist by downloading the album from the link below, or by purchasing the cassette release.

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Links:

https://r0nought.bandcamp.com/album/pestis-2

https://mystictimbre.bandcamp.com/merch?filter_band=2406501586

Psyclopean Gives A Musical Interpretation Of An Infamous H.P. Lovecraft Short Story Of The Same Name On ‘The Outsider’

Hearing a musical perception of a piece of literature is a fascinating thing. It’s like hearing a great soundtrack to a movie – when the music is just right, there is no explanation needed as it provide an audial experience for our senses that parallels what it is representing. Additionally, it allows for it to be easily understood without justification. That’s the great thing about being a fan of music such as dungeon synth and dark ambient, where it relies less on vocal interpretations and more on imagination and emotion. When this kind of music is paired up with the right piece of literature, a basic understanding of any subject matter will become easily known. On Psyclopean’s twelfth release, the artist interprets H.P. Lovecraft’s short story from 1926, ‘The Outsider’. This is a story about a sole character that breaks free from his castle in search of human companionship. That being said, ‘The Outsider’ (the album) is an emotional outing filled with tones of sorrow and agony.

The albums sole song is the near twenty two minute long self-titled track, “The Outsider”. Beginning with a somber keyboard arrangement with the sounds of nature in its evening state, there are early elements of dark ambient to this track. Various field recordings and soundscapes add an eerie element as well. At almost the three minute mark, components of dungeon & fantasy synth are introduced as layered keyboards create an intertwined melody and the morning sounds of nature are made known as well. I interpret this as the protagonist in the story beginning his journey and traversing the harsh land through day and night in order to seek contact with another being. At around seven minutes, a more sinister sounding keyboard reprise takes over, as if danger is lurking in the air. Cinematic orchestrations give this section of the song a grand sound while remaining frightening. At around twelve minutes, the track switches focus back to a dark ambient sound with howling winds and subtle keyboards. This is probably my favorite section in the song and it has a nice spacey sound and various field recordings as if the protagonist is traveling across a long, frozen tundra with no bearable end in sight. At around the nineteen minute mark, discordant tones suddenly blare as panic starts to set in, creating havoc for the protagonist as he makes a bold decision about his quest. The final few minutes shift back to a jarring dungeon synth keyboard arrangement as “The Outsider” comes to a close.

Psyclopean successfully give new meaning to the phrase musical interpretation. Although the works of H.P. Lovecraft have been open for analysis for many years, most translations have been done through film or referenced in other works of literature. Even though there have been musical projects that were heavily influenced by the works of H.P. Lovecraft, there haven’t been many artists that propitiously create an album based on one of his short stories that provided a musical adventure that easily details that story. ‘The Outsider’ does just that and more. This is a wonderful listening adventure and I highly recommend it for fans of both dungeon synth and dark ambient. Please show your support for this innovative artist and download the album from the link below.

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Links:

https://altrusiangrace.bandcamp.com/album/the-outsider

Sádon & Treha Sektori Coalesce Haunting Vocals & Ethereal Soundscapes On Quaint Collaboration, ‘Symphony Of Dying’

When musical atmospheres collide, the nebulous outcome can sometimes be so tremendous, that the infinite drift while under its influence can be mind-altering. Combining celestial vocal sequences with ambiguous soundscapes and textures is just what Sádon & Treha Sektori have done in order to achieve this magnificent milestone. ‘Symphony Of Dying” is a staggering collaboration of epic proportions, even though it clocks in at under thirty minutes. Although rooted in dark ambient, Sádon & Treha Sektori offer so much more to satisfy the senses.

Daring album opener, “Shadow”, is a culmination of layered vocalizations with minimal soundscapes, as the duo calmly draw the listener into their world before unleashing a somber, wall-of-sound presentation. “Elimination” slowly creeps in like an overweight locomotive bound for a far-off destination. As the vocals and instrumentation collide, a sense of euphoria and serenity take over, eradicating thoughts of anything else but the music itself. Pulsating percussion makes its presence felt, congealing the overall sound of this harrowing track. “Wolfs Day” flows in a very placid state, but by the time the vocals hit, the feeling of precariousness sets in, locking the listener in on a musical journey. “Spear Over Our Heads” provides sedative drones with eccentric hisses and layered keyboards full of melodic tones as if vicariously anticipating a morning sunrise in a distant wasteland. The final track, “Aegeus” mysteriously has about twenty five seconds of silence before a sudden soundscape intro begins. Various instrument sounds sway in and out of the recording in a horrific way, as if to say an apocalyptic journey toward a final destination has been reached. Never swaying far from this format, as the instruments fade out, the track dies off with an eerie drone.

Although ‘Symphony Of Dying’ is a short audio affair, it is a compelling adventure that will keep the listeners attention from start to finish. I’ve listened to this album quite a few times now and I don’t think I’ve ever skipped a track. It’s just that good and needs to be heard from the beginning until the end. I hope to hear more collaborations from Sádon & Treha Sektori in the future, but until then, I’ll cherish this superb recording. Please support this excellent album by downloading it from the link below.

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Links:

https://cycliclaw.bandcamp.com/album/symphony-of-dying