‘Voices Of The Ainur’ Is A Podcast That Showcases The Best In Dungeon Synth, Dark Ambient, The Obscure, And Beyond

It’s rare to find a podcast that properly showcases the mystical wonders of Dungeon Synth, placating matters of Dark Ambient and the arcane obscurities within the realms of synth music. However, ‘Voices Of The Ainur’ just may be the premier podcast that embodies the spirit of these genres in a supremely engaging platform.

Commencing in October of this year, ‘Voices Of The Ainur’ produces high-quality episodes of the music that we love on a weekly basis. Each episode is around an hour long and features multi-genres of music in some of the most fluid mixes I’ve heard. Best of all, no talk, no interruptions, and all music! Additionally, each episode has its on mini-site with visionary photos, quotes and the playlist (with Bandcamp links) for the artists that is featured. Although this podcast was recently brought to my attention, it’s already my “go-to” platform for getting a weekly dose of the genres that I love.

In summary, ‘Voices Of The Ainur’ is a supremely composed podcast that demands to be heard. I know that we all have our favorite platforms for listening to music, whether it’s by digital download, streaming media, or physical platforms, but if you’re like me and still enjoy great podcasts, then you must check out ‘Voices Of The Ainur’. Not only is the music great, but the possible exposure to new artists makes it that much better. I’ve included the link for Apple Podcast below, but ‘Voices Of The Ainur’ is available on at least fifteen podcast platforms. The links to those can be found on the main web site (also below). Please give this awesome podcast a listen and enjoy!

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Links:

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/voices-of-the-ainur/id1534862806

https://www.voicesoftheainur.com/

https://www.facebook.com/VoicesOfTheAinur

https://twitter.com/oftheainur?s=21

Noctilucant Transcends Winter Adventures In Darkness With ‘Amongst The Snow And The Shadows’

The Noctilucant Bandcamp page is one of my favorite artist pages to peruse every-so-often due to the variety of music that’s offered. From the natural & organic compositions of House Of The Maker, the industrialized noise arrangements of Sonic Oscillations, various collaborations with other Dark Ambient artists, and the ominous ambience of flagship behemoth, Noctilucant, there is too much not to love and dive into at any given time. Back in April, Noctilucant released the winter bound album, ‘Amongst The Snow And The Shadows’ and this icy cold endeavor is quite the adventure in not only Dark Ambient music, but also the perils of seasonal imagination.

“The Flashlight Was Heavy In My Hand” proceeds with nightmare-like intentions, as dismal whispers and sound effects paint a vivid picture of a dark and perilous world. Gloomy drones and synth tones attune to the dynamics of this gruesome track as the malevolent ordeal continues for nearly eleven minutes. “Amongst The Snow And The Shadows” is full of creepy soundscapes and field recordings, but the frozen landscape begins to take shape with this track as the path towards desolation continues. Haunting narrations and the crackling of a moonlit fire are predominate, although a searing drone pulls its weight by creating a nice wintry tone. “The Boundless Ashen Horizon Awaits” is a thirteen and a half minimalistic drone, with bizarre synth tones and more harrowing narrations. The perfectly placed field recording makes the listener feel as if they are traversing a snow covered terrain in the darkest of nights with unknown forces of evil causing havoc on a seemingly endless journey. “Of Black Wings And Winter Nights” features the smooth but eerie sounds of masterful piano chops and grim soundscapes in the background. The addition of natural field recordings ensures an organic aura throughout. Every once in a while, ghastly whispers can be heard, adding a particular bleakness to this awesome track. “Counting The Hours” has a space ambient feel, even though the cracking sound of burning embers secures this song within the winter elements. The synth melody is supremely arranged and adds another dimension to this amazing album. “A Sight Containing Only Death” begins with a glowing drone and an interesting percussion beat that is soon followed by an obscure synth melody. As the percussion fades, layers of soothing drones come about and bring forth ghostly soundscapes that are downright horrifying. Again, haunting narrations provide an esoteric storyline that fits in perfectly. The final track on the album, “Some Kind Of Solace”, commences with deep modulations and reverberating drones that include distorted soundscapes and peaceful piano chops. The song winds down to a grinding drone that continues for a minute or so before finally fading out.

Noctilucant is quickly becoming one of my “go-to” artists for impulsive dark ambient music. ‘Amongst The Snow And The Shadows’ pushes the boundaries of the genre and impressively applies soundscapes, field recordings and effects in a way that that generates a lot of interesting track details. In turn, there is a lot of replayability with Noctilucant recordings and this album is one of the best so far. I highly recommend checking out this album from the link below, as well as the rest of the Noctilucant catalog. While you’re on the Bandcamp page, give a listen to the many other wonderful projects as well, as they are top notch listens.

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Links:

https://noctilucant.bandcamp.com/album/amongst-the-snow-and-the-shadows

Fusing Dungeon Synth And Gladiatorial Pulses, Haunted Realm’s ‘Songs From The Deep Halls’ Delivers Ominous Anthems For The Masses

Over the past few years, I’ve become thoroughly impressed with the resilience of the Dungeon Synth genre and the community that it’s cultivated. From the magnitude of artists and constant releases to the incorporation of other genres and soundscapes to facilitate a sub-culture all of its own. I’m most intrigued when an artist delivers a wide variety of music, yet stays true to the boundaries of the genre itself. One of those artists is Haunted Realm. With varying musical ventures from release to release, it’s always a surprise to see what’s in store the moment you press play. For ‘Songs From The Deep Halls’, we get a daring Dungeon Synth adventure full of tribal-like rhythms and momentous arrangements, but there is also influences from other synth sub-genres as well, making this a spectacular thirty five minute journey through a fanatical, medieval kingdom.

“Masters Of Mountains” commenced with a slow but steady tribal beat that sounds like the prelude to a death march. After a few bars, a beautiful synth arrangement is introduced, emitting a somber-like dirge to remember. Layers of synth effects and flute notes increase the intensity of this track as it builds up to a glorious finale. The final minute is all worth it, as a smooth and droning synth lead takes over and provides a spectacular harmony to close out the track. “Sons Of Iron And War” begins with several layers of percussive beats and rhythms and it will have you nodding your head or tapping your foot before the first synth note is even played. Deep synth tones sway in and out of the mix as other instrumental effects are engaged to create an ominous result. “Subterranean Throne” starts with a deep tonal modulation that is soon met with slowly played percussive sounds. Another slow building track, malevolent and droning keys are injected to conclude a grim consequence, but they are used sparingly. Synthwave effects are used as well, providing another dimension of sound for this superlative output . “Dominions Of Stone” starts with a moderately paced percussive sound and restrained dungeon synth melodies slowly begin to increase. There are an abundance of sound effects used in this track and they are placed in just the right spots to sound tasteful and very pleasing to the ear. “March Of The Dwarven Legions” is another satisfying track of the highest order with its low-end drum beats, droning ambience, and very dark appeal. The massive horn sounds make this a grandiose affair with a soundtrack-like quality, that would fit perfectly in any Fantasy Adventure film. The final track on the album, is “Eternal Quest”. Most of this track is a bleak, space ambient experience, loaded with cosmic effects that will blast you off into the outermost reaches of the universe. However, it completely changes in the last few minutes and catapults into a darkwave anthem with an illustrious keyboard arrangement and pulsating drum beat. The melody in this part is so beautiful and is worth listening to over and over again. I couldn’t think of a better track to end this amazing album.

Haunted Realm crushed it with this release as this is some of the finest Dungeon Synth I’ve heard in a while and although it doesn’t have an over-the-top fantasy synth sound, the minimalistic efforts really shine through as if this could be a full-on motion picture soundtrack. The steady but agonizing percussive elements are top level and the final track alone makes the whole album seem that much better. If you’ve not heard ‘Songs From The Deep Halls’ yet, I cannot recommend this enough. Please check it out (and download it) from the link below.

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Links:

https://thehauntedrealm.bandcamp.com/album/songs-from-the-deep-halls

Ugasanie’s Sixth Album For Cryo Chamber, ‘Freedom And Loneliness’, Exposes A Bleak And Native Reality

One of my favorite Cryo Chamber acts, Ugasanie, continues to epitomize the Polar Ambient sound with his sixth mesmerizing release for the label called, ‘Freedom And Lonliness’. Known for his chilling and bleak wintery ambient sounds of minimalistic intent, Ugasanie has mastered the icy cold elements once again, but this time around includes archaic & ritualistic overtones to produce his most ambitious effort yet. With hints of ceremonial soundscapes and tribal recording to give this Polar Ambient masterpiece a great native tribe influence, the listener will find themselves plunged into a world of ancient heritage and ominous adventure.

“Exemption” slowly fades in with a soothing drone and after a minute, tribalistic soundscapes become present as if setting up for a grueling ceremonial experience. The monotonous howl of the wind presents an eerie presence as well. “Cold Coast” is a frigid track with the subtleties of a murky stream ever so present in this desolate sounding affair. Distant thunderstorms bring in a dark presence but it doesn’t prevent the ritual adventures from commencing. “Dead Wasteland” begins with a lifeless drone with the occasional harrowing soundscape that slowly crescendos to a louder volume. This is the type of Polar Ambient track that we’ve come to love from Ugasanie. “Ritual” is the track where more of the scenic action begins. Chanting and rhythmic percussion bring this song to new heights as the spirit of ancient warriors take over to proclaim their land. With the deep, hollow drones in the background, there is something very malevolent sounding on this one and I can’t listen to it enough. Even when the war cries and native instruments can’t be heard, the dark ambient modulations are certain to send a chill down your spine. “Freedom And Loneliness” continues with the epic drones and sinister soundscapes. Industrialized synth effects create a monstrous sound as they add additional layers of commotion that is a warm welcome on this album. “Long North Night” presents another superlative drones that builds upon industrial sounds and muffled samples. Grim atmospheric tones construct a vision of emptiness yet an aspiration for humanity in the bitter frozen north. “Northern Lights” begins with a field recording of a native trenching through the snow. As they get closer to their destination, ancient drums can be heard pounding a ceremonial dirge. Somber drones intensify as the harsh conditions of the north prevail. “To The Polar Star” is one of my favorite tracks on the album as it displays some of the coldest drones yet. Distant, celestial soundscapes add a space element to this track but the coldness of the Polar Ambient theme is still in full effect. The final track on the album is the melancholic piano ballad, “Sorrow”. Although this is something a little different from the typical Ugasanie album, it’s definitely a welcomed surprise as it gives us a brush of melody with a slight hint of wintery wind soundscapes.

There is no denying that Ugasanie is the king of Polar Ambient. However, on “Freedom And Loneliness”, we get a glimpse into a whole new world, as ritualistic and native elements are introduced, as well as industrial soundscapes. These essential features bridge the gap between minimalistic Polar Ambient music and sequestering dark ambience. Not only is Ugasanie one of my favorite Dark Ambient artists, “Freedom And Loneliness” just may be my new favorite album by him. Please show your support for Ugasanie and Cryo Chamber by downloading this monumental album 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!!

Links:

https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/freedom-and-loneliness

Slime Golem Presents ‘The Short But Touching Tale Of Slime Golem’ Through Mystifying Sounds That Traverse Dungeon Synth, Retro Synthwave & Crypt Hop

Slime Golem have firmly solidified their place in the Dungeon Synth arena with the quirky but horrifying new release entitled, ‘The Short But Touching Tale Of Slime Golem’. Combining unconventional effects, ambient textures, traditional dungeon synth vibes and and a horror-themed story, Slime Golem checks all the necessary blocks to make their debut effort a fulfilling and entertaining endeavor. Let’s take a closer look into these unique, nightmarish anthems and reveal what makes this album so special.

Twisted album opener, “Swamp Crawling (A Golem Out Of Clay Emerges From The Banks Of The Ulkah River)” blends whimsical sound effects and melodic keyboards to deliver a spaghetti western-like theme song, but with a slight dungeon synth overtone. “You Have Summoned The Slime Golem! (Master In Awe Of His Creation)” is a sly little piece that features silky synth tones followed by drum & bass rhythms that give this track a grimacing sound. There are plenty of retro synth moments on display here to keep this short track dynamic and interesting. “The Bestowing Of Emet (…Such Is Your Task)”, is another retro sounding keyboard affair filled with layers of rolling synth modulations that increase as the song continues along. As the effects become more disturbing, it’s almost as if it’s part of a soundtrack for an 80’s horror movie. “Forest Walk (Observing Life Itself For The First Time)” is a somber track that is filled with depressing keyboard chops and fascinating sound effects that are almost contradictory, but seem to fit together rather well. “Hands Of Mud And Blood (A Horrid Act Committed)” is a groovy little piece that combines a maniacal synth lead with eccentric effects that are straight out of a dark comedy horror show. However, the merger of the two sounds provides a solid dungeon synth track of epic proportions, with a tad bit of drum & bass included. “The Golem Wept (A Unique Experience Of Sadness And Self-Awareness)” is an atmospheric track with layers of soothing synths played in a somber arrangement. The lead keys have an awesome retro appeal, which makes this one of my favorite tracks on the album. “I Am Appalled By The Human-Like Form! (Golem Turns Into Its Maker)” is a dark track that isn’t as layered as previous tracks but that doesn’t make it any less diabolical. The inclusion of drum & bass really puts this one over the top and all of the instruments synchronize perfectly to form a mind-melding dirge. “What Piece Of Work Is Man To Need A Lesser Being For Slave? (Golem Escapes)” is another bleak experience field with gloomy keyboard melodies and haunting ambience. The layers increase in the middle of the song and then slowly fade toward the end, but keep their majestic appeal throughout. “Prima Materia (Return To The Green And Slimy Vastitude)” has a slight sinister appeal to it, but it’s not full-on ominous, as the bizarre synth affects add a bit of dark satire, even though the keyboard leads are thick and epic. The final track on this dark and quirky album is “Unbinding (The Creature Knows Peace)”. The main synth synth lead is melodic and dreamy, while the background provides a retro darkwave sound, sending this album to another dimension when it comes to mood and genre-blending. The introspective ambience in the background flows with haunting dynamics as it augments all of the harmony provided by the other instrumentation. This not only create an effective outro for this unique little horror story, but also solidifies this amazing artist as a great songwriter.

I am thoroughly impressed by this debut outing from Slime Golem. Not only is the music amazing and genre defying, but the story that it represents is magical and can be easily identified within these wonderful song arrangements. I’m really looking forward to the see what the future holds for this artist and the incredible stories that will possibly be told through the magic of the music are sure to be extraordinary. If you’ve not heard ‘The Short But Touching Tale Of Slime Golem’, look no further than the link below and give this masterful album a listen. I can’t recommend this one enough so please download it now.

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

Links:

https://wyrmlodge.bandcamp.com/album/the-short-but-touching-tale-of-slime-golem

Sombre Arcane Release Enthralling New Video For “Ancestral Seat Of The Barovian Scourge”

The dungeon keeper duo from Massachusetts, otherwise known as Sombre Arcane, have recently premiered a breathtaking video of their ritualistic performance of “Ancestral Seat Of The Barovian Scourge”, originally released on the Wrought Records compilation, ‘The Reliquary Of Terror’. The ceremonial ambiance and medieval appeal is awe-inspiring and the musical creativity is dark, moody, and downright genius. Check out the video below and also download the Wrought Records compilation (link below) as well.

https://wroughtrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-reliquary-of-terror

Link:

https://sombrearcane.bandcamp.com

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrrQxo5jsCMFXaJ4Xott5WA

Eyre Transmissions VIII: Interview With Hungarian Dark Ambient Producer, Blackweald

Each and every year the Dark Ambient community continues to grow and the unexplored regions of intransigent frequency modulations expand beyond expectation. For a genre of such minimalistic underlying components, I’m continually impressed by the deluge of artist that maximizes their creative efforts with such a massive output. One of those artists – that caught my attention this year – is Hungarian Dark Ambient producer, Blackweald. With a handful of monumental albums already released in 2020, it was only fitting that I reach out to him and find out what creates the power and ingenuity behind this dark force. Please enjoy this very informative interview and then go download some Blackweald, and enjoy!

1. Before we get into Blackweald, tell me a little about your musical background, starting from your earliest memories (if possible).

When I was young, I was into Hungarian hip-hop and punk acts. I was amazed by how much energy one can draw from music, and also realized that there are feelings, atmospheres, thoughts that one cannot properly transfer by just words, but these translate quite well in music. 

Then I got into thrash metal by my friends, and later, when I dug deeper and bought a few black metal cassettes, I immediately knew that “This is it!”. It was in the mid-90s, so practically before the widespread usage of the Internet. Since no one around me like this genre, I had to dig deep to find bands on my own, order cassettes, etc.

Before there was Blackweald

As I got older, I really got into industrial, dark electro, experimental music, drone, etc., I learned that each genre has its artists that are producing music on the “negative” side of the spectrum. Like, one might hear upbeat electronic music, and think “fuck all this disco crap”, but then upon hearing an aggrotech act, realizes that “techno” can be done with aggressive vocals, eerie melodies, hard-hitting beats, and suddenly, it appeals to him. In the same vein, not all hip-hop artists are playing gangster rap or mumble rap. Or like, I always thought I hated doom metal, but in reality, I just dislike the heavy metal vocal style and the melancholic vibe. If it’s oppressive and harsh like Indian’s For All Purity, I adore it. So I like music regardless of genre, if it has a nasty/primal/negative/… vibe.

Nowadays, my current favorites, Irkallian Oracle, Nocternity, Svartsyn (the black metal one), Triumvir Foul,  Kriegsmaschine, Ævangelist, Ghostmane, Converge, etc. This, and a crapload of Hungarian hip-hop artists.

2. It seems like a lot of Dark Ambient musicians come from a metal background (or some other extreme form of music), why do you think this is?

I’d rather think that many people who are into dark music, be it dark ambient, dark electro or various experimental genres, these people are open-minded enough to listen to dark music regardless of genre. They’d eventually stumble upon several metal acts, and if they don’t specifically dislike distorted guitars, they’ll find some of the darkest atmospheres in music.
 
People who can sit down and enjoy a long, monotone dark ambient album are often the same people who enjoy a two hours long Swans album, or monotone black metal riffing. So I think the “goal” of these artists is very similar, even if the instrumentation is vastly different.

It’s also interesting how the scene building works for different genres (besides labels and press). Metal bands tend to do splits or concerts together, hip-hop artists like to get featured on each other releases. I wondered how it works for Dark Ambient, and quickly learned that it’s compilations and collaborations.

Cover art for ‘I Saw The Devil’ by Jorge Iracheta

3. Do you remember the moment that motivated you to become a Dark Ambient musician?

As pretentious as it sounds, I wanted to make music that I could not find elsewhere. Stuff I would enjoy listening to. Concepts that I would be interested in. 

I’m not saying that what I’m doing is the pinnacle of originality, rather it’s about “I’d love to listen to a space ambient concept album about my favorite cosmonaut” or “damn, I’d love to listen to this or that kind of drone sound.”, etc.

Actually releasing music is also a good motivator to close and seal these compositions. I’m sure most musicians know the “Art is never finished, only abandoned.” feeling. The more hours you are putting either into the mixing or mastering, the more you are seeing diminishing returns, so eventually, it has to stop. When I’m putting stuff out, I never have a “I would not change a single thing in this!” feeling, but I’m okay with that.

Of course releasing music that is selfishly created is contradictory, but hey, that’s what most musicians do.

I’ve been contacted with a few publishers and micro-labels, but so far, I declined these opportunities, to fully keep my independence.

4. Who are some of your influences in the Dark Ambient genre?

Although I have many favorites in the genre (Cryo Chamber Collaborations, Creation VI, Vestigial,…..) , most of the influences on this project are rather from different genres. Let me list a few.

Earth, who pioneered the drone metal genre. Dylan Carlson is my single biggest influence on the drone and minimalist aspect of music and both Earth2 and Hex are all-time favorites of mine.

Godflesh, not necessarily musically, but on how mixing different elements of genres can create something very unique. I mean, who would have thought that putting heavy guitars on half-assed hip-hop beats will create such an industrial vibe, that it will pioneer a whole new genre.

Swans’ later period, for their eclecticity, mixing noise rock, folk and ambient, and generally a ritual vibe with their music. Seeing these old people playing a punishing three hours long live show changed my mind regarding metal not being the heaviest music. 

Burzum, when Vikernes really brought ambient close together with black metal. Not with his ambient tracks! Just the way he composed his metal tracks and creates an ambient like atmosphere with metal instruments. 

For the ritual aspect, my main influences are Aghast, Zero Kama and Forest Silence.

5. You’ve mentioned the Swans several times and also Godflesh – two bands that I love very much. To me, both of these bands are one-of-a-kind, in that their sound is undeniably theirs, and they seem to incorporate so many different genre’s and sounds without loosing their audience or fan base. As a musician, why do you think this is, and what type of impact has that had on you with expanding your musical boundaries?

Both are led by uncompromising individuals and were highly influential back then. I gotta say, considering they are still relevant today, they are both even underrated, although Godflesh is well-known in the metal scene due to their notorious first record. I think both band’s fanbases are built upon the fact that they are meandering in style, at least that’s the case for me. Expecting the unexpected for such a bands new record is part of the thrill.

I feel sorry for bands that are bashed by their own fans when they explore further musically. Be it Mayhem with Grand Declaration of War or Bring Me The Horizon with Amo. Each new genre in music came to life by having outrageous ideas. Eg. Let’s deliberately crank this guitar amp up until it distorts. Such experiments are fine, even if they fail.

As for Blackweald, it only means that I fearlessly try out techniques, often disregarding if even I will later like it. I often let things “just happen” when composing, and go forward with “mistakes”. If I don’t actively hate it, I keep it like that. I have failed experiments (eg. Patricia), and I’m okay with that. Pieces sometimes just put themselves together, maybe in a bad way, time will always tell.

While at this topic, I think listeners who are throwing away music that they don’t love at first sight, are heavily missing out. Many of my favorites are bands or albums that I initially did not get or I thought “yeah, it might be good, but it’s not for me”.

6. There are many styles in the Ambient arena so when you first became a Dark Ambient musician did you do a lot of experimentation until you found the right formula and sound that represented Blackweald?

I think I will never find “the right formula” and I do not even have the intention to do so.  I don’t even mind if the sounds end out to be very different to what I initially had in mind. 

This is why I like compilation works. I happily took part in 3 of these so far, and really liked the restrictions that the thematic guidelines, song length limit and release deadline had put on me. It knocks me out of my workflow or offers a concept I haven’t even thought of.

7. Please tell us about the name Blackweald. How did you come up with the name and what does it represent?

The name is a foolish play around the name of one of my favorite black metal projects, Hate Forest.

I had the same approach with the name as with the music. Not striving for perfection, just having something that’s good enough.

8. When going in to make an album, do you always have a particular theme in mind, or do you just “see what happens” as you create the music?

I always have a thematic concept in mind, and often a musical one as well. Moreover, when I’m “covering” a real life story, as with “She and the Devil’s Sons” and “Leonov”, I already have the narrative concept in mind.

Eg. with “She and the Devil’s Sons”, the story is given, so I only had to piece together how I would musically represent each part. So I figured, there should be some ominous strings with carriage sounds for the part when she is being taken away (that part is an homage to one of the intro songs of early Carpathian Forest). Then some castle prison ambience for the imprisonment, some female vocals and unearthly growls for the pact her witch-nanny makes with the devil, etc.

Same approach with “Leonov”, I knew I wanted to begin with some heavy industrial sounds, representing Koralev as the “Grand Constructor”; then the lift-off of their spaceship with some propaganda music in the background; long space-ish drones for orbiting Earth; majestic choirs and samples of Leonov speaking during the actual EVA; something frightful when he fails to re-enter the spaceship; rattling machine sounds for the re-entry; and finally some winter ambient as they struggle to keep alive in the taiga, waiting to be rescued.

The problem artistically with these narrative concepts, is that you lock yourself into many things. Sure, you have room to experiment sound-wise, but the album or single has to represent the story. You cannot just skip parts of it, or add something that does not fit there narratively. Still, it’s a lot of fun to work on these.

For the rest of my material, even when there isn’t a real-life story behind the concept, it’s still the thematic concept that comes first, which immediately makes the musical concept clear for me as well.

9. Do you use physical equipment or computer-based VST’s (or a combination of both), when producing and recording your music?

It’s mostly digital equipment, although I sometimes use my acoustic and electric guitars. A good chunk of it is audio manipulation of misc. samples.

Eg. Under the Moon of the Dead Pig was made solely from samples (namely FreshFabrik, Keep of Kalessin, Hate Forest, Sunn O))), Shahmen, Zero Kama, Korn, Johan Johansson, Hildur Guðnadóttir, Tsatthoggua, Prodigy, Wolvennest, Zombie Girl). Not a single original sound was used on that album, but I also did not use any VSTs. Just cutting, looping, pitch-shifting, stretching, filtering, etc. Then there is the opposite side, like “I Saw the Devil”, where I played most of the tunes myself on synth, and manipulated those.

I have to note that I pretty much work in a “no budget” way, hence the lo-fi production. I have an old PC and a broken midi controller. I don’t even have a proper sound card, just an integrated one. I’m often recording on my phone. I’m using two headphones, a 30$ one and a 3$ one. I’m just using what I have.

Any art has two components, idea and execution. I’m not short on ideas, so I have to work on getting the execution part right. I’m trying to focus on getting the craft right, and not focusing too much on the tools themselves.

10. Do you have any other musical projects that you are currently working on or is Blackweald an exclusive endeavor?

I’m doing vocals and playing guitar in a black/death metal cover band. This purely “analog” way of playing music is a perfect companion to the (currently) mostly digital nature of BlackWeald.

Besides music, I also like to write short horror stories, but as a non-native speaker of English, it’s quite a struggle.

11. As for Blackweald, what can we expect to hear in the future?

Right now I have 8 albums worth of concepts ready to be executed. Ranging from Lovecraftian, Dark Souls themed, sci-fi, about the rural life in my country, setting a novel of a friend of mine to ambient, etc.

Just the concepts and ideas for sounds, nothing recorded yet. I rarely work on projects in parallel, I rather finish any current work before jumping on the next one.

In the last few months, I’m working on a quite massive project, an extremely long, 10+ hours concept album. I often feel like it’s overburdening me, so as an exception to the above stated, Pure was born while working on this project. I just had to take a break from it, and fortunately, Pure came quite spontaneous and got shaped quite quickly. 

12. I appreciate this wonderful opportunity to conduct this interview! Do you have any final thoughts for those that will be reading this?

Thank you for your questions and thank you for your work in the DA/DS scene with continuous reviews and interviews.

There is so much music out there nowadays, even in niche genres like this, that it’s hard to get the attention of people.

I’d also like to thank all the people who listened to any of my output, supported me on Bandcamp, or sent me encouraging messages on social media. It means a lot!

Feel free to follow me on Bandcamp/Facebook/Twitter:

https://blackweald.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/BlackWeald/

https://twitter.com/BlackWeald

Finally, I’d like to recommend a few albums to the readers. I guess most of you are quite familiar with Dark Ambient, so I’d rather recommend mostly outside of this genre:

⁃ Grave Upheaval – Untitled (2013): Although traditional metal instruments are used on this album, I’d rather consider it as a “power ambient” akin to Sunn O)))

⁃ Inferno – Gnosis Kardias (2017): Can you imagine black metal without distorted guitars? This is it! Amazing mystic atmosphere and temple-like vibe.

⁃ Walknut – Graveforests and Their Shadows (2007): Unmatched desolate feeling. The guitars sound rather like synth.

⁃ Slagmaur- Thill Smitts Terror (2017): Classic fairytales twisted into slow-paced avantgarde black metal.

⁃ Pagan Megalith – Túlvég (2017): Acoustic black metal music with ritual vibe.

⁃ Dälek – Absence (2007): If Godflesh would truly play hip-hop with a competent MC. 

⁃ Control Alt Deus ‎- Made Of Fire (2008): A short-lived aggrotech project, great melodies with visceral atmosphere.

⁃ Moor Mother – Offering (2020): A very talented experimental artist, just emerging in the last few years.

Finally, let me recommend a few dark ambient artists from my area: Abandoned Shelter, ∆ø∆ and Remete.

Links:

Bandcamp: https://blackweald.bandcamp.com

Fusing Lo-Fi Melodies With Binding Drones, Ataşehir Unleashes The Stunning ‘AVM’

I’ve often wondered if it’s possible for a dark ambient album to provide a sense of euphoria. While the genre is typically the subject matter of dismal, apocalyptic setting or doomed, deep space missions, lighter sentiment can certainly be ascertained, albeit through equally grim music. Such is the case for the latest release by Ataşehir called, ‘AVM’ – a soundtrack (of sorts) that describes a single days worth of events in a shopping mall. It’s a fairly unique theme, with quirky song titles, that stretches the boundaries of dark ambience into a more jubilant state. Let’s examine these peculiar tracks more closely.

“Your Message Woke Me Up In The Middle Of The Night And I Couldn’t Get Back To Sleep” commences with a somber energy like no other. Although at first it seems like you’re drifting through space in a motionless void, cold nebulas and other space phenomena begin to flash by you in a silent instant. Narration samples are barely audible, but make their presence felt as the tide changes to a darker tone through fierce drones. The last minute and a half introduces beautifully toned guitars that play a ceremonial chord before fading out. “A Slight Feeling Of Euphoria As We Entered The Place Where Everything Is Shiny And New” has a nostalgic feel too it, as the dreamy keyboards play a 80’s synthwave groove and multiple layers of luminous synths provide a lush atmosphere. “The Had The Right Size But The Wrong Color And This Triggered Something In Me” is an introspective piece with retro synth tones and more spots of barely audible narrations. There is a slight echo throughout this whole track that gives it a slightly cold and grim feel. “Leaving The Cinema To An Empty Food Court, We Believed The World Was Ours Or At Least Could Be” has a soft, cinematic texture that emits volumes of emotions. From the slight reverberation that are taking place in the background, to the keyboard leads that are as melodic as they are harmonious, this track builds up slowly and has a long fade out as well – stretching out whatever emotive state is present here. “This Is My Ice Cream And Yes You Can Have Some” is a minimalistic piece that places layers of beautiful drones at the helm, and then builds wonderful melodies around them. This track also has a nostalgic vibe that will take your memory back to yesteryear, as the quintessential arrangements play in looping pattern until they slowly fade out. “A Cold Breeze Blew Through The Smoking Area And I Shivered For A Second” is a bit of a serene offering with a space-like synth presence as well as an obscure looping sound that is peculiar to say the least. “The Wait For The Elevator Seemed Like An Eternity, Our Lives Encapsulated In That Moment” begins with a smooth keyboard arrangement that is backed by layers of harrowing drones and obscure soundscapes. Alluring keyboard compositions are the standout on this one and it’s probably my favorite track on the album. Cryptic voices, haunting guitar riffs and mesmerizing loops account for some of the additional things that make this a standout offering. “Outside Shake Shack” may seem like randomly played notes at first, but after listening to the melodic contribution that the instrumentation has to offer, this is such an elegant track that just isn’t long enough. “While Lost In The Otopark We Felt A Sudden Sense Of Our Own Mortality And It Was Beautiful” starts right away with warm drone sounds while faint instrumentation can be heard in the background. As that looping sound slowly crescendos into a more audible arrangement, additional drones are added to provide a thick layer of sound and uncompromising atmosphere. “Theme From AVM” is a minimalistic drone showcase as congenial sounds modulate warm tones throughout this simplistic but necessary track. The final track on the album is “Epilogue”. Although this is another minimalistic offering, drones are traded in for looping keyboard arrangements that are slightly discordant, but at the same time played in a pattern that is memorable yet slightly disturbing.

Ataşehir has found a common ground between dark ambient and euphoric music and ‘AVM’ provides the perfect platform for those results. Combining keyboards, synths, guitars and soundscapes to take the listener on an everyday nostalgic journey, ‘AVM’ is one of those albums that can be listened to over and over again. Each time I’ve played this, I’ve come across small nuances and subtleties that weren’t previously noticed and that says a lot about the effort that was put into this release. I highly recommend checking out this album so please support this artist by downloading ‘AVM’ 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!!

Links:

https://sumatranblack.bandcamp.com/album/avm

Interstellar Space – Special Halloween Review #4: Natura Carcerem – ‘C|E|L|L’

Finding the delicate balance between ghoulish dark ambience and twisted dungeon synth, Natura Carcerem produces a spectacular album full of twists and turns that will completely enthrall the listener from start to finish. From dazzling soundscapes and massive orchestrations, this is a fabrication of energetic synth music that should not be bound to a single classification. ‘C|E|L|L’ contains nearly thirty six minutes of majestic music spanning five tracks and at the end will have you playing this on auto-repeat, just to see if there are any intricate details that were missed.

“A Tragic Path To Take” launches down a dark, forbidden trail with haunting environmental field recordings and brisk footsteps leading toward a destination of misfortune. Droning keyboards and light melodies ring through on “A History Of Hallucinations”, as this amusing track takes shape like an effervescent glow. Suddenly, keys begin to play out of tune while the background drones seem to become more desolate. Industrial-like shrills forcefully take over and provide a new, darker path for this near ten and a half minute journey. Bludgeoning screams of pain integrate with the bleak instrumentation to represent pure mental suffering. After a brief interlude filled with wind and rain field recordings, slightly distorted keyboards create a malevolent orchestration, which provides the perfect backdrop for a few minutes of Dungeon Synth arrangements. “A Deathmarch Through The Virid Halls” is a majestic Medieval dirge filled with layers of somber melody provided by various keyboard effects that are on a grand scale. Wonderfully produced, this song not only showcases a huge sound, but also a great mix whereas all of the instrumentation can be heard equally without losing any luster. The albums title track, “C|E|L|L” could easily be a theme song for a horror movie (or ones’ nightmares). The dissonant, monotone-like keyboard chop is simple, yet effective in producing a frightful emotion. The mid-song narrations are a great addition as well, as it adds to the fantasy that is being told through these songs. The black metal vocals complete the cycle of tragedy by increasing the penitence being produced by the constant melody. The final track, “A Necessary Act Of Autocannibalism (feat. Lord Grim)”, is another ten plus minute odyssey that represents acts of the heinous. Heavy winds and discordant drones begin this track as peculiar sounds are added in randomness. As that fades away, clean keyboard melodies mixed with a small dose of retro-synth pervade with effective measures. Things take a turn toward the darkness with a brutal overtake of blackened metal, complete with blast beats and terrifying vocal screams and shrills. This bombastic influence continues on for a few minutes and then dissolves into a eerie keyboard pattern that closes out this masterpiece of an album.

I’m really impressed with this album and Natura Carcerem does a great job a including a lot of details that cross multiple genres. This keeps it very interesting and makes these epic song (lengths) seem a lot shorter than what they really are. If you’re like me and are a fan of Dungeon Synth, Dark Ambient and other more extreme music genres that they help influence, then check out ‘C|E|L|L’ and embed yourself in the dark, twisted world conceived by Natura Carcerem. The album can be downloaded from the link below.

Please Like/Follow my blog so that you’ll get first hand updates every time I post a review. While your at it, please check out my friends podcast called “The Opinionated Optimist” at the other link below, where he reviews anything and everything. He will be releasing a set of special Halloween Podcasts as well. Thanks for visiting the Dungeon!!

Links:

https://naturacarcerem.bandcamp.com/album/c-e-l-l

The Opinionated Optimist:

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-opinionated-optimist-podcast/id1485260250?i=1000494658460

Interstellar Space – Special Halloween Review #3: Lurk – ‘From The Depths Of Y’ha-nthlei’

After releasing a few EP’s, a Demo, and participating on both Crypt Hop Compilation releases, Dungeon Synth vanguard, Lurk, has finally issued its dynamic, Lovcraftian album entitled, ‘From The Depths Of Y’ha-nthlei’. Upon initial listen, it took me only about a minute or two to realize that this album is extraordinary to the point that it belongs on my Dungeon Synth Album Of The Year list. Let’s dig in to this distinguished offering.

“From The Depths Of Y’th-nthlei” initiates like the opening theme song to a Hollywood movie with it massive sound and bombastic orchestrations. Hints of Middle-Eastern tones add a multi-cultural influence, while haunting narrations pave a dark path for this nostalgic Lovecraftian story. “Tenebris Et Spiritus” starts with a bold keyboard melody, played in a rhythmic pattern. Layers of effects build on to this colossal sound and it’s makes for a perfect transition into a sick Crypt Hop beat toward the last minute of the track. It’s dark and groovy and you’ll want to throw up your sword in an offensive stance and bop your head at the same time. “A Mountain Walked” begins with eerie soundscapes and ghostly narrations, continuing the storyline of the album. Wonderfully produced percussion play a tribal-like, rhythmic pattern while supernatural keyboard effects provide a ritualistic ambience. As this is settling in, tribal chanting from a group of warriors begin their mantra. “Vast Plains Of Madness” commences with a retro sound of hissing tapes and various soundscapes before a piano arrangement eerily plays a melody on top of the continuous battle-like effects. “700 Steps To The Gates Of Deeper Slumber” has a haunting ambient track in the background while slow footsteps can be heard. Soundscapes and field recordings are embedded in spots as another Crypt Hop beat is slipped in perfectly to keep everything in sync. Another Middle-Eastern orchestra effect is fused in with the main melody and it absolutely works perfectly. As the song fades out, the footsteps can still be heard walking off in the distance. “Moon Wine In The Phosphorescent Wood” begins with sounds from the wilderness and a pounding drone that slowly fades into the mix. A warm percussion part is added, as well as additional layers of effects. This is all brought together eventually with a louder mix and is absolutely beautiful – and almost has a chill out vibe too it, as it is very mesmerizing to listen to. I almost wish this track was ten or twelve minutes long! “Ascending The Steps To Unknown Kadath” has a very nice symphonic feel to it and toward the middle of the track contains some very nice retro-wave keyboard work. Everything in this song harmonizes beautifully and the addition of the Crypt Hop beat in the last minute is very unforgettable. The final song on the album is “Behold The Great Onyx Temple”. It begins with the sound of a distant thunderstorm and a deep drone and after a some additional field recordings, a thudding bass drum infiltrates the mix, along with harrowing keyboard effects. All of these tones slowly begin to muffle and fade out as this spectacular album comes to a close.

The first full-length album by Lurk was well worth the wait. After enjoying the amazing music thats been released on a few EP’s and compilation albums, the compositions on ‘From The Depths Of Y’ha-nthlei’ have amazed me beyond expectation and this album may also end up on my Dungeon Synth album of the year list as well. From the story, cover artwork, and the incredible music, this album blends everything perfectly to deliver an amazing release. Please show your support for Lurk by downloading this album at the link below.

Please Like/Follow my blog so that you’ll get first hand updates every time I post a review. While your at it, please check out my friends podcast called “The Opinionated Optimist” at the other link below, where he reviews anything and everything. He will be releasing a set of special Halloween Podcasts as well. Thanks for visiting the Dungeon!!

Links:

https://lurkmusick.bandcamp.com

The Opinionated Optimist:

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-opinionated-optimist-podcast/id1485260250?i=1000491868998