Landsraad Impresses With Another Dune-Themed Juggernaut In ‘Fate; The Inevitability Thereof’

Last year was a tremendous year for the Dungeon Synth community. We saw a plethora of albums being released by a lot of our seasoned favorites, cassette releases all over the place, and a ton of new artists making their way on the scene with various intonations of the genre and gaining a stronghold of fans that typically remain loyal to the music and fascination that it brings. One of those new artists, Landsraad, was a standout in my book with the mesmerizing album ‘The Golden Path’. Paying homage to the Dune series, that album could have easily been an unreleased soundtrack to the classic movie of the same name. The album was also in my “Top 10” list for Dungeon Synth albums of 2021. Fast forward to August of this year, and we are greeted with the sophomore follow-up album, ‘Fate; The Inevitability Thereof’ and another trip back into the Dune universe. How does this album stack up to the debut? Let’s take a deeper dive into each track to find out.

From the opening progression of “A Secret Meeting//Edrics Precience”, the fantasy-based synth harmonies present a range of otherworldly emotions and melodies. Berlin School styled sequences places the listener directly in the middle of the Dune Universe, in the presence of a sandstorm of influential characters and fascinating plight. This is a beautiful album opener that respects the thematics of classic storytelling and fictional magnificence. “Face Dancer” immediately opens up with a bold modulated synth sound and an array of leads that build off each other, but always seem to be in unison in this heralded composition. “A Body In The Sand” is a light-hearted track that flows like a brisk breeze over vast mounds of endless sand, while the heat radiates off of its bright surface, producing hints of valuable spice. As if moving in slow motion, the droning nature of this track will leave one breathless and wanting more. “The Lion Throne//Walking The Path” brings a musical shift toward darker, somber tones and audacious radiance. Bringing back a classic, synthwave sound that will resonate with fans of 80’s electronica, the rhythmic succession of tone in this track leads to bleak adventures in euphony as imaginative excursions play out in the subconscious. The melodic journey really picks up with “Hayt”. The opening harmony is memorable and would last a lifetime (if I had my way). As one of my favorite songs on this album, it truly transcends categorization and could easily be included in a motion picture soundtrack. The sequential intonations casually ascend into a world of honor and dignity. “Stoneburner” continues on with the same emotive spirit of the previous track and the monumental music it contains creates an imposing force of majestic synth wizardry. This is another treasured track that is sure to gain multiple listens from fans of electronic music in general. Truly a masterclass in exquisite synth compositions. “Scytale (feat. Thanaphos)” returns to the buoyant sounds of the first several tracks, with dreamy passages and warm droning ambience in the background. This is an enlightening foray into more peaceful times and the arrangements are just a bundle of ear candy, full of tonal flavors that can’t be resisted. “Abomination Pt. 2” is a ballad of sorts, with minimal use of Berlin School sequences and deep pounding synth pads that thicken the sounds of this semi-upbeat performance. It’s as if a daunting trip to find a land of paradise, finally played out in the favor of the songs protagonist, proving the journey was worth the battle to get there. “All Things Yet To Be Said” is another noteworthy achievement that includes crisp, Berlin School patterns, wavy celestial drones and resolute synth leads that describe a drama unfolding with only the use of alluring arrangements. “Bijaz//Oracle” is an introspective offering that features an ornate harmony arrangement that is kind of hidden behind a wall of reverberated chaos. However, if you listen closely, you’ll be able to find a soothing culture of tones that are simply amazing. The albums final song, “A Path Broken//Walking Into Dune” is a breathtaking display of conclusive audial proponents that combine the efforts of the previous songs into an awe-inspiring summation. Multiple layers of haunting melody calmly collide with synth leads that extend beyond the reaches of space, yet gather all of the sounds into a cluster of tonal perfection. This track is such a a wonderful outro to this chapter of Landsraad’s Dune Universe and leave plenty of room for more innovative synth compositions to come in the future.

Landsraad is such an amazing project and it’s hard to categorize the true genre of the music contained within the highly impressive (but small) catalog of album. Of course there is a traditional Dungeon Synth influence but Landsraad also incorporates classic synthwave, Berlin School, soaring harmonies, and an amazing theme to produce a signature sound that can’t be denied. ‘Fate; The Inevitability Thereof’ is a thoroughbred recording of the highest caliber and just may end up on my year end Top 10 list. I highly recommend checking this album out as it has so much variety to offer. Also, the songwriting is out of this world and will surely peak the interest of those that love a good science fiction themed musical outing.

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Links:

https://landsraad.bandcamp.com/album/fate-the-inevitability-thereof

Caldon Glover Delivers A Ritualistic Incantation of Celestial Malevolence On ‘Death Mycelium’

Earlier this year, I reviewed an amazing album by Monstruwacan. It’s based on the sorrowful concept of grief and poverty and project mastermind, Caldon Glover excelled at creating a dismal state that listeners can dwell in and become at one with the music and theme. I wouldn’t necessarily call that album a side project, but it’s one that relates with the horrors of mankind and societal shortcomings. As for his main Dark Ambient project, Caldon Glover plunges into the very heart of mayhem and polarizing destruction with the harsh sounds of Indistrialized ambience and deep tonal modulations that produce a sinister atmosphere of gruesome discovery. On his latest album, ‘Death Mycelium’, he presents 5 tracks of violent commotion that weighs much more on the psyche than it does toward physical bloodshed. At almost an hour long, these songs send a pulverizing image of darkness and disturbing images by way of horrific drones and soundscapes. Let’s dive deeper into each of these tracks.

The ill-lighted album opener, “Gateway To The Fiber Network Deadworld”, begins with an isolated drone that sounds as if it’s drowning in frequency abandonment. Simplistic but relevant effects depict a scenery of obscure visuals and a dismal populace. As the mind starts to wander with a slow walk through destructive landscapes and architectural structures, soundscapes begin to build, increasingly becoming the dominate force in this song. Sounds of ghostly shrills begin to terrorize while hollow modulations multiple with a brutal sense of depth. It’s as if the clash between tangible disasters and deep space came to an infinite conclusion. “Sunk Into Thin Spaces” commences with several frightening tones, equaling that of the terrorizing music that plays in unison with a killing scene in a horror movie. Although a bit more minimalistic than the first track, it’s just as effective in creating a void that listeners can describe as they are falling endlessly into an abysmal pit. This song sounds like a nightmarish space disaster that has taken place far out of recollection of other beings. “Endless Worm” continues with the grimness but in a less chaotic way. Minimalist sound shift from hollow oscillations to desolate bitterness that seems perpetual. As this twelve minute song continues, deeper instances of continual drones push the boundaries of insanity. Although there is not much going on with regards to effects and soundscapes, there is something deeply disturbing with a track of this nature. Definitely one of my favorite songs on the album. Next up is “Broadcasting Calls Through Strange Winds”. The celestial launch of this intonation is like an unnatural velocity of force that is set to destroy all in its path. The deep bellows of synth pads create a reverberated sound much akin to our thoughts of what the frigid corners of the universe must sound like. At thirteen and a half minutes long, this is the second longest track on the album and is a tour de force of cosmic vacuums and the doomed pandemonium that is kept hidden within. The last four minutes is what nightmares are made out of, as if an unseeable force is pinning you down against your will and infiltrating your mind with terror and dread. The final – and longest – track on the album is, “Let Yourself Away From This Place.” At fourteen and a half minutes long, there is no denying that the bleak adventure that lay ahead will be lethargic and unbearable. Dreamy drones paint a picture of boundless turmoil and apathetic occurrences. The occasional use of percussion is a welcomed sound as it blends with the texture of the dreary soundscapes and ceaseless moments of tonal dissonance. Interestingly, the final few minutes depict a spot of hope, as warm drones enter the picture, shining a hint of light on the distant horizon. What a spectacular way to approach the final moments of this stunning album.

Caldon Glover has provided us with an array of Dark Ambient albums since 2018 and ‘Death Mycelium’ just may be his most challenging (and rewarding) album to date. There are no over-the-top cinematic tricks or indulgences, just bleak, atmospherics that takes the listener beyond imaginative realms. If you’re a fan of sinister and minimalistic Dark Ambient music, look no further than Caldon Glover. Click on the link below to download this amazing album, and check out the remainder of his discography while you’re there.

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Links:

https://caldonglover.bandcamp.com/album/death-mycelium

Eyre Transmissions XVIII: Interview With Reticent Dark Ambient Producer, Infinexhuma

Infinexhuma is one of Dark Ambients most spectral artists. Producing a variant that captures the true essence of Dark Ambient music, while always coming up with ideas that catapult his brand of bleak atmospherics beyond comprehensible realms. Each release presents a diverse blend of haunting drones and soundscapes while fusing in intricate nuances that entertain the listeners pallet for extended moments in time. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing the audial administrator of noise terror that IS Infinexhuma. He give us the low down on the projects beginnings, influences, and what all’s to come. Hope you enjoy this as much as I did putting it together.

1. Thanks for taking the time for this interview! One thing that I’ve been wanting to know is, what does the name Infinexhuma mean and how did you come up with it for your project?

Infinexhuma refers to Infinite Exhumation, a process widely experienced by many inhabitants of this earth, a process that breeds monotony and lack of will. Around the time of the initial host death, a doorway in limbo was opened via this concept, more so a realization that this process must be broken, emphasized by the trapping within a limbo state being the most accurate example of the horrors of unbroken monotony, the journey is, was, will be the beaking. The sounds are only evidence and passive teachings channeled through this host, It is and is not music, it is and is not metaphorical, it is and is not real.

2. How did you get into Dark Ambient music and what was the influence that made you decide to start your own project?

I recall approximately 10 years ago, at the time operating a different and now defunct music project, short naps were taken during studio work. During these naps I would listen to some more subdued black metal or perhaps just throw on a horror film for the score. Later I discovered a website called darkambient.de I believe it was called, that became the go-to for the naps after that. Later of course there were multiple stages to the evolution from lightly experimenting to heavy listening to diving into field recording to eventually releasing a first album to discovering scenes etc. Learning the composition structure of such music was a long process as well, as it was new to me, not in terms of listening, but in terms of production. The energy for Infinexhuma grew while the old project died, some influences include (yes some are by the same person); Inade, Lustmord, Ark Tau Eos, S.P.K., Archon Satani, Atrium Carceri, Sjellos, Noctilucant, NERATERRÆ, Tangerine Dream, TG, Altus, Gustaf Hildebrand, John Carpenter, Deathpile, ProtoU, Sabled Sun, film scores, Yen Pox, Terra Sancta, Apocryphos, tomandandy, Enmarta, Council of Nine, A Murder of Angels, Halgrath, Alphaxone, Svartsinn, Kolhoosi 13, Dark Matter, Crawl Unit, Subklinik, Kammarheit, Keosz, Blood Box, Trepaneringsritualen, Apoptose, Beyond Sensory Experience, Raison D’être, Visions, Vestigial, Phonothek, Monocube, Phragments, Therradaemon, Nordvargr, Brighter Death Now, MZ 412, The Human Voice, Paleowolf, Ramleh, Opeth, Ulver, Enmarta, ALLSEITS, Northaunt, Hilyard, Sephiroth, Desiderii Marginis, Phurpa, Northumbria, Psychomanteum, Gnawed, and likely more. Many obscure projects have been discovered over the years, ones that would evade the objective (and often disliked by elders) classification of dark ambient. The tiers and styles and authenticity within this obscure genre could be elaborated on as my perspective and knowledge on it continues to grow and be enhanced, however this would lengthen the interview to perhaps an unhealthy limit. I later began to hit the starting point of a full circle and felt comfortable drawing influences from unrelated genres I knew more pre Infinexhuma, mostly energetically and not so much in terms of the speed and rhythms.

3. The debut album from Infinexhuma, ‘Crossing’ is a well crafted experience that easily rivals albums from more seasoned artists. How much effort and production experience went into delivering this album?

Well, in fact the real first work was Chaotic Depth, the low volume 2016 unmastered version that is, which itself took approximately three to four years of work, not much of an impact, but I believe the process of “peaking” can be reversed for some artists, some achieve the proper transmission of their message with a first production, others take several to weed out what is not to be said, Brian Williams actually said this in an interview, quite refreshing. Anyways, Crossing, the crossing state, a collection of earth captures from what we call the Pacific Northwest. Crossing took several years as well, however a period of sharp acceleration was implemented towards the end. Much of this work was guided by intricate harmonics within the field recs, which gave a solid and consistent base for workflow, and that avoided any creative blockages. This was the true state of transition between this and that world, the energy was aided by a concept I often discuss, is your visual and physical perception of music based on environment, for example Snowy Court, was an actual Snowy Court, a Japanese garden in a strong snowing winter season, aside from the of course the sounds of subtle snowfall, the energy that was there during the recording process, remains (to me) on that recording and follows all the way to the studio, providing an energy base for the track, and I believe this cannot be recreated, despite the sounds being identical, it will lack the energy. This work was mastered by the great Robert Rich.

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

4. “Broken River” is my favorite track on that album, as it uniquely combines field recordings, drone, haunting textures and a sense of melody. What was the story behind that particular track?

As The Snowy Court, it was in fact a broken river, the first portion of rocks shuffling was traveling to the water, traveling within the break of the river, guided by subtle harmonics, messages beyond the mind. The whole album could have been better in terms of technical production as now I am vastly more advanced in this regard, but for the sake of giving credit where it is due, the “speaking” was natural, clear and very simple.

5. Do you document your own field recordings or sample from other sources?

I use 99.99% original field recordings, samples are seldom used, and if they are, their obscurity would prevent anyone from ever acquiring knowledge of the original source.

6. In 2019, you teamed up with Neraterræ for a remastering of ‘Chaotic Depth’? I can definitely hear his influence on the album but how did this exquisite teaming come about?

In fact, it was more of a gift from fellow creator NERATERRAE, I believe I had given some unused pieces of music and in exchange for this he presented to me a mastered version of this album, alongside I believe a track for a dark ambient compilation. He was featured on his personal favorite of the album, overall it was quite a pleasure to listen to and motivated me to execute a full digital release. Again, none of it thus far is what needs to be said, I could destroy all Infinxhuma material tomorrow and it would not matter, I am attached to nothing, especially material of the past that is now deemed inferior, and in my personal opinion not so good anyway.

https://infinexhuma.bandcamp.com/album/chaotic-depth-neraterr-remaster

7. On 2020’s ‘Arcade’ release, it seems like you went for a more minimalistic, retrospective sound. The results were simply amazing, in my opinion, but what were your expectations with this release?

Very true to the Infinexhuma path, yet in a realm above many of the human compulsions and matters, hence its more neutral and overseeing vibe. This release was expected to sound good, the sound was a heavy focus of this work, the depth and intricacies within the drones were (and are) one of the most fascinating things within music to me. Many planes were explored on this, a perhaps more space oriented cousin to Crossing.

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

8. There are a variety of instruments used/heard throughout this release. What all do you play on this album – and other albums for that matter?

Arcade had some synth layers as I had not yet adopted the principle of operating on samples only, however likely some guitar, for sure some throat singing on a specific track, but as well likely many many field recordings and their most prominent harmonics brought to the frontlines.

9. Speaking of gear, can you walk us through your studio setup?

Which one? Ha, well

1) DAW/post production, I have an ASUS laptop with decent power, a large casio used as a midi controller and practice at times, Yamaha Hs8 monitors, a few focusrite interfaces, A tape dubber/player, a novation (mini) pad with midi pots, a large bass amp, a condenser mic with multiple filters, a digital reverb unit, two guitars, a V-Drum kit, some brass and wood instruments

2) Practice/Live Prep, of course many of the mentioned and those I will mention can and are often moved in between rooms, but fundamentally I have a Eurorack box, forgetting how many hp total, three Yamaha mg102 mixers (the old school ones without usb and digital effects and crap), many effects and generator pedals, passive ¼ mixer, a few dynamic microphones, a marantz 201, a Roland SP-404 SX multiple (actual) drum pieces, a large collection of carefully selected windchimes, more wood instruments, bells, singing bowls, a Behringer Neutron synth and one more mackie mix8 (not the sturdy VLZ construction). Of course a soldering station for minor repairs and eurorack builds, contact microphones.

3) Mobile, I often use the mackie mixer when recording in tunnels or bunkers (if accessible enough to bring power as well. In my car I have constantly my Sony PCM D-100 for intricate and high quality (safe terrain as I’ve killed a few) field recs, a Zoom H-1 for more rugged and rough locations, quick on the fly recs, and as well to be used in conjunction with the Roland CS-10EM (recommended to me by Gnawed) binaural earphones/microphones for unorthodox binaural recs as I use them in reverse, thus far at least. Next, I carry a Zoom H3-VR for not the most accurate or heavy duty ambisonic work, but interesting nonetheless after decoding, A gopro with a special discontinued Sennheiser MKE-2 underwater microphone and another deeper diving somewhat shabby hydrophone for some cool underwater stuff. A tablet for on the fly Hexen Modular patches, to be used with a smaller JBL cylindrical sound bar, as well a larger JBL ONE portable rechargeable “PA” speaker.

10. Back to the music, on last year’s amazing release, ‘Frontier’, you have a variety of guest musicians that provide some captivating input for several tracks. Did you have a particular sound or theme in mind when working with these talents?

Perhaps only for the Blood Box collaboration, I have always had a very special appreciation for Blood Box and much admiration for their smooth execution of the dark and light mixture throughout their work. This was what I was seeking on our collaboration. Minimalism was sought out for the CEKE collab, and energy for the NERATERRAE one, all I believe were excellent works.

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

11. I have to ask you about “In The End”. It’s so different from everything else that you’ve released, yet sounds as if it fits right in with the theme of the album. Is this a direction you may be interested in going in with this project or perhaps under another name?

I have huge respect for those that are dedicated and naturally immobile on a specific stylistic path, however as the journey continues, I become more aware of how this is difficult, and not needed for me. They are all artifacts, just sent through a host, a messenger that will one day go back to dust, some artifacts will be slow and brooding, some will be destructive, some will be energetic and within rhythmic structure. There will be more.

12. On your YouTube channel, you have a lot of live performance videos uploaded. This is something that’s not quite common in the Dark Ambient community (yet). How is it pulling off a Dark Ambient show while keeping it creative?

Many live works tend to stray from typical dark ambient, but at times have been very true to the exact style. Live is a heavy opener of creative doors, a heavy generator of energy, a powerful opportunity to give further insight into the Infinexhuma path, however there are often limitations, obstacles and at times failures that are not present in a studio setting. Embracing the failures and the death of expectations allows energy to be recycled and properly reutilized for exploration.

13. How often do you play live and do you have any plans to venture out on a larger scale for performing live?

Live services are conducted perhaps ten times or so a year, there have been some large scale events however there will be more, international service is within the scope as well.

14. We’re mid-way through 2022 and haven’t experienced new Infinexhuma material yet. Do you have something planned and what would be the direction of the material?

It has been some years now, and much work has been discarded, and much more will be created and burned, until the exact energy beam is captured. Artifacts are being prepared, yet completion is far and the time of unveiling is undetermined at this point.

15. As far as large scale collaborations, do you see any releases of this kind in the future? If so, who are some artists that you’d be interested in collaborating with?

There will be more co-operations along the journey and path, yet at this time I cannot elaborate on any who will contribute to the exploration. I will state that there are considerations, and some that may leap to genre crossing branches on the great tree of music

16. I really appreciate your time and letting us know about all things Infinexhuma. Any final thoughts for those that will read this interview?

Thank you for your effort and everything you do for the community of creatives, this will one day be read by artists hundreds of years beyond our existence as historical art exploration.

Links:

https://infinexhuma.bandcamp.com

https://www.instagram.com/infinexhuma/?hl=en

https://youtube.com/channel/UCWLRzVnGUKF78rEX0KiXysg

Xerxes The Dark Employs Metal Aesthetics To Intensify The Industrial Ambient Experince On ‘The Rise Of AI’

Xerxes The Dark is one of the most consistent artists of the Dark Ambient genre. Not necessarily when it comes to the Dark Ambient sound in the traditional sense, but with the unheralded impression of incorporating new ideas and tactics that indicates an endless realm of musical opportunity. With a string of highly influential albums that thrusts the Dark Ambient maestro into elegiac territories such as industrial, noise, fusion and metal, ‘The Rise Of AI’ just may be his most enigmatic release yet. With a futuristic story and theme that is not so far off from reality, this album thins the comfort zone of ambient music with a thrust into chaotic bleakness. Think about the hostile take over of bio-engineered humanoids in ‘Blade Runner’ with the invasion of indestructible alien robotics of ‘Terminator’ and then mix it with the technological destruction of ‘Black Mirror’ and you’ll have a sense of what the flow of ‘The Rise Of AI’ is all about. Let’s take a dive into this amazing recording.

Bold album opener, “The Rise Of AI” makes a critical statement for the flow and direction of the album. Slowly building into an industrial nightmare, this track more resembles Godflesh than dark ambience. From the steady cadence of drum machines and solid bass lines to a variety of voice samples and guttural transmissions, this track properly prepares the listener for the destruction that will soon follow. The nightmare continues with “Nuclear Winter”. Starting with eerie drones and haunting whispers, it quickly turns into an emergent, industrial anthem with muddy and distorted vocals. Guitar tones hint on melody but that quickly fades into a realm of bleak discomfort. “Take (No) Shelters” emits more dark ambience than previous tracks and is accommodated by stark samples and mechanized soundscapes. More vocal narration are heavily modulated and are right inline with the horrowing story that continues to unravel. “Synthetic Consciousness” is a full on Dark Ambient endeavor with a Space Ambient vibe, complete with celestial soundscapes and dark timbre that rapidly expands beyond the outer reaches of the universe. Malevolent machine nuances continue the harsh undertones of robotic supremacy. “Cyborg Soldiers” embodies an industrial sound with looping noises and drum beats, while a gritty vocal line chants in disdain. “Signaling The Alien Machine” marks a return to the Dark Ambient domain with a plethora of discordant noises and background echoes. As the drones increase in volume, muffled communications depict a scenery of imminent hostility. This calm before the storm approach creates a sense of anxiety and wonder, while complete AI take over is close at hand. “Simulating The New World” is a cinematic adventure that combines a barrage of industrial beats, melodic arrangements and and glitchy rhythms that flow together seamlessly. Portions of this track stimulate a warm sensation, as if there are light moments amongst the chaos that appear to be fathomable. “Interpret X11-01-10” is a short track that depicts communicative transmissions between AI and distant worlds. Soothing drones in the background allow this effort to be audible but untranslatable, as the evil machines prepare their next move for impending takeover. “Domination Of Humanoids” begins like a sneak attack with small, subtle noises as if being surrounded by unidentified beings. With a slow crescendo, industrial drum beats and bilious vocals elicit a constructive output that wages the war between AI and mankind. Like a battle cry of the ages, this track becomes a statement of dominance and leads the mission of AI acquisition. “Accessing Cosmic Memory” is a desolate ambient track that contains wavering drones, empty soundscapes and a looping pattern that signifies a positive communication efforts between the AI and their end goal. This expressive intonation creates a cessation of offensive strikes while vast information is being absorbed for future use. “Meeting Space Tribes” once again delivers a stark vocal arrangement with looping, industrial passages, while layers of drones produce a grandiose sound. The vocals spew a ton of pain and anger throughout and combined with the music, present a chilling, glacial landscape. “Intergalactic Empire” showcases a new side of the story as well as a new sound for XTD. With a melodic approach to Sy-Fi soundscapes, this track is industrial, yet light-hearted and probably one of the most accessible songs on the album. Complete with drum beats, bass lines and samples, this style is a welcome addition to the album as a whole and actually fits in quite well. Next up is “Holographic Wormhole Drive”. Not only is this the coolest song title ever, it’s also the closest this album comes to the traditional XTD sound. This is Dark Ambient in its truest form, with deep drones, creepy soundscapes and an overall menacing essence. There are several pitch shifts in this track that enhance the listening entertainment value, as well as present multiple sides to this gloomy effort. The final track of this epic album is the summarizing, “Gateway To The Unknown”. This is another scorching Dark Ambient masterpiece that includes some insane trip-hop beats and intense soundscape and noises. This ends the album in dominating fashion, just as the AI has systematically overtaken human kind, in this bewildering conceptual masterpiece.

I continue to be amazed by the many faces and directions of XTD. It’s safe to say that I never have any idea of the direction of each album, but pursue in amazement at how impressive each outting is. Whether it’s the established arrangement of Dark Ambient mainstays, drudging Noise Ambient, Industrial Ambient, or a conglomeration of the aforementioned, rest assured that the entertaining value (and listening experience) will be extremely high. ‘The Rise Of AI’ is right up there with the best that XTD has to offer and I highly recommend this for those that love an eclectic blend of electronic music styles. Please click the link below to download this incredible album and also check out the XTD back catalog while you’re there.

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Links:

https://xerxesthedark.bandcamp.com/album/the-rise-of-a-i

Ager Sonus Takes Us On A Journey Through Ancient Civilizations On ‘Niflheim’

Over the years, the Cryo Chamber label has become my go-to label for top-quality, cinematic Dark Ambient music. Not only that, the label has introduced me to – what would become – some of my favorite artists of the genre. One of those artists is Ager Sonus. One thing that sets Ager Sonus apart is the inclusion of ancient mythological themes for each album and contrasting musical sounds that present a deep dive into the theme at hand. On latest album, ‘Niflheim’, Ager Sonus incorporates hoary deities and recollections similar to that of Norse mythology and civilizations. This alone creates a dynamic atmosphere that is supremely backed up theatrical ambient pieces, telling an age-old tale through superior musical expression.

Starting the album off in a tribalistic fashion is “Going North”. After a brief descent into dark modulations, a rhythmic beat begins and a variety of instrumentations treat us to a theatrical composition that depicts the beginnings of uncharted civilizations. Concluding with a jarring ambient section, this track sets a high mark for what will follow. “Murky Waters” introduces an array of field recordings and soundscapes that thwart this mystical journey into undiscovered realms. Synth leads create a chamber of wonder as it produces a visually bleak setting. Haunting vocal patterns and percussive moments broaden the scope of this intense recording. “Bonfire Stories” takes us back to ancient times of Viking warriors and the fight for land and heritage. This song creates such a magnificent image of natural landscapes and dark times of an age-old civilization with its pulsating beat and emotionally charged instrumentation. “Tundra” commences with a dark ambient vibe and slowly incorporates a mid-tempo, pulsating beat with Middle-Eastern influenced arrangements. I can imagine this song playing while venturing through a narrow alley with a multitude of people selling goods and pacing relentlessly as if there is no where in particular to visit. There is a sense of tense atmospherics as some sort of evil may be lurking around every corner. “Decay” has a beautiful new age vibe as a slower drum beat sets a steady cadence for alluring melodies and soundscapes. As crows let out harsh, modulated caws in the background, a sense of tranquility plays on through elegant tones. “Ghosts Of Battles Past” is one of the more darker tracks on the album, as bleak drones and sinister vocal patterns are featured. The flute-like leads produce a harrowing moment as serene charm and cold decay begin to fuse for a mesmerizing output. “Dreamland” continues the pace and aura of previous tracks with industrialized samples and a huge reverberated sound that produces a huge space for maximum audial control and imagination. Toward the middle of the track, an assembly of resonance – previously heard – slowly make their way into the mix and the outcome is simply amazing and addictive to listen to. This is without a doubt, one of my favorite tracks on the album. The final track, “Journey’s End”, supremely summarizes this spectacular album with evocative drones, natural field recordings and pounding beats that are more bombastic and destructive than they are rhythmic. However, it showcases the abrupt ending that was expected on this ancient expedition. The drones intensify and build in layers as this is probably the most traditional sounding Dark Ambient track on the album. Nevertheless, it’s such a soothing way to end an excursion that is full of triumphs, struggles and alluring engagement.

Ager Sonus never ceases to amaze me with his brand of cinematic Dark Ambient music. Whereas many of his albums are rooted and themed in existing ancient cultures, this album – in my opinion – is more inline with the beginning of times and how certain ancient cultures began. This is yet another amazing album from one of my favorite Cryo Chamber label artists and I highly recommend checking out ‘Niflheim’ if your itching for a wondrous audial adventure into ancient civilizations.

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Links:

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

Regen Graves Delivers A Cacophony Of Desolate Ambience On ‘Climax’

If I had to summarize my thoughts of the latest Regen Graves album, ‘Climax’, in a single word, it would be unsettling. There is something very disconcerting with this release and if I were to offer my opinion as to what the overarching theme is, it would be “abandonment through chaos.” Each of the six tracks on this recording shakes the foundation of dark ambient music and expands upon bereft energy to reclaim an insurmountable space of bleak, ominous refrain while challenging the listener to identify the boundaries of unpleasantries and infirmity. Even with that being said, there is an amiable amount of sustainability with these tracks, specifically with regards to arrangements and how compelling it really is.

Lead off track, “Immutable Reality” begins with a slightly distorted drone and morose soundscapes, setting a scene of obscurity and gloom right off the bat. Off-kilter organ chimes present an anatomical sound that depicts a particular calmness amongst an apprehensive environment. As the droning menace grows thicker and more evil, ambiguous samples produce an ominous theme of pre-apocalyptic visions. “The Last Stage Of Decline” commences with grim, celestial modulations that ride the spectrum of audial terror. Soothing but austere narrations add a bleak atmospheric while Berlin School styled sequences build in layers. A deluge of sound samples and effects complete this unconventional track but will leave the listener wanting more. “The Window” begins with a rhythmic pattern that is easy to follow along with, while haunting synth leads and elongated drones fuse in total solidarity. A progression of sound is ever so present here, as a multitude of arrangements complete the cycle of chaotic ambiguity. “Digetic Distortion” is aptly titled, as a barrage of stringed mutilation and amplified buzz emits a grueling appeal. While awaiting full-scale havoc, bits of sonic sounds adds a level of intensity that demands to be heard. As the murmur continues, it becomes more earth-shattering by the second. “Nothing Will Be Better” starts with a traditional Dark Ambient vibe and a hint of horror-generated sounds can be heard off in the distance. As it slowly crescendos, in unison with the bellowing drone, sinister back masking narrations create a sense of fear and apprehension. This continue for a few minutes before dying out into a single instance of deep, dismal droning. The final track on the album is the bonus track, “Heat”. Taking the listener on a completely different journey, this trance-like EDM track provides a foundation of mesmerizing beats, rhythmic synths and assorted samples to create a futuristic style of music that blends obscurity with pop fascination. I wouldn’t mind if Regen Graves created a whole albums worth of this type of music. A very interesting, yet powerful way to complete this chilling album.

This is my second time reviewing a Regen Graves album on this site and they definitely do not disappoint. Their brand of Dark Ambient may be off the beaten path (in relation to traditional Dark Ambient music), but it’s certainly an unheralded journey into a darkened world of celestial atmospherics and haunting malevolence. ‘Climax’ is a fantastic album that is sure to get multiple listens in order to intake everything that is happening across these six magnificent tracks. Please show your support for this amazing artist and download this album from the link below.

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Links:

https://regengraves.bandcamp.com/album/climax

Drones Of A Lighter Nightmare Prevail on Sonologyst’s ‘Interdimensional’

I truly enjoy the bleakest of Dark Ambient albums. As with any other genre, there are times for a particular taste that maximizes the power of connection between music and the listener. One of my favorite sub-genres of Dark Ambient is Drone. Sure there are some similarities between Drone and say, Industrial Ambient but it has some differences as well. Instead of harsh tones and mechanized discordance, there is a reticent, more ominous sound that allows for the utmost space for meditation and a dream-like state for potential out-of-body experiences. One artist that majestically captures these types of moments is Sonologyst. The latest album, ‘Interdimensional’ is a top-rate experience in eerie modulations and dismal tones that are equally creepy as they are thought provoking. These six tracks create a dynamic world of gray, scenic prowess and a cold atmosphere that blurs the line between dark and light.

Haunting lead off track, “Ad Astra” slowly comes into picture, like a group of propelled planes slowly flying overhead, destined for a doomed mission. As soundscapes fuse this modulated terror, a complex scenario builds despite the minimalistic tones. The various sounds create a revolving intonation that builds and collapses, causing terrifying moments of anxiety and angst. The relentless chaos doesn’t let up, even as the track fades into oblivion. “Interdimensional Beings” immediately sets a lethargic pace with low-end rumbles and spots of synth notes that blend in chaotic discord. As this nightmare settles in, the tonal quality increases and expands to include random sound bytes and unhinged effects. As it nears the final moments, celestial tones produce a nostalgic effect, which shows a complete balance between disorder and minimalist aptitude. At just over four minutes long, “Paraphysical Phenomenon” is not only the shortest track on the album, but probably the most adventurous one as well. Beautiful synth melodies clash with spacious drones and the result is a mesmerizing blend of sonic tranquility that gives the illusion of endless travel beyond the deepest corridors of space. Going from the shortest song to the longest, ‘Through Memories And Galaxies” is a near fifteen minute ride through muffled voids and spacey vacuums and exudes a supremely addictive host for traveling through blissful territories of the mind. Barely audible vocal narrations and lengthy drones complete this lengthy effort that goes from dreamy modulations to terrifying screeches. “Multiverses” commences with some of the darkest drones presented on this collection of songs. Unparalleled soundscapes hint at a celestial vibe while the overall tone continues to thicken throughout. There are moments of psychedelic sound play that emphasizes a tumultuous moment in time. Complete with very eerie undertones, this is one of my favorite tracks on the album. The last track on the album is “God-Level Traveller” and it begins with very demented droning sound until a peculiar instance comes into play, altering the scaled synth notes at a slow pace. The natural hissing in the background adds a dreamy essence while minimalistic noise continues to gather, creating an abrasive tone that is quite quixotic. This is certainly an impactful statement to end this very dark and brooding musical collective.

Sonologyst exquisitely bridges the gap between several sub-genres of Dark Ambient music while producing elite electronic euphoria. ‘Interdimensional’ is masterclass in drone music that branches out with a plethora of haunting soundscapes and production tactics. The end result is an amazing album that is surly to stand the test of time. Don’t sleep on this album, as I highly recommend it for those that expect an esoteric and ominous audial output. Check it out at the link below and support this prodigious artist and the addictive music he produces.

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Links:

https://sonologyst.bandcamp.com/album/interdimensional

Ideal Father Examines The Despotic Aftermath Of An Industrial Age Coup With The Chilling, ‘Paradice Death’

The coldness of industrial music has a particular haunting effect that emits emotional angst, rebellion and sometimes fear. The influence of an industrial-themed environment is the essence for blazing energy across multiple genres of music. Boasting an apocalyptic setting or ventures in dystopian wastelands, Industrial music is a tantalizing hybrid of music and machine, joining forces to lay the foundation of corrupt manufacturing lineage. In the realm of Dark Ambient, industrialized influences play a crucial role on one of the genres most harsh sounding sub-forms. Ideal Father grasps that ideology and doesn’t hold back with delivering a savage performance in ‘Paradice Death’. Nine tracks of grinding decay is all that it takes to create a despondent world of barbarous and strident modulations to help desensitize the traumatic situations of futuristic environments.

The dissonant lead off track, “A Mind In Evil Ruin” pulls no punches as it crashes in like a video game character warping to a desolate world, right in the middle of scenic terror. Haunting, reverberated drones drift in like a sandstorm on a reluctant desert town, unable to flee the grasp of demise in any direction. A variety of effects set a creepy vibe as the wall of noise surrounds you in every direction with no viable means of escape. “In Paradice Death” commences with a supernatural narration that sounds like a menacing black metal styled vocal with an echo effect that is made for ruining all positive thoughts. A squall of ear-piercing synths and soundscapes project an even darker world of hatred and corruption while inaudible voices and screams can be heard throughout, cementing this nightmarish vision of disturbing results. “Blood Torrent” begins with heavily distorted tones that are reminiscent of the distant buzz of mechanical infrastructures running on autopilot and out of control. Various disturbances echo from left to right, as if you’re being stalked by a maniacal being. “Crepuscular Soul” emits a muffled, underwater sound that loops uncontrollably while discordant tones and buzzes build around it. This track also offers clean and clear synth passages that are just as poignant as the other, darker tones set forth on this album. It’s almost as if it’s playing a bizarre scale that is melodic in nature but instead discharges an accord of sadistic intent. “Tongue Mosaic” is one of the shorter songs in this brooding collection, but it’s intermittent spikes of tonal despair, set on top of a sustained drone, presents a harrowing look at nightmarish entities in the void of nothingness. “Crosshair Mantra” starts with a doom-laden drone with heavy modulated breathing sounds that soon fuse with vociferous synth shrills and gruesome effects. The field recordings in this track display a scene of horror and ferocious resolve toward the end of existence. Life forms become scarce as mechanical objects rebel and conquer in pre-programmed unison. “Wall Of Crying Eyes” is a minimalistic piece with divergent drones that sway in and out of audial captivity, while mechanical noises meander aimlessly in search of their next victim. Sonic and celestial modulations depict a retrospective vibe while the tonal distortion of assorted soundscapes create a sense of abandonment and isolation. The massively distorted take off of “Nobody Will Know” is a severe reminder of a condemned society and the point of no return to normalcy and conventional existence. As this dynamic increases in layers, the sound thickens into a spiteful wall of harmonized noise and it’s deafening quality becomes even more mesmerizing as it continues to play out. The final track on the album is “Dream Slurja”. Signaling the end of existence for living organisms, this minimalistic piece represents the true dawn of industrial power and it’s agonizing takeover of humanity. With a deficient dose of harsh effects, this is one of the more peaceful efforts in this collection but none less terrifying than the rest of the album. Hints of stifled vocals and discrete field recordings are antagonizing reminder of the strength of industrial components and the new mechanical civilization that will forever remain a dark spectacle of potent energy.

Ideal Father just may be my new go-to artist for when I desire the hasty sounds of industrial ambience. With only a few albums in circulation, ‘Paradice Death’ has proven to be a jolting experience in the harsher side of Dark Ambient music. This sound and style isn’t for everyone but for the unique audience that lives for this experience, then look no further than Ideal Father. Please show your support by checking out this album at the link below.

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Links:

https://idealfather.bandcamp.com/album/paradice-death

Monstruwacan Transcribes The Struggles Of Agony With The Ritualistic And Ominous ‘Mourn At The Grindstone’

If I asked you to provide one word to describe how you feel about music (in general), I’m sure their would be no wrong answers. No mater what adjectives are used to characterize your perception of music, there is no doubt that it’s a powerful entity. Music is inspirational, emotional, provides comfort, describes other subject matters in a relatable way, and is a reliable source of affection and warmth. Many of these identifiers can be associated with the massive audial offering by Monstruwacan, ‘Mourn At The Grindstone’. Six tracks of haunting modulations that provide a ritualistic listening experience through grim guitar tones and decaying vocalizations. These songs are an amenity for coping with grief and well, life in general as the turmoils we are all faced with on a regular basis seem to never end.

Blistering album opener, “Which Side Are You On (w/The Windborne Singers)” just may be my new favorite song! Featuring a sorrow song-style vocalization about old Union worker banters, this jubilant piece supremely incorporates droning soundscapes to give it a cinematic sound that are reminiscent of the musical endeavors of early Zeal & Ardor. The vocals specifically standout, as the quartet harmonizes beautiful with crystal clear annunciation, thwarting the listener back to the days of coal mining and black lung disease along with the perils of that era. “Mourn At The Grindstone” quickly builds into an eerie, minimalist drone that captures the essence of dread. Faint wails of a guitar can be heard in various spots, adding to the mystique of the song. As this tonal creature grows in volume, the sense of misery become obvious while the shrills of ominous soundscapes continue to fluctuate. Suddenly, harsh narrations divulge information of sincere pain. You can hear the agony as the vocals elicit painful cries and every strum of the guitar is like opening an emotional tomb of anger and resentment. I can imagine this is what it would sound like if Sunn O))) and Blood Of The Black Owl we’re to collaborate. Next up is the somber, “Pupils Like The Hole In Space Where It Sings”. Commencing with a melancholic guitar part, things quickly spiral down into a harsh guitar tone with full-on distortion and resonance. This doom laden masterpiece also features deafening screams and harrowing, bleak ambience, as the mood is quickly set for a slow decent to annihilation. The torment continues with “Feast In The Dark”. A perpetual drone is accompanied by low, back end soundscapes that are audible enough to peak your curiosity. Just as this mild endeavor begins to settle in, heavily modulated guitar chords bear down like a speeding freight train while strident vocals evoke a story of bitterness. “Song For The Dead” begins as a spooky Dark Ambient piece that casually infuses bits of guitar effects. The elongated drone provides a demonic backdrop and when the harsh narrations come in, this becomes a complete ritualistic experience. The middle section of this eight minute opus softens to a simple drone that fades to the point of obscurity and then blazing guitar chops ignite a doom laden offering that showcases the climactic ending of angst and fear. The final track, “What Keeps Us In This Wretched Place” begins with a dose of sonic soundscapes that reside more in the background instead of the forefront, as if we can soon expect vociferous leads to play out. A ton of reverb is used in the beginning section, kindling a stark setting of bleak space ambience. As the droning grows louder in volume, it’s apparent that we will soon see the end of this amazing journey. Layers of drones and effects dredge forth until the song faintly comes to an end.

Every once in a while, an album comes along and completely blows me away. ‘Mourn At The Grindstone’ is that album and then some. These songs are well thought out and put together with meticulous detail so that is flows with utter transparency. Caldon Glover, the mastermind behind this project, knew exactly what he was aiming for with this album and the results are in – Monstruwacan are already becoming a heavy hitter in the Drone Metal/Dark Ambient sub-genre. Although this album has been out since May of 2021, it deserves to be heard by a much larger audience than what it already has. Do yourself a favor and listen to this one right away and support this artist by downloading this masterpiece at the link below.

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Links:

https://monstruwacan.bandcamp.com/album/mourn-at-the-grindstone

Caliginous Empire & Natura Carcerem Synthesize For Dungeon Synth Greatness On ‘Shadows Reflected’

Two of Dungeon Synth’s upcoming artists – Caliginous Empire & Natura Carcerem – have joined forces for the monumental offering, ‘Shadows Reflected’. However, this is no simple collaboration; this is two compelling creators showcasing the best side of their craft and extending a long overdue exposure to up and coming artist as they show solidarity in one of the best musical genres around. Caliginous Empire exhibits a soothing blend of symphony tones and melancholic soundscapes, while Natura Carcerem ventures more into aspects of Dark Ambient and ominous atmospherics. However, on this joint venture, they both step out of their comfort zones and expand on their musical creativity resulting in an ethereal experience that flows with haunting transparency.

“Before I Depart” is the somber album opener that starts with melodic keys and piano chops that slowly builds into a grand intonation. A short narration constructs an ancient storyline before percussive beats and layers of melody complete this soothing musical affair. The excitement really begins on “Hidden Penumbra”. Commencing with the soft crashes of ocean waves on a desolate, ancient shore, dense keys and pads create a fantastical soundscape of cinematic proportions. Soon, the tonal keys descend into an emotionally-charged passage of atmospheric modulations and alluring patterns. Out of nowhere, the track blasts into a melodic Black Metal section, complete with harmonic guitar chords, blast beats and ominous vokills. It then dwindles down to a quiet symphony of swaying keys that close out the track. The next track is “Reflected Shadows” and it showcases the talents of both musicians as they merge their unique sounds to present this stunning effort. A gentle piano ballad starts this epic adventure then an array of sounds and effects slowly builds a wall of discordance that is hypnotizing to say the least. Toward the end, tasty guitar leads mirror the main melody and establish a theatrical dose of affinity and atmospheric creativity. Natura Carcerem presents the next two tracks, the first being “On The Precipice Of Despair”. This is a beautiful flowing song that is held together by rigorous drum beats and celestial keys. Filled with eerie arrangements and haunting soundscapes, there is also an effervescent crypt hop beat that will have your head bobbing for the last portion of the song. The final track is the ghostly, “These Shadows Know My Name”. The cawing of crows and frightening modulated tones produces ghoulish atmosphere of haunted mansions, graveyards and nocturnal creatures that are bound to scare all those in their path. A soft Berlin School sequence adds a nice touch, as it increases the nostalgic vibe. More narrations and Black Metal vokills close out the track as this exceptional album draws to an end.

It’s never too late to recognize a fantastic album. ‘Shadows Reflected’ was released almost a year ago and it – so far – has stood the test of time, as these songs are unique, impressive and memorable. Caliginous Empire and Natura Carcerem have successfully blended their talents for supreme song writing and arrangements on this album and I can only hope that they will team up again in the near future to present us with another endeavor of this magnitude. If you like your Dungeon Synth meshed with other style of music, do not look past ‘Shadows Reflected’ as this is a one stop shop for your extreme Dungeon Synth needs.

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Links:

https://uncomfyrecords.bandcamp.com/album/shadows-reflected

https://caliginousempire.bandcamp.com

https://naturacarcerem.bandcamp.com