Akashic Envoy Records Assembles An Immense Compilation For A Charitable Cause Called, ‘Apostils Against Hegemony, Vol. I: Transitive Properties’

I love compilation albums for several reasons. For one, they are usually extremely long and provide near endless amounts of entertainments. Secondly, it gives us listeners an opportunity to check out artists that we’ve never heard of before. Especially in this incessant sea of Bandcamp artists, it’s nearly impossible to catch every amazing artist that’s out there. Akashic Envoy Records recently summoned LBGTQAI+ artist from multiple genres to lend their amazing talents not only for this behemoth of a compilation, but also for a great cause. Akashic Envoy Records has decided to donate 100% of the sales of ‘Apostils Against Hegemony, Vol. I: Transitive Properties’ to The Trevor Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to the prevention of suicide amongst LBGTQAI+ youths. The fantastic music on this compilation range from dark pop, synth wave, death metal, black metal, dungeon synth & dark ambient. For my reviews, I typically provide a breakdown of each song on an album. However, due to the sheer size of this compilation, I’ve decided to pick ten of my favorite tracks and talk a little about those. That’s not to say the rest of this album isn’t worthy, because that’s not the case. This is one of the most interesting and entertaining compilations I’ve heard in a really long time. However, If I were to write about each track, it would take you an hour to get through this review. That being said, let’s get started!

“Dew Tipped Grass Along The River Banks” by Bowels Of Eternity is a theatrical adventure with massive dungeon synth undertones. Dark ambient like drones and atmospherics, complimented by eerie soundscapes and textures puts this track in a class all of its own. “Ghost” by Forbihavet is an unforgettable post-metal affair that will insert the listener into a fantastic, dark world where somber melodies slowly build like overflowing volcanic lava. The ethereal acoustic ambience floats endlessly like objects in the vast universe. However, as the instruments become louder, the mood becomes more dense. The elongated buildup leads to an emotional and climactic ending that is heavy and energetic. “Her Stillborn Body” by Putrescine is a brutal, death metal affair with old-school 90’s style production. The high-pitched screechy vocals take turns decimating the ear drums with low end gutteral growls. The music is ferocious without being over the top and the amazing guitar solo is a welcoming sound – especially since a lot of bands turn a blind eye on solos anymore. “Ancestral Magick” by Mutable Body is a really cool synth track that builds slowly, layer by layer, until a full on melodic assault takes the listener into a dark world of fantasy and fiction. There are plenty of otherworldly effects and smooth droning to boast a huge sound, but the real treat here is the keyboard arrangement that remains constant throughout most of the track. I could listen to this stuff all day long and never get tired of it. “Evocation I” by Guan Yin, is an eerie track full of samples, soundscapes and gruesome vocal effects that will keep you on the edge of your seat. I sense a ritualistic theme to this track and as it proceeds, the listener is subjected to cultural beauties and horrors that may not be fathomable by some. Listening to this track is a very rewarding experience, as it’s so different, yet fits right in. “The Void, Transmuted” by Blood And Dust is one of my favorite tracks on this compilation as it mixes the aggression of synth wave and the deep droning sounds of dark ambient music. It slowly builds out of a simple drone, layered soundscapes and simple narrations, then mutates into a multi-layered synth wave track as if the climactic ending of an 80’s horror movie is coming to an end. “His Words Are A Void” by Vulgarite is a blackened doom metal track with a great main riff that is layered to have a slight echo sound. Although the vocals are typical of a harsh black metal style, the music has a bit of a post-metal influence, so all of this combined makes for a stunning track that will embed the listener into a trance-like state. “Six Of Swords” by Jenn Taiga is a progressive synth masterpiece. This track is a mix of something you would hear from the Stranger Things soundtrack, 70’s style fusion progressive rock, as well as the instrumentation from the Swedish band Anekdoten. Jenn Taiga is something special, as it takes an extraordinary ear for music to write a track like this, with such passion and restraint. “The Worm/The Wretch” by Age Decay is one of the most unique tracks that I’ve ever heard. It has a good mix of singer/songwriter, metal, clean & harsh vocals and masterful songwriting. If I had to sum up Age Decay in a few words, I would say it’s a metal version of The Swans – which is a huge compliment. This eleven and a half minute track flows between soft acoustic parts and bombastic metal parts, with all around great vocals. Finally, “Wealth Beyond Measure” by Mausoleum Wanderer is a dungeon synth track that tells a voiceless narrative in the most legendary way. Pulling no punches, Mausoleum Wanderer brings his “A” games in a cinematic score-like anthem that soars high above many tracks of this nature. Beautifully produced and with a clear and crisp sound, this track is a very mature step for Mausoleum Wanderer and I’m looking forward to many more tracks like this from him.

Aside from the ten tracks that I just wrote about, this is an overall extremely impressive album and Akashic Envoy Records couldn’t have done a better job assembling a group of top-notch artists with great talent in a wide-array of genres. It’s not often that you get to hear a compilation of this nature that contains all of your favorite genres of music. At just over three hours of playing time, there is plenty of music to explore on here and I’m sure there are some artists on here waiting for you to discover their awesome music. Since this all for a good cause – supporting The Trevor Project – I highly recommend you clicking on the link and supporting this magnificent compilation album!

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://akashicenvoy.bandcamp.com/album/apostils-against-hegemony-vol-i-transitive-properties

Beyond The Below Offer Disturbing Sounds With Tranquil Piano Arrangements & Turbulent Field Recordings on, ‘Heart Like An Empty Coffin’

Every time I listen to a Dark Ambient recording, I hear it as a soundtrack to a particular moment in time. Whether its from a horrific era that has passed, an ominous & futuristic existence that has yet to happen, or the treacherous present that continues to unfold before our very eyes right now, this genre excels at bringing out the most emotional state of our being in order to imagine such scenarios and how humanity has evolved (or continues to evolve). On ‘Heart Like An Empty Coffin’, Beyond The Below covers each of those era’s by using intelligent field recordings, well-crafted piano arrangements, and modest use of long-form drones to create a unique sound that can be identified with a specific aeon. That’s not to say that there are several distinct sounds on this recording, it just means that Beyond The Below has a keen ear for sounds that expand the epoch of time. Let’s dive into this extraordinary recording.

Engaging album opener, “Downpour”, starts with a menacing piano note that embeds its presence in the conscious by its continual mesmerizing play. Scorching synth frequencies create an unnerving expanse as the field recordings start to filter in. The time setting seems to take the listener from a not-so-distant past to a near-distant apocalyptic future. More beautiful piano notes play over evaporating synth drones as the song comes to an abrupt end. “Kill The Past” begins with haunting piano melodies and distorted field recordings, creating a very bleak atmosphere. Majestic synth arrangements are introduced, establishing a smooth tone, while cosmic sound effects randomly break through as if introduced from a futuristic time portal. “Cleansing The Cursed” starts with night time sound effect, then the abrupt breakthrough of piano notes and industrial synths real havoc as if providing the score for a horror movie. “Solitudinous” features the looping hiss of antique recording techniques as retro-wave keys influence a time where industrial wastelands ruled the earth, and bands of outlaws protected its natural resources from other groups. Although one of the shorter tracks on the album, this one stands out as one of my favorites. “Creatures Sing At Night” is one of the creepiest songs on the album, as the opening elements feature obscure vocals and deep piano notes. The constant inaudible field recording in the background is enough to bring on additional anxiety. “Ghosts Of The Sun” has some of the best piano melody on the album and the echo effect really sets this track in high gear. The warm drones in the background, offer a safe haven for the imagination as this track is calming, while offering bits of discordant harmony. “Love Once Lost” starts with a synth tone that sounds like a submarine sonar. As this sequence continues to play, industrial synths are layered in, as well as additional sound effects that creates a sense of angst. The final track on the album, “Darkness Speaks”, wastes no time creating ominous sounds as harsh industrial frequencies and beautiful piano notes collide in absolute harmony. After several minutes of alluring synth overlays, the track transitions into an industrialized nightmare filled with dissonant sounds and a short blast of nightmarish vocals. Such an ideal way to end this fantastic album.

Beyond The Below take a more theatrical approach to Dark Ambient than a lot of other artist. Shedding the constant, enduring drones and epic track lengths for shorter, cinematic structured tunes that contain a variety of instrumentation and styles, ‘Heart Like An Empty Coffin’ is an enigmatic album that will appeal to a wide variety of music listeners. I highly recommend checking this one out, so please click on the link below and add this gem to your collection.

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://beyondthebelow.bandcamp.com/album/heart-like-an-empty-coffin

Audioalias Fuse Elements Of Downtempo and Drum & Bass To Form Mystifying Electronic Ambience On The Intelligent Offering, ‘Birds Of Prey’ EP

The atmospheric sounds of ambient music is a transcendent phenomenon. Although it doesn’t (normally) contain a rhythmic beat or percussive pattern, this mainly texturally layered music is mixed with soundscapes and the occasional field recording to produced an empowered and emotional music brand that is very addictive. However, due to the open-ended realm of the song compositions, it leaves a lot of room for experimentation and genre mixing. That being said, what do you get when you take the rooted consistency of ambient and combine it with the smooth vibes of downtempo and drum & bass music? You get the supreme recordings of Audioalias, the experimental electronic project from Melbourne, Australia, and on ‘Birds Of Prey’, you get four songs of magnificent electronic culture that combines the dreamy elements of ambient & soundscapes with the upbeat and rhythmic pulses of downtempo music.

To get things started on this EP, “Awkward Serenity” fades in with a looped drum beat and low end bass lines. Simple but effective digital piano arrangements can be heard providing a melodic balance. Additional sounds and keyboard effects augments random spots throughout, creating a spacious groove. The title track, “Birds Of Prey” begins with a haunting keyboard segment that loops, providing a cadence for the harrowing bass and beat to catch up with. Once all in sync, this fluid jam lay ground to additional sounds, tones and catchy vocal lines. Just as your mind and soul start to sink into the music hysteria, it fades out to the end of the track. “Port Park” has moments of darkwave and synthwave, showing versatility and the willingness to cross additional musical paths. Aside from a couple of spots of spoken word samples, there is a lot of looping elements to this track with some beautiful mixing moments. This one is probably my favorite song on the album. The final track, “Waiting For You” contains the most ambience as well as some killer vocal effects. This track is a slow builder, as it layers instrumentations and sounds practically one at a time until there is a conglomerate of musical ideas going on that form a chilling and climactic ending. This really gives me something to look forward to with future releases from Audioalias.

I really like the direction that Audioalias is going with electronic experimentation. Having the ability to combine elements from multiple genres of music takes talent and skill and there is no doubt that Audioalias has both. Audioalias also recently conducted an interview with Emanate Community, where he discussed his inspirations, collaborations and recording gear. I’ve included that interview link below so please check it out as it’s a wonderful read! In the meantime, you can check out ‘Birds Of Prey’ by clicking on the Bandcamp 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://audioalias1.bandcamp.com/album/birds-of-prey

Audioalias Interview With Emanate:

View at Medium.com