Throne Of Knowledge Explores Mournful & Isolated Timbres On The Profound Offering, ‘The Return To Unity’

World renowned author and playwright – Leo Tolstoy – once stated, “Music is the shorthand of emotion.” I couldn’t agree more, as we often listen to music that matches our feeling and/or emotional state. At times, music frequently instigates a particular feeling that allows the listener to drift into an ardent state of explicit emotions or imaginative foundations. One such compelling artist that provokes those very sentiments is Throne Of Knowledge, a Dark Ambient/Winter Synth project that presents an impactful sense of mystical feelings through cold and somber drones. On the latest album, ‘The Return To Unity’, three extended tracks of space ambient and winter synth tones fuse wonderfully to create a hypnotizing atmosphere of otherworldly experiences.

The haunting opening track, “The Return To Unity”, showcases a sequence of looping melodies, perpetual drones and celestial atmospherics that promulgates an alluring sense of bliss across twenty seven minutes of playing time. This is an extraordinary track that implicitly serves as a soundtrack for meditative sequences. If you’re expecting a lot of change ups, soundscapes and explosive moments, you’ll need to seek that type of music expression elsewhere. However, if a relaxing, and introspective experience is what you’re vying for, then look no future than this beautiful track as it sincerely provides that moment of reflection that is much desired. Next up is the sixteen minute long endeavor, “Aura”. Even more minimalistic than the first track, this will invoke a period of mental solitude through bleak drones and the occasional soundscape that depicts instances of awareness and contemplation. If the first track is the one that takes the listener to an altered state, then “Aura” is the track that locks the listener in for the duration of this pensive experience. The winter synth tones are prevalent throughout this track as the atmosphere is cold, dry and full of gray colors and sounds. The final song on the album is “The Observer Effect”. Although considered a bonus track, this is the third and final installment of the meditation experience as it’s the one that slowly pulls the listener back to reality. This near sixteen minute long track contains more key rhythms and is presented in a quicker pace than the previous songs. Although the gloomy drone is still ubiquitous, it’s used more in the background than in the forefront, allowing for the harmonies to take over and draw the listener in to a refreshed perspective of life and happenstance. Having this bonus track on the album makes perfect sense as it completes a sonic adventure of mindfulness and prospective gain.

This third chapter of the Throne Of Knowledge collection is an exceptional work of art that tells a wordless story of nature and peaceful existence. Although firmly rooted in Dark Ambient, there are underlying tones and themes that give this adventurous piece endless meaning and also a home in other genres such as Winter Synth and – in a way – Atmospheric Dungeon Synth. I highly recommend this album for a relaxing experience, so please check it out at the link below and enjoy this highly effective masterpiece.

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Links:

https://throneofknowledge.bandcamp.com/album/the-return-to-unity

Eyre Transmissions XV: Interview With Up-And-Coming (And Proficient) Dungeon Synth Songsmith, Thyark

An album that has recently caught my attention in an exemplary way is ‘Journey To The Last Kingdom’ by Thyark. Relatively new to the Dungeon Synth community, Thyark has done a magnificent job at crafting a debut album with such high quality music and production values. From the multi-layered synth expression to the endless infusion of other genres, this is a highly entertaining album that is sure to please fans of a wide away of music. I recently had the opportunity to discuss this new musical excursion with Thyark creator, Volkh, and the path that led him to the Dungeon Synth community. Hope you enjoy this interview with the stellar up-and-coming artist, Thyark!

1. Thanks for this interview opportunity! Thyark is new to the Dungeon Synth scene and already has an impressive debut release. How did this project get started?

Thanks to you. This project began in middle of the pandemic during the lockdown, the truth was, I was not very knowledgeable about the style. But after listening to projects like Old Sorcery, Fief, Ancient Boreal Forest, I began to investigate more within the genre and the truth is that I was fascinated. It also suited me well since I had a musical crisis for a few years. I’ve come from the Black Metal scene all my life but I reached a point where I needed to do something different and that was the origin of this THYARK project. The need to do something different and new for me.

2. On the debut, ‘Journey To The Last Kingdom’, you explore a variety of techniques that cross both the Dungeon Synth and Dark Ambient genres. Did you have this particular style in mind or did it come to you in the production phase?

As I was starting something completely new for me, I decided to start from the Dark Ambient base because I already had some experience with that style and then through the influences that I heard I began to create the songs. And the truth is that I am very proud of this first demo.

https://thyark.bandcamp.com/releases

3. Thyark also ventures into the synthwave territory and uses a lot of percussion as well. Was it your intent to incorporate an assortment of styles to create a unique sound?

The truth is that I always try to make my music sound as personal as possible and from what little I knew and heard at the time, I noticed that many projects used folk percussion like war drums but I had not heard anything with ‘metal’ percussion, so to speak. And when I tried to add this kind of drum kit, I really liked the sound.

4. I noticed some vocal narrations on one of the tracks and it fit in very well. Is this something you may consider doing more of down the road?

If the composition requires it, yes. Any good idea that can be included in a composition to create a good atmosphere, then yes.

~ Volkh ~

5. The production has a very retrospective feel to it, which gives it a darker, more theatrical vibe. How was this amazing sound accomplished?

Everything is a matter of creating with passion, heart and feeling for what you do.
In the end it does not matter if you have a professional or basic equipment. If you are a musician but do not have those three tools, little can be done.

6. Besides synths and drums, what other instruments were used to make this album?

Everything is done with the synthesizer except the voice. But in the future, I would like to be able to record classical and folk instrumentation with microphone and do something more special, but that takes time, money, etc.

7. Who are some of your influences for creating this style of music?

Ancient Boreal Forest and Old Sorcery, In addition to music, Tolkien’s works and other sources of medieval history or fantasy reading also influence me a lot.

8. Is Dungeon Synth a genre they you are sticking with for the long haul or do you plan to venture out to other genres?

I would like to always have this project focused on Dungeon Synth, but it doesn’t take away the idea of being able to include some Black Metal influence maybe in some work. But for now, my idea for this project is to make Dungeon Synth / Dark Ambient.

9. Have you thought about collaborating with other artists? If so, who would you be interested in collaborating with?

I have something discussed with Ancient Boreal Forest, and I would like in some future to be able to do a split with Old Wizard or even some other project that interests to do a good split.

10. I’m happy to say that I have a cassette release of ‘Journey To The Last Kingdom’ and the layout and artwork are simply amazing. Was this a DIY project or was this effort professionally released?

This demo was released under “my label” when I had my demo completely finished, I tried to find labels that might interest them but at that time I didn’t know any label and many others had pending work, so I decided to release it myself.

11. Are you planning any other physical formats such as CD or vinyl?

My new album ‘Memories of a Majestic Realm’ will be released on cassette thanks to Moonlit Castle Records (IT) throughout this year. I will also release the CD version under my label. And vinyl, well… maybe one day I hope to be able to do it, but at the moment it is something very expensive.

12. Do you have any aspirations to play this material live?

The truth is that I have never had in mind to do lives when it is only one person, but I have some offers that could be carried out but it takes time to raise the idea and how to do it. I’m also considering being able to make cinematic videos.

13. I want to thank you again for this interview opportunity. Do you have any final thoughts for the fans that may be reading this?

Thanks again for the opportunity as it is very important to me. First of all, I want to give a huge thank you to all the people who supported and support THYARK. I am very grateful for the enormous reception that my project has had in such a short time since it is a fairly young project. Now I am working hard on my new album, I hope you like it.

‘Memories of a Majestic Realm’ is coming soon!!!

Links:

BC: https://thyark.bandcamp.com/releases

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/DS.Thyark.Official

Top 10 Dark Ambient Releases Of 2021

I almost don’t like putting together these year-end Top 10 lists because it’s so hard to pick 10 albums out of the hundreds or thousands of Dark Ambient releases in a given year. However, at the same time, I do want to show my respects to the albums that held the highest entertainment value for me, thus equating to my FAVORITE Dark Ambient albums of 2021. I really hope you enjoy this list as much as I had putting it together and if there is anything that strikes your attention on here, please check them out and show your support for these amazing artists. Without further a due, I present to you my favorite 10 Dark Ambient albums of 2021.

10. Blackweald – 666 Minutes In Hell

https://blackweald.bandcamp.com/album/666-minutes-in-hell

What better way to get this list started than an album consisting of nearly eleven and a half hours of diabolical Dark Ambient. ‘666 Minutes In Hell’ is that album and just the length alone is downright captivating. As for the music itself, this is some of the most sinister Dark Ambient I’ve heard in a long time and the endless supply of field recordings and soundscapes are enough to make an actual trip to hell seem like an endless endeavor. This is a very creative album that sets a gloomy atmosphere and only Blackweald could pull this off with such a grim attraction.

9. Xerxes The Dark – Soundtrack To The Blind Owl

https://xerxesthedark.bandcamp.com/album/soundtrack-to-the-blind-owl-24bit

Xerxes The Dark continues his string of impressive releases with the Industrial-styled, ‘Soundtrack To The Blind Owl’. One of his most chaotic and abrasive releases yet, this album is not to be taken lightly, as the amount of discord and pandemonium contained within can be alarmingly harsh if not expected. However, for me, I love this type of audial chaos and for nearly fifty three minutes, XTD thrashes the listener through a gauntlet of maniacal sounds and glitches by way of synth and guitar manipulation. Definitely check this one out if you’re into the more extreme side of Dark Ambient music.

8. Dead Melodies – Fabled Machines Of Old

https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/fabled-machines-of-old

For the past couple of years, Dead Melodies has been one of the busiest and most consistent Dark Ambient artists around. From amazing solo efforts to haunting collaborations with the likes of Zenjungle and Beyond The Ghost, he has amassed quite the discography of varied material. ‘Fabled Machines Of Old’ is another prodigious notch in his belt with a ferocious blend of Dark Ambient tones, haunting acoustic guitar passages and the warm embrace of dark noir styled jazzy impulses. The result is an album full of assorted & gloomy characteristics that are extremely fulfilling and a breath of fresh air for the Cryo Chamber label.

7. Mora-Tau – Wellcome Back, Nuclear Summer

https://thechurchofnoisygoat.bandcamp.com/album/wellcome-back-nuclear-summer

Mora-Tau has quickly become one of my favorite Dark Ambient artists with his brand of exhilarating improvisations. Releasing a magnitude of albums on his own Bandcamp page, as well as several other labels, it’s hard to pick a favorite album – especially since they are all so amazing. However, one that I keep returning to the most is the dispiriting ‘Wellcome Back, Nuclear Summer’. These four tracks describe a dismal scene of a bleak, post-nuclear atmosphere of nothingness and regrowth. Using an assortment of synth effects and drones, Mora-Tau is like a voiceless narrator for a scene filled with disaster and radiance. I’m so glad that Mora-Tau exists at this point in time and I highly recommend checking out his whole discography, but starting with one of my year end favorites, ‘Wellcome Back, Nuclear Summer’.

6. Wampyric Solitude – Echoes Of Undying Darkness And Bloodshed

https://wampyricsolitude.bandcamp.com/album/echoes-of-undying-darkness-and-bloodshed

Dungeon Synth maestro, Wampyric Solitude has not only created one of my favorite Dungeon Synth albums of the year, but he’s also produced one of my favorite Dark Ambient album, ‘Echoes Of Undying Darkness And Bloodshed’. Expecting another Dungeon Synth masterpiece, I was both shocked and blown away by the sounds of menacing drones, ominous atmospherics and apocalyptic styled soundscapes that decays from within. This is bleak adventure that I can’t stop listening to and I would to love to hear more of this type of dynamic caliber from Wampyric Solitude in the very near future.

5. Dahlia’s Tear – Adrift On The Edge Of Infinity

https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/adrift-on-the-edge-of-infinity

Anyone that is familiar with the works of Dahlia’s Tear can agree that there is a recognizable sound throughout the impressive discography. However, it’s the Cryo Chamber releases that finds the artist at his best and the post-apocalyptic presentation is as doleful as it is hypnotizing. Just when you think you’ve heard the magnum opus effort by Dahlia’s Tear, along comes another album of equal or better quality. ‘Adrift On The Edge Of Infinity’ is a driving force of intensity that exudes melancholic proportions with a haunting soundscape. I eagerly await new albums by Dahlia’s Tear and this one was no exception and it surely doesn’t disappoint.

4. Sydalesis – Living Machine

https://sydalesis.bandcamp.com/album/living-machine

‘Living Machine’ is a masterclass in Berlin School styled Dark Ambient music. This mammoth recording hosts 14 tracks of lenitive, atmospheric anthems that expands beyond two and a half hours of playing time. Mixing ambient music with Berlin School sequences has become one of my favorite styles of electronic music and I tend to get completely mesmerized by its output. ‘Living Machine’ elicited that exact result from the initial listen back in April until now. This album remains a fascinating experience and it – unfortunately – didn’t get the attention that it deserved. I highly recommend checking this one out immediately.

3. Hilyard – Division Cycle

https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/division-cycle

The albums that Hilyard produces for Cryo Chamber are just different – in a great way. He seems to pull out all the stops when making music for the giant label and ‘Division Cycle’ is my favorite Cryo Chamber label release for this year. An excellent blend of Space Ambient and minimalistic droning, this album was an immediate hit and greatly surpassed all of my expectations. Subtle soundscapes and industrial undertones generate an atmosphere of endless tranquility, darkened by blissful aggression. This is one of the most meditative albums of the year and I still can’t get enough of its bleak embrace.

2. Delmak-O – The Colony

https://delmak-o.bandcamp.com/album/the-colony

I must say that ‘The Colony’ was quite a surprise upon initial listen. To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect. However, what I got was one of the most impressive Ambient albums that I’ve ever heard. Fusing Berlin School sequences with Space Ambient drones, otherworldly soundscapes and a Sci-Fi conceptual story, this album is a masterpiece from start to finish. This is one of those albums that you can blast in a pair of good headphones and be taken away on an astral adventure without any care in the world. A very enjoyable album that brings a much needed variety to the Dark Ambient community.

1. Sumatran Black – A Taxonomy Of Grief

https://sumatranblack.bandcamp.com/album/a-taxonomy-of-grief

I’ve been a Sumatran Black fan for a few years now and equally love the other projects by the same artist, Black Box Memories and Atasehir. Even though the output of dystopian style Dark Ambience has been quite impressive, ‘A Taxonomy Of Grief’ is light years ahead of previous efforts. For nearly two hours and twenty minutes, the listener is treated with a melancholic blend of mesmerizing synths and mournful soundscapes that depicts a gloomy reality of dealing with personal bereavement and loss. Each track completes a cycle of majestic aplomb through soothing arrangements that are insanely breathtaking. Because of these alluring intricacies, ‘A Taxonomy Of Grief’ is easily my favorite Dark Album of 2021.

Noisesculptor & God Cancer Pay Chaotic Tribute To Doctor Who With ‘Wanderers In The 4th Dimension’

Architects of harsh noise and industrial ambient, Noisesculptor and God Cancer, are closing out my year of abhorrent reviews with an extreme collaboration effort. ‘Wanderers In The 4th Dimension’ is a strident tribute to the golden era of Doctor Who and of all the eccentric and quirky subject matter and themes that the British show portrayed for many years. Containing three tracks of bizarre modulations and bleak atmospherics, this is definitely a worthy musical endeavor for such a respected TV show.

Lead off track for this daunting effort, “Edge Of Destruction”, begins the cycle of controlled chaos on this retro-infused EP. Living up to its namesake, this song immediately begins on a downward spiral toward an ominous journey through strange worlds and abstract time periods. Tumultuous modulations produce an algorithm of hectic adventure as random soundscapes forge a dark destiny of unsettled variation and dismal remnants. As if the random frequency sounds are creating an algorithm of despondent measures, the cracks of distorted synth terror reek havoc on the listeners ears. Next up, “The Mind Robber”, commences with an audial assault that is sure to invoke generations of hysteric and sinister vestiges. Creepy effects attune over ambient noises that appear discordant and heavily distorted. You can almost hear patterns of vocalizations as the noises continue to adjust. Although seeming random, the patterns represent a frenzied madness that can only be solved by sincere concentration and audible adaptability. The final track on this immense EP is the epic, “Web Planet”. Starting with various soundscapes that at first, sound soothing and placid, there is an underlying pandemonium that slowly begins to form as the track continues. Various cosmic sounds depict a race through time and space, while the hiss of looping drones radiate with sheer terror. As the track continues to unfold, chilling synth intonations emit pulses of icy cold effects that places the listener in strange, frigid worlds where frightening resolve remains imminent. This space-like adventure continues on until the feeling of angst is all that’s left to hold on to. This masterful track is just what this EP needed to finalize the effects of the noise terror that ensued within.

Noisesculptor and God Cancer had one major objective with producing this album, and that was to create a source of menacing ambience that consecrates one of the best science fiction dramas to ever be broadcasted on TV – Doctor Who. ‘Wanderers In The 4th Dimension’ is a fascinating offering that chronicles the retrospective sounds that could have been easily heard throughout the golden years of the show. From celestial sequences to harsh modulations, this is a mind-numbing effort that is an addictive listen and is of high entertainment value. Unfortunately, the cassette/digital release appear to be (currently) removed from Bandcamp but I’ll continue to check to see if it may be released again in the future. This is an album that I highly recommend and I hope one day that it will – once again – be available for consumption.

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

I present to you my final round of Celestial Ephemerides for the year 2021 and I hope you enjoy the following Dark Ambient recordings as much as I have. I certainly wish that I had the time to give these albums a long form review but with the amount of request that I get on a daily basis and the actual time I have to spend on doing them, there just isn’t enough time in the day, week, month or year. At any rate, I hope these summary reviews will do and again…enjoy!

1. Beyond The Ghost – The Desolation Age

One of my favorite Dark Ambient artists, Beyond The Ghost is back with not only his greatest achievement yet, but a sensational recording that incorporates a magnitude of synth styles. With the deep drones in tact, he manages to include elements of synthwave, retro synth and a ton of melody to make this one of the most triumphant releases of the year. Emotional highs run rampant on tracks such as “Exodus”, “Pale Conquerers” and the piano-heavy “Slow Motion Downfall”. The Cryo Chamber label hits another home run with with valiant effort and I’m glad to see Beyond The Ghost release another effort that supersedes all expectations.

https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/the-desolation-age

2. Max Corbacho – Nocturnes III

What an honor it is to be alive during the existence of Max Corbacho. He is a world renowned ambient artist that has no problem producing either light or dark ambient and anything in between. On Nocturnes III, he darkens the mood on his brand of bleak, yet powerful ambience. Tracks such as “Altar Of Stillness” and “Lunation Sequence” produce a celestial boundary of deep space vibes and ominous sound effects. It’s easy to get lost in these long tracks as the mesmerizing drones continue to captivate from start to finish. Another brilliant album by the Ambient Master himself.

https://maxcorbacho.bandcamp.com/album/nocturnes-iii

3. Kalte – Morphology

Kalte puts the “minimal” in minimalistic with the starkly austere ‘Morphology’. Four tracks of space-like drones with the occasional soundscape that sounds like looping, industrialized textures that are sure to creep you out. “Stochastic Resonance” and “Coleoptera” are my favorite tracks on this short, thirty four minute EP. However, as a whole, this album contains epic creations that are sure to please fans of both Dark Ambient and Industrial Droning. Looking forward to hearing more from this promising artist.

https://kalte.bandcamp.com/album/morphology

4. Uburgrund – Dionelos

Uburgrund doesn’t hold back with their maniacal version of noise ambience. Harsh, looping effects and industrial-like distractions creates a whirlwind of discontent and uneasiness. However, there is a mesmerizing sensation when listening to this album as a whole that goes unmatched. Standout tracks include “Colonia De Sarcopti Din Palma (Swarm Of Another Life)” and “Trusa Iua Hinton (Rubik In Wonderland)” with endless fusillade of extreme modulations and frequency manipulations that will send the sensory glands into maximum overload. Also, at times the music seems audibly unbalanced but I think that’s another tactic that is completely relegated in this insane group of recordings. Highly recommended but listen at your own risk!

https://kalaminerecords.bandcamp.com/album/dionelos-2

5. Cities Last Broadcast – The Umbra Report

Cities Last Broadcast always brings a warm, vibrant tone with his brand of Dark Ambience. Including loops, tape hisses and various oddities that embrace a particular twilight, you can always expect a nostalgic walk down a darkened noir path. The Umbra Report is no different, as it entwines the same smoky sentiment found on the ‘Black Stage Of Night’ and ‘Black Corner Den’ releases with Atrium Carceri. Tracks such as “Unvocal”, “Disembodied” and “Antumbra” carry the minimalistic torch while creating a spacious, articulate texture that embraces more warmth than darkness. Simply put – another brilliant album by Cities Last Broadcast!

https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/the-umbra-report

6. Dr0ne – Nimb

Listening to Dr0ne’s ‘Nimb’ is like a complete exercise in futility. If you can make it through this one hour nightmarish drone-fest, then you can get through just about anything. With just two tracks – each almost thirty minutes long, this is like a bleak excursion like no other. These tracks slowly rip away your soul until there is nothing left but a skeleton of audial dissonance. At times, a deep plunge into darkened chambers occurs, taking the listener to cold outlets of deafening voids, while at other times, perpetual static remains consistently mesmerizing. This one is definitely worth checking out, especially if blasphemous droning is your thing.

https://dr0ne-sb.bandcamp.com/album/nimb

7. Daughter Of Dawn – Crushed Into Dust By The Weight Of The World

Fans of Peter Bjärgö should not pass up on this tasty offering of blissful, folk ambient by Daughter Of Dawn. These compositions are excitedly serene, but it’s the overall melody that will heighten your emotional state and draw you in for a near thirty minute ride down a soothing atmospheric aurora. Album opener, “Juniper Boughs Collide Upon My Shores” is quick to set a euphoric mood with reverberated acoustic guitar chops and dreamy vocals. “The Liminal Space In Which I Reside” has shades of shoegaze and dream pop genres that are feverishly fused with masterful songwriting and constructive vocal harmonies. This is a fantastic album that must be heard to be believed. Don’t pass on this magical offering.

https://kalaminerecords.bandcamp.com/album/crushed-into-dust-by-the-weight-of-the-world

8. Alphaxone & Proto U – Back To Beyond

Alphaxone & ProtonU create a spacious, sonic atmosphere like no other. On their second collaboration effort, ‘Back to Beyond’, they produce a colossal space ambient recording that takes the listener to the far reaches of space and set them in a drifting motion that transcends the relevance of time and speed. As if floating through a galaxy of stars, a gathering of soundscapes and effects paint a galactic portrait of uncharted territories. With a mix of light and dark drones, standout tracks such as “Dreams Of Solace” and “Delusions Of Omniscience” present a space odyssey like no other. It’s always a magical occurrence when these two artists join forces and I hope this wont be the last recording of its kind.

https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/back-to-beyond

9. Bonzaii – Death In The Cities

Bonzaii is a unique artist for the Dark Ambient genre and they successfully combine two of my favorite things on the ‘Death In The Cities’ EP, and that is emotional Melodie’s and distorted synth effects. Although both of these sound qualities are at distant ends of the musical spectrum, together they provide a monumental output that can be both soothing and terrifying. Tracks such as “Liturgy” and “Eyes In The Water” stand out with their breathtaking atmospherics and masterful arrangements. The looping synths are at times retrospective and borderline on Berlin School sequences without actually maintaining a stronghold on that style. All in all, this is top quality ambient music and recommended for those that know no boundaries when it comes to genre styles.

https://decayingspheres.bandcamp.com/track/death-in-the-cities

10. European Drought – By Ways Of Winter Past

“By Ways Of Winter Past” is a single, twenty eight minute long track of austere winter synth that catapults the listener right into the eye of a winter storm with no end in sight. This immensely minimal track is so chilling, that it can be downright alarming at times due to the notion of unknowingness around every corner. Synth effects remain absolute throughout this recording, representing the cold adventures that are experienced along the way. As the track continues, there is a sense of overwhelming chaos that takes over and deafening tones signal the downfall toward an icy oblivion. Nothing about this track will sent the mind at ease, but it will set a chilling mood for mindful atonement.

https://europeandrought.bandcamp.com/album/by-ways-of-winter-past

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Eyre Transmissions XIV: Interview With Dark Ambient Composer And Multi-Instrumentalist, Dead Melodies

Over the past few years, Dark Ambient producer Dead Melodies has been extremely active by creating one high-caliber album after another. Whether recording solo spectacles or excelling on collaborative musical endeavors, the consistency has paid off by making him one of the most respected Dark Ambient artists as of late. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing the mastermind behind the project and learned about its beginnings, lineage and what keeps the creative processes flowing.

1. I’d like to thank you for this interview opportunity and for creating some of the most impressive Dark Ambient releases in recent years. How was Dead Melodies formed and did it rise out of the ashes of another project?

Thanks for the kind words and for the opportunity to discuss my work. 

Dead Melodies was indeed a rise from the ashes project, borne out of the need to rebrand after my old moniker, Indigolab became saturated and lost its direction. I have this tendency to dabble in many genres and after 10 years of covering a lot of ground from dub to folk to industrial, electronica and much more the project had totally lost its identity to me, so I wanted to start afresh with a newly focussed output. The initial premise for Dead Melodies was and still is at its core, storytelling through ambient music with dark ambient naturally being the perfect musical playground for this conceptual approach. Inevitably my cross-genre tendencies have crept their way into Dead Melodies, but something that’s always been essential to me for pushing art forward is fusion, so I think I just have to roll with the variety of styles in my head while ensuring each deviation works as a fully developed concept album.

2. For some artists, it seemed like 2020 (the year of COVID) created many constraints but for Dead Melodies, the project was extremely busy, releasing 3 albums (1 solo and 2 collaboration). Where did all of this creativity come from?

What an awful time I hope we’re seeing the other side of now. I think many artists found solace in music during the lockdowns, and I’m no exception there with the extra time hidden away from the world and the angst of what might be pathing the way for a lot of new ideas and more importantly the thinking space to develop them. The first two albums in 2020, ‘Anthropocene’ and ‘The Masterplan’ were actually recorded in 2019 as I’m usually a good while ahead of actual releases so it was in fact ‘Crier’s Bane’ and ‘Fabled Machines of Old’ that were I guess my real ‘lockdown albums’ feeding off all the strangeness of 2020.

3. The album ‘Anthropocene’ was in my Top 10 Dark Ambient albums of 2020. How did this collaboration effort with Zenjungle come about?

Thank you, I was incredibly proud of this album. Phil Gardelis of Zenjungle and I have been friends since 2011 in the early days of Soundcloud after sharing thoughts on each other’s music and chatting in general. I remember being totally blown away the first time I heard his music and trying to get my head around the unreal sounds he creates with a saxophone. Long before ‘Anthropocene’ we worked on several tracks together as well remixing each other’s music with the results being up there with some of my personal favourite collaborations. I’d always wanted to see if we could put out a proper collaborative album so I was really pleased when the opportunity presented itself.

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

4. Was there a concept in mind for the album or did you guys pass around ideas until a solid foundation was formed?

It started with me buying a new bass guitar and exploring its sonic capabilities using an ebow and a few other experimental approaches. As soon as I realised what I was working on was starting to tap into a dark noir field I ran the early drafts by Phil to see if he wanted to add some saxophone or anything else and the collaboration was born. Initially it was more just the sound that was the underlying theme, but as we started refining the arrangements the underbelly of the city concept fell into place, which of course was pushed to the next level once Simon Heath constructed the concept artwork to go with it. Most of the tracks came together quite relatively quickly, whereas the spralling 17 minutes of ‘The Lowering’ ended up being a huge feat to complete. I think it turned out well, or at least it’s my personal favourite from the album, if only for the effort we both threw at it and for bringing a slight variation to the instrumentation of the rest of the album.

5. ‘Crier’s Bane’ was also a solid masterpiece with an exceptional concept and sound. How was it working with Beyond The Ghost and will you guys be releasing anymore collaborations in the future?

Much like with Phil, Pierre Laplace of Beyond The Ghost is another friend from the early Soundcloud days – they truly were great days to be a musician self-publishing online with a community spirit I’ve yet to witness since. Nevertheless, Pierre and I made friends back then talking about music and I also remixed something for his dark folk band of the time, The Sandman’s Orchestra. We got talking again when he branched out into dark ambient and soon after he joined Cryo Chamber putting out some incredible albums. He’s a very talented guy and being a multi-instrumentalist like myself, we both contributed a whole range of different elements to the album. I think this collaboration worked so well as we often lend a critical ear and feedback on each other’s works in progress, speaking frankly about strengths and weaknesses in compositions and mixes which set a great foundation for working together. As to whether we’ll collaborate again, we’ve both said a follow up would be fun.

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

6. Did you go into that project with a Victorian-era theme in mind or did it culminate once the musical process started flowing?

The initial idea behind this was to craft a dark ambient album that carried the atmosphere and mood like that of Tom Waits’ Victorian/Vaudeville styled world. I’ve long been a fan of Waits’ music and it struck me one day there was some real mileage in the atmospherics behind his music that I really wanted to explore on a more ambient level. I started off playing around with a mic’d up melodica trying to simulate an accordion squeezebox, which worked surprisingly well with the right effects and layered with some field recordings I’d taken at a Christmas market the year before. Once I added some acoustic guitar ambience the foundations of the sound I’d envisioned was starting to take shape. Up until a few tracks in it was a solo venture, but I felt the vision needed a wider viewpoint to fully realise the world so knowing Pierre also had a wide taste in music I pitched the idea to him. Needless to say, he was on board and ideas and concepts bounced back and forth, with us both bringing our interpretation of English and French 19th century themes to the table – ultimately it ended up being set in the iconic and murderous East End of London with accounts of Whitechapel, Workhouses and Jack the Ripper inspiring some of the tracks. Once this was set in stone I had some fun writing the narrative, picturing the story through the eyes of the town crier, who went on to become the album’s namesake.

7. On 2020’s ‘The Masterplan’ it seems like you went for a more desolate & ominous sound instead of the space ambient approach that was on 2019’s ‘Primal Destination’. Was there a particular influence behind this shift in direction?

This always feels like a strange album in my catalogue. I’m very happy how it turned out, but it did feel almost miraculous that the original idea actually turned into something audibly cohesive. There were two key drivers in the sound when I started out; the first was an unpicking of the twisted technical elements of Drum & Bass and underground UK techno (my first musical home, producing and DJing in the 90s). I wanted to capture some of the bass and tech inspired sounds and reform into an ambient setting. The second element was using a technique, which I call guitar tapping, though it might have a proper name; essentially using pens, sticks etc to percussively play the strings like a dulcimer. I used a few different guitars, but the main instrument used throughout the album was a battered old mandolin which gives a really unusual Eastern tone when mic’d up and tapped and scraped. As the recordings progressed in production, with some work I managed to get the two elements to work together then with some synth layering the sound of the album came to be. To get back to the original question though, I think the influence was ultimately just the challenge of trying something different.

https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/the-masterplan

8. ‘The Masterplan’ seems to be themed around emptiness and corruption leading to an apocalyptic demise. Was the the concept you had in mind for the music?

Yes, exactly that. The technical aspect mentioned previously felt very final and apocalyptic once paired with the sorrowful guitars and warm drones so I pitched the narrative this way to compliment that mood. I did actually feel quite self-conscious when it was released in April 2020. The pandemic had taken its grip with the whole world feeling like the end was upon us and I’m releasing an album with the fictitious demise of humankind at its heart. Just felt a bit wrong, though I had written the music and narrative a good six months earlier and it was pretty well received, so maybe it tapped into the general morose mood of the time.

9. Do you approach your music and songwriting construct around a story or concept idea, or is it the other way around.

It varies to be honest. Sometimes I start recording with a clear vision in mind setting myself the challenge of capturing a sound, style or mood but equally as often I just hit record, follow the grain and shape the concept around the sound. My most recent album, ‘Fabled Machines of Old’ started with the sound and the story/concept came as the album developed, whereas my Cryo Chamber debut, ‘Legends of the Wood’ was a concept I had more or less fully mapped out way before I even started recording, all inspired by an old forest I used to knock about in as a kid where it was always rumoured there were some spooky goings on. In contrast to those, my second Cryo Chamber album, ‘The Foundations of Ruin’ started out with absolutely no concept in mind but when listening back to some eerie recordings of me playing an out of tune upright piano, I heard a glimmer of Resident Evil/Silent Hill lurking in the melodies, so I built an album and concept around those recordings.

It’s fun to approach each project from a different angle, not only to keep the creative process interesting and to test my abilities but also to ensure the end product has its own identity. Something I always hope each album has.

10. One of my favorite Dark Ambient albums of this year is ‘Fabled Machines Of Old’ in which you – once again – show your versatility with musical direction and instrumentation. Did it come natural to start including acoustic instruments as an element of your music?

Thank you, I put a lot of time and energy into this carefully trying to get the balance of acoustic guitar in a dark ambient setting right. I knew it was a risk with the acoustic being an odd choice for the genre but when I ran some early demos by Simon he was encouraging and of course ended up collaborating with me on the album as well as creating the utterly mind-blowing cover art.

https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/fabled-machines-of-old

The instrumentation was pretty natural to me as it’s something of a hark back to a huge amount of my back catalogue, pre-Dead Melodies when I recorded as Indigolab. The general premise of that project/band for around 10 years was fusing acoustic and electronic instruments. At first it was acoustic guitar in a dub techno or trip hop setting but over time I developed a style over a few albums I called Ambient Folk – a kind of chilled out mellow sound consisting of picked guitars, synths, nature ambience and live percussion. Much more uplifting and warming than my current output but the sound palette was not too dissimilar to ‘Fabled Machines’ – that was an unusual phase in my recordings where I just couldn’t find it in myself to write dark music, no matter how I tried (I think due to becoming a father around the time) but I just rode the creative wave putting out a lot of more welcoming and positive sounds than I normally would until I found my dark groove again. It actually changed the way I approach music in general in finding that using warmth and essentially happy music in contrast with darker elements worked well in lulling the listener to a false sense of security before unleashing the darkness. Much the same way in a horror movie where the story and setting usually starts off serene and peaceful before things go bad. Anyway, since starting Dead Melodies I’d been trying to figure out a way to bring the acoustic back to the forefront of my music to see how far I could push the ambient folk concept into dark ambient, but without crossing the line too far into another genre and this album was the result.

11. What’s your gear setup like and has the dynamics of it changed over the years from album to album?

I keep it relatively simple these days but have been through a lot of gear over the years. Right now I have my guitars; electric, acoustic, classical and bass, a Hydrasynth as my main hardware synth/controller and I use microphones and field recorders for capturing anything from vocals to instruments to experimental found sounds. My PC and software obviously plays a huge part in the studio with Cubase being the heart and soul of everything I work on. I’ve used it since it was just a humble midi sequencer back on the Atari ST and can’t imagine ever having to learn another recording environment as it’s like a second language to me. In previous studio incarnations I’ve been lucky enough to have owned some fantastic instruments which I’ve loved and used for a while then sold on to fund new gear and keep things fresh. I generally keep quite a streamlined set up as I’m more productive without the distraction of hundreds of shiny machines, plus I find the less is more approach pushes me to really squeeze the most out of an instrument. In fact, when I bought an Access Virus b back in about 1999, I stopped producing music for about six months, spending the time truly mastering the synth and building hundreds of sounds. Gave me a huge insight into synthesis and armed me with a suite of sounds I continued to use for well over a decade. I don’t own that synth any more but cherish the skills learnt on it and feel an equally magical relationship starting with the Hydrasynth a year into owning it

12. 2022 is right around the corner, do you have any plans to release more solo albums, collaborations or play live?

I’ve not long finished a new album exploring yet another theme and direction in sound which should be out next year. Among other things, it includes my early exploration of the Hydrasynth and some of the cool textures it can generate.

As for what’s coming after that, I’m currently playing around with some interesting noir concepts which if they continue well may end up forming an album – it’s early days but given the dark winter months are upon us when I’m most productive, I’m hopeful something good will come of it. I’d also definitely also like to explore a collaboration or two; there’s a number of talented artists I’d like to work with and I’m always game for new musical challenges, so watch this space!

13. I really appreciate your time and most of all, your spectacular music! Any final offerings for those that may be reading this interview?

Thanks again for the opportunity to discuss my work and thank you also to those reading and listening. It’s always refreshing to actually talk about my strange and almost secretive music making habits; as I’m sure is the case for many other musicians, it’s a subject most normal people don’t get, or know what to say about it, but with it being something I spend every spare hour working on or thinking about I really do appreciate the questions digging deeper into where the music comes from.

Dead Melodies Links:

https://deadmelodies.bandcamp.com

https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/fabled-machines-of-old

Dev-I-Ant’s ‘Progression Of The Wolf’ Is An Intense Descent Into Clouded Realms Of Uncertainty

There is nothing like horror-fueled Dark Ambient music. Of course, the ominous sub-genre is generally inspired by post-apocalyptic settings or components of deep space, but the malevolence created with nightmarish soundscapes takes it to a whole new level. One artist that frequents the use of such sounds is Dev-I-Ant. Using a wide array of ominous textures and modulations, they further a unique signature sound with the use of bleak – sometimes modulated – narrations. This combinations produces a very desolate sound and ‘Progression Of The Wolf’ is a product of said efforts. These seven tracks enhance an austere listening sequence that is as terrifying as it is engaging.

“The Cloven Kiss” makes a grand entrance for the album with a succession of loud blasts as if signifying the beginning of a post-apocalyptic war. A barrage of soundscapes, field recordings and samples produce a terrifying scene of chilling consequences and the start of maniacal narrations soon ensue. “You Are The Devil In Disguise” commences with a sequence of drones that sounds like they are caught in a chaotic loop. Screams and jolting effects can – at first – be heard in the background but a loud thunderous clash definitely get the heart pumping due to its unexpected entrance. Grim narrations once again provide a malevolent storyline as a seemingly endless supply of visceral noises continue to infest without restraint. “The Path I No Longer Follow” is like a motionless dreamscape, where the listener is pinned down by spirited coercion. A wall of white noise slowly crescendos into the mix like a calming splash of ocean waves and delivers an eerie effect with spiraling consequences. Next up is “Where Flesh And Soul Depart”. Beginning with a bone-crushing thunderstorm sound, the tolling of the bell signifies immediate danger to all that can hear it in the surrounding areas. Swaying drones are conjured from the depths like an inbound flock of demons that are ready to instill a season of fear. Loud, pounding bangs compliment the destructive efforts before more harrowing narrations come about. This is also the longest track on the album at just over ten minutes in length and it has its fair share of chaos and dismay. Following that is the second longest track, “Gone For Good”. Reverberated drones set a placid backdrop for a series of bizarre effects and soundscapes, most notably a droid-like machine that is communicating in its robotic language. This can be heard throughout the majority of this nine plus minute track and the more it rattles off it’s series of zeros and ones, the more menacing it begins to sound. “The Winds That Carries The Fog” commences with a sound just as the title suggests. With almost a demonic sound to it, these ferocious modulations are reminiscent of walking through a dark cave, without a light and following the deathly noise just to try and make it out alive. The occasional sudden clank of industrial tones increase the creepiness and prepare the listener for the continued narrations, that sound cloudless and much deeper than earlier injections. The final song on the album is the title track, “Progression Of The Wolf”. Spacious drones commence while frequent howls indicate that the predatory creature is closer than expected. The ensuing soundscapes and field recordings depict a grim scene of people trapped in a cabin, deep in the woods and surrounded by wolves. As they draw closer, the cabin goers realize their demise but try to frighten them away with loud bangs on the door. However the beasts prevail, and the adventures end for the trapped humans.

Dev-I-Ant are like seasoned veterans in the world of Dark Ambient with their signature sound that could be considered more like Terror Drone than Dark Ambient. Nevertheless, ‘Progression Of The Wolf’ is a fascinating album with startling results. The substantial use of narrations combined with an abundance of soundscapes and field recordings provide gruesome surprises around every corner. If you’ve not heard this extremely impressive release, please head to the link below and download this gem and prepared to be abashed by the insane compositions contained within. You have been forewarned!

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://dev-i-ant.bandcamp.com/album/progression-of-the-wolf-2

Interstellar Space – All Hallows’ Eve Extravaganza

It’s time for everyone’s favorite celebration day, Halloween! Although believed to be rooted in Medieval Christian beliefs, Halloween – Also known as All Hallows’ Eve – is the beginning (or vigil) of Allhallowstide, which is followed by All Hallows’ Day on November 1st and All Souls’ Day on November 2nd. This celebration was once used to honor Saints of the Church, both known and unknown. However, in modern times, Halloween has been heavily influenced by Gaelic folklore and traditions with Pagan roots to hold it together. This has ultimately lead to guising, trick o’ treating, haunted houses, movies that pay homage and more importantly, music that is influenced by the aforementioned festivities. No matter the genre, there are a slew of artists that use this heavily celebrated day to create haunted-infused dirges. For this article, I have conjured ten artists that have summoned ghoulish vibes to create excellent albums that are perfect for this morbid season.

Let the festivities begin…

1. Erythrite Throne – Vampyric Fables

https://serpentsswordrecords.bandcamp.com/album/vampyric-fables

What better way to start Allhallowtide than with a festive dose of Erythrite Throne. Here with an annual creation of dark enchantments, ‘Vampyric Fables’ presents six tracks of ominous dungeon synth that showcases all aspects of the Erythrite Throne sound. From the mournful melodies of “The Cruelty Of Immortality” to the blackened intonation, “A Great Castle Just Beyond The Forest”, these tracks epitomize the Erythrite Throne standard and set a precedent for dark dungeon music. “Somber Incantations From The Blood Soaked Scrolls” is a eerie concoction of haunting synths, scathing sound effects and a cadence that conjures the dead for a sinister manifestation. ‘Vampyric Fables’ is another spectacular release and makes for a perfect listen during All Hallows’ Eve!

2. Sanctum Umbra – Through The Last Known Veil

https://sanctumumbra.bandcamp.com/releases

Robes Of Snow creator shifts focus on new project, Sanctum Umbra, replacing the usual Post Black Metal mayhem with an ultra-focused dark ambient experience laced with retrospective effects and sonic disturbances. The albums title track, “Through The Last Known Veil” is the perfect example of harrowing drones that are fused with nostalgic keyboard chops and the cracks & hisses of tape loops. “Banished Empyrean” commences with infused modulations that find a melodic hum while soft keys are structured malevolently in the background. These five tracks create a stellar ambience that is most fitting for the night of the dead. This Halloween, light a green candles and embrace the power of this stunning release.



3. Lamp & Dagger – This Tape Is Haunted

https://lampanddagger.bandcamp.com/album/this-tape-is-haunted

Lamp & Dagger has put together one of the most unique collaboration efforts that I’ve experienced. Tailored specifically for the Halloween season, these artists have assimilated to present a ghoulishly haunting encounter that is sure to frighten the faint of heart. These eight grisly tracks portray scenes of darkness and death with macabre ambience and synth effects that will send chills down your spine. Over an hour of terrorizing, sonic adventures, this recording will make for a perfect soundtrack while handing out treats to the ghouls in disguise – if they dare come close enough to ring the door bell. Production wise, this is an extremely well put together effort with every track seamlessly flowing into the next. There is also a ton of morbid detail in each track to ensure that this spooky album will provide an ultimate dark adventure for all of your lurid needs. Don’t pass up on this masterclass in horror sounds!



4. Pvmkyn Mage – Fvn Sixe Bits

https://highmage.bandcamp.com/album/fvn-size-bits

Pvkmyn Mage brings the Dungeon Noise in this terrifying blast of eerie soundscapes that are meant as an all-out audial assault. At only nineteen minutes of playing time, these five tracks present a barrage of lo-fi modulations that are equally creepy as they are alluring. There are enough bits of charred sound effects to keep one in suspense as these tracks will easily grown on the listener with intense pleasure. There are plenty of frequency fabrications and reverb to set this album sonically apart from others of its kind. In addition, playing this in the dark at increased volumes are sure to give the Trick ‘O Treaters a bout of hesitation before approaching the abyssal door of doom (and candy). Highly recommended if creepy intensity is your thing.

5. Andeddomeiji – Biohazard 2

https://highmage.bandcamp.com/album/biohazard-2

This Biohazard-themed treat is perfect for the Halloween season and offers a different flare than some of the other recordings in this article. Adding a touch of comfy synth as well as 8-bit effects, ‘Biohazard 2’ generates quite a buzz when it comes to the grim interpretations of All Hallows’ Eve. Providing a soothing and structured soundscape across eight tracks, there are subtle hints of malevolence and dark creativity while maintaining an ethereal stance throughout. Several tracks contain the harsh vibes of Dungeon Noise, while others are saturated in serene benevolence. This is a very unique album but at the same time, intriguing enough even for the moderate listener.



6. Born From Pain – Night Of The Living Dead

https://bornfrompainbm.bandcamp.com/album/night-of-the-living-dead-rescore

‘Night Of The Living Dead’ is a reinterpretation of the film score for one of the movies that started it all. Born From Pain provides a solid translation of the zombie-infested film with droning guitars, subtle keys and luminous improvisations, thus yielding an alternate audial perspective. Listening to these tracks individually may not offer the clarity needed for visualizing a common theme, however a complete listen through – while imagining the original film of the same name – will offer a grim aesthetic for this nightmarish excursion. A bold mix of Dungeon Synth, Ambient and various guitar tones, this album portrays a stark foundation for a lo-fi, bleak experience.



7. Marishiten – Scott Creek Communion EP

https://hiakukumizu.bandcamp.com/album/marishiten-scott-creek-communion-ep

‘Scott Creek Communion’ is a minimalistic drone ordeal that falls somewhere between industrialized madness and harsh noise exploitations. Deafening modulations provide a haunting, atmospheric setting that is sinister enough to frighten the souls of those that dare to listen while producing a menacing backdrop for evil incantations. Although only three tracks with a seventeen minute playing time, the angst one will feel while listening is enough to engage the dreadful displeasures of the emotional state of mind. The chilling sound effects fused with the endless reverberations are quite unsettling but is the perfect soundtrack for the season of the dead and haunted spirits – especially if trapped in a haunted building or remote location. Listen at your own risk!



8. Vaeyen – Liminality

https://vaeyen88.bandcamp.com/album/liminality

‘Liminality’ is an obscure little recording that uses a plethora of soundscapes and samples to maximize the depth of dread that is imposed on the psyche. The conglomerate of effects are systematically fused to create a suspenseful state, allowing the listener to harvest whatever self condition is vulnerable. Although there are thirteen individual tracks, this twenty six minute minute outing is meant to be listened to in a continuous state. As your mind drifts off from the opening sounds of elevator music, you will quickly be subjected to a sinister realm of maniacal proportions. The more I listen, the more I can identify with the terrifying sounds that are appropriated from every day life. This is the perfect recording to meet all of your spooky endeavors.

9. Moonrise Of Dead Masses – 10/31/1978

https://deadmasses.bandcamp.com/album/10-31-1978

This album is a chilling homage to one of the greatest horror movie franchises of all-time, Halloween. How more appropriate than to release this tribute than during the season of All Saints’ Eve. This album has it all, spine-tingling keyboard chops, retro soundscapes, drum pad beats from the 70’s & 80’s, as well as haunting atmospherics that will thrust the listener back to the greatest time period of horror cinema. The layers of keyboard madness create a culture of sonic malevolence that is completely addictive to listen to and frightening enough to to make you want to sleep with a nightlight on. This is another excellent album to get you in the mood for Allhallowtide and should be played at loud volumes to cause apprehension in the kiddies that want to solicit for a tasty treat!



10. Wrought Records Presents – Reliquary Of Terror Vol. 2

https://wroughtrecords.bandcamp.com/album/reliquary-of-terror-vol-2

Leave it up to Wrought Records to come through with the goods – especially for the Halloween season. ‘Reliquary Of Terror Vol. 2’ is a superb compilation of spooky intonations, compliments of some of the most distinguished artist in the Dungeon Synth genre. Featuring over an hours worth of frightening endeavors, this anthology of awe makes for a perfect companion while celebrating the dark festivities. Featuring menacing soundscapes, seasonal field recordings, and a deluge of synths and effects, each artist brings their own special “It Factor” to these recordings, showing their unique individuality, while jamming in unity in the spirit of long forgotten Saints! Finally, that album cover is nothing short of amazing and sets a bleak but festive mood for the audial invasion that will soon occur.


Dolum Vel Tractare!!!

Special Thanks To Droned Artworks!!

Huge shoutout to Droned Artworks for being so kind to let me use some of their artwork for this article. Waclaw Traier does an amazing job at creating some of the most obscure and unique paintings around. Even the artwork for my site was commissioned by him and it sets the perfect tone for what I’m trying to convey in my publishing’s. His artwork has also been commissioned by numerous bands and artists across multiple genres to create some of the most unmistakable album covers ever. Please find his amazing artwork at the site below:

http://www.droned.eu

If you’re into ominous, single player card games, look no further than Warclaw Games. Still an up-and-coming game developer, there are already several fascinating games available for digital release. Check out the website for more details:

https://www.warclawgames.com

Metempsychosis Physical Release:

https://www.thegamecrafter.com/games/metempsychosis:-abyss-of-horrors


The Opinionated Optimist Podcast Halloween Reviews!!

Episode 49 The Movie Malignant Is Quite Benign

https://pod.fo/e/e8293

Episode 50 – Halloween Horror Nights 30: The Good, The Bad, The Plexiglass

https://pod.fo/e/eb416

Episode 51 – Howl-O-Scream Orlando

https://pod.fo/e/edfd0


Additional cemetery photos courtesy of Carlton Whittle Photography. Please follow him on IG:

https://instagram.com/a_window_with_a_view?utm_medium=copy_link

Until next Halloween…

Industrial-Strength Modulations Construct Quite A Commotion on ‘Heterodox’ by Josh Sager

When it comes to Dark Ambient music, I’m always searching for a certain level of obscurity. After all, it’s supposed to be the bleakest form of ambient music so I’m looking to be drawn into a cold world of chaos and emptiness with a degree of emotional grit. There are many artists that surpass my expectations, leaving me with one simple question – How does this genre continue to fascinate me on such a high level? One such artists that I’ve recently been drawn to is Josh Sager. On his latest album, ‘Heterodox’, Josh pulls no punches when it comes to desolation tones and simultaneously excels at embedding poignant melodies that elicit moments of seclusion and bliss. These seven tracks provide a perfect storm of sentimental soundscapes, rhythmic drones and the ability to capture the listeners soul, albeit momentarily, and establish a length of remembrance for every single note that is played.

The albums lead off track, “The Plague Doctors” begins with the subtle sounds of distant turmoil. However, as the modulations grow louder, an eerie chaos can be detected and it draws the listener in like a trance-like frequency. Synthwave harmonies and looping keys lead creates a twisted sensation while a massive build up of sound effects and drones amass a sonic wall of discord. “A Dread Of Something Abnormal” immediately commences with a heavily distorted drone that is reminiscent of an industrial wasteland commotion. Sophisticated effects weave in and out of the elongated note, turning the empty space into and angst-filled void. Drum pads and muffled guitar tones blast their way in, producing a varied space that makes this soundtrack worthy material. “Lurkers” is definitely where the creep factor comes into play, pushing this album to extreme new heights. A thumping bass sound leads a slow cadence while a symphony of noise begins to construct around it. The creepiness slowly turns into a melancholic sensation, rendering an audial passage of despair. This is one of the most haunting ambient tracks that I’ve heard in a while and is seriously worthy of repeated listens. “Monsters Make Monsters” starts with a reverberated piano tone that has a grandiose sound and succeeds at clearing a particular headspace for a dreamy adventure. While the listener continues to be mesmerized by these simply played notes, an establishment of field recordings and synth effects slowly crescendo into a retrospective outlook. I can imagine listening to this track while driving down a long, narrow road during the break of dawn. There is a particular crispness in this sound that offers a serene clarity and the results are amazing. “Ghost Of Mortis” is the most alluring tracks on the album as the delicate melody that is played throughout is full of decadent vibrations and somber emotions. Even though this song is over six minutes long, it ends sooner than expected due to the layers of melody capturing the heart of the listener at multiple intervals. “Fugitive Glances Of Strange Landscapes” is a droning adventure that exhibits various levels of industrial conduct by the waning effects used for the effortless use of distorted modulations. It’s like being trapped in a post-apocalyptic city filled with complex buildings structures that are corroded beyond any livable means. The final track on the album is “Death Is Just The End”. This is another slow builder, but when everything comes into full focus, it’s a force of controlled chaos and magnificent refrain. This is another nostalgic effort that stands out and sounds even more menacing at loud volumes. This is one track that I wish wouldn’t end; it’s that incredible and addictive.

Josh Sager is a really impressive Dark Ambient artist. The way he incorporates melody and makes reference to the retro synthwave era of 80’s compositions is spectacular. This is an album that can easily be played through in one sitting without skipping any tracks and I’m quite sure it will stand the test of time. Do yourself a favor and check it out by listening (or downloading) from the link below.

Please Like/Follow my blog so that you’ll get first hand updates every time I post a review. Thanks for visiting the Dungeon!!

Links:

https://joshsager.bandcamp.com/album/heterodox

Grande Loge Evokes Tribal Beats And Ritualistic Atmospherics On Compelling ‘Mantras’ Release

Once again, I find myself arriving late to the party on a fantastic album that was released toward the end of 2020. With so much music being released in the genres that I’ve created this blog for, it sometimes feels impossible to stay dialed in to all of the magnificent works of art that find their way into this world. However, as I’ve always said, it’s better late than ever, especially if discovering something that may have a lasting impact. Grande Loge definitely fits that bill with their awe-inspiring, ritualistic ambient debut, ‘Mantras’. Featuring seven tracks of ceremonial dirges, these songs exemplify ancient tribal hymns with traditional instruments and a solid production.

From the start, “Epopteia” takes the lister back in time, to a medieval Scandinavian period where music and art were inspired by the land, ancients Gods and culture. A broad mix of conventional instruments and hymnal chants, this track sets a particular mood for mythological inspiration and ritualistic dominance. As the track continues, the pace increases and the compositional movements become more austere. “Mithra Invictus” commences with bold vocal incantations, followed by Middle Eastern-style melodies. A variety of percussive elements create a galloping style arrangement and the vocal performance become increasingly powerful. An impressive break toward the middle of the track brings more layers of stringed instruments and soon after, it picks back up to an enchanting performance of strident harmony and ancient throat singing. “Hekaten” continues with the powerful vocal performances in a chant-like manner, complete with serene musical accents, with the occasional bell ring. As the song ages, the vocals become more majestic and continue to stand out. This track is reminiscent of a group of Norse warriors participating in a ritualistic ceremony before forging on to battle. “Avekko” has a compelling and unique vocal performance, with layers of vocal chats & whispers, while drones of throat singing occupies the background elements. Harsh shrills of warrior-like cries peak at random intervals, while a beautiful violin lead stands out between all of the vocal endeavors. “Aecroto” begins with a simple percussive beat and then menacing overtone vocals begin to engage – chanting a traditional narration. A background drone increases with anxious intent while a wide range of voice melodies continue to shine. “Tenya Pon” is a fun little track that will have the listener tapping their feet in unison with the drum beats, while singing along with the simple vocal chants that are present throughout. It’s easy to tell that this is a celebratory track due to the upbeat percussive performance and the sing-along style vocals. The final track on the album is the ceremonial “Hierophantes”. Various traditional instruments synchronize to compose a minimalistic but glorifying final performance. Representing the darkness of nature and melancholy, this song is soundtrack worthy and succeeds in catapulting the listener back to a dark time where an ancient civilization lived off of the land and endured the hardships of Arctic-like elements and suffrage through battle. This is such an exalting way to end this amazing album.

‘Mantras’ is an exception album and such a bold statement for a debut. Grande Loge sustains a high caliber performance throughout this stunningly beautiful magnum opus and every track stands out in the most impressive of ways. Combining elements of traditional instruments, multiple singing styles and haunting background ambience, Grand Loge creates a challenging platform for ritualistic inspired music. Fans of Wardruna and Phurpa should dive into this album immediately and everyone else should take the time to check out this extremely special performance. Click on the link below to download this grandiose musical experience.

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://cycliclaw.bandcamp.com/album/mantras