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.

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Links:

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

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 #2: Scott Lawlor – ‘The Veil Between The Worlds’

Scott Lawlor is one of the most diligent artists in the Ambient community as his Bandcamp page seems to have a new release every week or two. Not to mention, the quality of his work is unparalleled for the consistency that is always on display as well as the epic album lengths to keep the listener engaged on all the magnificent journeys he takes them on. It just amazes me how he seems to effortlessly put out top-quality drone and ambient music when you least expect it. ‘The Veil Between The Worlds’ is another masterclass in minimalistic drone and space ambience that engages the listener for nearly two and a half hours.

“Passing Through The Veil” is the perfect album opener for this extremely lengthy drone album, as the buildup lurks along at a snails pace. The anticipation assembles in drudging layers just as the spacey drones do. As the deep drone moves slowly in the background, other sinister synths stretch out elongated modulations in random patterns as if there is a particular evil at every turn. This near 15 minutes drone certainly calibrates the senses for the massive output that will immediately follow. “In This Forever Unfolding Moment Now” catapults the listener into the far corners of the universe where not even the closest star provides an ounce of light. This bleak, eighteen plus minute long drone, will have the listener wondering in the vast, cold vacuum of space where they are alone and without contact from any living being. The frequency and pitch increase and grow louder, shedding light and hope while the continuous hum becomes warm and effervescent. However, toward the end, darkness prevails and the tone changes back to a minimalistic and mystic occurrence. “Shadow Aspects Of The Veil” starts with a warming drone sensation that flows seamlessly into other timbres that are also mild and accepting. Then suddenly, the sound drops off to a desolate cry from an empty apocalyptic wasteland. Slowly, a tepid buzz emerges, like the sun through a thick layer of smog and fog – the brightness is upon you but you are submerged in a gloomy atmosphere that is almost suffocating. This seventeen minute long journey comes to a merciless end as the last few minutes are filled with horrifying, deep-end whirrs that could waken someone for a nightmare. “Mystical Field Of Limitless Possibility” is the first of two tracks on the album that surpasses the twenty minute mark. The piercing drones continue, as if you’re on a doomed mission in deep space and the only enemy is time itself. As the purr shift from a dark to light focus, it allows for many moments of recollection. “The Exploration Of Inaccessible Realms” continues the ill-fated mission with a more minimalistic approach than on previous tracks. The drones here make me feel as if solitude isn’t an option and there is a particular coldness about these twelve minutes that make them even more haunting. At just under seven and a half minutes, “As A Distinct Energy Form” is the shortest track on the album but that does not take away any of its relevance at all. The bending of the prolonged notes are distinct on this song, making it one of the stand-outs on the album. “An Infinite Field Of Interconnected Vibration” starts expanded, singular notes and after a while, multiple notes are fused together to create a piercing, grande effect that would work extremely well in a Sci-Fi movie scene. The final few minutes are almost like calming white noise and almost mesmerizing to listen to. This sound leads right into “The Mirroring”, although it fades out rather quickly at the beginning, while a monstrous, industrialized drone slowly ascends at an agonizing pace. As the build up reaches its apex, screeching vibrations cry out in pain at blistering volumes and fade with a calming effect. This leads right into the second longest track on the album, “Veiling Process”. At over twenty minutes long, this is sure to satisfy all of your drone wants and needs as it maintains this expanded note for the entire song while only deviating from its singularity with a few chords and soundscapes. This is probably one of my favorite songs on the album and is meticulously crafted as a drone should be. The final track on the album is, “Beyond The Veil”. Expanding the dissonant hum from the previous track, it adds layer of horrific sounds and effects to give this album a thirteen plus minute long nightmarish ending. None of the sounds are rushed, as the are sequenced and fade out at their own speed. Another genius track for an album full of magnificent drones!

Scott Lawlor is a Jack-of-all-trades ambient musician that can do no wrong (in my book). He can release an extremely dark ambient one day and a few days later, release a beautiful piano album. Not to mention over the past few years, he’s done some awesome collaboration work with artists such as The Flesh, Full Of Black Sand, Wings Of An Angel, DeepDark & Rebekkah Hilgraves (just to name a few). That being said, he has quite the resume for releasing spectacular albums at any given time and ‘The Veil Between The Worlds’ is no different. As a matter of fact, this is probably one of my favorite albums by him at the moment. Please support this hard working musician and download this epically amazing album at the link below.

Please Like/Follow my blog so that you’ll get first hand updates every time I post a review. 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://scottlawlor.bandcamp.com/album/the-veil-between-the-worlds

The Opinionated Optimist:

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-opinionated-optimist-podcast/id1485260250?i=1000494787519

Nostalgic Tales Of Horror Told Through Enthralling Dungeon Synth On Mystica Visio’s Massive Debut Self-Titled Album

The Dungeon Synth genre has become an invaluable platform for many artists to harvest various styles of synth music. Most artists are able to maintain a strong foothold with typical genre topics, while venturing out to the far reaches of other subject matters, such as time & space, emotions, and horror. Whereas the majority of the brand resides around Medieval content and RPG-influenced arrangements, some artists extend for endless endeavors in order to orchestrate a different approach to the genre. In some cases, the outcome is a bit obtuse but in other situations, the outcome is magnificent. Case in point, the self-titled debut offering from Mystica Visio is a grim journey down an endless, morbid path that is more psychological thriller than horror. The music is deep, emotional, beautifully desolate and of course, Dungeon Synth! The six tracks contained within this thirty eight minute recording are fascinating and memorable, yet you’ll be watching over your shoulder in frightful anxiety as the tracks move from one to the next.

The maniacal terror begins with “Mystical Visions Of A Dead Past”. With deep, crushing synth effects that paint a vivid scene of solitude and anguish, this is the perfect opening for this sojourn of emptiness. Once the layered, high-pitched keys commit to the mix, the haunting melodies pave the way for an exemplary listening experience like no other. “The Glowing Figure” commences with a peaceful synth arrangement and slowly introduces layers of harrowing effects that take this track down a dark and daunting path. The low-end tone in the background create an ominous drone that extends a symphonic effect, while maintaining a discordant keyboard arrangement throughout. This is a somberly flowing song that maximizes the intent of a dreadful feeling or experience and it certainly succeeds like no other. “The Prophecy Was A Lie” is the closest this album comes to producing a tradition Dungeon Synth sound. The harmony on display in the layered keyboard chops is wondrous and without a doubt, you’ll be humming this restrained melody even after the song is over. Another key element is the beautiful drawn-out synths in the background that tell a story all on its own. Although it fuses perfectly with the synth leads, it would also sound amazing as a stand-alone track of a subdued nature. “Journey Across The Lake Of Lost Souls” contains a bewildering retro synthwave vibe that would be perfect to listen to on a late night (or pre-dawn early morning) drive. Although it doesn’t quite get into full on Berlin School synth mode, there are definitely hints of that style and this seven and a half minute long track seems just too short for the amazing music that is on display here. Up next is the absolutely stunning, “Spell Of Entrapment”. This song has everything that I love in a synth track; it’s dark, full of emotion, tells a wordless story, has a huge retro vibe and is almost eleven and a half minutes long. Genre’s aside, this is possible one of my favorite synth songs of the year (from any genre). There is nothing I can say in this review that will give this song it’s due justice other than, every time I listen to it, I’m mentally removed from my current state of being and taken somewhere that I never remember visiting. What a huge effect from such an amazing song. The final track, “Within These Damp Walls I Found My Home”, end the album on a brooding, yet sincere note. There is depth and pain in the intonations that are played, yet I also hear a lighter side of Mystica Visio at times. It’s obvious this arrangement tells of agony and foreboding of the unknown, yet there is a certain peace with knowing the gruesome outcome. Droning synths pace the musical scales while illustrious keyboard effects take center stage with a lead arrangement that is almost deafening, but necessary for the narrative. This is the perfect track for ending this album as it sums up everything that Mystica Visio is all about.

With one foot firmly planted in Dungeon Synth and the other floating around in various other synth genres, Mystica Visio is one of those special artists that has what it takes to create something unique and special. ‘Mystica Visio’ transcends the genre spectrum and delivers a synth masterpiece and I also consider it one of my Album Of The Year contenders – yes, it’s that good. Don’t let the fact of this being a debut album fool you, as Mystica Visio creator – Gustavo Jobim – is a seasoned, synth veteran and an award winning composer (for his Original Soundtrack for the ‘Os Principiles’ movie soundtrack). If you’ve not had the opportunity to dive into ‘Mystica Visio’ yet, now would be a good time. Please support this astounding album by downloading it from the link below. I’ve also included a link to Gustavo Jobim’s solo works as well, so please give those a listen.

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Links:

https://mysticavisio.bandcamp.com

Solo Works Of Gustavo Jobim:

https://gustavojobim.bandcamp.com

http://www.gustavojobim.com

Moloch Conspiracy Produces A Chilling Listening Experience That Eclipses Genre Boundaries On ‘Incantatios From Ugarit’

The bewilderment of ritualistic ambient music never ceases to amaze me. The element of dark, ceremonial soundscapes fused with minimalist drones and tonal ambient vibes conjure a malevolent atmosphere that takes a special artist in order to create this monstrous effect. If not done correctly, the outcome can lead to an extremely boring affair with no sense of liturgical reasoning. Fortunately, Moloch Conspiracy has mastered this craft and presents us with the bold ‘Incantatios From Ugarit’, a dynamic, ritualistic encounter that reaches the far scopes of the obsidian spectrum.

“The Cold Escape” epitomizes the ritualistic experience and is the perfect album opener with its nefarious soundscapes and ominous atmospheric undertones. Harrowing vocals add a layer of chilling bleakness that is thought-provoking, yet unforgiving. This gloominess continues into “Daughter Of Anu”. With the vocals more dominant and layered than the first track, a depth of ancient ceremonial vibes begins to come into view. The addition of haunting narrations and acoustic instruments create endless boundaries as this musical exorcism is now in full stride. “She Clambers Over” begins with a dissonant musical arrangement, played over a dark drone that has a feeling of misery and suffering. As the distant, narrations read through long lost religious texts, constant, soft percussive rhythms provide a trance-like state for the lister to absorb everything that is happening. “The Familiar Weapons” introduce new sounds to the album as this track has a lighter arrangement than the previous ones. That’s not to say that the message and delivery aren’t as heinous, as female vocals and narrations take center stage once again. Containing more soundscapes than ambient tones, this track stands out amongst the dark, ritualistic listening experiences. “The Head Of The Cauldron” commences with sinister drones that fade in like an evil spirit taking over a summoning encounter. Dark, and atmospheric with the occasional ceremonial instrument inclusion, this is one of the more perverse tracks. With “Visions Of Namtar”, Moloch Conspiracy once again proves the versatile nature of songwriting on this album. Although, it starts off with a lighter sense of reasoning, it quickly takes a turn to a more gloomy ordeal. Featuring bleak drones and somber soundscapes, this is actually a busy track as there are a lot of things are going on without sounding over bearing. The final track on the album is “Legions To Legions”. Beautiful drones and ritualistic chanting are at the forefront, as it soon becomes an all out dark ceremonial experience – a climactic summoning of evil spirits. Various instruments add liturgical tones throughout, as this wondrous sacrament of evil comes to a daunting close.

‘Incantatios From Ugarit’ is an exception Dark Ambient album album with majestic ritualistic influences and it goes without saying that Moloch Conspiracy didn’t hold anything back for this magnificent listening experience. From somber drones and bleak atmospherics to female vocals and ceremonial narrations, ‘Incantatios From Ugarit’ contains all of the elements necessary for an album worthy of multiple listens. Please support this captivating artist by downloading the album from the link below.

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Links:

https://eighthtowerrecords.bandcamp.com/album/incantatios-from-ugarit

Coelus Cataclysmus Take Us On A Vexing Adventure That Declines To An Abhorrent Demise On ‘Solus Plaga’

The mysteries of a musical journey can be just as mesmerizing as the theme it is providing a soundtrack for. When a daring story line begins with a typically painless setting and transcends obscurity to end up grim and twisted, there has to be a unique listening experience to go along with it. Coelus Cataclysmus contributes exactly what is desired on the extremely versatile, ‘Solis Plaga’. Adapting to just about every thematic scene imaginable – in this story of cosmic destruction and the inevitable downfall of mankind that soon followed – a diverse mix of genres are fused together to arrange a boundless album of energy and creativity. From traditional dungeon synth, medieval synth & neo-classical, to droning soundscapes and retro-synthwave, ‘Solus Plaga’ generates a hefty forty eight minutes of playing time across nine unique tracks.

“One Last Hike” commences the doomed adventure with lush keyboard tones and traditional dungeon synth effects that drone slowly, but in a harmonious effort. Eerie soundscapes give the feeling of solitude and despair, yet the journey must go on. “Darkening Skies” establishes a beautiful Medieval foundation with its orchestrated effects and sorrowful melodies. High-pitched keyboard leads have an ominous texture, yet mix very well with what all is happening in the background. “Night Eternal Sets” is one of my favorite songs on the album, as it begins to introduce elements of retro-synthwave, contributing to the bleak atmosphere of the story being told on the album. The layers upon layers of somber synths have a dream-like quality and will have you wanting to listen to this one over and over again. “Cataclysm” is where the darkness really begins to seep through, as low-end drones barely penetrate the audible frequency ranges. Suddenly, dungeon synth leads ring out in bizarre desperation as it paints an oblique setting. Toward the end of the track, heavily distorted drones come crashing through to represent the beginning of the end of times. “Chrestomathy Of Dread” is a stand-out track with its anomalous creativity and fusion of both slow and faster drum patterns throughout the song. There are spots of peaceful ambient endeavors and other times, the main synth melody of the track shines through like a discernible addiction. “Bring Out Your Dead” starts with a malevolent synth chop with indistinguishable narrations or screams happening in the background and off in the distance. This track has a crushing Medieval vibe and there are several times where brooding soundscapes penetrate the mix to provide something a bit different. This is another stand-out track and they seem to get more gloomy as we reach the final few songs. “Rapture” begins with a sulking drone that soon explodes into a wall of symphonic patterns that clearly portray the end of the world (in musical form). However, after a few minutes of this cacophony of sound, layers of glowing synths suggest a grim aftermath of harrowing desolation. “Empty Lands” is another sonic track that is heavy on the distorted keys, Medieval-like percussion and occasional soundscape to keep everything together. This track has several symphonic twists and turns that are not only pleasing to the ear, but fully show what Coelus Cataclysmus is capable of doing. The final song on the album is the dreary, “Red Rain”. Full of emotion, this dismal track really sends the listeners to an oblivious state, as the collapse of civilization is complete and the only thing left is the atrocities of nature itself. The droning keyboards and bleak ambience really set the tone for this nightmare as the main keyboard melody is so beautiful, yet at the same time, so painful to hear. What a great way to end this spectacular album.

Coelus Cataclysmus have created a monstrous album (and storyline), where the music not only acts as the protagonist but ends up as the villain as well. There are no musical boundaries here, as multiple synth sub-genres coalesce as one to produce a breathtaking listening experience. ‘Solis Plaga’ is an adventure that must be heard to be felt and understood, and this album ranks highly amongst my Dungeon Synth favorites for this year. If you’ve not heard this yet, I can’t recommend it enough, so please support this magnificent work of art and download it from the link below.

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Links:

https://coeluscataclysmus.bandcamp.com/album/solis-plaga

Colonial Skyway Provide A Desolate Soundscape Of Midwestern-Influenced Ambience On ‘Landline’

As with any genre of music, there is a wide variety of flavors to choose from even in the dark ambient arena. Whether it’s the cold, isolated drones of space ambient; ominous, ceremonial vibes of ritualistic black ambient or the harsh soundscapes that infiltrate the airwaves in industrial ambient, there is always something to appeal to a particular mood. Colonial Skyway takes us down a different path with an equal balance of warm and cold ambient vibes, heavily influenced by the Midwestern landscape and character. The output is a minimalistic and bleak recording that is heavy on atmospheric and transparent drones that are trance-inductive and perfect for the meditative practice. On the latest album, ‘Landline’, the listener is taken on a spiritual journey in which the mental excursion is self-induced, yet magnified by the listening experience.

The album begins with the sincere and barren, “Data Over Iowa”. The hiss and crackles of tape loops flourish lightly in the background while light winds and diverse soundscapes contemplate in a cycled pattern. Somber keyboard tones are introduced as another element to the mix vice as a standout instrument, adding to the depth and meaning of this track. “Overnight” is a bold statement on the album as it is an eleven minute continual drone that doesn’t contain any additional instrumentation, soundscapes or field recordings. When you put in perspective the song title and it’s style, it all makes sense. If the listener sits back and lets this track take them away to another encounter, then the perpetuity begins to come together. Next up is my favorite venture on the album, “Could Be Down”. Featuring cold atmospherics and bleak soundscapes, this is one of the darker experiences this album. Deep tonal synths sway with high and low modulations, perpetuating a feeling of solitude and malevolence. While enjoying the apocalyptic feeling of this recording, it’s astonishing to know that this ten minute track seems to pass by so quickly. “Calling Merrytown” is another dismal piece that could easily be in a horror film sequence, at the point where viewer anxiety has reached it maximum level, and just before a climactic and violent sequence takes place. However, for the theme of this recording, I can imagine traveling through a deserted town where the infrastructure has all but rotted or collapsed, with weeds growing through every crack in the roadways and sidewalks and vines creeping up everything that remains vertical. Even without the help of a deep drone, the consistent looping of the discordant keyboard chops are enough to keep the shock value in tact. “Subdivision” starts with a warm drone, as if the clear sky of the early morning dawn radiates on the horizon. I can imagine driving down a long empty highway, listening to this track while (in unison) the sunrise slowly comes into view. The final song on the album is “Town And Country”. With the faint sounds of (what could be) a train soaring by, howling keyboard effects provide a shining light to end this amazing album. The elongated keys drone systematically throughout most of the track fading softly into the final few minutes that end in the same fashion as it began.

Colonial Skyway have put together an immaculate recording of expertly crafted dark ambient material. The use of field recordings, soundscapes and overbearing deep drones are used sparingly and in proper taste. However, that has all been replaced with long, intelligent drones and keyboard use, that is full of emotion and mid-west landscape influences. For me, this is the perfect meditative album for sleeping and even complementing thought patterns while working or just trying to relax. I highly recommend checking out ‘Landline’ so please support this fascinating artist by downing the album from the link below.

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Links:

https://colonialskyway.bandcamp.com/album/landline

Neo-Classical Elements And A Conceptual Medieval Tale Give Life To Almesbury Abbey’s ‘Queen Guinevere’

There are many stories that depict the life of Queen Guinevere, the nefarious wife of King Arthur, but one of the most regarded chronicles is her lustful betrayal of her husband and consequent affair with Lancelot. After a period of time, she returns to the King and is forgiven of her treacherous disloyalty. However, King Arthur decides to go pursue Lancelot, leaving Queen Guinevere in the care of Mordred, who has an ulterior motive of his own – a plan to marry the Queen. Fleeing his proposal, Queen Guinevere seeks refuge in the nun convent known as Almesbury – where she subsequently remained for the remainder of her life due to the humiliation of her infidelities. Much of this was paraphrased for the sake of this review but it’s such an intriguing story and the major influence for the album at hand. Almesbury Abbey, one of many projects by Arnaud Spitz (and the material contained within), is a rediscovery of compositions previously written but finally released on this conceptual album based on Queen Guinevere’s concluding years in the Almesbury convent.

Somber opening track, “Guinevere’s Gone”, begins with a hauntingly alluring melody that seems so full of sadness, yet offers a bit of brightness with the extended synth tones that weave in and out of the main keyboard passage. Keeping it simple, this song doesn’t build upon layers of synth leads and rhythms, but instead draws the listener in with its beautiful simplicity. “Mordred’s Curse” is where the excitement begins and the grim, Medieval arrangements take over. Layers of obscured synths and a sudden bit of pulsating effects, followed by nightmarish sounds give this short track a big presence on the album. “The Creeping Mist” is another enticing track that is full of wondrous melody and droning ambience to give this brooding dirge a full and really clear sound. The lead synth chops are used sparingly and in good taste, as they provide an additional warming atmosphere. Next up is my a favorite song on the album, “A Madness Of Farewells”. Commencing with a mysterious synth effect that fuses into an elegant, yet melancholic arrangement, this has to be one of the most memorable moments on the album. Medieval-style keyboard leads and layers of dungeon synth melodies complete this monumental song and in my opinion, it’s just not long enough. “Almesbury Gates” starts with blasting cathedral-like organs before developing into a modest dungeon synth arrangement. These two styles battle back and forth throughout the track with the occasional pulse effect, giving it a percussive feel. Toward the end, the melody changes and contains an echo effect, providing a grandiose sound. “Heathen Of The Northern Sea” is an enchanting piece that compliments the style of Almesbury Abbey. The lead keyboard chops are magical on this track and pay further homage to the traditional dungeon synth sound. “My Sinful Queen I Forgive Thee” has the characteristics (and sound) of a classical guitar composition with hints of retro progressive synth arrangements, with regards to tone and its progressive time signature. The final track on the album is “Beyond These Voices There Is Peace.” The choir-like vocal effects are both ominous and mournful at the same time. Medieval synth interpretations slowly crescendo into the mix and ultimately overtake the vocal effects all together. As more synth sounds are introduced, the more dismal the track gets, painting a very grim picture to close out the album.

Almesbury Abbey is a very fascinating project that contains elements of neo-classical, dungeon synth and Medieval compositions. Knowing that all of these magnificent pieces were written and inspired by the latter days of Queen Guinevere, makes it all the more worthwhile. If you enjoy synth music of a more intimate setting with hints of harsher overtones, I would highly recommend checking out ‘Queen Guinevere’ and supporting this prodigious artist by downloading the album from the link below.

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Links:

https://almesburyabbey.bandcamp.com/releases

Artists Of The Obscure Realm Conjoin To Finalize The Overture Militia Compilation Known As, ‘The Plan’

Label compilation albums are the perfect introduction for not only finding new and electrifying bands and artists, but to also dig deep and explore in a vast array of genres that we – for the most part – tend to generally only skim the surface. Earlier this year, Overture Militia Inc., a small label that spotlights artists of the post-industrial and dark ambient domain, released a valiant, eighteen track collection known as ‘The Plan’. Examining genres such as dungeon synth, dark ambient, drone, harsh noise & industrial, ‘The Plan’ is an hour and forty six minute journey into the oblique side of esoteric music. Although this is an amazing, yet bleak outing, I will further examine a few of my favorite tracks below.

“Ruination, The New Dawn Cometh” by Old Tower is the second song on the album and one of my standouts overall. Although most of the album consists of harsh, industrialized noise and dark ambient, this dungeon synth track fits in perfectly, with its austere sound, doomy tempo, and thick synth tones. There is a great bit of melody on this song, which is hauntingly beautiful. However, don’t get use to it because that vibe stops almost completely after this song. “Nursery” by Aseptic Void is the fourth song and it contains some of the creepiest dark ambient emotions I’ve heard in a while. The sound bit in the beginning – of children playing on a playground – adds an extra sinister awareness to all of the malevolent soundscapes that continuously possess the audio waves. Low-end drones and the occasional guttural narration is enough to give consistent nightmares. “Unhallowed” by Ursuper is the fifth track on the album and it continues in the dark ambient arena with a brooding, minimalistic approach in the beginning. It’s one of those tracks that slowly grows and builds to a climactic ending but you never know what’s going to happen in between until it actually does. At around the four minute mark, industrial affects increase in volume as if total annihilation is soon to happen. Over the next couple of minutes, this mechanized sound crescendos before slowly fading into oblivion. “The Horsemen Ride Out On Foaming Steeds” by Nordvargr is the ninth track on the album and probably one of my favorites. Nordvargr is such an amazing artist that consistently delivers appetizing music that borders post-industrial, black ambient, and death metal (specifically with the vocals). This track is a standout masterpiece on the album and the guttural vocals are what make this so appealing and unique. I could listen to this style of music all day. “White Sun Over Our Children – Exhale 22” by Miracle Of Love is the tenth track on the album and is just over ten minutes long, making it one of the longest songs on the album. Beginning with a short blast of harsh noise, it soon settles into a rhythmic drum & bass loop with minimal synth effects and soundscapes. Every so often, the drum beat alternates rhythms and the occasional harsh noise sample is thrown in for good measure and in good taste. For the last three or four minutes, the drum beats are replaced with drones and maniacal sound effects. “Hackfleisch” by Rubber Nurse is the eleventh and most evil sounding track on the album. It’s a near three and a half minute grueling drop into the abysmal hole of blackened industrial ambience, with a fair share of barely audible voice samples. Never the less, this sounds killer and I want to hear more by this artist! “Euer Hunger” by Todesritual, is the twelfth track on the album and is like listening to a scene from a horror movie. There are layered whispers, obscure field recordings, industrial soundscapes, and mild keyboard sounds, but they all come together in a frightening way and the final minute is an excellent throwback to the retro synthwave sound of the 80’s.

Overture Militia did an excellent job putting together this compilation of artist from varied backgrounds and genres. For those that are into obscure music and for those that don’t mind venturing into territories of the unknown, then ‘The Plan’ is for you. This album is sure to contain some artist or tracks that will get your blood pumping (or boiling), allowing you to continue following their artistic endeavors outside of this compilation. That being said, do yourself a favor and support the underground by downloading this album from the link below.

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Links:

https://overturemilitia.bandcamp.com/album/the-plan