Abhasa Amalgamate Ritualistic Dark Ambient And Bewildering Black Metal On ‘१’

Ritualistic forms of art have been around for centuries, providing people with an outlet for conveying their ceremonious rites. In music, it’s an all-out free form, and emotional channel that allows artists to express their craft freely and without restraint. Abhasa epitomizes this condition by combining metal, ambient textures and liturgical sentiment on the massively impressive album titled ‘१’. Showing huge amounts of restraint, Abhasa lets the music and atmosphere set the pace by creating the beautiful, emotional tone that will catapult the listener to an ethereal location – for at least the fifty minute duration of this album.

Holistic album opener, “१“, sets the spiritual tone as the hum of Tibetan bowls and ringing bells provide meaning and direction for this ceremonious journey. Field recordings of a natural setting amplify the experience. This vibe continues and seamlessly leads into “२”, which features more Tibetan bowl sounds, and the introduction of more modern instrumentation. Droning guitar riffs slowly crescendo their way into the mix, becoming louder and at their apex, the strums of distorted guitars make their presence known. After a few strums, it stops and after a short break, a beautiful acoustic passage begins, taking this track to new heights. As this track fades into “३”, the ambience slowly fades and gives way to a harsher, post-black metal sound. Interestingly, it has a very dreamy sound thanks to the ghostly production efforts. The next track, “४” starts with an acoustic riff that is quickly abandoned for a louder, more depressive tone. As this being one of the longer tracks, it gives the listener time to soak in the alluring guitar tone that’s equivalent to polarizing dark ambience. “५” begins with malevolent soundscapes and obscure field recordings that provide a sense of dread. The hiss of a guitar creates additional atmospheric tones as well. As the ambiguity fades, the sudden violent rush of distorted guitars introduce the next track, “६”. At just over twelve minutes, this saga runs through harsh metal parts, acoustic passages and ambient atmospheres while maintaining an even keel of emotional moments. The final track on the album, “७” blazes with discordant and blackened riffs, while the drums blast through like an assault weapon at a firing range. At around the half way mark, enticing keys create an exuberant atmosphere before the harsh tones pick up again. After a few minutes, the song finally fades to the sounds of the strums of an acoustic guitar.

The ritualistic sounds of Abhasa are undeniable, as they penetrate the ears and soul with emotional atmospheric music that border the genres of black metal and dark ambient. Now with the backing of the incredible Mystic Timbre label for a cassette release, this prodigious effort can be heard and enjoyed across multiple platforms. Click on the link below to download this ceremonious release!

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Links:

https://abhasa.bandcamp.com/album/–3

Disen Gage Relinquish Orthodox Control On ‘Nature’, A Complex Adventure Of Psychedelic Infused Dark Ambience

For those of you that keep up with my blog must know by now that I have a particular formula for writing reviews and I rarely stray from that. I try my best to come up with a captivating headline that will grab the attention of the audience. Additionally, I write an introduction that relates the album (being reviewed) to a particular topic based on the imagination and emotions that are felt from the music, provide a detail of each track, and then close it with a final statement that summarizes all of the above. In most cases, my headlines come pretty naturally, but on Disen Gage’s tripped-out, experimental dark ambient outing called ‘Nature’, that wasn’t the case. Although this is quite the compelling album, I was almost at a loss for words when giving a quick synopsis of how to describe it. Then, after repeated listens, it hit me. This Russian duo goes above and beyond to eliminate the conventional means of producing dark ambient music by providing theme-based samples and soundscapes. The result is three tracks of nearly forty nine minutes of impulsive and experimental greatness.

“Planets” suddenly blazes through like a space craft coming out of warp speed, only to find itself in a harmful situation. As the space craft starts taking devastating hits from surrounding shrapnel, system alarms begin pulsating with anxious volumes as this song restlessly generates abrupt noises that match the situation. As this emergency condition draws to an end, the track eases into a hollow, deep space anthem that breeches the lines of industrial and black ambience. Horrifying sounds and effects throughout signify that danger isn’t over for this mission and the onboard systems aren’t under human control. Finally, toward the end, the madness winds down and deeps space ambience prevails. A strange song sample plays cautiously in the background as if it’s a long lost transmission that’s been accidentally intercepted. “Trains” is a dark and perplexing tune that features various train sound samples, arranged perfectly to create a particular despondency. The drones are creepy and sound as if they are long, drawn out screeches of locomotives trying to come to a sudden stop. As the train samples continue to make their presence felt in various ideas and speeds, one final pass of a lengthy caravan closes out this stunning and unique track. The final brilliant track is “Animals”, and if the bleak sounds of these oppressive drones don’t have you on edge, then how about the sixteen plus minutes of manipulated animal sounds. Twisted into bizarre tempos and speeds, this can seriously creep you out if not prepared for it. However, there is a massive amount of genius behind this idea and it works amazingly well for this track. The final few minutes include metal guitar riffs played with an echo effect and provides an off-the-wall psychedelic vibe to close out this extraordinary & unique song and album.

Disen Gage take musical experimentation to a whole new lever on ‘Nature’ by providing theme-based samples for each song that they go with. These three tracks travel through space, in rural city scapes and in natural habitats where animals are the alpha predators of the area. The substance of theses tracks is massive and the creativity is top notch. I will definitely be spending more time getting to know the music of Disen Gage. For those of you that are new to this artist and have a love for ambient and experimental music, don’t look past ‘Nature’, as this is an excellent starting point. I highly recommend checking out this album.

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Links:

https://disengage.bandcamp.com/album/nature

Cameraoscura Lay The Haunting Foundation For A Dystopian Future With ‘Quod Est Inferius’

When it comes to setting a scene for a dystopian future, I immediately think about movies such as “Blade Runner”, “The Running Man” or “Total Recall”, where overcrowding in a technology consumed society is ruled by government furnished law enforcement. The buildings seem to be built a mile high, with flying cars, gas masks and the skyline barely sees any sunlight. The music that portrays this era is dissonant, dark and ritualistic to surmount to the equivalence of misery and oppression in human culture. If there is one current artist that characterizes these exploits, it’s Cameraoscura, and their latest offering ‘Quod Est Inferius’ depicts a horrid scene of a bleak future with civilization on the brink of destruction. This album is like a day in the life of a citizen, fighting for survival while abandoning all hope.

Establishing the scenario that will cause uncivilized turmoil is “Atanor”. Creepy soundscapes and bludgeoning drones are introduced at a frightfully low tone and eerie spoken words counteract the disparity. Suddenly, at around the three and a half minute mark, rhythmic electronic beats cascade through the layers of sound and embed a cadenced pattern that is rarely heard in this form of music. The outcome is simply amazing! “Admixio” has the soothing but crisp sounds of retro synth wave with the occasional low growl. Mesmerizing soundscapes provide a wall of sound as this track represents the less chaotic form of dystopia, but at the same time, showcasing the horrifying extinction of existence. “V.I.T.R.I.O.L.” Is another consoling arrangement, but as the track crescendos in volume, austere frequencies send a chilling reminder of dark times. Once again, a downtempo style beat comes into play and mixes well with the keyboards and drones of this track, putting the listener in a trance-like state until the very end. “Interitus” covers a broad range of low-end sounds in pure dark ambient fashion while at the halfway point of the song, an EDM style beat starts up at a ferocious pace (for this type of music at least), and takes us on an unhinged path of life at dawn, where the sun is never fully exposed, but the pain of survival continues. “Attera” is a short track full of deranged industrial sounds and euphoric samples, complimented by a harsh beat, as if the ultimate battle between citizens and government were suddenly taking place with hopes of setting a new outcome for the dystopian wasteland it has become. Following the harshness is “Solve”, a short melodic piece that introduces beauty amongst the chaos with its melodic keyboard tones. The final track on the album, “Ultima Necat” starts with serene synth tones and effects that bend from side to side. Abruptly, a distorted guitar riff begins playing slowly, over and over again, while layers of harmonious discord play compliment to the harsh noise. Whether it’s the end of mankind, or the dawn of a new beginning, this track sets the bar for climactic album endings, especially one that deal with a specific and relatable theme.

Cameraoscura are on to something new and exciting within the dark ambient community. While still maintaining the complexity of sequencing drones and soundscapes, danceable beats are added to several tracks to breath new life in the genre. I must say it works very well. It may not be for everyone, but I certainly love this style and hope that Cameraoscura will continue down this path of musical innovation. I highly recommend checking this out and I’m quite certain you’ll not be disappointed.

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Links:

https://totenschwan.bandcamp.com/album/tsr-100-quod-est-inferius

Destructive Forces Are Strong At Work On Latest Nordvargr Outing, ‘Daath’

Evil comes in many forms, and although a certain mode of malevolence can be hidden in plain site in order to entice a following, some forms are in-your-face, with nothing to hide, and are ready to test your limits of dealing with the powers of it’s unpleasantries. A good example of this – especially when it comes to music – is the pioneering black ambient artist, Nordvargr. Always seemingly pushing the boundaries of dark ambient, black & industrial ambient as well as other hateful, unorthodox sounds, Nordvargr has just released the punishing new album, ‘Daath’, and it’s here to cultivate a particular madness amongst the masses. From pounding percussion, heinous vocals and thick sounding tribal instrumentation – as if they’ve been dredged from the abyss – Nordvargr has conceived a soundtrack set to obliterate all that is good, and cover the wasteful ruins in a layer of audial soot.

“Inner Monarch Awakened” is like the calm before the storm, as heavy sirens awaken the dark forces to begin its destructive plot. Immediately we hear the influence of sickening, death metal style vocals and it’s outcome is simply massive. In the background, the music has a harsh industrial influence but is maintained at a sludgy pace. “The Horsemen Ride Out On Foaming Steeds” continues without pause from the first track. The vocals continue to be the main attraction but an underlying guitar riff adds another layer of intelligence to this song. Various vocal effects are used throughout making it the primary instrument of focus, as well as constantly increasing the creepiness factor until the end. “Tabernakelvisa – The Redeemer And The Secret” begins with a deep, tribal percussion pattern and sounds as if it could be taken from a fantasy film soundtrack during a scene where a great, fanatical battle was taking place. Thumping bass lines, more calamitous vocals and ghostly synthesized arrangements help provide a chilling vibe for this track. “Death Closes The Gate Of Time And Opens Those Of Eternity” features gristly, rhythmic patterns and more stellar vocals that tell a horrifying story in the most hateful tone. “Invocation Of The Unseen” features more of a dark/black ambient atmosphere and is like an interlude from the destruction set forth by the first half of the album. In addition, this track also serves as a preparation piece for that remainder of the album that will set a relentless pace. “As King, As Queen – When Kingdom Collide” sets an industrial-like sound with some inaudible vocal samples, while the main pernicious vocals scream out in pain. “The Light Of The Lord And The Black Sun Behind The Sun” slowly fades into some chaotic chanting and tribal percussion beats, with a lot of thrilling vocal effects going on. Droning, dissonant sounds can be heard in the background as this turns out to be one of the most eerie songs on the album. The final dirge on the album, “Where There Is Word, There Is Enlightenment” is a return to the superior sounds of dark ambient, as disorder and chaos have finally given way to desolation and ruin. Frightening sound effects and field recording can be heard throughout but ultimately, evil has prevailed this time around.

Nordvargr has created one of the most evil and punishing sounding albums I’ve heard in quite some time and what better label to release ‘Daath’ than Cyclic Law – home to some of the most viscous black ambient recordings around. Not only is this album unique, it is certain to have longevity in your playlist as well, as these tunes are fascinating to listen to and are just so well written. Please support this fascinating artist and download ‘Daath’ from the link below.

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Links:

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

Ruohtta Infiltrates The Dark Realm Of The Conscious Mind With Black Ambient Exploit, ‘Kaanij’

The darkness in music can be a wonderful thing. It allows us to drift off into a world that doesn’t normally occupy our physical being, so that our minds can expand beyond the realm of ordinary existence. Dark ambient is a great medium for this, as it’s soothing, but bleak drones gives us the time to open up and meditate in the moment. Although dark ambient is normally set in austere and desolate conditions, it has a calming quality that keeps our mental capacity dialed in on a relatively easy landscape. However, the darker, harsher off-spring known as black ambient has some of the same sound qualities as dark ambient, but it goes a step beyond with its anxious loud textures and drones to create an edgier vibe. Ruohtta uses this creativity to their advantage to emit a chilling and boisterous effort on their latest release, ‘Kaanij’. An EP consisting of two long tracks, ‘Kaanij’ is a solid display of monotonous, emphatic drones with mind numbing, discordant keyboard and guitar sounds that are enough to permeate the mind and alter the mental path forward toward a cold, dark existence.

On the opening track, “Ganii I”, Ruohtta’s sole provider of doom & gloom – Tervaaja – blasts us with a perpetuating distorted drone that assimilates through the whole track. The random keyboard arrangements are a stark reminder of the cold, winter season and it’s vulnerabilities. Various sound effects blaze through the mix, like meteors penetrating the atmosphere. There are hidden melodic moments throughout that not only make this an interesting track, but keeps it focused on the elements of its craft. “Ganii II” contains many of the same conditions of the first track but at a different tone. The backing distorted droning track is in a lower key, as if an evil presence has possessed the mindset of the listener and has taken the subconscious into a new, dark direction. The guitar harmonies are supremely written and have a grandiose sound that constantly expands time and space, allowing the listener to drift in and out of the music while creating their own subjective headspace.

Although only consisting of two tracks, this is a very impressive recording. This is black ambient at its best with a little bit of a mix of other genres thrown in and it’s very well written. Not only does this have a digital release, Realm And Ritual have issued a cassette release as well. I’m looking forward to hearing more from this impressive artist, but in the meantime I highly recommend downloading ‘Kaanij’ from the link below.

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Links:

https://ruohtta.bandcamp.com/album/kaanij

CLAVICVLA Ceremoniously Bring The Upheaval Of Evil With ‘Sepulchral Blessing’

As one descends into darkness, I can only imagine what the soundtrack that accompanies them may sound like. For those lost souls that have committed horrible atrocities, the deafening sounds of decaying industrial noise may forever haunt their every move as it guides them to the pits of hell. For those that have brought shame upon themselves in one way or another may experience a past-lifetime of excruciating gothic undertones. For the rest of the blasphemous descendants, they may experience the diabolical, black ambient sounds of the latest CLAVICVLA album, ‘Sepulchral Blessing’. Horrifying drones, despondent bass frequencies and haunting spoken words bring this terrifying album to life and singes the ear drums of those brave enough to listen. The six ritualistic drones presented on this release combine the dreadful soundscapes that will fill your every wakening moment, with intense anxiety and traumatic noise bliss as the great James Plotkin (O.L.D., Khanate, Phantomsmasher) masters the album to a daunting quality like no other.

The ultra-low bass frequencies of “Demonic Integration”, sets a steady droning pace, as distorted spoken words provide a sermon of evil. Agonizing soundscapes add a layer of discomfort as the listener is treated to an audio assault equivalent to a medieval exorcism. “Insorcist Will” begins with a low-end keyboard arrangement that begrudgingly provides an auditory nail straight to the brain through the ear. The monotone droning creates an eerie vibe and is reminiscent of an early Sunn O))) recording. “Tiamat Skin” ignites a profound soundscape with evil, droning textures and simple, acoustic bass sounds. The frighting spoken words – although barely audible – probably tells a disturbing story of grotesque crimes that have gone unsolved, with bodies unfound. The monk-like chanting at the beginning of “Angra Mainyu” sounds like a demonic summoning gone wrong. As the isolated pads and distorted spoken words join in, it’s clear that corrupt forces are at work here. Ominous soundscapes throughout provide another layer of agonizing excitement as endless torment is imminent. “Apocryphal Truth” starts quietly – compared to the rest of the tracks – but soon gathers alarming momentum, as creepy sounds penetrate the ears. This tracks relies heavily on long, droning sounds to contribute to the misery. The albums final track, “Sepulchral Blessing” furnishes with a climactic ending to the hate and discontent by creating an infernal mix of depressive drones and twisted, synthesized pads. The spoken words are at their most evil and sound abhorrent compared to the previous tracks.

CLAVICVLA have succeeded in creating one of the most disturbing black ambient albums in recent years. The ghoulish spoken word parts and the constant use of distorted low-end bass frequencies are the primary factors that make ‘Sepulchral Blessing” one of the best in the genre. It also helps that the album cover is equally bothersome. This not only surpasses their 2018 debut album, ‘Sermons’, but is May quickly become a defining moment in the genre as a whole. Show your support for this twisted, but brilliant artist (as well as Cyclic Law and/or Sentinent Ruin Laboratories) and download this sinister album as soon as possible!

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Link:

https://cycliclaw.bandcamp.com/album/sepulchral-blessing

https://sentientruin.bandcamp.com/album/sepulchral-blessing