Interstellar Space – All Hallows’ Eve Extravaganza 2022

For some reason, trees seem to be synonymous with all things spooky and evil. Whether it’s a darkened forest in a horror movie, or the ruffling of leaves in an evening breeze that has us looking over our shoulders for something creepy, trees create a space of frightening imagination with limitless potential for purpose. For Halloween, trees portray a gruesome shadow in the night that causes goosebumps and chills when not expected. Remember the tree in the original Poltergeist film? They also create a blockade for hiding behind so that you can jump out and scare your friends while trick or treating. Whatever the case may be, trees serve more of a purpose than the ecology for their existence. Like trees, music provides the same escape by enticing an imaginative spark for which you can escape from reality. That’s exactly the case for these twelve chilling albums. They are the soundtrack for the season and so much more. Please enjoy these summary reviews and show your support for these artists by downloading their killer albums. Happy Halloween!! 🎃


1. Lamp & Dagger – This Tape Is Haunted Too!

Lamp & Dagger is back with their second spooktacular collaboration, featuring a handful of ominous artists that aim to frighten your very existence. From Sombre Arcane’s psychedelic massacre to a modicum of Dark Ambient soundscapes from The Night Keep that feature morbid field recordings and samples. FVRFVR offers a chip tune spectacle that is part crypt hop and part nostalgic cinema. Whispering Mirror offers a droning canticle full of gruesome modulations, while Halm conjures up some disgusting field recordings to create a gruesome scene of terror. The final track by Spectral Manse proposes a climactic ending with eerie narrations, malevolent haunts and lots of dark melody that penetrates deep in the psyche, proving that the sequel is just as damning as the original offer. I’ll never get enough of these compilations so I’m already looking forward to Halloween 2023.

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

2. Guild Of Lore – Night Of Halloween

Dungeon synth stalwart, Guild Of Lore, steps beyond the realm of Winterstead, leaving behind the Medieval intonations to embrace a world of 80’s-influenced synthwave with elements of cinematic horror. The results are a fascinating blend of B-horror movie anthems full of ghoulish field recordings, theatrical samples and rhythmic patterns that scream the elements of classic horror film soundtracks. “Lurking In The Shadows” is a prime example of ample beats, darkwave undertones, and retrospective synths, while “The Festivities” is done in the style of a skit, with spooky narrations, haunting screams and bleak atmospherics. This is an album that’s not just enjoyable during All Hallows’ Eve, but can provide eerie entertainment throughout the year, and for many years to come.

https://guildoflore.bandcamp.com/album/night-of-halloween

FABLEHAVEN: “None who enter will leave unchanged. Trespassers will be turned to stone.” – Brandon Mull

3. Erythrite Throne – A Shade Of Melancholy In The Shadow Of Death

If your not listening to Erythrite Throne on All Hallows’ Eve, then you’re either very much afraid or have already been bitten by a post-apocalyptic zombie. In the case of the latter, perhaps ‘A Shade Of Melancholy In The Shadows Of Death’ has become the perpetual soundscape for your existence. Expertly fusing classical synth tones and the occasional blasts of tasty percussion, this is another magnum opus from the master of Dungeon Synth music. Just as the title suggests, this album is a bit more lugubrious than other Erythrite Throne albums, but that’s what makes this project so special. Especially on Halloween, this is some classically creepy music to enjoy on this malevolent night.

https://serpentsswordrecords.bandcamp.com/album/a-shade-of-melancholy-in-the-shadow-of-death

4. Aleksis Tristan Shaw – Crooked Teeth

The ever so cleaver Aleksis Tristan Shaw once again keeps us on our toes with a musical endeavor that defies genre categorization but is presented just in time for Halloween. These three tracks showcase beautiful, yet twisted piano melodies with a dreamy, atmospheric production. Just as the album cover suggests, I can only imagine a blurry figure sitting behind the ivories and playing these dirges to conjure up the spirits of ancient past, allowing them to provide frights once again. Although each track is different, they each have a thematic element that maintains a dark but elegant mood. A full album of these ghastly sounds would be awesome as well.

https://aleksistristanshaw.bandcamp.com/album/crooked-teeth

“No one who loves the woods stays on the path.” – Millie Florence

5. Wodenwyrd – The Teutoburg Massacre

Wodenwyrd presents a rather unique recording as a short narrative is read over obscure backing tracks that fusses Dungeon Synth, Dark Ambient and synthwave. Read over a series of Acts (seven in all), the story summarizes the first battle between German forces and the Roman Empire around 9 AD. As compelling as the story is, the music fits perfectly and produces a brooding gray background for a malevolent narrative. There are three stand alone tracks that serve as an intro, intermission and outro and they explore more nostalgic territories such as 80’s cinema and dreamy effects. In all, this is a fantastic album and I wouldn’t mind having a series of recordings in this style.

https://wodenwyrd.bandcamp.com/album/the-teutoburg-massacre

6. Born From Pain – Begotten (1989)

Just in time for Halloween, Born From Pain delivers another compelling motion picture re-score. This time, 1989’s horror/fantasy film, ‘Begotten’, becomes the object of creativity as the quest for Dark Ambient obscurity reigns supreme. Over seventy two minutes of ethereal order becomes the pallet for rediscovering this film in a more sinister light. The film itself, is supremely bleak and a boldly obscure statement for cinema at the time of its release. If your a fan of cult filmmaker, Maya Deren, then you’ll have a good understanding of this film. As for the music, Born From Pain masterfully captures that essence with gloomy soundscapes and haunting effects that will lead to nightmarish outcomes in itself. Another fascinating adventure that I can’t recommend enough.

https://bornfrompainbm.bandcamp.com/album/begotten-rescore

“When you go into a forest, anything can happen” – David Farr

7. Scott Lawlor – The Livestream Series, Volume V

Scott Lawlor, the king of spatial Drone music and a jack-of-all-trades Ambient musician that never stops working and has enough released material to create the soundtrack to your very existence for years on end. On Halloween of last year, he produced a five hour livestream special that will be digitally released on Halloween this year. Spanning eleven tracks, this colossal of an album, flows like a never ending experiment through celestial voids and dark passages, as enigmatic effects combine with baneful textures to create the realm you’ve always dared to travel through. Each track presents a malefic journey through dark regions of the subconscious, bringing a terrorized reality to the forefront of the mind. Good luck getting through all five hours of this but enjoy the breathtaking adventure along the way.

8. Orcchasm – OrcChasm!

Orcchasm is truly unique experience, as we encounter a variety of musical intonations during this thirty one minute endeavor. From creepy ambience and whimsical synths to bazaar arrangements and nonstop frills, this is a musical adventure that is equally enjoyable and fulfilling. From grandiose, Medieval incantations to light, flute fills, you never know what direction the music is headed. However, hold on to your witches hat and broomsticks because this is a venture that won’t want to miss. Each track flows seamlessly into the next, showcasing a story of dark dungeons and numerous escapades. “Groping For Wild Hogs In The Dark Paphian Abyss” is my favorite track and it truly represents the musical prowess of this album as a whole. Don’t pass up on this warm journey into the wildly unknown.

https://orcchasm.bandcamp.com/album/orcchasm

“The forest was not dark, because darkness has nothing to do with the forest – the forest is made of life, of light – but the trees moved with wind and subtle creatures.” – Lauren Geoff

9. Pumpkin Witch – The Return Of The Pumpkin Witch

It’s been a few years since we’ve heard from Halloween favorite, Pumpkin Witch. However, after finally rising from the Orange tomb of seasonal vegetation, they’ve returned with their most enigmatic spectacle to date, ‘The Return Of The Pumpkin Witch’. Eleven spooky anthems that provide an audial bludgeoning for almost forty four minutes, these progressive haunts are just what the doctor (or vampire or serial killer) has ordered to infiltrate your Halloween playlists. From distorted, doom-laden guitar tones and retrospective drum beats to hair raising electro sequences and synthwave tactics, this is the album that checks all the blocks for horrifying entertainment. Tape hisses and reverberated production efforts create a sinister ambiance that drives the mail in the coffin (no pun intended) for this masterful recording.

https://pumpkinwitch.bandcamp.com/album/the-return-of-the-pumpkin-witch

10. Ammothea – My God Is The Moon

Ammothea, the ambient-infused post metal project by Glacial Anatomy, is truly a riveting encounter that satisfies the pallet of those that enjoy the multi-genre experience. Soft, careening vocals, doom metal riffing and dreamy production yields a hypnotic effect, so that you can sit back, close your eyes and indulge in your own trip. These five tracks disperse almost sixty four minutes of playing time but, it’s over before you know it due to being completely lost in the mix of these alluring intonations. “Depth” and “My God Is The Moon” are standout tracks that incorporate a more upbeat approach without diverting away from the haunting gray that the entire album discharges. This is an extremely impressive release and I’m already looking forward to more from this artist.

https://syrupmooserecords.bandcamp.com/album/my-god-is-the-moon


11. Whöreplay – Whöreplay

A good dark wave tune goes hand in hand with the Halloween season, given its close ties to Gothic romanticism, vampires and grim landscapes. It also has provided bleak, atmospheric backdrops for scenes in classic horror films such as ‘Silence Of The Lambs’. This two track spectacle from newcomer, Whöreplay, fits right in with all of the aforementioned. Although only five minutes long, the artists wastes no time setting the listener on a collision course with haunting electronics, reverberated vocals, and a dreamy production. These tracks slice through like a jagged dagger, leaving a spot of coagulated blood for the creatures of the night to feast on.

https://whoreplay.bandcamp.com/track/misery

12. Unsheathed Glory/Ozeregroth – Nights Shadow Darkening

There is no better time to come together for delivering a darkened dungeon synth experience than Halloween. Unsheathed Glory and Ozeregroth combine their talents of Medieval summonings to render a five track split album, culminating in twenty four minutes of effortless canticles set to the gloomiest night of the year. Not only does each artist produce two tracks of their own, but they collaborate on the daunting self title track. Although each artist delivers contrasting tones, they mesh together very well and and flow transparently with ominous accord. This is one of my favorite Dungeon Synth collaborations of the year and I hope these artist get together again in the future, to produce more music like this.

https://unsheathedglory.bandcamp.com/album/nights-shadow-darkening

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

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Until next Halloween…

Void Stasis Produce One Of The Years Best Dark Ambient Album With Stunning Debut, ‘Ruins’

Over the past couple of years, the Cryo Chamber label has added quite a few new artists to their lineup, broadening the spectrum of Cinematic Dark Ambient music with fresh ideas and the incorporation of other musical styles. One of these new projects is the acutely exquisite, Void Stasis. Three musical talents join forces in this modular blueprint to deliver a soothing array of dystopian soundscapes that transcend the realm of Dark Ambient music. Combining hypnotic beats, Berlin School and cold effects, ‘Ruins’ is quite the spectacular, debut release.

The insanely hypnotic album opener, “Frozen Fire”, begins like so many other Dark Ambient pieces; slow, brooding drones at an attentive pace, anticipating a transition into other domain of sorts. Once the listener gains comfort in this initial expression, profound adjustments are introduced, producing a retrospective atmosphere that is massively transfixing. Slow, Berlin School sequences begin to coil around the main droning sound and then a fixed cadence begins to take shape. There is a lot going on in this opening track but it’s completely suppressing, in a good way. Looping effects create a hypnotic effect as this song become more pleasing by each passing second. “Lung Fibrosis” continues on with the lavish energy of the first track and adds even more melody and dense atmospherics. A calm, static sound plays out in the background as a thudding bass line mingles with obscure sound effects. Various bits of haunting soundscapes completes this alluring piece and perfectly paves the way for one of my favorite tracks on the album. “Blood Eclipse” is a dark electronica journey through reflective Euro beats and gothic undertones. Looping vocalizations are simply mesmerizing with a calming essence. Nothing is out of sequence here, as even the simplest of sounds are synchronized perfectly, alluding to a rhythmic performance that could easily be executed in an underground Deconstructed Club. Up next is the title track, “Ruins”. Commencing with a ghostly piano chop, there are some particularly eerie soundscapes and samples playing in the background. As the track continues, an apocalyptic beat presents a slow tempo in order for the various pieces to all come together in an enigmatic fashion. The overall sound is very dreamy with a lot of reverberation, but that just adds to the mystique of everything that is being offered. “Clockwork” is a grandiose oblation with a huge orchestral sound and it could easily be a part of a Science Fiction movie soundtrack. The keys produce elongated, harmonious notes that are ethereal and reminiscent of classic synthwave sounds. Although the drum beats add a nice flare to the overall mix, they aren’t overbearing and are very enjoyable to hear. “There Is No Life Here” begins with a bleak tone and crescendos into a sonic space ambient texture that is greeted with the right amount of reverb and chaotic effects. Once the percussive element kicks in, it’s business as usual, as you’ll be nodding your head in unison with this superb offering. What sounds like short blasts of guitar riffs, it match the flow of the beats, producing another enjoyable intonation. The final track, “Vision Of A Dead Planet” begins with a piercing drone, with almost an industrial sound to it. Sonic keys begin to deliver another modulated performance with a pensive intonation that is melodic and inviting. Various effects create a dystopian vibe while melancholic keys offer a farewell message that won’t soon be forgotten. Finding a way to include a captivating beat, this track remains in a dark place, ending this album on a high note.

Three exuberant musicians have joined forces to conceive the entity known as Void Stasis and their debut, ‘Ruins’, is one of the most impressive albums I’ve heard this year so far. Combining tranquillizing synths with impressive beats and the incorporation of other electronic genres, this album is an exotic, one-of-a-kind auditory experience for the ages. Hypnotizing and addictive, this collection of songs is monumental and unequivocally belongs on the Cryo Chamber label. Sure to please more than just fans of Dark Ambient music, I can’t recommend this album enough. Please click on the link below and get ready for a breathtaking adventure through the past and future of electronic music.

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Links:

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

Sombre Arcane Constructs A Magically Melodic World On ‘Realmsong’

Sombre Arcane is a collective that needs no introduction. Going above and beyond to produce an electrifying amalgam of Dungeon Synth music, they are quickly becoming a premier element in the genre and have amassed a favorable following. Combining an exceptional mix of electronic and traditional instruments, they successfully craft masterful pieces that become more than just songs, but an unparalleled sonic adventure. ‘Realmsong’ finds the duo in top form as they weave their spell through twelve finely crafted canticles with sheer brilliance.

Taking a wistful approach on the album opener, “The Time-Space Conundrum”, somber melodies are met with galloping instrumentals that present a classic synthwave vibe. However, before the completion of the track, Medieval harmonies and drum beats turn this atmospheric offering into a Dungeon Synth anthem. Following up with “Rhythm Of The Saintless”, a harrowing drone commences, as we wait for whatever intonation comes about. With almost a jubilant delivery, dreamy keys belt out a traditional Dungeon Synth chop. Before too long, additional chord transform this track to a battle-ready opus that elicits the fighting spirit in all of us. “A Day’s March Through The Ancient Elven Forest” brings back eloquent effects and fills the empty space with chirping birds and brisk ambient tones. A quixotic synth melody penetrates the darkened soul and loops in a much wanted pattern before percussive elements enter the mix. Keeping a serene resonance throughout, this is one for the dreamers and forest wanderers that disengage from the sense of time. “Moon Sphere Of The Dancing Court” commences with the inaudible banter of a crowded tavern and then glossy instrumentals pave the way for a peaceful transition into vast landscapes and tranquil haunts. “Dinomace” takes us back to the battlefield with a velvety cadence that instills a sense of pride and victory with each and every note. The drums are very progressive and the lush textures are a warm welcome as well. “Kelthas The Dread” follows, with a meditative sound and pensive production that constructs an abysmal scenario with a massively rich tone. There is a nice dose of distortion on some of the keys that beefs up the modulation and the overall output is that of angst and betrayal. The distressing “Dread Certainty Of Our Chosen Path” is an ominous gouge at the psyche and the emotional output that pours from within. The arioso of the main riff is not only tasty, but one that can be enjoyed over and over again. A darkened cadence is introduces and provides the feeling of a sudden loss and the ensuing dirge that is needed for comfort. This is one of my favorite tracks on the album and I’m sure many other will feel the same way about it. “Devilry Of Inertia” is a beautiful follow up to such a deep track, that it’s easy to get lost in all that’s going on. Wondrous layers of celestial ambience creates a comforting sensation. Suddenly, this transforms into a Crypt Hop masterclass with thunderous beats and whimsical melodies. Truly unexpected but also extremely enjoyable. “Lansharra’s Leavetaking” is another masterful tune, as this piece aquatints the listener to a sonic vocal that layers folk sounds with noble storytelling. I can imagine drunken commoners at a local pub in a far away ancient kingdom, paying homage to their ancestry and love ones with this amazing vocal effort. “Finley’s Rest” is another placid effort of precise instrumentation and soothing background ambience that depicts an early morning dawn of halcyon times. Layers of magical instrumentation builds throughout the track and it eloquently leads into the next track, “Jebrin’s Ride Home”. Starting with some comfy textures and a synth effects that’s buried deep in the mix, this is a luscious guitar piece that renders pastoral vibes in a jubilant countryside setting. The final track on this magnum opus is the hypnotic “Return From Dragonspear”. Mixing dark undertones with warm instrumentation, this track sets a dynamic and climactic ending to the ‘Realmsong’ story. With an alluring orchestration mixed deep in the background, everything suddenly surges to a roaring grind, as the multitude of effects clash in unison. However, it comes to a halt and is calmly replaced with a suspended piano melody that will succeed in melting hearts. The pace begins to grow again and powerful guitar and drums synchronize in a heavy but melodic ending.

Sombre Arcane first struck Medieval gold with their 2018 self-titled demo. Gaining a huge momentum (and fan base) from that effort, it help paved a path of immeasurable opportunity to excel in the wondrous Dungeon Synth community. Now, with the release of ‘Realmsong’, they’ve cemented their place alongside the genres best. This is an album of beautiful orchestrations, galloping instruments, spacey ambience and a conglomeration of other effects that results in one of the best, most diverse Dungeon Synth albums in a while. Although this album has been out since last year, I can’t recommend this one enough. Check out the link below and support this amazing artist and their craft.

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Links:

https://sombrearcane.bandcamp.com/album/realmsong

The Nebula Breviary – A Voyage Through The Black Hole With Kalamine Records

Kalamine Records has been delivering stunning releases on its Bandcamp page since 2019. The online label from Bordeaux, France specializes in Dark Ambient, Noise, Experimental music as well as a vast array of obscure genres that migrate well off the beaten path. Producing top quality material on a regular basis, it’s difficult for me to schedule these albums for a normal review as I simply don’t have the time. However, with the introduction of this column last month and the multitude of spectacular albums that Kalamine Records have put out as of late, the timing was right for me to pick ten of these albums for summary reviews. I hope you enjoy this article and please check out Kalamine Records at the links below.

1. Mono Hideout – True Lord

‘True Lord’ is a thirty three minute session of adversarial ambience that depicts a dystopian atmosphere of chaos and evil. Although these tracks are shorter than the typical Dark Ambient intonation, the urgency of soundscape buildup and dismal drones fuel a fire of angst-laden heresy that are compelling as much as they are effective at providing huge, atmospheric settings. From celestial & spirited pieces like “Harpocrates” to sinister and minimalistic drones of “The Snake Himself”, Mono Hideout has fabricated a world of dark malevolence.

https://kalaminerecords.bandcamp.com/album/true-lord

2. Helecho Experimentar – OU.. OU.. Sintaxis

Helecho Experimentar combines ominous sound effects, samples and controlled noise on the brilliant release, ‘OU… OU… Sintaxis’. Commencing with a thirty six minute opus that forges a tumultuous passage through layers of obscure musical stanzas, this album presents a relentless impression of restrained noises and hasty modulations. Truly a unique recording, this will soon become an addictive listen as the effort to notice additional peculiarities throughout, are inevitable.

https://kalaminerecords.bandcamp.com/album/ou-ou-sintaxis

3. Mora-Tau – The Five Sutra

Mora-Tau has quickly become one of my favorite Dark Ambient composers and his ever-growing catalog of consistently great recordings is something to be proud of. ‘The Five Sutra’ is another paradigm of esoteric compositions that slowly portrays a story of tragedy through elongated drones, repetitive synth manipulations and a deep venture into angst-filled arrangements. This collection of retrospective anthems provide almost two hours of listening pleasure, allowing the listener enough time to mediate in its thought-provoking sound.

https://kalaminerecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-five-sutra

4. Eijra Woon – Leïla

‘Leïla’ is a compelling offering of Dark Ambient, drone, noise, glitch and a touch of EDM, all wrapped up in a audial adventure that is both seductive and thought provoking. Haunting samples and various spots of vocalizations complete this mesmerizing collection of sonic objects that will leave the listener in a relaxed state at times, as well as emitting bouts of angst during other times. These twelve tracks ebb and flow into various emotive states and the harrowing soundtrack that ensues, is sonically unparalleled. Upon completion of this sixty five minute opus, the listener may become paralyzed with emotional shock and drenched in sweat from sheer survival of the audial jolt that took place.

https://kalaminerecords.bandcamp.com/album/le-la

5. HEL – Innocently Wicked

HEL incorporates a plethora of vocal manipulations to establish a baseline of obscure ambient for showcasing a provocative blend of harmonizing textures and meaningful poetry. This anomalous recording also includes a variety of field recordings and effects to round out this massively peculiar effort. Taking a cappella to extreme realms, HEL emits an uncompromising take on enigmatic, yet experimental music. Highly recommended for those that are brave enough to indulge in uncompromising reaches into evanescent realms.

https://kalaminerecords.bandcamp.com/album/innocently-wicked

6. Christian Fiesel – Barren Land

‘Barren Land’ sounds like a dismal exploration into mystical territories during the cultivation of 70’s or 80’s progressive-influenced synthwave. Vast wastelands are brought to light with soothing orchestrations and mesmerizing drones, as tranquil modulations produce a landscape of effervescent bliss and slow-moving sequences. This one hour long track is a lot to consume, but is equally rewarding and ominous sections fuse together in a single instance, as if wandering various rooms in a mansion, searching for clues to a portentous and puzzling storyline. One thing that remains constant throughout is the vibrant drones that seem peaceful and resonant.

https://kalaminerecords.bandcamp.com/album/barren-land

7. Philippe Simon – Amarante

‘Amarante’ is a colossal offering of minimalistic Dark Ambience that stretches beyond the imagination and pushes the boundaries of atmospheric synth music. At almost eighty minutes in length, these seven tracks produce a transient environment of electronic music that combine Berlin School, drone, space ambient and quirky effects with resilient results. As these long players unwind, a deluge of celestial textures tell a haunting story of abandonment and foreboding solitary confinement. These songs are equally soothing and enthralling to say the least and once you begin this epic journey, it’s hard to stop. Enjoy this sonic masterpiece and the reward is well worth the endurance.

https://kalaminerecords.bandcamp.com/album/amarante

8. Wasatch Front – I Walked Up Stairs

‘I Walked Up Stairs’ showcases a fascinating blend of Dark Ambient, industrialized soundscapes and contained noise. This is not one to relax to or have on as background music. Wasatch Front demands your full attention to the oblivion contained within these five tracks to fathom a true understanding of the audial depth that they collectively offer. Each track takes a grueling approach to the intricacies of obscurity as the listener ascends a staircase into the unknown. As the music breeches the subconscious, a perilous adventure awaits. However, be forewarned; what goes up, must come down.

https://kalaminerecords.bandcamp.com/album/i-walked-up-stairs

9. Hostile Surgery – Into A Cold Light

‘Into A Cold Night’ contains six protracted anthems that extend to almost eighty minutes of playing time. These masterful drones mirror a creativity of malevolent proportions as they represent a barrage of hostile actions that can only be portrayed in nightmares. From deafening modulations to wavering sound effects, there is a certain demise that becomes paramount when indulging in its menacing grasp. Although each of these tracks produce a unique listening experience, the results for all of them is the same- dark, brooding ambience with rugged atmospherics that will leave the listener is a gloomier state than before listening to this massive recording.

https://kalaminerecords.bandcamp.com/album/into-a-cold-light

10. Glamourie – Imaginal Stage

‘Imaginal Stage’ may just be one of my favorite recordings from Kalamine Records. It combines dark and light ambient with a touch of acoustic folk music and even some forest synth and there is so much variation on this album, it’s hard to grasp within a few listens. However, upon multiple listens, you’ll begin to experience a decaying, yet soothing journey into assorted realms of audial reassurance. On the downloadable version of this album, each track is combined with a beautiful, mystical painting that truly represents the soundscape that affectionately makes its way through the speakers (or headphones). This is such a delightful album and I highly recommend this for those that need a peaceful, meditative source to accompany them in their life excursions.

https://kalaminerecords.bandcamp.com/album/imaginal-stage

Website: https://KalamineRecords.com

The King Of Gregorian Mantra’s, Metatron Omega, Is Back With Another Superior Performance With ‘ISIH’

Scorpio V, the driving force behind Prometheus Studio, is back with a new album from his flagship project, Metatron Omega. One of the few acts that produces Dark Ambient music that centers around Gregorian Chants, this Warhammer 40k-themed entity magnificently fuses soothing dark choir vocalizations with minimalistic, bleak ambience, resulting in an enthralling musical experience. In what may be his most sophisticated outing yet, ‘ISIH’ is the full experience of moody, ritualistic anthems that provide a grim landscape for ancient monasteries.

Right off the bat, title track “ISIH” secures a somber atmosphere with soothing Gregorian chants and effervescent ambient tones that flow like a transparent wave of breathless energy through high mountain ranges and cold, desolate valleys. The mood turn dark, as the ambience descends into the depths of bleakness with distant chants that are more sporadic than often. However, perfectly reverberated, it emits a trance-like feeling and subdues the listener with boundless bliss. “Megalosthronos” just may be my favorite Metatron Omega track ever. Commencing with a consoling drone, a tribal-like percussive element is soon embedded, tracing back to the likes of Paleowolf – where ancient civilizations meet theatrical ambience. Once the haunting chants are fused in, it creates a level of intensity and spirit that are completely unmatched. I certainly enjoy this direction that Metatron Omega has included in its repertoire of musical genius. “Imperium Novum” bleeds minimalistic ambience and the electronic-induced vocalizations are at times terrifying and more often mind-numbing. There are sci-fi elements in the narrative inclusions, as if an alien invasion has intercepted a communication transmission from an ancient culture. The weaving chants are mesmerizing and will leave the listener wanting more. “Arhontes” begins with an enthralling wind-like nuisance with the sounds of distant howls and screams. As the droning effort intensified, so does the angst of anticipation for where this track is headed. Chants of desperation are heard in sporadic patterns and when the depth of emotion finally fades, we are left with a calming path of destruction lead by deep, guttural chants and ritualistic ambience with a repressed ferocity and celestial intent. “Vyachnost” is another spectacular track that offers a rhythmic, drum track and the solar sounds continuously build throughout. Industrialized soundscapes and peculiar effects reflect a futuristic energy that is humbly met with ancient chants and warm synth patterns. There is a break toward the end where it morphs into a deep space ambient piece before returning to true Metatron Omega fashion. Vocalizations echo the synth modulations and are barely audible. However, it creates a type of discordance that is completely tranquillizing. “Blagoslovenie” is a return to form that can be heard on the likes of ‘Illuminatio’. The Gregorian chants are prevalent throughout and provide an immense ride into dark, enchanted territories. The deep drones are alarming at times and the moments of near silence – in particular – can be frightening. However, about halfway through, drums begin to fill the air with substantial cadence and synthwave elements are also introduced, as this song begins to take shape like the soundtrack for a Medieval battle. The final track on this monstrous album is “L.U.X.”. Commencing with looping chants and reverberated effects, this track isn’t as desolate as those that preceded it. The ringing of the church bells signifies the coming to an end of a ceremonial event, while the rest of the track continues to press forward with heroic expression. As the end nears, an incessant drone continues the pace as the all-to-familiar chants become softer and more distant.

Positioned in my Top 5 favorite Dark Ambient artist list, Metatron Omega continues to produce impressive albums that remain in line with its own ritualistic thematic expression, while supremely adding new elements and surprises that expand the boundaries of listening intent. ‘ISIH’ is no exception, as it’s probably Metatron Omega’s most expressive album to date. Including dark and light ambient elements and fusing percussion is a welcomed experience and I hope more of this type will be released in the future. If you can’t get enough Metatron Omega, make sure to also check out some of the other side projects in this same vein. Monasterium Imperi has everything you know and love about Metatron Omega but is less cinematic, while offering a deeper dive into the Warhammer 40k sound. Then there is Eshaton, which is an extremely raw and abrasive version that is gritty and relentless and at times has a Dungeon Synth vibe. At any rate, it’s easy to get lost in the realm of Metatron Omega and ‘ISIH’ is a magnificent album that truly represents this artist and craft. Click on the link below to download this album and enjoy the journey that it holds.

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://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/isih

https://prometheusstudio.bandcamp.com

Arbadax Consumes An Eccentric Headspace On The Enthralling, ‘Yithian’ Release

Although only having a short endeavor in the realm of Dungeon Synth, Arbadax has already produced five captivating albums that dive into the mythos of ancient ventures and Medieval lore. On the latest outing ‘Yithian’, Arbadax submerges into a Lovecraftian world of horror and intrigue over ten astonishing tracks that become the outlet for fantasy and chicanery.

The album boldly commences with “Vortex Of Time”, a synth dirge that intricately weaves peculiar harmonies and momentous ambient tones. Complemented with a tribal-like beat, the overall obscure melody loops infinitely while soundscapes develop random clusters of sonic sound structures. This is just the arcane lead off track that this album needs to push through this collection of arsenic hymns. Following that amazing introduction is “Disembodied Consciousness”, a merger of enigmatic synth chops and sinister acoustic guitar riff that spreads its proverbial angst for the duration of this haunting track. “Projection” begins with a soothing radiance that is more inline with traditional Dungeon Synth, and contains a melodic ambience that resonates deep within the soul. Thumping percussion bits adds a mournful characteristic of impenetrable battles. Esoteric sound effects complete the odyssey of this track, creating a bleak adventure like no other. “A Strange Existence” starts with thick and obtrusive keyboard effects before a cleaner synth emerges, adding a cryptic layer of effulgence to the overall sound. Moments of synthwave excellence can be heard throughout, as this track continues a sonic build until it’s conclusion. “Disturbed Visions” initiates a dreamy synth sound that suffocates the listener with a thick, brooding lead that emulates a tone that can be heard from underwater or a far off distance. Various synth leads compete for auditory space as they weave amongst themselves with assorted flare and cadence. “Upon The Horror” is an edgy piece that contains whimsical keys and tense buildup, as this faster-than-normal paced journey develops into a haunting forest synth monument. “Aeon-Dead Black Gulf” is like a nighmarish scene as random pulses of energy create a series of cosmic pulses that rage out of control before suddenly shifting into a classic synthwave anthem. Sounding more like a track from an 80’s horror movie soundtrack, this is probably my favorite track on the album. “Down From The Stars” showcases an industrial ambient beginning before settling into a malevolent drone, and then ultimately fusing into a consoling synth piece that is more in line with Forest synth (with a touch of comfy synth as well). “Scattered Echoes” is a light-hearted song with modulated sound effects and a light drone in the background. Delicate guitar melodies add a sense of ease, as this is one of the lighter (and warmer) tracks in this collection. The final track is also the longest one on the album. “Abyss Of Sleep” is nearly eight and a half minutes long and borders on the edge of strangeness and synth wizardry. Mostly consisting of minimalistic keyboard chops, there is a looping bass sound that is quite amusing and works well in conjunction with the various synth manipulations that take place throughout. This is definitely an interesting piece of music and fits right in as the closing element of this bizarrely astonishing album.

With five albums released in just a year and a half of time, Arbadax is quite the busy artist and has done an excellent job of producing material that is memorable and that successfully translates awesome stories into masterful Dungeon Synth songs. On latest effort, ‘Yithian’, Arbadax summons the spirit of Lovecraft and renders a fascinating tale into a spectacular audial escapade that eclipses the Dungeon Synth genre and ventures into other musical territories. This is a wonderful album that I recommend to fans of both Dungeon Synth and the Lovecraftian universe. Please check it out at the link below and show your support for this enigmatic artist.

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Links:

https://arbadax.bandcamp.com/album/yithian

https://linktr.ee/Arbadax

Conducive Produces An Immense Image Of Controlled Turbulence On ‘Global Makeshift Wounds’

Like all other genres of music, Dark Ambient comes in all shapes and sizes (figuratively speaking). A variety of sub-genres keeps this obscure pallet of music interesting and unique – to say the least. One of my favorite offsprings of Dark Ambient, is Drone. I know what you’re thinking; isn’t Drone and Dark Ambient the same? Should it be in a separate category all together? In my opinion, yes, it should be separate because there are subtleties and intricate nuances that render them differently. Drone is more experimental, minimalistic and sometimes, hard to tolerate (by those that aren’t quite familiar with this style of music). However, there is beauty amongst the controlled chaos of Drone music and it’s contents are entirely open for interpretation. As for me, I love listening to Drone music while working, reading and when I need something in the background to help me concentrate. One up and coming artist that has caught my attention is Conducive, and with their debut album, Global Makeshift Wounds, out now on Veinte 33 Records, I’m happy to report that is some of the most trance-inducing Drone music I’ve heard in a while.

This forty minute turbulent broadcast is cleft into two parts. Separately, they stand on their own as narrative transmissions that detail a dark, scenic reality that plays into the senses and provides the essence of real-world chaos. However, together, they fuse a building chronological that portrays a dismal landscape of time, brutal machinery and the inconspicuous element that spews “we are not in control.” On the surface, “Global Makeshift Wounds #1” begins with the every day sounds of a hurried life, perpetuating that we have a certain control of our destiny. However, underneath, esoteric droning commences, setting into motion a controlled, chaotic modulation of tempestuous energy of impending doom. As the volume of this monstrous effort escalates above the existence of all other natural sounds, a peculiar comfort begins to exist, taking over the listeners ability to grasp the humbleness of existence. As we continue to sink into this eclectic drone, small subtleties begin to emit imperfections with the machinery, causing angst and misguided nervousness. There is nothing that can be done, other than to give in to the systematic noise and become one with the grueling soundscapes. Just as you begin to get use to this setup, we get a semi-abrupt ending, providing a well deserved break from the pandemonium. It’s mind-blowing how this didn’t feel like twenty minutes at all. “Global Makeshift Wound #2” commences with audial samples of people moving about as if it’s part of their daily routine. Like there is no care in the world or fears of what’s to come, the calming pattern of their ordinary commotion is soon to be preempted by another dose of overworked machinery that has been put through the rigors of systematic stress and pressed beyond their capabilities with no regard for its malevolent impact of failure. By the five minute mark of this track, the exhaustive industrialism materializes in full spectrum, drowning out the majority of the quotidian annoyances. There is a magnificent power that is portrayed by these layers of drones that contributes to the overall mesmerizing output of this track, achieving a substantial audial radiance in the process. At around the eleven minute mark, a tranquillizing dose of white noises are mixed in and duplicated about a minute later, producing a menacing buzz that can be a bit terrifying for those that are not use to this kind of ambient projection. At around fifteen minutes in, all hell begins to break loose, as the machines struggle to maintain form, creating a disruptive audial flow In frequency and initiating an reprehensible cacophony of destruction. At the end of the track, the machinery gives in its catastrophic demise, diminishing all sound abruptly.

This year is shaping up to the the breakout year for Drone music. As one of the more minimalistic elements of the Dark Ambient community, Drone music is on the rise and more releases of this kind are piquing my interest more than ever. Conducive is an amazing artist that can now be added to that list and ‘Global Makeshift Wounds’ is bound to make an impact. For a debut release, this album covers a lot of ground, in particular with the audial arrangements and the exceptional production. I highly recommend checking out this album and you can support the artist by downloading it from the link below.

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Links:

https://veinte33records.bandcamp.com/album/global-makeshift-wounds

https://conducivemusic.bandcamp.com/releases

Nachtjäger Fortifies The Aphotic Path For ‘The Eternal Traveler’

It’s a tranquil Sunday afternoon and I’ve decided to take a little time to catch up on some reading, as well as to focus on my next Dungeon Synth review. Since I love to listen to music while I read, I put on ‘The Eternal Traveler’ by Nachtjäger. It was the perfect arrangement, as the somber vibes emitted from this album played in to the harrowing novel that I was reading. This near seventy minute opus consists of eleven tracks that range in a myriad of synth varieties, albeit remaining steadfast in the realm of Dungeon Synth. The result is an amazing adventure through bleak – but alluring – domains, with minimalistic modulations and calming synth leads.

“My Watchtower In The Darkness” commences with a darkened intonation that would be fitting for a Medieval crusade. Slightly grim, yet composed in a way that exudes strife and victory. With a dirge-like cadence, this is such an emotional song to kick things off. “Crystalline Caverns” is one of my favorite songs on the album with its eerie vibe and haunting ambience that is detailed throughout. Limpid synth leads establishes a transparent connection with the layers of bleak atmospherics, causing a ritualistic effect. “Traveling On Spectral Vessels” once again changes the vibe of the album, giving off a lighthearted appeal that is enough to sooth a savage beast. Well written, there is a plethora of melodic parts and they are woven together seamlessly in an orchestral fashion. “Woodland Sanctuary” is a chilling abode with minimalistic drones and sparse synth leads. However, this approach is extremely effective, especially with creating an emotional sound of theatrical proportions. “Insights Born From Ashes” again alters the audial course and gives forth a Renaissance-era anthem with gothic undertones and slightly reverberated keys. “Lost Scripts Of Old” is an enticing piece that includes a psychedelic vibe and clean synth leads that are reminiscent of the Comfy Synth sub-genre. There are several layers of keys that create a delicate harmony and the outcome is quite mesmerizing. “Ancestral Homelands” takes us back to a darker sound, almost emitting a Black Metal-style song introduction. However, whimsical effects elicit a funereal vibe and concludes with a buildup of synth leads that has a massive sound. “Winds Tell Of A Dying Age” is constructed like a saddened symphony, with a reluctant pace and a passionate arrangement that is redolent of somber times and post-war struggles. Without a doubt, this is the most elegant track on the album and another of my personal favorites. “Astral Signs In The Northsky” is a besieging song that combines many elements of ambient music and Dungeon Synth variants. The slow climb and descent of the musical scale is fused with eccentric synth effects, producing a slightly lurid sound that ends rather abruptly. “Heralds Of The New Dawn” is a dreamy little dirge with retrospective effects and a heartfelt arrangement that combines rhythmic tones and atmospheric expression. The final track on the album is a majestic masterpiece. “Transcendental Relics” is a twenty three and a half minute long treasure that integrates soothing ambience and elongated synth tones is an epic symphonic composition. There are bits of synthwave, orchestral arrangements, and obscure melodies throughout that definitely keep this long player interesting and most of all, relevant to the theme of the rest of the album. With a substantial amount of reverb, this song sounds really thick and quixotic, demanding multiple listens with it’s addictive appeal. This is my favorite song on ‘The Eternal Traveller’ and such a beautiful way to finalize this exhilarating album.

Nachtjäger has successfully produced an amazing Dungeon Synth experience with ‘The Eternal Traveller’. With tracks that transfer the lister to majestic dimensions of castles, Medieval setting and mystical elegance, this album is a spectacle of synth amazement that resists genre tags and symbolizes musical growth in the community. If you’ve not heard this album, I highly recommend checking it out and please support the artist by downloading it from the link below.

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Links:

https://nachtjaeger.bandcamp.com/album/the-eternal-traveler

Planet Supreme Invokes A Stellar Collision On The Ever Evolving, ‘Creation Of A Star’

Anytime I see a Cryo Chamber Label release, it’s an instant download for me. Although not always the bleakest of Dark Ambient music, one things for sure is that each album from every artist (on the label) is prepared to submerge the listener into an extravagant, cinematic voyage – beyond the infinite realms of space and the darkest depths of the oceans. Relative newcomer to the label, Planet Supreme, released their debut album last year in the form of ‘Creation Of A Star’. Providing a true soundtrack for the stages of this miraculous celestial formation, each track not only stands on their own, but together form a tale of galactic nascency. These eight tracks construct an impressive journey through the cosmos with exceptional space ambience and a quest for ethereal development.

Gentle album opener, “Cometh Night”, initially resembles the boom of a celestial bang with a crescendoing drone that fades out and and back in again. This is the birth of a star, and the imposing musical journey that will play out for the remainder of this album. Heavily reverberated pads produce a drifting motion that simulates a noiseless meander through space. As this dissolves, other ambient tones represent planetary bodies and terrestrial objects traveling in a nearby orbit. “Black Earth” ascends into eternal darkness with a rigid drone and the perfect placement of a variety of industrial soundscapes. Polished synth leads emit a slight chaotic stance while a culmination of harsh effects surround it all with effortless subtlety. A sound reminiscent of a warning alarm, prepares the adjacent area for misadventure, as hauntingly beautiful synths harmonize with ease. “Machina” commences with an assortment of mechanized effects and monstrous blurbs, as if this canticle is preparing to focus on a singular pattern or instance. Warm drones sound off with confidence and an array of keyboard effects play a solid scale, portraying a communicative effort between human and immaterial beings from distant worlds. Toward the end, a peculiar sequence and sub-harmonies create an obscure picture of bleak existence. “Hectronic Lights” is an alleviating ambient piece with soft, melodic drones and synths that play in orchestral fashion. There is a slight hissing noise in the background that shows a separation between the chaos and the comforting atmosphere of this audial adventure. “Scanners” begins at a moment in time just before the commencement of some type of discord. Starting with a low, humming sound, bits of inaudible frequencies are played, causing angst and tension. However, that is soon replaced with highly reverberated tones and synth effects, carrying forth a mission of audial bliss in a slightly hypnotic state. “Genetic Cargo” contains a vast amount of field recordings and sound effects, especially in the beginning before morphing into a mesmerizing drone. The sounds are anesthetizing to the point where you won’t want this excursion to end. A beguiling bass line in the background is a refreshing experience for this album, showing another side of this spectacular project. “Stray” commences with the crackles of a small, contained fire while modulating pulses build around it. Several synth notes are played sequentially with a small echo effect. Harsh pads and tonal order play sporadically and throughout, giving the impression of a lurking presence in the vicinity. The final track on the album is, “Above Broken Ground.” Seemingly incorporating many elements all at once, a wall of sound emits an overwhelming sensation of the final moments of a stars creativity. As if everything is finally falling into place, this climactic track showcases onerous harmonies and layers of synthwave effects that don’t let up until the final moments of this track. Ending with a singular, harsh drone, the creative efforts are finalized and another stunning celestial body is created.

Planet Supreme is a welcomed edition to the Cryo Chamber Label lineup and I hope this project is here to stay. The beautiful soars of melody and mixture of dark and light ambience already equals that of more seasoned veterans of the label. I would love to see a collaboration between Planet Supreme and Beyond The Ghost or In Quantum sometime in the future, as I feel a co-existence of either of those projects could create something beyond amazing. As for ‘Creation Of A Star’, it is a stunning release that will surely stand the test of time. Not to mention, it features one of my favorite Cryo Chamber Label album covers of 2021. If you’ve not heard this superb release yet, head on over to the link below and prepare to be absorbed into a world of chaotic beauty. I highly recommend checking it out.

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Links:

https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/creation-of-a-star

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

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

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

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

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Links:

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