Infinexhuma Amasses A Large-Scale Aural Attack With Intense Soundscapes On ‘Frontier’

When it comes to ominous soundscapes and adventurous Dark Ambient compositions that are filled with terror-induced tones and agonizing drones, Infinexhuma has to be one of the front runners that consistently supplies this huge undertaking. One thing you can always count on with an Infinexhuma album is a grim experience that clinches like a slowly tightening vice grip. On the latest deafening effort, ‘Frontier’, the tones are colder, soundscapes more chilling, and an overall dominating audial ordeal that is more dismal than ever. Also, enlisting the help of other Dark Ambient elite artists such as Blood Box, Neraterræ, and Common Eider, King Eider, together they catapult this deviant journey into multiple realms of chaos. At almost one hour and forty minutes long, this bleak expedition has enough creepy twists and turns to create and angst-filled environment.

The intoxicating album opener, “Converter”, is an all-out onslaught of malevolent sounds, designed to overwhelm the senses and bring forth nightmarish reactions. The haunting drones are propelled to a grueling depth with the help of industrialized soundscapes and a flock of crows, circling in agitation. This ten minutes endeavor does not let up and thoroughly prepares the listener for the next hour and a half. “Orbital (feat. Blood Box)” creeps along at a gradual pace, refining the audial invasion of the first track, and subduing the listener into a catatonic state. Terror-filled screeches and modulations grow louder as the weight of this track becomes even heavier. The next track, “Sword” summons ancient, dark vibes as the mildly distorted drone appends itself to the listeners subconscious. More like a malicious space ambient outing, there are intense ritualistic moments throughout that is reminiscent of a doomed celestial society. Fabricated screams elicit moments of terror as this haunting track beckons the darkest of times. “Sweeper” keeps the nightmare sequence alive with alluring drones and field recordings. As if surviving another dimension, grim manifestations are on full display in eerie fashion. “Heaven March (feat. Neraterræ)” displays signs of solitude and emptiness, as these superior drones have an echo effect, creating a wall of sound that embodies desolation. Sonic soundscapes present a trance-like significance that is addictive to listen too. This is probably one of my favorite tracks on the album. “Position In Flames” is a slow builder but well worth the wait. Light drones and incredulous synths seem far off and blurry at first, but slowly form into a dynamic track full of distorted frequencies and angst. As they start to fade into a warm drone sound, breathing becomes normal and an escape back to reality is in close focus. “Catharsis Of Goodbye is nearly thirteen minutes long and runs the gamut of emotional brain patterns. Beginning with a short, foreign narrative, it fuses into an assembly of sound that takes its time to decimate those that listen. From hollow drones and mechanized soundscapes to retro synthwave distortions, this track contains the elements and checks the blocks for a true dark ambient excursion. Next up is “Deep Runnel (feat. Common Eider, King Eider)” and it’s fascinating resistance of grueling, harsh moments make this one of the most effective tracks on the album. Maintaining a low compulsion for gradual effects, this one builds in anticipation without breaking its lethargic flow. “In The End” is a supernatural spectacle of sound and voice, as they fuse together in a dreamlike state. An interesting addition of EDM synths and monstrous backing tones are a welcomed surprise and I’m sure many listeners will appreciate this branching out to additional genres and will succumb to multiple listenings in one sitting. “Forged” begins as a minimalistic piece but grows into a fierce synthwave crossover song that features beautiful synth leads and darkened drones. There are other obscure sequences that add to this amazing sound, creating a monumental track that easily stands out amongst the others. “Every Door” is discordant offering that is full of twists and turns, including heavily distorted & sequenced vocalizations. Although it starts off semi-peaceful, it morphs into a noise-filled composition that becomes one of the harshest tracks on the album. The final track on the album is “Stormless”. Another stellar feat in space ambience, this enticing arrangement will have the listener drifting off to the far reaches of the bleak, uncharted universe. Although all is safe, you never know what’s lurking around every corner, as this song will have the listener calmly anticipating what the future holds. Such a captivating way to end this preeminent Dark Ambient experience.

I can always count on Infinexhuma to provide the ultimate Dark Ambient experience. Whether it’s cinematic soundscapes, ritualistic tones, harsh noise or space ambience, each album provides a unique platform for transparency with all of these musical forms. ‘Frontier’ is no different, as it challenges the listener to open the mind to fully embrace all of these magnificent compositions. If you’ve not heard this colossal recording yet, please visit the link below and experience one of the best Dark Ambient recordings out right now.

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Links:

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

Eighth Tower Records unveils companion book for ‘The Black Stone – Music For Lovecraftian Summonings’

The Black Stone – Stories For Lovecraftian Summonings

In January of this year, Eighth Tower records released another groundbreaking album of Dark Ambient resonance that featured the best-of-the-best artist of the genre. Some of them are amongst my favorite and include Mombi Yuleman, Alphaxone, Ashtoreth, NEW RISEN THRONE and Moloch Conspiracy to name a few. All of these artist successfully constructed Lovecraftian-themed tracks of fascinating darkness and a sonic exploratory of unmatched mythical subject matter. Fast forward a few months and we find another innovative event for Eighth Tower Records in the form of their first-ever book release. A companion to ‘The Black Stone’ album, it is entitled, ‘The Black Stone – Stories For Lovecraftian Summonings’ and features twenty seven tales of horror inspired by H.P. Lovecraft and his Cthulhu Mythos.

Here is some additional information about the book and writers, as found on the Eighth Tower Records Bandcamp page:

Featuring: Ramsey Campbell, Brian M Sammons, Glynn Owen Barrass, Lucy A. Snyder, E.A. Black, Chris Kelso, Andrew Coulthard, Stephen Mark Rainey, Kevin Lewis, Richard A. Scott, Russell Smeaton, John Buja, Made in DNA, David Agranoff, Pete Rawlik, Brian C. Short, Michael Housel, John Chadwick, David Voyles, Konstantine Paradias, Edward Morris, Parry Milton, Phil Breach, Garrett Cook, Andrew Freudenberg, Love Kolle, Sarah Walker.

Curated by Raffaele Pezzella
Cover illustration by John Chadwick
Editing by Parry Milton

https://eighthtowerrecords.bandcamp.com/merch/the-black-stone-stories-for-lovecraftian-summonings-book-cd
https://eighthtowerrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-black-stone-music-for-lovecraftian-summonings

Grab a copy of this book before it’s sold out and if you’ve not heard the amazing album that was released back in January, do yourself a favor a download that one right away for a stunning audial experience.

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Links:

https://eighthtowerrecords.bandcamp.com/music

https://unexplainedsoundsgroup.bandcamp.com

Cryo Chamber Label’s Seventh Lovecraftian Collaboration, ‘Yig’, Is The Most Versatile Offering In The Series Yet

Since 2014, the Cryo Chamber label has embarked on an annual endeavor that epitomizes the meaning of artist collaboration. Paying tribute to world renowned author – and creator of the Cthulhu Mythos – H.P. Lovecraft, these musical ventures have proven time and time again to be epically daring and adventurous beyond the realm of typical artistry participation. Consisting of mainly album-length tracks, these Lovecraftian collaborations find the gathering of current Cryo Chamber artists, alumni of the label, and additional artists that are some of the best in the business. As each album culminates an evolution of sound and dynamics, they also improve with more sophistication and a variation of modular potency. The seventh (and latest) album in the series, ‘Yig’, consists of two songs that are around seventy minutes in length each and the transparency of these arrangements make it the most accessible and auditory one yet.

“Yig 1” wastes no time in creating a cinematic ambience, as mystifying soundscapes and fearless drones find a balance between sinister accord and Middle Eastern vibes. Percussive elements of a tribal nature begin to create a ritualistic groove that challenges the senses which results in being caught between darkness and a theatrical emotive state. As the percussion slowly fades, it gives way to deep, peaceful drones that succeed in delegating mental prowess to the subconscious. Various field recordings and effects paint an eerie scene, but this is just the beginning. At the twelve and a half minute mark, electronic beats add a rhythmic cadence that is downright sinister, but it is also a well designed section for this track as it adds an authentic layout to the ominous subject matter. One of my favorite sections of this track starts at around the twenty eight minute mark. Up to this point, the output has been mostly dark and malevolent in nature, but here there is a particular calmness that is a perfect inclusion. Layers of vibrant drones create a spacey vibe while keeping it melancholic at the same time. It’s so easy to get lost in this section as it’s so dreamy and introspective. If you’ve not done so up to this point, you’ll want to close your eyes and soak in the fantasy world that is being created. This section carries on for about seven minutes or so before traversing into darker territories again. At around the forty seven and a half minute mark, another important section of this track is introduced. Commencing with a good mix of field recordings, it is soon joined by West Asian instrumentation and some wicked vocalizations that are barely audible. After a few more very powerful sections of this track, we finally make it to the last few minutes, which ends in the same fashion as it started – unique field recordings and beautiful instrumentations that provide the cinematic finale to this grandiose piece. “Yig 2” is another impressive feat of legendary proportions. Starting with dark, desolate drones and apocalyptic soundscapes, the beginning sets a ravaging pace of systematic annihilation for the next seventy minutes. At around six and a half minutes, spacious drones meander in slow motion while a calming effect pierce through its dense layers. The looping effect creates an arcane sensation and the trance-like results are mind blowing. Another impressive section begins at around nineteen minutes in. As one section transparently fades into the next, this one has soaring guitar and piano leads with almost a dark noir sound. I could listen to a whole album of this stuff. Well played and just enough distortion on the percussive parts to change things up a bit, this is one of my favorite parts on the whole album. Starting at around the thirty two minute mark is probably one of the most essential sections on the album, as it really provides that nostalgic Lovecraftian vibe of horror and fascination for darkness. The bombastic drum beats combines with various drones and soundscapes create a menagerie of sound that is addictive and suggestive of the subject matter. Ominous and explosive black ambience is captured at around fifty two minutes in, as elements of industrialized drones begin to take over. The sound continues to grow darker and more perilous as a sense of anxiety begins to mount. However after a few minutes, that is counteracted by soft, soothing drones that successfully develop into an emotional journey for the final few minutes of this monumental album.

One of the most impressive aspects of the ‘Yig’ collaboration is how over twenty artists from all over the world, supply a version of their craft for this themed story with absolutely no opacity between parts. We’re talking two, seventy plus minutes tracks of some of the best arranged Dark Ambient material that has been produced recently. That extraordinary effort has made ‘Yig’ one of my favorites amongst the Cryo Chamber Lovecraft Collaboration series. If you’ve not heard this yet, I highly recommend checking it out by clicking on the link below.

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Links:

https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/yig

Abstract Conveyances Demand Universal Reciprocity On Mauve Zone’s ‘Transmissions From Carcosa’

I want to take a minute to appreciate the hard work that these Dark Ambient artists do to establish a story (or theme, if you will) for the audial juggernaut that comes to fruition at the end result of their albums. Not only do they go “all out” to always provide high-quality music, but producing a noble storyline is equally as important in order to assist in delivering a valuable product to us fans. That especially holds true on Mauve Zone’s valiant ‘Transmissions From Carcosa’ album. Showing a major Lovecraftian influence, this album digs deep into mythological worlds and obscure subject matter to deliver a creative realm of dark ambience with trance-like impulses and mystical drones on seven massive tracks.

“The Calling From Hyades” begins with a long, drawn out crescendo of tonal modulations that turns into a sonic drone, and the foundation for the first part of this near ten minute long track. As the drone passes and slowly fades, the ringing of bells signifies an endless apprehension of foreboding soundscapes that will follow. Although a bit minimalistic – as far as composition goes – the effects run the gamut from deep sounds to higher pitched synth pad intonations. “The Shores Of Lake Hali” commences with ominous soundscapes, as if providing the audial imagery for a horror film. Although the feeling is rather calm, it’s more intense than soothing and the range of harrowing variety will leave you in anticipation for more dismal sounds that may follow. “Fungi From Yuggoth” starts with an oppressive, industrial beat with an echo effect and along with the drone that is contributed, sounds bleak and poignant. Although this sound remains constant throughout, minor adjustments are added and frequency distortions are thrown in to give it that futuristic and mechanized feel. “Cassilda’s Song” begins with an extremely cold vibe, complements of the dissonant sound effects and layered drones. Slight alterations are made to this otherwise track-long, steady composition and sound bits of vocal narrations are added as well. An overall very creepy augury, it’s exactly how I envision Dark Ambient to sound when representing Lovecratian subject matter. Next up is the industrious piece, “The Yellow Sign”. Massive, swaying drones assuage the subconscious while synth chops play a manufactured sound of cold, discordant harmonies. Distorted attunement adds a sense of unity to this complex score and its trance-like arrangement is mesmerizing. “Tatters Of The King” compiles the best features of darkwave and synthwave and fuses them with Dark Ambient soundscapes to produce one of the best tracks on the album. A mosaic of instrumentation is fine tuned and perfectly deconstructed on this song and as the listener gets lost in the conglomerate of modulations, the represented story starts to unfold. The final track on the album, “The Red Comet” is a soundtrack worthy composition and the songwriting translates amazingly well to the synth and pad arrangements. Exotic sound effects present a retrospective feeling as this massive album comes to a close. This track is a warm light that shines bright behind the dark, grim songs that proceeded it. An excellent way to end this album that will immediately make you want to give this a second spin.

Mauve Zone’s ‘Transmissions From Carcosa’ is a spectacular album that paints a dark, fascinating picture of a mythological world of Lovecraftian influence. There is a variety of music on this album that breaks the monotony of minimalistic droning and I love the industrial and synthwave influences on several of these tracks. If this is a sign of things to come, then Mauve Zone will soon be a favorites amongst Dark Ambient fans. I highly recommend this album so please click on the link below and support Mauve Zone.

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Links:

https://mauvezone.bandcamp.com/album/transmissions-from-carcosa

Eyre Transmissions X: Interview With Dark Ambient, Dungeon Synth & Metal composer, Scorpio V

Scorpio V is one of the most accomplished musicians in the synth world. The multi-genre specialist has achieved insurmountable triumph in most of the projects that he’s released. From Dark Ambient mainstay, Metatron Omega to the amazing Dungeon Synth act, Stronghold Guardian, Scorpio V utilizes his musical dexterity to create synth music of another level. I recently had the opportunity to find out a little more about his prodigious projects, musical background and what’s to come in the near future. I hope you enjoy this interview with one of the best in the business.

1. First of all, thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions about your amazing projects. What is your background (musically) and have you always played synth-based music?

My pleasure. I don’t have a formal musical or some other “artistic” background. I’ve just always found myself having the need to either reproduce what I see (by drawing it) and hear, or to create something new based upon what I’ve been presented with. I was always the type of person who cannot just passively listen to music – I had to get involved in the process of making it. As for the musicianship itself, my early beginnings were with keyboards. Although I’ve grown up listening to metal and held great esteem for electric guitar as an instrument, it was only after I’ve dabbled with keyboards, synths and industrial/ambient music that I’ve started also playing the guitar. So, yes, one can say that synths, sound programming and sound design were, and still are, my main niche.

2. The albums on your Prometheus Studio Bandcamp page range from metal, dungeon synth, dark ambient, and various other synth projects. What usually sets the tone for the style of album that is released at any particular time?

There are absolutely no rules for me when it comes to creating something, although as one may have noticed, what I create can mainly be defined by atmospheric, lush, dark or sometimes “grandiose” spectre of experience. I just get the inspiration for something and start channeling the energies. If I should pinpoint what exactly influences the process, it is my life and experiences, my imagination and philosophy. Other than that, it could be the stuff I listen to, literature I read, sometimes a game whose lore or atmosphere I find immersive (although I very rarely actually play them). Same goes for a movie, especially soundtrack and visuals (LotR being a great example here).

3. My first introduction to your music was the Metatron Omega project – which releases music via the Cryo Chamber label. That is by far, one of my favorite Dark Ambient projects of all time. What inspired you to write such monumental arrangements for this project?

Metatron Omega is a story for itself, as is Paleowolf. The main inspiration for creating Metatron Omega was mainly philosophical, coming from the spiritually oriented literature (and readings about the inner workings of some historically important secret societes). I think that on some level, I had the need to create a kind of a “soundtrack” for myself while studying those topics and wandering through my own path of self-discovery. Through the landscape of sound, I’ve channeled what I was experiencing while searching for something greater than myself. I also listen to a lot of church music, litanies, gregorian chants, orthodox russian and Byzantine monastic music, therefore creating ambiental music with those elements has been a natural process.

4. ‘Evangelikon’ was my Dark Ambient album of the year for 2019 and I’ve since been hoping for more Metatron Omega releases. Do you have any plans this year for that project?

Yes, there’s a new album in preparation since the beginning of the year. A few things that happened in the meantime slowed it down. I can’t say for sure if it’s going to be this year, but I’m holding a place in my mind to get back to it.

5. After Metatron Omega, I soon discovered you were behind the projects on the Prometheus Studios Bandcamp page and spent a lot of time deep-diving into those projects like Gaetir The Mountainkeeper and Paleowolf. Although those are Dark Ambient projects as well, they are so very different from each other. Can you talk about how each of those projects came about?

Paleowolf’s story is a big one, I’m not sure if summing it up in a sentence or two would do the justice to the journey I went on with that project. For the sake of this interview, let’s say that I was always interest in prehistory (human or not), and shamanism drew my attention in my teenage years. All these years listening to Mongolian throat singing and shamanic overtone singing, and then one night of immersive myself in Syven’s “Aikantaite” the energies collided into something beyond me. So, put all this together and Paleowolf was born. And it all came spontaneous, natural to me, I had little to ponder about. Gaetir the Mountainkeeper begun somewhat differently, as a way to channel my imagination and journey with Norse mythology, put through my own emotional lense. I felt the need to take my own part in creating the atmosphere for the mythos and nature of the North. Although I can’t say why exactly I “chose” to manifest it in the style I’ve chosen.

https://gaetirthemountainkeeper.bandcamp.com/album/vetrarlj-s

6. Another project that I love – and one that helped solidify my love for modern Dungeon Synth – is Stronghold Guardian. Are you a big fan of that genre as well, and who are some of the artist that you looked to for musical direction for that project?

Dungeon synth followed me since my early plunge into the water of Black metal (as, I suppose, happened with majority of people in DS circles). Of course, in those time I didn’t know that if you put synths and black metal vocals together you call that a ‘dungeon synth’. I always went for the dark atmosphere – using synths and other instruments than electric guitar proved to work very well in achieving this kind of atmosphere. I actually begun finding synths, strings, drones to work much “better” than guitars when it comes to delivering something a lot more immersive. As for the influences, Summoning has been, and still is, one of my favorite projects and influences in a couple of my creations.

7. You recently released a new album under that moniker – ‘Castlelord’ – which is a rework/remastering of earlier material, to include metal guitars. How did this creation come about?

I just wanted to hear how Stronghold Guardian material would sound with electric guitars added. Seriously. And since I was satisfied with the outcome, I’ve decided to share it with the rest of the world.

https://strongholdguardian.bandcamp.com/album/castlelord

8. On some of the tracks, I sense an early Graveland influence. Did any of the mid 90’s Viking Black Metal bands/albums inspire any of these reworks?

Viking black didn’t have much of an influence on Stronghold Guardian. I listen to a lot of different genres and styles so most often than not, I’m not aware of the actual inspiration. When I think about it now, perhaps some clean vocal parts may have come from Limbonic Art’s “In Abhorrence Dementia”. That album also had a magnificent synth work. Fantastic album overall and certainly another influence.

9. One project that has really grown on me is Nebulon. It’s a great project but the ‘Across The Solar Tides’ album was on another level. It had more of a Berlin School/early Tangerine Dream influence. Was that the direction intended?

Sure, Nebulon is definitely following the trails set by ’70-’80 German-French electronics and Berlin School. Early Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze’s solo works too. Let’s also not forget early Vangelis (his synth work) and the masterpieces of Jim Kirkwood, such as “Middle Earth” and “Souls that Dance on The Edge of the Sword”, “Nightshade in Eden”, etc. Nebulon somewhat tried to merge all these into a different gestalt and drown it in the sea of lush cosmic, interstellar ambient with its own complex narrative.

https://nebulonambient.bandcamp.com/album/across-the-solar-tides

10. You recently released two albums [edit: a third album had been released by the time of this publishing] under the Monasterium Imperi name. These are the perfect albums to listen to, especially while waiting for more Metatron Omega, but what makes these projects so different?

The way I see it, the major difference is in the structure of the tracks and type of chanting. Metatron Omega is using heavy and masssive church choirs, most often processed in a droning/brooding manner in the midst of the ‘wide’ atmosphere and heavy dark ambient drones; while Monasterium Imperi keeps things a bit ‘simpler’ and more focused, using structured solo chants upon melodic strings. And of course, there’s a great difference in thematic. Metatron Omega deals with spiritually-oriented philosophy of our world and Universe, a journey of self-discovery, while Monasterium Imperi leads us into the fantasy-inspired Cathedral-worlds spread throughout the Galactic Empire set into an alternative universe, in a far future.

https://monasteriumimperi.bandcamp.com/album/chants-of-liberation

11. What process do you use for recording the amazing Gregorian chants?

It depends where I want them and what I try to achieve. Some are sung by me, some are sampled, and something is a work of the VSTs.

12. One of your more serene (and popular) projects is Forest of Yore. How hard is it to go from bleak and ominous sounds to a more somber and tranquil sound without losing the Scorpio V identity?

For me not ‘hard’ at all. I’m very close to Nature, I’ve spent great deal of time in forests since I was young (and still striving to spend even more time). Forests are one of my main inspirations, not just for musicianship but for my life conduct, philosophy and spirituality. A forest can provide both ‘dark’ and ‘light’ contexts and evoke an entire spectrum of emotions. So, as much as I’m awed by the darkness and mystery of it, the forest also evokes a feeling of blissfulness, a kind of aural peace that surrounds you while you make your way through the unknown path, and into the distance of the trees. Forest of Yore is a soundscape for just this tranquil ambiance far away from the rush of modern society.

https://forestofyore.bandcamp.com/album/mythical-woodlands

13. You have a couple of older projects (Temple of Gnosis & Grailknight) that haven’t produced any new material in a few years. Do you have any plans to keep this projects going?

I don’t have precise plans for some of my projects, such as those two mentioned. I’ve created something out of a ‘need’ to create and that’s it. I usually don’t have a ‘yearly plan’ of what I’m going to do, not to mention a plan to create this or that album. So, we’ll see.

14. There are a few other projects that I love, but didn’t ask about specifically such as Orkforge & Shogun’s Castle. Can we expect new releases from these projects as well.

I think you can, because I’ve already worked on some material with Shogun’s Castle. Still, I have to get into the mental spaces for both projects in order to properly think about hows and whats.

https://shogunscastle.bandcamp.com/album/the-ancient-arts-of-self-discipline

15. These days, cassettes are making a comeback – especially in the Dungeon Synth scene. Do you plan to continue cassette releases for some of your projects? How about a second run of cassettes for the Shogun’s Castle project?

Indeed, cassettes have (again) come a massive hit these days. It’s just amazing to see so many people involved in it and being interested in a pretty much overly outdated medium compared to the technology of this day and age. So, yes, I’ve thought about continuing to put out cassettes for other projects, and perhaps a re-release of some of Shogun’s Castle albums.

16. I really appreciate the time that you’ve take to answer these questions. Do you have any final thought or comments for your fans that may be reading this interview?

You’re welcome and thank you for your interest in my work. Actually, the interview was quite comprehensive thanks to your questions, so I’m satisfied in leaving it as it is.

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:

Bandcamp: https://prometheusstudio.bandcamp.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/prometheusstudio.official

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCttFYkVyUGHWsopvkRZgJbg

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/prometheusstudio

Celestial Ephemerides: A Collection Of Dark Ambient Summary Reviews, Part I

This is my second Celestial Ephemerides posting but the first one that dives into the Dark Ambient genre. Like I mentioned previously, I’m hoping these summary reviews will tide you over while I plow through my endless list of review requests with the hopes of getting caught up one day soon. All of these albums are incredible and it would be awesome if you would show your support for some (or all) of these amazing releases.

1. Cryo Chamber – Tomb Of Wights

Cryo Chamber Label’s Tomb Series, is one of my favorite collections of Dark Ambient releases. Instead of the typical collaboration effort, the Tomb series brings together many artists and allows them to provide their own cinematic input based on the theme. ‘Tomb Of Wights’ is an exceptional addition to the series and features some of my favorite Dark Ambient artists. The majestic quality of these tracks flow effortlessly, while magnificent drones and soundscapes provide a groundbreaking experience in audial sub-harmonics.

https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/tomb-of-wights

2. Deus Ex Lumina – Summoning

‘Summoning’ is a very unique album and is not typical of the Dark Ambient genre. Monolithic drones and callus soundscapes lay the foundation for vibrant orchestrations and symphonic melodies. Additionally, beautiful female vocals and worldly musical intonations can be heard throughout this recording, adding a delicate layer of harmony and variety. This is one that you can definitely go back and listen to over and over again.

https://deusexlumina.bandcamp.com/album/summoning-full-album-dark-ambient

3. Hiemis – Radix

Hiemis is the real deal when it comes to introspective Dark Ambient. Taking a minimalistic approach, Hiemis builds upon dreamy drones that border warm and dark ambient variances and instead of relying on heavy use of field recordings and sonic soundscapes, rich synth textures creates the dynamic and robust atmosphere. ‘Radix’ epitomizes all of these qualities and delivers an auditory masterpiece that is equally soothing and appealing to the depth perception of a cinematic music imagery.

https://noctivagantcollective.bandcamp.com/album/radix

4. The Oracle – Hypogeum

‘Hypogeum’ is way more than a Dark Ambient album; it’s a visionary conquest in experimental & electronic music in general. Although robust drones are used through this recording, it’s the excellent use of percussion, industrial soundscapes and the variety of synth tones that makes this such an adventurous outing. This is an audial experience that must be heard to be understood and thoroughly appreciated.

https://theoraclema.bandcamp.com/album/hypogeum

5. Harrogat – Ignotvs

When I’m in the mood for indisputable drones of the highest order, I usually look no further than Harrogat. ‘Ignotvs’ is a deep dive into the bare essence of Dark Ambient music and focuses on elongated drones and extremely bleak atmospherics. One advantage of this style is the complete embodiment of mind over matter and the ability of the listener to submerge themselves into a deep state of relaxation and remission from reality.

https://lakelabel.bandcamp.com/album/ignotus-2

6. Sydalesis – Dark Beam

Although not quite Dark Ambient, this is some of the most exhilarating ambient music that I’ve heard in quite a while. I can sense a huge Max Corbacho influence on these tracks as ‘Dark Beam’ has an effervescent quality about its tone and overall seamless flow. The Space Ambient quality that can be heard throughout is like an emotional ride through an euphoric realm. Very high-quality ambient music here.

https://sydalesis.bandcamp.com/album/dark-beam-2

7. Vortex – Helioz

‘Helioz’ is a daring Medieval adventure told through experimental musical and divine vocal narrations that will transport the listener back to ancient times. From whaling guitars, galloping tribal beats and engaging drones to foreboding soundscapes, this albums is the complete journey for the wandering mind. I guarantee that you won’t find many albums of this kind, that are completely enthralling and mesmerizing. Good luck waking up from this mystical expedition once the final song finishes.

https://cycliclaw.bandcamp.com/album/helioz

8. Undirheimar – Heljarrúnar

This album is beyond amazing! Undirheimar sounds like a cross between Wardruna, Phurpa & Ashtoreth and ‘Heljarrúnar’ is a result of that fantastic fusion. This is ritualistic Dark Ambience at its most imposing stance. The overtone singing chants are the sustenance of these tracks, but the deep drones and primal percussive parts play a huge factors in creating an over-the-top cinematic experience. This is a must-listen for fans of ritualistic music.

https://cycliclaw.bandcamp.com/album/heljarr-nar

9. Desiderii Marginis – Departed

The variation of musical compositions on ‘Departed’ is beyond compare. From subdued drones and alluring soundscapes to astonishing vocal effects, this album has quite the mixture of Dark Ambient components to invoke various emotional states. In addition, evidence of synthwave can be spotted in several tracks, broadening the scope of sound to a more satisfying level.

https://cycliclaw.bandcamp.com/album/departed

10. Cernichov – The Mold Legacy

Pulsating, industrialized noises, distorted modulations and a conglomerate of obscure drones make up the bulk of the landscape on ‘The Mold Legacy’. These trance-like compositions are as crushing as they are mesmerizing. Although every track offers something a bit different, don’t expect smooth soundscapes and translucent textures. This album is a maniacal platform for agony relief, yet at the same time the listener will feel totally enthralled with the spacious vibes of each arrangement. This is not one to be overlooked.

https://cernichov.bandcamp.com/album/the-mold-legacy

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Guan Yin Video Premiere For “Repentance II”

In May of 2020, I reviewed an extremely diverse and unique collaboration album released on Akashic Envoy Records called ‘Apostils Against Hegemony, Vol. I: Transitive Properties’. Although that album contained thirty three extraordinary tracks, I detailed ten of them that stood out the most. Amongst those standout tracks was “Evocation I” by Guan Yin. The ritualistic essence laid a foundation for bleak drones, discordant vocals and black ambience and left me wanting more. The time has finally come for a new track and I’m extremely excited to present the video for “Repentance II”. It’s everything that I expected it to be and so much more. I hope you enjoy this song as much as I do and please visit the links at the bottom of the page.

Information from the artist/label:

Guan Yin: a ritual ambient project from multi-instrumentalist Cicatrix (Nodus Tollens, Chernozem – they/them)) and vocalist Espi Kvlt (Seas of Winter, Apricitas, Nehushtan – they/he).

In much the same way that the duo’s other collaboration Exsanguinated Shade doesn’t fit neatly within the parameters of a single genre, Guan Yin doesn’t approach ritual ambient in the traditional way. For starters, there are no occult themes in the duo’s music – Espi Kvlt is a practicing Buddhist, and all of their lyrics come from Buddhist texts. From a musical perspective, Cicatrix draws as much inspiration from power electronics artists like Prurient and Theologian as they do from the ritualistic sounds of Corona Barathri or Emme Ya.

For the dark and frequently harrowing half of their split with cinematic ambient duo Sun Through Eyelids, Espi Kvlt took their lyrics from the Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch, specifically the section on Repentance. They chose that particular text because they were struggling with a mistake they made around the same time the duo were working on the split, and when dealing with serious life issues, the way they tend to overcome the pain and suffering from said issues is by making music. By focusing on the Repentance section of the Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch, they were able to heal through singing the words and forgive themselves for said mistake. While no amount of repentance can ever truly eliminate the pain caused to another, it can serve to spread good will into the world and bring loving-kindness to any beings we have wronged.

The Sun Through Eyelids/Guan Yin split will be available on cassette from Acepahle Winter Productions on March 19. Limited to 50 copies on metallic silver shells. Preorders launch on March 5.

Links:

https://guanyin.bandcamp.com

https://acephalewinter.bandcamp.com

https://sunthrougheyelids.bandcamp.com

Randal Collier-Ford Ventures Down A Dark, Ritualistic Path on ‘Advent’

If you’re in the market for Dark Ambient that is loaded with substance and distinction, then look no further than Randal Collier-Ford. His unmistakable sound hangs in the balance between desolate drones and ritualistic terror. Somewhere amidst that rudimentary structure, frays of industrial modulations, sonic soundscapes and transcendental field recordings integrate seamlessly to present his signature take on Dark Ambient madness. However, on his latest effort, ‘Advent’, we find a broader approach to the songwriting venture, presenting a more melodic and cinematic sound than ever before. Ranging from effervescent orchestrations to tonal black ambience, ‘Advent’ is the Randal Collier-Ford album I’ve been waiting to hear for a very long time.

The opening track is the near twenty minute long juggernaut, “Beckoning Absurd Shapes”. It begins as expected – bleak, desolate soundscapes with a calm-before-the-storm approach. The drones ascend like low, howling winds and the sound of horns that resembles an early warning alarm enacts in the distance. Disturbing vibes continue to play out, creating an environment of angst and dread. Prolonged stringed arrangements add a slight gothic presence with a noir sediment. Ritualistic undertones in the form of dark, inaudible chants add a necessary layer of power and sonic presence to this track as it continues to ebb and flow with its audible storyline. The last half of this track is inundated with ghastly drones, beautiful stringed compositions and a variety of field recordings that will keep the listener engaged in this visionary conquest. The next track is “Eyes Of The Temple (feat. Northumbria)”. Northumbria – known for their textured guitar and bass recordings – adds a gripping layer of coldness that embodies the true essence of minimalistic ambience. The musical combination of these artists establishes a dreadful world of chaos and darkness that builds into a massive wall of sound. The star attraction in this track is the grandiose guitar reverb. It creates a sound so hollow and disturbing that it’s bound to create nightmarish effects. The final track on the album is the twelve minute long “The Second Wound”. Commencing with powerful drones of a destructive nature, this song slowly ascends into a world of desolate visions. A sultry piano arrangement leads into a tribal drum line of war-like proportions. Enormous soundscapes and industrialized summonings bring forth a climactic ending as the drones fade between the bombastic percussive parts. The track finally comes to a close, as the drums dissolve, leaving synth pads to create a fulfilling ending.

Randal Collier-Ford never disappoints, and has always delivered amazing results on his previous albums. However, with ‘Advent’, he’s stepped up his game and has conveyed his best performance yet. The epic track lengths make the difference for me, as they allow for the atmospherics to captivate the mind and dominate the emotional state. The Cryo Chamber label continues their effortless run of outstanding releases that continue to pioneer the Dark Ambient genre and ‘Advent’ embodies that streak completely. I highly recommend checking this one out so click on the link below and download this amazing album.

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Links:

https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/advent

Aleksis Tristan Shaw Reveals An Array Of Influences On The Cinematic ‘Drones Of The Hive’

I’ll be the first to admit that it’s hard to soak in and preserve a lasting affection for many of the albums that I review. It’s not that I don’t like them, in fact, I’ve been fortunate to love everything that I’ve reviewed up to this point. Once I’m finished with one, I tend to put that album on the back burner (for a while), so that I can move on to the next. However, there are many instances where an album stops me dead in my tracks and enthralls me for multiple listens, with an extended staying time on my iPhone. ‘Drones Of The Hive’ by Aleksis Tristan Shaw is one of those albums. Not your typical Dark Ambient release, this one digs deep into emotional wounds with grandiose, cinematic energy, ominous synth leads, and an endless supply of menacing soundscapes & textures that set the mood for continual meditative euphoria. The ten imposing tracks contained within, offer variety, horror, substance, and unequivocal entertainment for the better part of forty eight minutes. Let’s take a deeper dive into each of these tracks.

The album commences with the somber, “Human Remainder”. Soft keys and pads drift sadly as they create a lush melody that will instantly reel the listener in. Soon after, harsh, looping keyboard tones ring out like a warning alarm while the cinematic instrumentation increases. “Vestigial Cries” begins with low, tonal sounds that set a grim mood. High-pitched drones oscillate throughout the track, providing a glimmer of hope to the emotional vibe that was previously set. Layers of synths piece this track together boldly with hints of dissonance and conflict while never loosing focus on the contemplative state. “Shamanic Atavism” is brimming with discordant synth leads while the background sounds like a black metal style song into. This track is very dark, yet dreamy and introspective. “Tenement Graves” is another gloomy piece that features the sounds of a crackling fire and a nifty drum beat that fits right in with the pace of the synths. As the percussive parts change up, multi-layers of quixotic keys & pads provide a grandiose audial platform that’s so easy to get lost in. “Dukkha And Anatman” is a multifaceted track that goes from horror score, minimalistic droning, to cinematic bliss. The use of percussive elements really stick out as well, making this one of my favorite tracks on the album. “Drifting Consciousness” renders terrifying drones, looping soundscapes and unidentifiable noises that will keep the listener on edge. Although this is one of the shorter tracks on the album, it succeeds at masking a horrifying feeling of dread. “Fugitive Drone” is an addictive listen, as the quirky keys & pads fuse perfectly with the cosmic drones, proposing the feeling of a doomed celestial mission. About halfway in, a blast of malevolence alters the tempo, setting up for a lifeless finale that can’t be altered. On the polar opposite of the scale is “Untethered”. Looping tape hisses, minimalistic drones and obscure field recordings dominate this track and when the pulsating drum beat is initiated, it gets that much better. Amongst the crackles and pops, this is actually a really smooth and mellow song that deserves multiple listens. “Caravan Of Outcasts” begins with an ambiguous orchestral arrangement, like a symphony warming up in various keys just before the conductor provides the signal to silence everyone before starting a performance. However, there is beauty amongst the chaos, as melody can be heard throughout. Wind chimes and other field recordings add a layer of organic texture that makes this one stand out as well. The final offering on this wondrous album is, “The Wastelands”. Even though it’s less than three minutes long, this light ambient opus is full of emotions and provides a cleansing affect on the mind and soul. The energy surrounding these hollow drones is breathtaking and it seems to ends too quickly.

Aleksis Tristan Shaw certainly has an ear for not only Dark Ambient but synth music in general. Whether fascinating the listener with cinematic soundscapes, horrifying drones or melodic synth leads, Aleksis Tristan Shaw knows how to administer the perfect blend of music and emotion and the result of that fusion is ‘Drones Of The Hive’. If you’re into ambient recording with meticulous detail and a variety of flavors, then please show your support by downloading this amazing album from the link below. This is truly a masterpiece in sound quality and music depth and it deserves your attention.

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Links:

https://aleksistristanshaw.bandcamp.com/album/drones-of-the-hive

The Wyndham Research Institute Constructs A Retro-Grade Space Ambient Album With The Cosmic, ‘Interim Report No. 57: Io Transmitter Sub-Committee’ Release

When we think about the characteristics of space ambient music, usually deep, prolonged drones come to mind and they are complimented by resounding soundscapes that are celestial in nature. As a listener, we often feel as if we are alone on a spacecraft traveling through deep space on a doomed mission. However, not all space ambient albums have to carry out the same accord and that’s none more apparent than on the latest album by Wyndham Research Institute, ‘Interim Report No. 57: Io Transmitter Sub-Committee’. Elongated drones are replaced with retro synths and cosmic soundscapes that are more inline with a 60’s science fiction show soundtrack than modern space ambient. Fortunately, that’s the beauty of versatility in music and the creative complex. Although these compositions seem nostalgic, they are effective in creating a dark, intricate atmosphere that’s perfect for any ordinary space adventure.

Each of the seven tracks are presented as notes, as if to represent a transmitted sequence at a particular point of time. Right from the start, “Note I” has a retrospective feel and presents sound effects that could have be heard on a 60’s science fiction show. Minimalistic noises and tones serve as a beacon of nostalgia, just as older spacecraft lack the technology of newer ones. “Note II” begins with obscure modulation bends and frequency adjustments, as a smooth drone sets in to define the mission at hand. Organic effects tend to be a bit distorted and at around the halfway point, more antiquated tones generate a puzzling nuance as if an impromptu meeting with a foreign being is about to take place. The start of “Note III” reminds me of a special effect that Tool or Voivod would use, just before setting into a crushing riff. However, Wyndham Research Institute decides to dial back the noise to a low-frequency drone and more obscure soundscapes. Random ticks and buzzes play on throughout the track, making this a really unique experience. “Note IV” commences slowly into a hollow drone with piercing signals mixed in. Soon after, an 80’s-style horror themed synth pattern begins to play, making this one of the most terrifying tracks on the album. Assorted scratches and screeches intensify the scene as these unidentifiable patterns can only mean mayhem. “Note V” is like a spark of controlled chaos, as various discordances are fused together to present a grueling environment filled with intense moments and obscure happenings. Melodic keys are played throughout, adding a bit of peculiarity to this bizarre track. “Note VI” is one of the most accessible songs yet, as the smooth flowing drones prevail from the very beginning and ascend into layers of deep space bliss. Light soundscapes and an acoustic guitar strum are introduced as well, creating an intoxicating adventure. However, the additional attributes don’t last too long, as they slowly fade out and all that’s left is an austere drone to finish out the track. The final song on the album is “Note VII”. Commencing with a high-pitched frequency vibration and distorted ambience, the track shape-shifts into a mild-tempered hum with a slight Berlin School influence. The heartbeat-like percussive element is a welcomed sound to this final track as many new musical forms are merged together to what may be the best track on the album. The final minute consists of a continuous hiss, reminiscent of a combustion chamber of a spacecraft, thwarting a lonely cosmonaut into the far reaches of the universe.

Wyndham Research Institute have uniquely carved their own path for creating a variety of Dark Ambient, influenced by science fiction of an obsolete sound. This is also a breath of fresh air in the ever-growing Ambient community where modern, complex themes dominate most recordings. ‘Interim Report No. 57: Io Transmitter Sub-Committee’ is a rare treat for the Space Ambient sub-genre and is an unprecedented achievement for modern synth music. I highly recommend checking out this album so please support Wyndham Research Institute by download it from the link below.

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Links:

https://wyndhamresearch.bandcamp.com/album/interim-report-no-57-io-transmitter-sub-committee