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

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

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

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

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Links:

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

Infinexhuma Assembles Dismal Drones And Manic Soundscapes On ‘Unasan’ That Resonate Into Eternal Obliteration

The subtleties of darkness are all around and coagulate into many forms. As the adversaries of evil try to expose the inherent workings of malevolent entities, the bleak becomes gloomier and dreary, causing a longing for inner peace. This longing turns into a desolate energy in the form of ‘Unasan’, the near two hour master work from Infinexhuma that is saturated with ritualistic drones, resounding dark ambience and industrial-strength soundscapes. Comprising of some of the most well thought out arrangement I’ve ever heard on a dark ambient recording, these tracks have a trance-like quality that will captivate you from beginning to end. Also, for the most part, it is a very minimalistic recording, but the nuances that are mixed in is what makes this stand out amongst its peers.

The aptly titled album opener, “The Warning”, starts with spoken word intro, as if the devil himself is conveying a cautionary message. The sizzles of a crackling fire and forceful winds in the background set a scene of spiteful terror. “Asahskar” has a very deep and cold drone that is oddly soothing, while the sounds that resemble the random strums of a distorted guitar provide a chilling ensemble of dreariness. The fourteen minute long “Suffocation” is a horrific sounding drone with terrifying audio and voice samples that will make your skin crawl. As the deep tones smother your intrinsic senses, mind-altering harmonies can be heard, creating a layer of beautiful eeriness. “Feel Their Eyes” is like waking up in the middle of nowhere, as this industrial ambient nightmare grows louder and stronger, reeking havoc on the state of mind. “Fighting Back” features some beautiful keyboard sounds, wind chimes and various other field recordings to go with the very relaxing ambient texture that flows ever so smoothly in the background. “Dreaming In Nightmares” continues the winning combination of sparse, yet eclectic vocal patterns, futuristic soundscapes and field recording. If this is the sound of true nightmares, then you better fight to stay awake. “Freedom Window” is a nice change of pace as it begins with an alluring piano arrangement before fading into a minimalistic drone. The detail in this track is immaculate and it’s one of the most creative efforts on the album. “Past Taker Oni” begins with a wall of static-like sound followed by a horrifying narration, as if evil has spoken yet again. Although barely audible, you can tell that the message being conveyed is meant to terrorize it’s listeners. “The’u Rang Pit (feat. Neraterræ)” contains inhuman sounds and deep grumbling as if the lifeless bodies of purgatory are being processed for an afterlife of eternal damnation. The soundscapes are so heinous sounding, listening to this at night through headphones are bound to give you nightmares. The clean piano arrangement at the end of this track is incredible and fits perfectly with this song. It’s almost meditative in nature and I don’t want it to end. “Violent Tara” begins with the creepy sounds of Tibetan bells played randomly. Spoken word augments the usual drone space in this bizarre track, as other demonic vocalizations can be heard a well. Is this song doesn’t mess with your mind, then I don’t know what will. “Peace Beyond Death” is another fantastic drone that proves that it’s always possible to do more with less. Through minimal droning, the exquisitely places soundscapes create such a monstrous atmosphere on this track, that I consider it one of my favorites on the album. “The Edge Of Resistance” is another track that pushes the fourteen minute mark. Starting with what sounds to be digital water drops, it soon turns to a frigid drone with malevolent textures and soundscapes. The final track on the album is “Goodbye Host”. Starting with church organs and a spoken word narration in the form of a prayer, it morphs into a very unique drone/rock song, with a nice drum beat and bass line, as if it were being used as an “ending credits” song for a movie. Even those this track is different from the rest of the album, dynamically it fits right in and I think it is the perfect ending to the masterful album.

It’s no wonder why Neraterræ chose Infinexhuma for a guest spot on his 2019 album, ‘The Substance Of Perception’. With his keen sense for detail, audial imaging and dynamic approach to these types of arrangements, Infinexhuma is a champion of the dark ambient genre. ‘Unasan’ is just an example of exactly how good he is at crafting dark ambient and drone music while keeping it interesting and challenging to the listener. From calm piano arrangements to harsh industrial ambient sounds, ‘Unasan’ has it all and you won’t be disappointed in this near two hour long recording. Please support Infinexhuma and download this excellent album from the link below.

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Links:

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

R0[nought] Transmit Caustic Drone Sequences On Dismal Dark Ambient Album, ‘Pestis’

Take a moment to imagine an abandoned, industrialized city in a not so distant future, where a heavy leakage of pollutants has caused chaos amongst its civilization. As toxicity fills the air, anarchy quickly turns into desertion as the physical elements of the city start to deteriorate. However, this desolate environment does have life after all, as the seemingly rapid infestation of diseased rodents and bugs manifest at the heart of the contamination and feed on the remains of whatever is left from the catastrophic occurrence. This is a new dark world and with no hope of a possible human return. With that, I present to you ‘Pestis’ by R0[nought], a turbulent, dark ambient adventure that portrays this vivid narrative with its morose drones and potent soundscapes. These six ghoulish tracks provide the textures of endless nightmares through the essence of addictive, yet bleak noises that grip you like a straight jacket.

Blighted album opener, “Xenopsylla Cheopis” accelerates with volume like an early warning alarm, alerting everyone that imminent danger is on the horizon. The bleak soundscapes create an audial distress vessel as the anxiety-filled drones never let up from start to finish. “Miseria” should be called horror ambient, as the dismal sounds in this track, are downright disturbing at times. Brief synth pads add a cinematic quality, but it doesn’t take away from the near ten minutes of terror that this composition provides. The claustrophobic drone sounds on “The Forsaken Dead I” will provide a feeling of consternation as you continue you battle with anxious thoughts while listening to this recording. You’ll find yourself drifting off to a dark place, hoping that you’ll be able to return once the song is over. “The Forsaken Dead II” continues the same unrelenting experience as the previous track, however, elements of industrial ambient are thrown in to increase the mental suffering. “A Blackening Of The Flesh” has components of space ambient but various malevolent sounds create an unpleasant sense of doom, like a flesh-eating virus manifesting its way throughout the spacecraft to claim the lives of all onboard. The albums final arrangement, “Carrion IV” is eleven and a half minutes of maelstrom induced ambient that shifts through dark colors and gray’s, setting an apocalyptic tone for the cold, dark ending. As the song slowly winds down, it fades into a deep, black drone that represents total annihilation.

R0[nought] has gone above and beyond in conceiving a terrifying dark ambient album that empowers the listener to open their imagination (and fears) to conceive a story that conceptualizes the music. Although there are many forms of dark ambient, ‘Pestis’ is extremely bleak and frightful and is slightly more dismal than your typical ambient recording. Additionally, I appreciate how elements of other types of musical disciplines are added, showing a keen versatility of the artist. This is one album you don’t want to pass on so please support this brilliant artist by downloading the album from the link below, or by purchasing the cassette release.

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Links:

https://r0nought.bandcamp.com/album/pestis-2

https://mystictimbre.bandcamp.com/merch?filter_band=2406501586

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

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

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

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

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Links:

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

Towering Guitar Riffs Prevail As Poppet Engage In Eccentric Intonations On ‘Ascending The Stairs Towards My Nightmares Supreme’

In 2001, one of the most brilliant films of our times was released. The film, “A Knights Tale”, was a black-comedy set in medieval times but had modern age references, as well as classic rock soundtrack. I know that it sounds strange, but somehow the styles just meshed together perfectly and the results were simply incandescent. Almost twenty years later, I’ve come across an album that has that same vibrant connection. The album, ‘Ascending The Stairs Toward My Nightmares Supreme’ by Poppet, is a fantasy-styled dungeon synth album with bellowing, harsh guitar tones that take center stage the majority of the time. Imagine if Sunn O))) were to add bits of dungeon synth keyboard to their droning tracks, and you’ll get a better understanding of the vibe that Poppet displays on this outing.

The album opener, “I Escape From The Forest”, begins with a soothing keyboard arrangement that sounds as if it could be taken from a Harry Potter soundtrack. However, within the first minute, loud and blaring guitar droning pierces the track and provides the first sounds of the unique texture of this album – and Poppet in general. Although the distorted guitar riffs drown out the keyboards in some sections, wondrous fantasy dungeon synth melodies continue to creep along throughout the track, making its ominous presence felt. The next track, “Finding Solace In A Temple, I Am Surrounded By Stairs And Artefacts To Forbidden Gods” finds a happy fantasy synth intro before bludgeoning, sludgy doom riffs infiltrate the scene. As the guitar riffs drone on at a slow pace, the keyboards tell a compelling story of curiosity of well being in a sacred place, where you find yourself enclosed by objects of dark desires. Unable to escape the present situation, the music seems to provide an alternate reality. The third track, “I Climb The Temple Stairs, Frightened By The Sights I Shall See”, continues down the same path as it’s predecessors and instills a certain darkness while the guitars and keyboards alternate in providing a chaotic scene. Although it seems a bit tumultuous in spots, this song has quite a bit of melody and synchronizes well even when it seems like it doesn’t. The final track, “Oh! What I Beheld!” Is a short track consisting of a layered & discordant keyboard arrangements and is a nice closing statement for the album as it’s grandiose vibe winds down the tone and complexity of everything that has happened previously.

Poppet is a very unique artist that contributes an incomparable approach to dungeon synth. I always like when artist try something different and hone their craft in an unconventional way. Poppet epitomizes that approach and excels in doing so. If you’re into dungeon synth with no limitations, I highly recommend checking out Poppet and the latest album, ‘Ascending The Stairs Towards My Nightmares Supreme.

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Links:

https://poppetblackmetal.bandcamp.com/album/ascending-the-stairs-towards-my-nightmares-supreme

Sumatran Black Takes Us On A Doomed, Deep Space Quest With ‘Elegy For A Lost Cosmonaut’ EP

It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed a great space ambient recording so saying that Sumatran Black’s latest EP, ‘Elegy For A Lost Cosmonaut’ is out of this world (no pun intended) is a huge understatement. Consisting of three cosmic tales that takes us on an ill-fated mission through the voids of deep space, this is one trip that is filled with atmospheric drones, planetary keys & synths, and an unavoidable race through the universe that warrants no return. The grim album cover resembles an old Soviet Union astronaut that may be in a distressed situation, in which the music from this EP provides the perfect soundtrack to his grisly fate.

The opening track, “The Mission”, is a soft, textured drone that really tells a compelling story of the cosmonaut that is bound for the outer realm of the universe, but unbeknownst to him, will never reach his destiny. As various keys and pads sway in and out of the mix, subtle details of random noises can be heard as if some sort of mechanical failure has weakened his spacecraft, causing him to abort his mission. Unfortunately, it’s too late as his spacecraft is mechanically unstable and unable to return to Earth. Toward the end of the track, the bleak tones of the synths and pads become less stable and present an agonizing sound, signaling that the end of the cosmonaut may be near. “Is This Heaven” is the shortest track of the three but wastes no time in offering a multitude of discordant vibes that fade in and out like a broken spacecraft passing through nebulas – and various other space anomalies – at a breakneck pace, even though everything appears to be in slow motion for the cosmonaut that is still in shock from the events that have unfolded before him. “Elegy For A Lost Cosmonaut” is the final song on this EP and it represents the cosmonauts acceptance of being eternally vanished from Earth. These long, drawn out spacey drones are unique in that the tones suddenly elevate and then dissolves out every so often. This must be the cosmonaut getting down to the final levels of oxygen as he fades in and out of consciousness. In the end, deep space wins and the cosmonaut takes his last breath as the song abates out for good.

Even though this is a relatively short EP with just three tracks, Sumatran Black have created a very unique experience that is memorable, unique, and with a great theme. As I sit back, close my eyes, and listen to this album, I envision the events unfolding just as I have described them above. That’s the power and beauty of dark ambient music – to tell a story without words and vocals and allow the listener to imagine the scenario taking place. Please support this exceptional artist and download this spectacular cosmic adventure from the link below.

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Links:

https://sumatranblack.bandcamp.com/album/elegy-for-a-lost-cosmonaut-e-p

The Last Weapon Compose Tranquil Dirges on ‘Seasons’, That Can Be Therapeutic For Lost Souls

Music is one of the most curative forms of medicines we have that is always readily available. Although it may not have any internal healing power, the mental relief that it gives us, helps us maintain a stable composure through the highs and lows while also giving us a coping mechanism for other obstacles that tend to get in our way. No matter what genre you’re into, there is always an artist, an album, or a song, that takes you out of the ordinary and into the realm of the extraordinary. Dungeon Synth is one of the most powerful genres that provides that type of outlet as it opens up the imagination to limitless possibilities. The Last Weapon have recently released their debut Dungeon Synth album called ‘Seasons’ and it is the perfect album for those that have had a time or two with dealing with depression or a negative impact in their life. Although blooming with impactful Dungeon Synth sounds, the overall aesthetics of the album is harmonious but with minimal synth lines, creating quite an impactful recording.

The opening track, “Desert: Ascension”, starts just like the daily occurrence of a morning sunrise. As darkness slowly descends into light, the dawn of a new presence fills the air and breathes new life in all living things as if starting anew all over again. This is exactly what I imagine as the slow, droning keyboards build into something out of nothing, creating a melancholic atmosphere that will put the spirit at ease. Every so often, a simple drum pattern makes its way into the mix, as the tune continues to embark on an endless journey. “Path: Open Eyes” establishes a simple Dungeon Synth rhythm then minimalist keyboards sludge forth in various sounds, while maintaining a beautiful melody. This track speaks volumes of a time when life was simple and there were no concerns of an expeditious world getting in the way. “Forest: Journey Of Restoration” has a quaint into that is reminiscent of 80’s synth wave, but that dissolves into a winter synth tune that is both somber and emotional. The lackadaisical vibe of this track is perfect for providing a sense of recollection on ones life and a possible sense of direction with moving forward in a positive light. “Endless Night” is probably the grimmest sounding tracks on the album and is like being left alone, deep in a desolate dungeon without knowing what’s going to happen. As the dark and layered keyboards drone on, the empty space is augmented by the addition of a drum sequence that provides sense of enthrallment. The final track on the album, “Deep Though” starts with an eerie keyboard sound effect, as if you are in a mesmerizing nightmare without a means to awaken. Although a chaotic scene is happening around you, everything is happening in slow motion as you try to adapt to this harrowing environment. The effect soon fades into a crescendoing keyboard ambience that is quite gloomy. After a while, the sound slowly descends into silence, ending the album.

The Last Weapon have debuted a very impressive Dungeon Synth album with ‘Seasons’. Although not your typical DS style album, which normally diving into medieval and mythical times, it caters more to those that have dealt with traumatic times in their lives. That’s the great thing about this (mostly) lyric less genre; we can create our own atmosphere based on what is generated by the music, and The Last Weapon has excelled in delivering music that will communicate with the mind. That being said, please show your support for this exceptional artist and download ‘Seasons’ from the link below.

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Links:

https://tlwmetal.bandcamp.com/album/seasons