There Is No Escaping The Psychotic, Creative Prowess Of Inhum Awz On Stalwart EP, ‘Asylum’

The word Asylum is such a disheartening word. We mostly associate it with the institutionalization of mentally ill patients and the alleged horrors of corruption that come along with it. There have been many stories written, movies released, and documentaries produced that depict the sub-human conditions and atrocities of some of the asylums of the past. However, there is nothing like a good dark ambient album to put you in the right mood, that will provoke a certain relevance to the barbaric surroundings behind the confines of these enigmatic institutions. Inhum Awz has just the soundtrack for properly describing these nightmarish acts with the aptly titled, ‘Asylum’ EP. at nearly thirty minutes long, these four tracks waste no time portraying a concise narrative ranging from immediate consternation to extreme chaos.

The album opener, “Binah” starts with a very creepy vibe and some eerie soundscapes, as if someone is wondering aimlessly down a long, dark corridor of the asylum, looking for patients after a known breakout and escape has occurred. Not knowing what to expect, the wanderer, moves slowly and checks every room although the darkness keeps the details at a minimum. The music’s trance-like effects provides a sense of dread and enables the listener to submit themselves to the inner walls of the asylum as well. Various sounds and noises randomly creep from speaker to speaker, ear to ear, and succeed in putting the listener on edge as what’s next to come. The following track, “Spirale” begins with the thump of a low-end frequency tone followed by a random keyboard run and this repeats several times in a looping pattern. A deep ambient tone and additional soundscapes come into play as if the wanderer now finds themself in a sense of urgency. As they turn the corner down the next corridor, the dim light is replaced with red lights throughout the length of the hallway as well as the rooms. As the wanderer approaches the first room, he notices that it’s completely empty. Then he approaches the second room and it is empty as well, and so is the next, and also the next. This corridor has no patients. They are all gone. The disturbing tone in the music provides an emotional sensation for the listener to contemplate the next move for continued exploration or departing the asylum. Next up is the spectral sounding, “Séphira”. The higher frequency sounds of the synthesizers give this track a very supernatural feel to it, as if the asylum’s only current inhabitants are those of a metaphysical nature. Although there isn’t a lot of droning going on, there certainly is enough abstract keyboard tones to keep up with the creepy vibes of the rest of the album. The final song on this extended play is the minimalistic, “Trinité”. Their track builds like a finale of a TV show or a movie and the constant pounding of the drum is unnerving enough to make anyone want to make an emergency exit out of the asylum and find their way to safety. A subtle growl can also be heard in the background every so often, representing something otherworldly that may stand between sanity and reality. As the song comes to the end, it can be concluded that the ‘Asylum’ is just part of a vicious mental cycle that never ends and there is no escaping for anyone.

Inhum Awz has created a soundtrack full of relevance that properly represents the awful stereotypes of being committed to an asylum. With eerie soundscapes and calamitous keyboard and synth sounds, ‘Asylum’ is thirty minutes of non-stop, angst-filled dark ambience that not only brings the misery, but defines it as well. Italy’s Lake Label has signed another great artist in Inhum Awz and ‘Asylum’ is one of their best releases of the year. Show your support for Lake Label and Inhum Awz by downloading ‘Asylum’ from the link below.

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Top 10 Dark Ambient Releases Of 2019

I’ve been a huge fan of dark ambient for quite some time now but this is the first time that I’ve had to put together a Top 10 list of my favorite albums of the year. If the truth were to be told, this could have easily been a Top 50 list as there were so many exceptional releases this year. Instead, I want to give props to the following 10 amazing albums that have impacted me in multiple ways. Although there were many more astonishing dark ambient albums that were released in 2019, these are the ones that (in my opinion) have set the standard for modern dark ambient.

10. God Body Disconnect – The Mist Between The Mirrors

What a way to start this top 10 list. Right from the opening field recordings and narrative remarks, I knew instantly this was going to be one of my go-to dark ambient albums! Themed around emotional subjects such as disappointment & isolation, this recording is as therapeutic as it is relaxing.

9. Xerxes The Dark – Tower Of Silence

Xerxes The Dark is in my top 5 favorite dark ambient recording artists of all time, but XTD didn’t make my list based on a biased decision. ‘Tower Of Silence’ is simply XTD’s best release to date and one of my most listened to albums this year. Every track is haunting and addictive and will give you the feeling of being trapped in a post-apocalyptic industrial wasteland.

8. Melanohelios – VII: Warmth Within Endless Emptiness

When it comes to space ambient, Melanohelios is one of the best in the business. On ‘VII: Warmth Within Endless Emptiness’, the drones are longer, chilling, and gives the sensation of relentless confinement on a doomed space mission. Seventy two minutes of vacuum filled incarceration will leave your senses void of all intelligible emotions.

7. Ruptured World – Archeoplanetary

I’m such a huge Ruptured World fan and the second album of the Planetary series, ‘Archeoplanetary’ is as good as they come. Whereas most Dark ambient recordings leave room for the listener to provide an imaginative scenario to match the music, Ruptured World prepare a captivating narration throughout the whole recording.

6. øjeRum – Without Blood The Sun Darkens

‘Without Blood The Sun Darkens’ is one of the most haunting and mesmerizing dark ambient albums I’ve ever heard. Consisting of a single, fifty nine minute track of repetitive and impassioned synths and pads, this song is about reflection and memory. This is still one of my favorite meditative albums to listen to.

5. Winterblood – Finsternis

‘Finsternis’ is a very enthralling and hypnotic work of art that will leave you in a trance-like state throughout the hour long recording. Winterblood is like a dark ambient accomplice to the black metal band Paysage D’hiver, as I receive the same type of ardent pleasure from both artists. This album is a MUST HAVE for any true fan of dark ambient.

4. Neraterræ – The Substance Of Perception

Alessio Antoni has summoned an all-star line up for his debut project Neraterræ and the result is the impeccable recording, ‘The Substance Of Perception’. Each track is sonically different, yet they are produced as a seamless dark entity that is fathoms above most others. I cannot wait to hear more from this amazing project!

3. Ager Sonus – Mithra

‘Mithra’ is probably the most musically diverse album in my top 10. Taking us back to Ancient Rome, Ager Sonus uses subtle stringed instruments and grandiose drones to create a vision of enchantment and fascination. I still listen to this album on a weekly basis and although it was released in March, it continues to grab my attention with each and every listen.

2. Monocube – Substratum

Monocube has to be the dark ambient sleeper artist of the year. With almost no attention drawn to this album prior to its release, I downloaded it solely based on the reputation of the Cyclic Law label lineup. One of the best decisions I made all year, as ‘Substratum’ is a mammoth of an album. The hollow – but frightening – drones will make you feel claustrophobic and uneasy and will leave you with a sense of uncontrollable anxiety. Although very minimal and austere, I tend to find new ambitious elements every time I listen to it.

1. Metatron Omega – Evangelikon

Metatron Omega is another one of my favorite dark ambient artists and anytime there is a new release available, it’s an instant purchase from me. ‘Evangelikon’ is a mastercraft in ritualistic dark ambient music with beautiful Gregorian-style chanting and unnerving drones. I listen to this album continually and it’s without a doubt my favorite dark ambient album of the year.

Minimalist Dreamy Drones Produce Maximum Effect On ‘Virtual Goddess’ Transmission By Seffi Starshine

Vaporwave specialist Seffi Starshine has built a short, yet elaborate career on music’s more obscure and experimental components. The naiad and co-founder of Girly Girl Musik & Fireflower Vapor has released numerous solo and collaborative efforts ranging from drone, dark ambient, vaporwave, naturewave, electronica and other forms of esoteric music that you may have never heard before. However, on ‘Virtual Goddess”, Seffi Starshine successfully launches into the atmospheric pressures of space ambient and the result is a chilling, atmospheric album packed with nominal, galactic drones that will take you on a bleak, orbital adventure. At just under fifty minutes, these five basal transferences may just put you in a state of deep space hibernation until you’re ready to submit to the goddess herself.

The albums anterior transmission, “Office Drone Blaster” gently evolves from out of thin air and induces shapeshifting sound effects as droning pads seer through the cosmos like a spacecraft exiting our solar system for out worldly adventures. The sound is extremely fluid yet gradual in the way it approaches in and out of climactic tones. “CGA Sunrise” immediately takes flight in a monotone sound as if a spacecraft traveling at warp speed has just passed Max-Q, where the air has become lighter and communication conveyance to mission control has ended abruptly. “Virtual Goddess F.A.E.” has a more gloomy sound and the hollow radiance of synthesizers produce a dismal resolve to depict an eerie point of no return for a doomed spacecraft that has lost its navigational way. “DOS By Dusk” fades in and out of higher frequencies beautifully as if properly maneuvering through a celestial waste field. The layered synths create a very subtle atmospheric presence and this proves to be a very diverse track. The final track on the album, “Sleepytime For CGA Sprites” is an eighteen and a half minute journey through time and space in which there is no control over any matter or being, past or present and the power of the layered drones represent the feeling of hope and relaxation. The lush tones weave in and out of emotional state of consciousness and never break the continuous pattern of evolvement.

Whether intentional or not, Seffi Starshine has crafted a fascinating space ambient album. With minimalist, dreamy drones and expertly crafted sonic arrangements, ‘Virtual Goddess’ borders between ambient and dark ambient, as there are multiple moments of eeriness that can easily thwart this recording in either of those directions. This is one of those recordings in which you can sit back, don your favorite earphones, close your eyes and loose yourself in a world where space – and the vacuum-like void it creates – overtakes your conscious. Support this brilliant and versatile artist by downloading ‘Virtual Goddess’ from the link below. Additionally, check out her other projects via Fire Flower Vapor & Girly Girl Music at the links below.

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Neraterræ Summons An All-Star Cast Of Artist For Blistering Debut Album, ‘The Substance Of Perception’

This year has been an amazing year for the dark ambient community. Not only have we heard incredible releases by both independent and well known artists, but there has been an overwhelming dynamic of collaboration releases as well. Some of my favorite collaboration albums thus far have been the terrifying, polar ambient release by Ugasanie & Dronny Darko called ‘Arctic Gate’, the futuristic sonic assault by Dronny Darko & RNGMNN called ‘Sector Hydra’, the dark chamber sounds of Atrium Carceri & Cities Last Broadcast on ‘Black Stage Of Night’ and the claustrophobic droning sounds of ‘Symphony Of Dying’ by SÁDON & Treha Sektori. However, when an artist releases an album and assembles a renowned & talented group of dark ambient artists to collaborate on each track, it’s sure to garner some immediate attention. That’s exactly what Italian dark ambient artist Alessio Antoni has done with his project, Neraterræ. On his debut album, ‘The Substance Of Perception’, artists such as Xerxes The Dark, Ugasanie, Flowers For Bodysnatchers, and Alexey Tegin from Phurpa (just to name a few), lend their talents to take this recording to extreme heights and fill all the voids that are left open in the confined drones of each track. This results in not only a prodigious collaboration album, but one of the best dark ambient recordings of the year.

The albums spectacular lead off track, “Shadows Of Regret (feat. Northaunt)” begins with a soothing rain shower field recording layered with dreamy key arrangements. Spoken word narrations and deep droning soon takes over to alter the dynamics of the song while it consistently puts the listener in a hypnotic state. The sound level increases as each drone pad migrated to the next and then they wind down to an ending narration. “To Reveal The Unseen (feat. Alexey Tegin from Phurpa)” is one of my favorite songs on the album. There is something about combining dark ambient and meditative BON chanting that magnifies and intensified the listening experience for me. Although the droning elements are simple, yet effective on this track, it’s the terrifying chanting of Alexey Tegin that solidifies the evil sounds of this recording. I could seriously listen to a whole album of this! “Becoming The Nightmare (feat. New Risen Throne & Treha Sektori)” continues with some of the elements of the previous track but in a more dark industrial way. Instead of chanting, there are some malevolent whispering vocals that are spine chilling! The terrifying soundscapes are enough to put the listener in a state of madness, as if they are enclosed in an industrial wasteland with no way of escape. This is also the longest track on the album, so there is plenty of time to submerge into the realm of this massive recording. “The Wicked Pulse Of Conscience (feat. Taphephobia & Infinexhuma)” is a depressive dive into gloomy soundscapes and impulsive field recordings. As the pads drone on and take the listener to a deeper state of relaxation and abjection, melodious keys infiltrate the airwaves as if light is trying to pierce through the abundant cloud coverage. However, it is apparent by the end of the song that the clouds are impenetrable by any light sources or emotions that match them. “That Which Shall Not Be Witnessed (feat. Xerxes The Dark & Treha Sektori)” is my other favorite track on the album. The minimalist drones and bizarre pad arrangements combined with industrial-like soundscapes and more haunting whispering, gives a frightening sensation when digesting this one in a dark setting. These are all of the elements that make for a perfect dark ambient track and they are arranged immaculately. “Beyond (feat. Ugasanie)” is everything I expected it to be, especially since Ugasanie is providing his unique polar ambient input. Very minimalistic and creepy, just the way dark ambient was meant to sound. The final track on the album is “Echoing Scars (feat. Flowers For Bodysnatchers)”. What a stunning way to end such a dark and adventurous album. Although there are some disturbing droning sounds inhabiting the whole song, it’s the exhilarating acoustic piano work of Flowers For Bodysnatchers that makes this track gnaw at your senses. Although it’s gloomy and disturbing, it’s also beautiful and peaceful as well.

Alessio Antoni has created a near flawless dark ambient recording with his Neraterræ project. With the various collaboration efforts on each track, there is enough contrasting material to manipulate your senses in many directions, yet Alessio does an impressive job keeping everything composed in a way that it progresses without hesitation. From the production, musical arrangements, field recordings and soundscapes to the well represented album cover, ‘The Substance Of Perception’ has everything you need in a single dark ambient album. With this definitely being in my top five favorite dark ambient recordings of 2019, I highly recommend checking this album out right away. Please support Neraterræ by downloading the album at the link below.

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Mombi Yuleman Takes Us On A Supernatural Maritime Endeavor With ‘Mesozoia Oceana’

Oceanic themed ambient recordings hold a special place in my heart because I can personally relate to living a life at sea and being isolated from society, city lights, and technology for weeks and even months at a time. The quiet, droning atmospheres with the seaworthy field recordings and soundscapes provide a soothing sensation, even with the eerie, dreadful thoughts of the hazards many fathoms beneath. Some of my favorite aquatic ambient albums are Max Corbacho’s ‘The Ocean Inside (2012)’ and 2018’s collaboration between Ugasanie & Xerxes The Dark called ‘Abysmal’ – which I personally consider one of the greatest dark ambient recordings of all time. I’m excited to say that Mombi Yuleman’s ‘Mesozoia Oceana’ can join that group of superior amphibious ambient recordings. Musically, I would place ‘Mesozoia Oceana’ right in the middle of the aforementioned albums as the ambient textures are extremely calming, yet not quite as dark as ‘Abysmal’. However, that being said, this is a well written, well recorded album that is full of surprises and will sure to please all fans of dark ambient music.

The astonishing lead off track, “Basilosaurus Cetoides” commences with various soundscapes and a tribal drumbeat, as if a vessel is pulling out of the harbor and setting sail to navigate uncharted waters. The song quickly winds down to a ghostly, droning tone with aquatic samples, and soothing keyboard loops. “Hydrotherosaurus Alexandrae” is a spooky and minimalistic dirge that sounds icy cold, as if a wrong navigational turn has taken a group of mariners to a part of the ocean that is over ran by giant prehistoric entities that have their boat quietly surrounded. “Carcharodon Megalodon” contains consoling yet creepy low toned pads, complimented by a various bizarre field recordings, that would give a negative sensation to any sea-going vessel and it’s crew as they cautiously make their way to safety. “Kronosaurus Queenslandicus” begins with a freakish sound as if a previously unidentified deep sea monster is calmly navigating the waters of its territory. A low-frequency droning sound starts to play as we continue to hear peculiar noises in the background. Throughout this near twelve minute long track, we hear the sounds of this prehistoric creature swim back and fourth, as if it’s stalking its prey for a routine meal. The final track on the album is the very climactic “Shastasaurus Sikanniensis’. Featuring cinematic-like drum beats, melodic keyboard tones and more aquatic creature grunts, this tune summarizes the concept of the album and provides a final underwater meeting place (or resting places) for all of these prehistoric beings. Although the middle section of the track leans more toward a dark ambient atmosphere, the final minute or so picks back up with the tribal drum beats, as if offering a final climactic scene.

Mombi Yuleman’s ‘Mesozoia Oceana’ is a very impressive dark ambient album, worthy of multiple listens. These five tracks accomplish a lot dynamically, inside of forty seven minutes. The songs range from ambient to dark ambient and are filled with a lot of creepy and eccentric soundscapes and field recordings. Everything is put together so well, you’ll feel as if you’re in a deep-sea vessel, surrounded by prehistoric creatures with no means of escape. Please support this brilliant artist by downloading this amazing album at the link below.

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Homelessness, Addiction, Depression, & Abandoned Buildings Are Main Influences For Forgotten Bottom On Intelligent Debut, ‘Hostile Architecture’

Although the Ambient genre is rather minimalist in regards to sound, it’s actually breathtakingly large with regard to its scope of dynamics. From its very humble and atmospheric beginnings in the 1960’s, ambient has developed into a massive musical platform filled with soundscapes, natural and man-made field recordings to even include acoustic instrumentation. All of this combined provides thought-provoking visuals for the listener and sets off imaginative sparks like no other genre of music can do. Although a lot of modern day ambient recordings – especially dark ambient – take the listener to post apocalyptic and futuristic settings, they’re rare occasions when current events set the stage for providing the emotional outlet when conveying a message to the listener. That’s exactly what Forgotten Bottom has accomplished on their debut album called, ‘Hostile Architecture’. Instead of thrusting the listener in the the dangers of futuristic wastelands, they provide a compelling story of an equal horror – modern civilization in America. Whether it be the trials of addiction and recovery, the ailments of homelessness or the forgotten relics of abandoned buildings that once meant something to a past society, these are a few of the topics that take over the mind while listening to the recordings on this album. Although not a true and traditional ambient album, it clearly combines elements of the aforementioned genre with new-age music, chamber music, as well as acoustic dungeon music. It’s this combination that caught my attention and made me realize what an important album this is.

The lead off track, “Resurrected Dead On Planet Jupiter” begins with steady strums of the guitar and viola as if it’s the opening theme to a murder mystery movie. The production is clear and crisp but the vibe is that of an aged setting, creating a vintage atmosphere that portrays quieter times and empty voids. The layered guitar and viola duet creates a thunderous melody on this track as well as more peaceful and lush tones that flow well together. “Shoot Me Or Give Me A Place To Live” commences with a melee of sounds and tones before giving way to a neo-medieval riff. At around the halfway mark in the song, it begins to sound like a classic western-style acoustic arrangement. Eventually the guitar and viola break away in their own direction without creating a clash. There is so much energy in this track and it’s representation of the lower-class and shelterless are portrayed with extreme accuracy. “Touch Nothing Until The Signal” features some beautiful, ambient viola work, while the guitar provide an awesome solo arrangement. There are plenty of soundscapes and atmospherics going on here to fill the voids. Midway through the track, the viola riff takes center stage and gives a somber reminder of how hard it is to prosper during jagged times. However, as the music crescendo’s in the end, it shows that there is light at the end of the tunnel and although we may feel broken at times, we can all triumph in the end. Next up is “The Dog Has Been Poisoned So It Will Not Bark” originates with a mild rain soundscape and some soft guitar and viola tones to match. The melancholic vibe represents the silence of depression and the deep emotions of being lost. “Narcan Fairy” starts slow with a acoustic ambient sensation and then quicken turns into a festive medieval piece that would bring much cheer and celebration. The albums final track, “All Men, No Windows” is a slow building tune that seems to pay homage to those repressed, rural areas that life seemed to have abandoned in one sense or another. As the song seems to build and fade and build again – much like we do with our man-made high rise scenery, the final minute or so drones into the distance as if it’s being forgotten yet again.

Forgotten Bottom have created a superb vintage atmosphere without sounding worn or aged. Relying on multiple genres of acoustic-based music, the resilient sounds provide the ambience of real-world situations in which we can all relate. Whether you’re into ambient, new-age, or dungeon music, there is something on ‘Hostile Architecture’ that I’m sure you will find entertaining and worth multiple listens. Please support this exciting new act by downloading the album from the link below.

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Santolo Marotta Crosses Into The Somber Realm Of Obscurity With ‘The Bridge Of Dark Existence’

In life on earth, as we know it, bridges are used to actuate travelers from point A to to point B, by providing a means for them to traverse over an area that is intolerant to a normal commute. Wether it be a body of water, another – perpendicular – roadway, a valley between two high mountains, or another terrain of the path less traveled, bridges are the purgatory of destinations for which we rely on in our daily lives. However, in the spiritual life, a bridge can be the platform that connects Heaven & Hell, good & evil, and right & wrong. In Santolo Marotta’s exceptional new album, ‘The Bridge Of Dark Existence’, his message is that of a spiritual nature, in which the bridge connects the minds of the listener to a relatable darkness in a distinguished, yet eerie reality. With dense drones, moody soundscapes & pads, Santolo creates a calming vibe that is haunting, yet very appeasing to the restless nature of the conscious. The six songs contained on this recording flow into each other effortlessly as one sonic volume, while sounding equally entrancing as individual pieces.

“Kierkegaard” is a nostalgic yet mollifying minimalist thrum that solidifies the boundaries of both sides of the bridge as layers of droning pads creates an ominous and evil presence. No matter which side of the bridge the listener may find themselves on, a sense of apprehension takes over as imminent danger lurks ahead. “Atmosphere” has more of a cinematic feel as the keyboards perpetrate the sounds of stringed instruments, crescendoing and declining in sound and nature. It’s the perfect preface for “Atmosphere – Part II”, as the string sound gives way to a darker tone, while maintaining the same melody. This song represents the change in atmosphere, as listeners have committed to crossings the bridge into territories unknown, into a darkness that awaits their confrontation. “Ghost (Interlude)” is a short track that combines droning deep bass frequencies with a screechy soundscape to afford a sense of wonder, as the final steps across the bridge are probable. “Horror” is a definite stand-out track as it epitomizes a horrific danger that is fast approaching as a bizarre music sample is played over a hasty keyboard arrangement with occasional jazz-like improvised key patterns. The final song on the album, “Anaphase”, serves as the full spiritual crossover into the area of dark existence. Once the adventurer completes the trek across, the bridge disappears forever. Clocking in at over thirteen minutes long, this minimalistic piece encompasses several layers of deep and mid-level bass sounds that provide a vibrant and stimulating sound, continuously reverberating in the mind to create an atmosphere of empathy and enchanting nightmares.

‘The Bridge Of Dark Existence’ is a defining moment for Santolo Marotta, as he has successfully created a soundtrack of psychological terror and peaceful refrain. Depending on your reason for crossing a bridge – whether spiritual in nature or in the human world – a dark ambient medium is the perfect companion for providing the guidance needed for making the final leap of faith. ‘The Bridge Of Dark Existence’ is the perfect guide to assist in making that trip. The minimalist tones creating a calming and relaxing atmosphere to help open the mind, and allow for limitless exploration into dark worlds and uncharted territories. Please support this remarkable artist and download this stunning new album from one of the links below.

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