Robert Eggplant Leans On Expansive Field Recordings And Tangible Surroundings To Offer The Organic Sounds Of ‘Fields Of Yarrow’

The recordings of Robert Eggplant are a rare commodity in the Dark Ambient community. Instead of relying heavily on intense drones, elongated synth notes & pads, he cultivates a unique sound built around field recordings, tape loops & hisses, and guitar manipulations. That’s not to say there aren’t any synths involved, but it’s just not the “go to” instrument of choice. In the end, Robert Eggplant succeeds in constructing a decaying sound that is grim and – at times – down right sinister. As if the sound exploits of the first two albums weren’t enough to blow you away, ‘Fields Of Yarrow’ is released as a magnifying effort to the stunning elements of the previous two albums. At just over an hour long, this seductive offering is meditative and trance inducing but the constant subtleties will keep your sensory level sharp and aware of the ominous effects that skulk without warning.

Album opener, “Absorbence” finds a myriad of field recordings fused together in a pristine effort and cemented by the lull strums of a guitar. Storm winds, rain and other natural sounds present the illusion of nature in its most sedative state. This is where Robert Eggplant excels the most, as though some of these nuances are dark and abrasive, he brings them all together in a soothing package that has complete meditative value. Continuing on, a few tracks later we find “9/18/20”. I’m not sure of the significance of the title but the field recordings suggest a date that may have been great for venturing out and enjoying nature’s elements. The placid flow of an isolated stream is powerful enough to calm the greatest of temperaments and the ominous instrumentation flows just as smooth. “Deer Park” is a short piece but is one of my favorite tracks on the album. The music is quite ghastly and a slight distortion on the drones creates a bucolic feel. “Poetry Is Best Read In Braille” is another standout tracks as it features monumental tape loops and deformed hisses, mixed with a rainstorm field recording. The additional “close up” rain drops add a personal touch as well. Twisted guitar chords produce a manic touch to this esoteric song. Skipping over a few more tracks, we find the dreamy “Absconded Prisoner”. Haunting guitar reverberations with a retro-style texture start things off and then fades into wicked drones, minimalistic soundscapes and field recordings. From start to finish this track is completely hypnotizing. The last track that I’d like to spotlight is the final song on the album, “Warrior’s Bracelet”. This track epitomizes the quest for complete sound manipulation as massive use of reverb, distortion and tape loop reconstruction creates an atmosphere of controlled chaos that is as much chill as it is anxious. The creepy vibe resonates throughout this near six minute track and the end result is beautifully disturbing.

Robert Eggplant is one of the most unique Dark Ambient artists I’ve had the pleasure of listening to and his releases are unprecedented with regard to sound deconstruction, use of field recordings and overall ingenuity of crafting experimental songs. The latest album, ‘Fields Of Yarrow’ is no exception and the thirteen songs contained within form a perfect bond between the listener, music and the dark side of nature. Please show your support for this exceptional artist and download ‘Field Of Sorrow’ from the link below.

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Links:

https://roberteggplant.bandcamp.com/album/fields-of-yarrow

Destruktionsanstalt Resurrects A Cluster Of Menacing Tracks From Various Projects To Comprise The Superbly Written ‘Kaelder Mug’

Destruktionsanstalt is no stranger to The Dungeon In Deep Space site, as I reviewed the mighty 2018 offering, ‘Døds-hymner’. Fueled with industrialized anguish and a powerful artillery of noise, this was a pinnacle album of harsh dark ambience. Fast forward to 2020 and we find the compilation release of ‘Kaelder Mug’, an undeniable distribution of sickening atmospherics amongst several projects by Per Najbjerg Odderskov – the mastermind behind Destruktionsanstalt – that are being unearthed and brought to dark light. Destruktionsanstalt, God Cancer, and Lidane Livering set a new standard in breaching critical mass with deep ambient drones, sinister soundscapes and the harshest of noise modulations and combined, formulate a seventy two minute album that will appeal to the minds of malevolence.

The first eight songs come from pitch-shift master, Destruktionsanstalt. Combining jolting frequencies that pierce the inner ear and sustain a constant discontent for easy listening, these tracks are not just a mine field of random noises. They are randomly crafted oscillations that fuse with morbid soundscapes and narrative samples to create a meaningful soundtrack of crafty intonations. Album opener, “Familia” begins with gloomy tones in the form of layered drones with heavy distorted sequences. Voice samples tell an eerie story and it matches the music perfectly. A couple of tracks later, “Mali Spiritus” blasts off with sharp, piercing resonance and alternates between high and low decibels as if an alarm is providing an early warning for an unfamiliar doomsday. Again, a progression of audible narrations play a major role in deciding the anxious outcome of things. “Sanguinem Pressura” is nearly four and a half minutes of agonizing modulations that deliver some rabid drones and horrifying soundscapes. This is one of those tracks that are not for the faint of heart and is best played in a dark, cold place to receive its full affect. The final Destruktionsanstalt track is “Hic Sunt Dracones”. Commencing with a desolate wind field recording, the radiant, penetrating noise accents suddenly desecrate all in its path. As the wind volume picks up, so does the noise intensity. Together these sounds are mesmerizing and easily succeed at putting the listener into a catatonic-like state for its duration. Samples and various effects can be heard throughout, adding an evil value to this already mind-bending tune. The next three tracks come from the God Cancer project. Although there is still a noise intensity about those songs, there is more of a cosmic vibe to them, thrusting the listener into the farther most reaches of the harsh realms of the universe. The first track, “Midnight Distortions” contains a great dose of glitch recordings and immense pads to radiate the intensity that much more. It’s as if being sucked through a black hole and an dodging an oncoming asteroid field at the same time is unavoidable. “The City Is Alive” is like a sonic nightmare, as this seven plus minute track sees multi-layers of modulations glitch and bend endlessly, catapulting the brainwaves into an unexplained dimension. The final two tracks are from the Lidane Livering project and although these two tracks are probably more accessible than the previous, they are far from being insidious. The final track on the album, “Dunwich”, epitomizes the field recording technique and heavy use of soundscapes makes this minimalistic song a cold adventure all in itself. With the soft sways of an ocean vessel the ripple effects of passing currents, the calm-before-the-storm scenario is close at hand. Soothing drones and inaudible whispers howl in the background and without recoil, it all quietly disappears.

I’m a big fan of Destruktionsanstalt and I really enjoy the intriguing mix of dark ambient and harsh noise that this project provides on a consistent basis. With ‘Kaelder Mug’, we get a fascinating compilation of not only Destruktionsanstalt tracks, but an excellent glimps into two other amazing projects – God Cancer and Lidane Livering. Although the Bandcamp page for this release lists these tracks as part of abandoned projects, I sure hope this is not the last we’ll hear from any of these acts. If you like your Dark Ambient with a touch of harsh noises, look no further than ‘Kaelder Mug’. You can download this awesome piece of work at the link below.

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Links:

https://marbrenegre.bandcamp.com/album/kaelder-mug

https://destruktionsanstalt.bandcamp.com

https://godcancer.bandcamp.com/releases

https://lidanelivering.bandcamp.com

Lenitive Drones Of An Evocative Manner Prevail On Afnimaran’s Supreme Composition, ‘Graveyard Orbit’

When preparing myself for music reviews, specifically ones of the Dark Ambient genre, I put myself in almost a meditative-like state – at least for a few listens – so that I can fully comprehend the atmosphere and theme of the album at hand. Even though the genre is mostly minimalistic, I receive a great sense of emotional fulfillment with every listen of every album. For me there is no greater force than the true power of music. Afnimaran’s ‘Graveyard Orbit’ epitomizes that standard with a renewed vigor for maximizing space with haunting drones and quaint soundscapes. There is a dark, lurking presence on this recording but it also feels like total fear of singularity as well. I can imagine the silent void of decommissioned satellites, orbiting the earth in a cold endless loop as their powerless shell continues its useless and endless saga. The seven tracks constructed for this album supply a grueling soundtrack for their lifeless mission that is not far fetched from the equivalent depressive state of human kind.

“Nostromo” glides on an ominous trajectory as airy drones and nefarious soundscapes collide in this colossal album opener. Like an orbiting satellite drifting silently at seven thousand miles per hour, its speed is almost deafening as it appears dormant to the naked eye. As the drones modulate from high to low tones, malevolent sound effects predict a soon yet violent ending. “Heighliner” begins with grim pads and keys, making sounds equivalent to the voids of deep space. Soon, a rush of steady drones come in to play, pulsating the track to vociferous heights. The moderate frequency adjustments warrant an agonizing intonation and the doomed trek further away from natural light sources continue. “BC-304” rushes in with urgency as soundscapes and haunting loops influence this piece. Piercing tones and buzzes placate at unknown variables but leave a pillage of audible distraught in its wake. Although the drones aren’t predominate on this track, a steady amount of background hum and dead air plays fierce surprise to the ears. “Enterprise-D” commences with disturbingly peaceful drones with subtle spots cosmic pads and piercing atmospherics. There is a particular dreary tone to this track that is increasingly frightening as the song continues to play out. This is the most grim and ghastly track on the album. “Super Star Destroyer” is another nightmarish gem of cruel intentions and is minimalistic in nature. Where as the velocity of deep space movement is represented by immense sound density, this track proceeds that and shows great veracity by intricate details in the pads and soundscapes. All of this combined make up a gratifying, yet mysterious track that continues the exploration of uncharted space. “Solaris Station” continues with the perilous tonal accents with careening drones and various instruments and samples that fuse together like several out-of-sync clocks that suddenly gather in unison. In the background, pure evil lurks all around in the form of audial dynamics. The final track on the album is “Atlantis”. At just over ten minutes in length, it’s one of the longest tracks on the album and concludes this doomed space mission. Right from the beginning, lengthy drones flow steadily without reason and crescendo when necessary. Background noises crackle and process continually as the dead satellite reaches the end of its orbit and begins a new cycle in the same fortuitous journey.

Afnimaran really knows how to create a daring, Dark Ambient adventure. ‘Graveyard Orbit’ consists of compelling drones, retro effects and soundscapes and other musical variants that thwart this album into a cosmic rotation. Instead of spinning out of control, everything is meticulously integrated to produce a magnificent album. If you’re into daring space ambient music with an ominous undertone, look no further than ‘Graveyard Orbit’ by Afnimaran. Please support this monumental artist by downloading the album from the link below.

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Links:

https://kalpamantra.bandcamp.com/album/graveyard-orbit

Eyre Transmissions IX: From Death Metal To Dungeon Synth, Whispering Mirrors Carries On The Old-School Grandeur

The ties between metal and dungeon synth has been present since the inception of the genre. Although, predominantly a larger influence has been drawn from the mystical shrouds of black metal, death metal shares a similar allegiance. Whispering Mirrors has affiliated with both death metal and dungeon synth and now fully focuses all efforts in composing epic, old-school dungeon synth without compromise. I had a chance to chat with the driving force behind this project and was intrigued by the influences and depth of everything that has been conceived, as well as the direction it’s headed. Please enjoy this interview session with Whispering Mirrors.

1. Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions. Let’s start by talking about the dawn of Whispering Mirrors. Was it initially intended to be a death metal project or a multi-genre endeavor?

Hey thanks for the interview! When I decided to form Whispering Mirrors back in 2018, I initially only planned to release Dungeon Synth music specifically. I ended up releasing Altar Knife only because I wasn’t entirely confident in my keyboard abilities at the time and wanted to show that I also played guitar (an instrument I felt way more proficient in). I also wanted to keep the project open to other musical styles and influences so I wouldn’t be completely locked down playing only Dungeon Synth music. As a side note, I started making what would later be called Dungeon Synth back in 2004 but those albums and that era is a story for another day.

2. There is a definite parallel between black metal and dungeon synth but do you feel that death metal provides that same equidistant value?

Interesting question, I never really thought about it! I think the imagery and a lot of the lyrics of extreme metal in general are a huge influence on many in the scene, myself included (polishes gauntlet). 

3. How was the transition from shorter metal tracks to dungeon synth tunes of epic song lengths?

To me it was secretly always what I wanted to do. I always enjoyed long ambient tracks, Dungeon Synth or otherwise, because they can take you/are designed to take you on a journey (it’s hard to tell an epic tale through traditional, three minute song lengths). Repetition and variations on themes create the song length intrinsically. I also think, fundamentally, that Dungeon Synth is Mortiis and the blueprint laid out in his early albums is what Dungeon Synth should be.

https://whisperingmirrors.bandcamp.com/album/altar-knife

4. These days, there are many sub-genre’s of dungeon synth. What sound/style does Whispering Mirrors best relate to?

Whispering Mirrors main, original goal was to create “Traditional” or “Old School Dungeon Synth” directly inspired by Mortiis. That is what Dungeon Synth will always be to me; the truest form and the style that resonates most with me. Presently, I’d say I’m a bit more open to experimentation and other sounds in general, so we’ll see what the future has in store.

5. From ‘Grammaticon’ to ‘The Stuff Of Old Dreams’, I can sense a shift from more ethereal tones to a Medieval sound. Was that due to intentional growth or experimentation…or both?

It was a bit of both. A lot has to do with fully buying in – literally. The midrange keyboard that I used on Grammaticon didn’t really have the sounds I wanted when it came to the traditional sound I was going for. Once I upgraded to a true workstation/synthesizer (or three or four), suddenly I found myself using more and more real sounds and better pads. I was also playing more with sounds other than strings so naturally a more varied sound comes through on “Dreams.” If you can make a good brass sound and couple it with a timpani, you’re well on your way to medieval.

https://whisperingmirrors.bandcamp.com/album/grammaticon

6. Your latest album, ‘Stuff Of Old Dreams’ is phenomenal! Is there a backstory to the music?

Firstly, thank you! I feel a bit like this release slipped under the radar. I wrote “The Stuff of Old Dreams” with the concept in mind first and that concept was “bravery.” Basically, it’s a story about a knight going solo to slay a dragon. No metaphors here, just blood and steel. I was watching Dragonslayer and thought this is it, this is the concept for the new album! In hindsight, it seems like such an obvious theme that I’m really surprised I don’t come across more albums with this concept.

7. I like how these two tracks seamlessly flow between louder rhythms & tones and elegant passages. What’s your strategy for piecing all of this music together?

Grammaticon had a very loose theme, more tones and imagery I had in mind while I composed stream of conscious. I wanted to make a true concept album this time around so I really started by writing the story. Once I knew the story arc, I started hammering it out musically and then went back over and over again refining passages and adding layers to fit the narrative. My strategy really isn’t the best for getting music out quickly! At least, it takes me forever as I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I think at the core of my creative process is a very real sense of don’t rush it and really only working when I want to/feel inspired to. I might go three or four weeks not even touching a keyboard and then sit down on a random Saturday and knock out ten minutes of usable material all at once. I’m a big believer in the subconscious mind always working in the background and most of the time I’m thinking about this project and what I want to do musically with it without even touching a keyboard. Once I finally sit down to compose, I know exactly where I’m going.

https://whisperingmirrors.bandcamp.com/album/the-stuff-of-old-dreams-2

8. Do you ever have those moments where you think of a riff, keyboard chop or rhythm in the middle of the night while trying to sleep and then get up and record? How about while at work or away from home?

Absolutely! I have a ton of recorded voice memos that go back years for both guitar and vocal melodies. I also keep a notebook by my bed for ideas in general.

9. Do you plan (or already have) any physical releases of your albums?

All the albums have been released through Ancient Meadow Records with the exception of Altar Knife, which was released on the now defunct Castle Wall Records. I plan to remaster all my albums in the future and self release them again on CD or cassette. 

10. You seem to be a well versed musician. Besides your Whispering Mirrors solo material, have you been involved with any other projects?

I’ve been playing guitar since I was 14 and did the whole singer songwriter thing for years before starting Whispering Mirrors. I was also the vocalist in a punk band in high school and a Black Metal band in my mid twenties. Whispering Mirrors really covers all my bases at the moment so I don’t see the need to start another project or band (or join one for that matter).

11. Do you have any big musical plans for 2021? Recording, collaborations, playing live, etc..?

I’m currently working on some new material that’s quite a bit different than what I’ve been doing for the past two years. Since the pandemic started, I’ve recorded two EPs that may or may not ever see the light of day. Both of them are very “Old School” in sound and style but ultimately I was bored with the results. I was actually watching an interview with Fenriz where he describes the shift from playing technically to simply and how Darkthrone benefited from that in so many ways. While I’ve heard that particular story a million times, for whatever reason this time it sunk in. Old School Dungeon Synth is difficult for me to preform live and that’s the direction I see this project going or at least, that’s my new goal for 2021-playing live. I’m so used to playing along with a drummer and I miss that. I’m also a better player when I have that structure behind me so I look forward to incorporating more drum sounds in the future.

12. Now that would be a cool concept – full band playing dungeon synth (maybe 2 keyboardists, guitarist and/or bassist and a percussionist). Would you ever consider something like that?

I’d be the first guy to say yes to joining something like that and then not show up for the second practice. I think that’s a cool idea, but fundamentally believe the solitary nature of Dungeon Synth is what makes it important and interesting. The more you move away from it being a one or two person creative outlet to something band like, the more it becomes something else.

13. I really appreciate your time and music and look forward to many more years of your tunes? Any final words for the Dungeon Synth fans that will be reading this?

Thank you again for your interest in my musical endeavors, I truly appreciate it! To those who have supported me and been there for me over the years (you know who you are) INFERNAL HAILS! To anyone new reading this, I hope my music can inspire you or help you along on your own musical journey. Stay true to your vision and everything else will follow.

Links:

Bandcamp: https://whisperingmirrors.bandcamp.com/music

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/whisperingmirrorsofficial/

Darkness Descends Upon Victorian-Era London on Dead Melodies & Beyond The Ghost’s Masterful Collaboration, ‘Crier’s Bane’

It’s been quite the year for Dead Melodies, as the Cryo Chamber Label artist not only released a magnificent solo album, ‘The Masterplan’, but also collaborated on spectacular releases with Zenjungle and Beyond The Ghost as well as participated in the annual Lovecraftian-themed Cryo Chamber album, ‘Yig’. All the same, Beyond The Ghost released one of my favorite albums of the year, ‘Eternal Drift’. That all being said, it seems fitting that these two exceptional artist team up to bring us a captivating thriller set in the rigid streets of Victorian-era London.

The calmness and intensity of “Message From The Horsemen” is so compelling, yet it perfectly sets a cold scenery as dimly lit streets and the haze of low-riding fog overcomes this tragic town. The slow galloping of horses is complemented by warm drones and soft soundscapes. Various instruments play random sequences to fulfill the travesty that may soon occur and the natural sounds of field recordings find their place perfectly in the mix. “The Crossing” commences with layers of obscure drones and soundscapes, creating a dismal landscape for a cold, Victorian night. Stringed instruments scream of misfortune as terror may soon unfold. Toward the end, the track turns into dense layers of beautiful melody as a sense of obscurity begins to fill the air. “A Theater Of Shadows” compliments the previous actions with alluring soundscapes and field recordings that are easy to follow along with, as this tragic story continues to unfold. Harmonious drones continue to captivate each second and appeal more toward a cinematic nature than minimalistic sound designs. “Cursed Riders Of Night” starts with a carnival-type musical sound and as it fades in and out, elegant pads generate ambiguous rhythms and the imminent tragedy continues. The streets are dark, cold and desolate yet there is doom in the air that compliments a bleak occurrence. Haunting loops crescendo toward the end as additional soundscapes penetrate the airwaves, producing a massive finale for this track – that coincidentally ends as it started, with creepy carnival music. “A Momentary Refuge”, is a short piano piece with cold drones and eerie field recording that’s reminiscent of someone slowly creeping across an old wooden floor. As they finally make it to the other side, additional scenic sounds can be heard, signifying a daring escape (or a silent getaway). “At The Foundry Gates” features a magnitude of disturbing soundscapes, sonic modulations and a continuation of harrowing drones that seem a bit colder than usual. The infusion of how various instrument sounds are included is amazing and this is definitely cinematic ambience at its best. The monstrous footstep sounds about halfway through are downright terrorizing and the combination of high-pitched keys are enough to mess with the senses. “Parlour Of Ignorance” starts with a minimalistic approach with the drone production. As the additional instruments and sound effects come into range, this arcane arrangement begins to unfold in the most peculiar way. Distant screams can be heard in the background at various intervals and after several times, the calming loops begin to fade. The acoustic passage at the end of this is serene and I wish that it lasted so much longer. “The Unforgiving Toll Of Time” begins with a few bars of light, Gregorian chants and then the cinematic soundscapes take over. The effects of how well everything is put together makes it seem as if the listener is embedded right in the scene. Drones with heavy reverb fade in and out, and an imaginative tale takes shape over the next few minutes. “Vagrant Souls” launches with a soothing drone, but as the sound intensifies so do the malevolent soundscapes. There is evil in the air as these modulations intensify, catapulting the listener into a dark realm of the unknown. Voices and music samples are heard softly in the background as moderate drones play out for the final few minutes. The final track on this extremely adventurous album is “Threadbare”. At just over eight minutes in playing time, it’s one of the longest songs on the album and definitely the most meditative. Containing hardly any field recordings, this one relies on layers of spectacular drones and emotional melody to put the listener in a different state of being. As far as the conceptualization goes, dawn has broke, evil has fled the dimly lit city streets and the eeriness of the unknown continues to lurk around the alleys and cobblestone bridges. Although there may finally be peace, it came at a cost and these tracks give us the adventure that was necessary for conjuring up an amazing story.

Conceptual collaborations are really starting to grow on me and this year has seen some of the best Dark Ambient collaborations yet. ‘Crier’s Bane’ by Dead Melodies & Beyond The Ghost is no exception. If the amazing solo works of these artists weren’t enough, fusing their talents to create a story like this is mind-blowing. This is an exceptional release and each artist brought their best efforts forward to create something truly amazing. I hope to hear more collaborations like this in the future from these artists, as there are many untold story’s that could be conceived with the help of true cinematic dark ambient music. I highly recommend checking out this album so please click on the link below and download ‘Crier’s Bane’.

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Links:

https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/criers-bane

Osmord Brings Forth Dark Medieval Settings On ‘The Ruins In The Forest’

Who says time machines don’t exist? They don’t necessarily have to be a physical matter but can exist in an emotional state as well. Take for example ‘The Ruins In The Forest’ by Osmord. These two extended tracks (around thirty six minutes long total), heave the listener deep into enchanted times where Kings and Castles were at the forefront of every commoners conversation. As one dons a pair of headphones and presses play on this obscure little album, an immediate surrender to ancient medieval times becomes inevitable.

“The Ruins In The Forest I” is a sixteen and a half minute perilous journey through the archaic lands of the middle-ages. Rhythmic, percussive beats and layered keys set the backbone of this imposing dirge. Since time is not an issue, the inclusion of lead keyboard chops are mixed in at random intervals, in an appealing fashion. Nothing is rushed and the continuous buildup to a sonic conclusion is quite impressive. Even around the nine minute mark, where the track slows down to more of an ambient piece, it never looses its grace and continues to appeal to the time period of the ancient ones. The final few minutes conclude with grand orchestrations as if providing the soundtrack to a battle scene. “The Ruins In The Forest II” is nineteen minutes of sheer Medieval greatness! Starting with a deep, tonal sound, the inclusion of haunting synths increasingly begin to steal the show. The melody that is built within the lead parts are mesmerizing and completely captivating. This track is like feeling lost in the profound landscape surrounding a hidden castle. As a troop of skilled warriors scale the loose terrain quietly – with the hopes of not giving away their location – they continue their preparations for an endless battle with the King’s guard. The music slowly crescendos to climactic parts throughout and anticipation increasingly builds for the forest warriors. At around the ten minute mark, nostalgic keyboard harmonies continue to lay the groundwork for the overall theme for this dramatic, yet monumental track. The final few minutes find somber melodies combined with balanced percussion and soothing, droning keys that forge on in the background.

With ‘The Ruins In The Forest’, Osmord succeeds at luring the listener back to a time that we usually only dream about. Lush, haunting melodies that are well balanced over minimal percussive parts with beautiful orchestral arrangements are some of the key factors that help take us all down the enchanted path of true Dungeon Synth. This is a really impressive album and I highly recommend it for those that enjoy a more retro sound to their synth music. Please click on the link below and support this incredible artist.

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://osmord.bandcamp.com/album/the-ruins-in-the-forest

Top 10 Dark Ambient Releases Of 2020

We’ve all felt the impact of the irregularities of 2020, but if there is one thing that’s certain, it’s that the Dark Ambient genre has consistently produced some of the most prolific albums that I’ve heard in a while. Artists have persistently reached beyond the scope of normal atmospherics to bring us listeners the entertainment value that we’ve come to love in this genre of music. From uninhabited drones to stellar collaborations, this has been one of my favorite years for Dark Ambient music. Although I could easily come up with a Top 50 list, I’ve decided to keep this list to my 10 favorite releases of this year. These are the albums that I’ve listened to them most and have embellished in the marvels of their audial beauty. I hope you enjoy!

10. Neraterræ – Scenes From The Sublime

https://cycliclaw.bandcamp.com/album/scenes-from-the-sublime

Neraterræ epitomizes quality and perfection and ‘Scenes From The Sublime’ is a completely enthralling experience. Continuing the tendency to collaborate with the best-of-the-best Dark Ambient artist, Neraterræ writes dismal tracks that demand not only the listeners attention, but a definite spot on my Top 10 list.

9. Alphaxone – Dystopian Gate

https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/dystopian-gate

I’ve been a big fan of Alphaxone for a while now and his minimalistic space ambience always puts me in a zone like no other. However, on Dystopian Gate, there is a much darker tone than on previous releases and from start to finish, this is like the soundtrack to the apocalypse.

8. Colonial Skyway – Landline

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

‘Landline’ is a masterclass is extreme minimalistic droning sounds. However, pieced with the elements of the great mid-west, and a supreme album cover, I find myself getting lost in this superb recording very often!

7. Dead Melodies & Zenjungle – Anthropocene

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

Of all the outstanding collaboration albums that have been produced this year, ‘Anthropocene’ is my absolute favorite. The drones and soundscapes are eerily disturbing but with the brass instrument addition, it’s equally soothing. The combination of these qualities, makes this one of the surprise releases of the year (for me).

6. Beyond The Ghost – Eternal Drift

https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/eternal-drift

‘Eternal Drift’ contains some of the best cinematic Dark Ambient recorded this year. Although Beyond The Ghost has a relatively short career in the genre so far, this is an artist that is a force to be reckoned with and I can’t wait to hear what’s in store next. Until then, ‘Eternal Drift’ will remain a permanent fixture in my mobile music collection.

5. House Of The Maker – The Autumnal End

https://noctilucant.bandcamp.com/album/the-autumnal-end-2

House Of The Maker produces some of the most intangible drone and soundscape recordings I’ve heard. The heavy use of field recordings and natural setting gives this almost a ritualistic vibe and I couldn’t be more pleased. I often turn to this recording when I need help relaxing and winding down and I’m looking forward to many more releases by this revolutionary artist.

4. Scott Lawlor – But Everybody’s Gone, So I Will Never Know

https://scottlawlor.bandcamp.com/album/but-everybodys-gone-so-i-will-never-know

Scott Lawlor NEVER stops producing music and can easily go from haunting piano ballads to deep space drone masterpieces. If I were to have made a Top 50 list, Scott Lawlor would have at least 5 or 6 albums to grace it – this one being my favorite. The ebb and flow of music on this album is masterful and it centers around a realistic theme that makes this album a must listen.

3. Apocryphos – Against Civilization

https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/against-civilization

Of all the albums in my Top 10 list, this one surprised me the most, mainly because of how impeccably good it is. Droning guitar tones never sounded so empyreal, and the whole album is just mesmerizing. In addition, the amazing field recordings create an ambience beyond catastrophe and emptiness. This has been one of my most played albums (of any genre) this year.

2. Mombi Yuleman – A Shaman’s Warning: Further Tales Of The Wi’Tiko

https://mombiyuleman.bandcamp.com/album/a-shamans-warning-further-tales-of-witiko

Over the past few years, Mombi Yuleman has been on a remarkable path toward Dark Ambient greatness. His keen attention to detail, coupled with his willingness to venture outside the realm of the Dark Ambient genre for creating the perfect aesthetic, has enabled him to consistently create albums of a perfectionists touch. Of the many projects that he worked on this year, this album has been my most played. I’m so excited to see what the year 2021 has in store for this marvelous musician.

1. Xerxes The Dark – Final Crisis

https://xerxesthedark.bandcamp.com/album/final-crisis-24bit

Xerxes The Dark creates a sonic sound like no other, and perhaps it comes from his wide array of side projects that cross many musical boundaries. Otherworldly drones are complimented by industrial soundscapes and impressive field recording to give the listener an uneasy feeling. ‘Final Crisis’ is a chilling display of no-holds-bared ambience and listening to this album is not for the faint of heart. This release is so captivating and explosive, that I can’t think of anything else that matches its intensity. ‘Final Crisis’ by Xerxes The Dark is my Dark Ambient album of the year!

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

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

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

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

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Links:

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

https://www.voicesoftheainur.com/

https://www.facebook.com/VoicesOfTheAinur

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

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

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

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

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

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Links:

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

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

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

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

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

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Links:

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