Celestial Ephemerides: A Collection Of Dungeon Synth Summary Reviews, Part V

With the ever growing Dungeon Synth community and the endless amounts of review requests that I receive, publishing these Celestial Ephemerides articles is the quickest way for me to keep up, and to also push out content to the community in a timely fashion. For Part V, we find a varied list of exciting Dungeon Synth albums and some that are multi-genre endeavors with just a touch of Dungeon Synth influence. Needless to say, it’s awesome to watch this community grow with everyone’s unique spin on one of the greatest genres around. Keep up the great work, artistry support and most of all, I hope you all enjoy this publishing.

1. Psyyps – L’oracle de I’imaginaire et La Porte du Chemin

Psyyps adopts the Dungeon Synth aesthetic to create a magnetic brand of New Age bliss. Permeated with tribal-like beats, alluring ambience and a host of instrumentation, this experience is one of a kind. It’s as if the dungeon lore of Medieval times escaped to a futuristic setting of unfamiliarity and enlightenment. Prepare to be amazed by these eight tracks of cutting edge explorations.

https://psyyps.bandcamp.com/album/l-oracle-de-l-imaginaire-et-la-porte-du-chemin

2. Baerdcyn – Naegling

No other artist has mastered the art of Medieval tranquility quite like Baerdcyn. Blending aspects of folk ambient with his passionate stringed instrumental chops, ‘Naegling’ is a product of majestic beauty and absolution. Tracks such as “The Quest” and “Dragon’s Scale” dig toward the center of the soul with ardent layers of mythical sounds. Haunting reverberations increase the intensity of these tracks, showcasing a likeness for enthralling peace.

https://baerdcyn.bandcamp.com/album/naegling

3. Search For The Navigator – Flight Of The Firmament

‘Flight Of The Firmament’ is an unparalleled sonic adventure. Combining Dungeon Synth, Ambient Music, Comfy Synth and whimsical soundscapes, this album is like an interstellar odyssey; a grand musical, if you will. Containing six tracks of celestial-themed electronics, the incursion of various oddities is endless as you wander through clusters and nebulas, heading toward an otherworldly dungeon. Don’t let this one slip under the radar; it’s too good to pass up and it needs to be heard immediately.

https://searchforthenavigator.bandcamp.com/album/flight-of-the-firmament

4. Ancestral Axe – Dawn Of The New Age

Like a Medieval battle between Christianity and Paganism, ‘Dawn Of The New Age’ is a sacrificial offering of war-time aggression and dark hymnals as bloodshed spills across the land. The samples, field recordings and soundscapes really breathe a spectacular life into this recording, as the music takes us through the trials and tribulations of battle, territorial reign and the fight for ultimate victory. So, sit back and enjoy this marauding journey of superlative tunes.

https://hammerandflailrecordings.bandcamp.com/album/dawn-of-the-new-age

5. Grîmmöld – Heatherfrost

Grîmmöld takes on the coldness of winter with three tracks of mesmerizing ambience that represents the quiet days of snow covered lands and hibernating conditions. Taking a break from the normal blackened dungeon synth offerings, in favor of a modest take on the lighter side of things, Grîmmöld amasses a celestial escapade of bleak proportions. These tracks are soothing, yet desolate in delivery. ‘Heatherfrost’ is another exemplary offering from one of the most respected artists in the business.

https://grimmold.bandcamp.com/album/heatherfrost

6. Ozeregoth – In The Shadow Of Gloomspire

‘In The Shadow Of Gloomspire’ is a chillingly atmospheric album that is more reminiscent of the peaceful settings of the Renaissance era than the battle-heavy times of the Medieval period. These are tranquil tracks that slowly build and include a sensation background ambience, slightly distorted modulations and a dose of synthwave textures as well. This is a great album to sit back and relax too; and reflect on ancient times and how those experiences must have played out.

https://ozeregroth.bandcamp.com/album/in-the-shadow-of-gloomspire

7. Stuffed Crust – Sacrificial Slice Upon The Blackened Stone

Don’t let the playful album cover and hilarious song titles fool you, this weird adventure is done in great taste and the musicianship is surprisingly good. ‘Sacrificial Slice Upon The Blackened Stone’ is like the Primus of Dungeon Synth – only stranger. On this whimsical ride, you’ll hear metal drumming, screaming vocals, eerie synth chops and super lo-fi guitar harmonies – all in the name of delicious fun. I mean, who doesn’t like pizza and music? The moody tracks are borderline comfy synth, then it’s followed up by maniacal black metal parts that seem out of place but are exquisitely relevant in this instance. Sit back and enjoy (a slice) the journey to Margherita(ville)!

https://stuffedcrust.bandcamp.com/album/sacrificial-slice-upon-the-blackened-stone

8. Dungeon Guerrilla – The Prophecy

Dungeon Guerrilla takes us on a mystical journey through the ages with the fantasy synth album, ‘The Prophecy’. This maritime adventure showcases layers of melodic synths that are intricately woven to create a chunky sound, while sparse percussive parts show an innovative side to these tunes. The production is on point while the reverberation creates a grandiose sensation. This thirty seven minute journey is well worth the time and it’s sure to warrant multiple listens.

https://dungeonguerrilla.bandcamp.com/album/the-prophecy

9. Oulfaam – Χορεύοντας στις σκάλες

Talking about impressive, this album is like listening to a live orchestral concerto mixed with dark jazz noir. The dissonant moments are compelling and the mood often changes from estranged elevator music to haunting synth anthems. I love albums that showcase many sides of a musical genre and Oulfaam succeeds in doing so here. Ten tracks of variety lead toward an epic adventure of the unknown and this is the album that will be your guiding hand. A very enjoyable endeavor!

https://oulfaam.bandcamp.com/album/–3

10. Blood Moss – Blood Moss

Who would have ever thought to combining Dungeon Synth with 60’s-era psychedelic rock? Well, Blood Moss thought of it and have latched on to something creative, and you know what? It works extremely well! The lo-if quality makes this sound so amazing and the guitar work – for what it’s intended for – is extremely addicting and it’s something that I could vibe with for days! This album is not only full of jarring compositions, it also has passion and an overall gratification for music in general. If you’ve not heard this yet, you have no idea what you’re missing. I highly recommend this to everyone that is open-minded for new, fresh ideas.

https://bloodmoss.bandcamp.com/releases

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Colonial Skyway Presents A Compelling Take On Dissonant Clamor With ‘Evening On Earth’

There are many things in life that we take for granted on a daily basis. Even something as simple as subtle noises and sounds becomes less observed as we pick and choose which signals to process for an action or reaction. Of course our minds are programmed to react to daily nuances such as vibrations of a text message coming in on our cellular devices, a car horn as it signifies the moment of possible incident, an alarm clock as it pulls us out of our indulgent, hibernating state or even voice communication by our family, friends and coworkers – sometimes a complete stranger. However, there is another underlying tension, the ambient rumbles of reoccurring instances that we take for granted or don’t even pay attention to all together. There is true significance behind the droning sounds that are often terrifying, annoying and even chaotic that we subconsciously ignore, but they are there for a reason. The sounds are derivative of processes and movement that have a deeper meaning, indirectly executing the underlying fabric of society that nonchalantly pass us by. It’s these very things that are represented on the latest Colonial Skywave album, ‘Evening On Earth’ that are now brought to the forefront of the mind in order for us to understand – and even appreciate – their significance. Eight tracks of masterful droning in its most minimalistic state, yet so full of life, that it truly needs to be heard to be welcomed as a productive part of society.

“Stars On The Ground” slowly crescendo’s into a looping hiss of a mechanical nature, almost as if a gear were stuck in a failed rotation and continued with repeated attempts to proceed with its forward movement. As the nuance perpetuates, a grazing hum comes into focus, easing the tension of the core commotion while inducing a meditative form. Just as the listener eases into this dynamic configuration, these sounds begin to defuse and ultimately fade into oblivion. “Keylapes” proceeds down the dark path of heavy machinery and the purr of high speed cycles, proving the successful syntonization of synthetic equipment. Random bursts of manufacturing effects adds a layer of cyclic activity that may seem random, but is the result of melding productivity and arduous combustions that creates a uniquely resonating sound signature. “Fairway” presents another heavy, arduous drone with looping chugs of industrial strength apparatuses, carrying on with the tedious task of unmistakable agitation. As this motion eternizes, it’s apparent that a malevolent force is strong at work. With no decrease of movement in site, it slowly fades away into obscurity, even though the harshness continues to plagues the airways that it surrounds. Continuing on with the looping essence is, “Off At Dawn”. Industrial dreariness is replaced with digitized intonations with the penchant for coding errors and computerized alarms instead of machinery malfunctions. The sonic apprehension of looping buzzes gives the impression of abnormal functionality, but the abhorrent continuation of the main sounds signify error override, as the collusion of systems advance without a care in the world. “Areas Of Drifting” commences with the synchronizing strum that is very reminiscent of a full scale orchestra coming into unified harmony after much needed adjustment to playing a single tuning note. Instead of everything comes to a halt – at the request of the conductors triple baton tap – the notes are held in alliance, while relaxation overcomes the listeners whim. Next is “Lonely Tolls” and it’s exactly what I’ve envisioned with the given track title. An interstate toll booth worker, laboring through the dreadful night shift, where the constant flow of traffic has been replaced with the languid resonance of emptiness and distant sounds not normally observed. The tolling of cryptic bells declares a mysterious warning of unforeseen events. A steady volume of rain hits the roof of the tool booth like an intrusive static, adding to the ambience of the other sounds. “Forth Selector Stepping” slowly seeps in like daybreak, where aberrant sound of the night seize and give way to an endless vacuum of light despondency. Bridging the gap of the known and unknown, this track acts as the medium for what’s left behind and what’s yet to occur. The final track on the album is “After Dark”, a deep, meditative drone that suggests a particular crepuscule of dead air and distant exertion. Although one doesn’t overpower the other, there is a sense of struggle beyond the threshold of existence. This track summarize the entire album perfectly as this compelling drone embodies the journey of noises and sounds crafted by mankind (and natural occurrences) and wraps them up in a coercive bleakness of axiomatic energy, despite the situation.

In conclusion, the sounds we take for granted are a beautiful thing and relative to life on Earth as we know it. Often mistaken as meaningless nuisances, they are simply the collateral return of a productive and mechanized society. Colonial Skyway again produces a magnificent soundscape of representation and blissful moments of droning endeavors. ‘Evening On Earth’ is a societal soundtrack to a world of underground chaos that is often overlooked, yet needed for perpetual existence. This meditative offering is one of my favorites of the year so far and provides me with a pleasing dose of hypnotic artistry on a regular basis. Don’t hesitate to check this one out if you’re into minimalistic drone music. Click on the link below to support this one of a kind experience.

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Links:

https://submarinebroadcastingco.bandcamp.com/album/evening-on-earth

Sylvanum Portrays An Idealized Vision On The Beguiling Offering, ‘A Forest Portal’

Every great kingdom has its mystical forest full of bewilderment and perplexing paths. Enchanting life forms congregate on the forest floor while Medieval strongholds inhabit the space not so far off in the distance. What a time to be alive to experience such allurement and it’s unfortunate that we can’t endure that first hand. Thankfully, artists such as Sylvanum exceed with a particular mythical charm through their music, granting us the opportunity to partake in such monumental pleasures. On ‘A Forest Portal’ we are presented with a musical endeavor that showcases the attraction of ancient times in the most entertaining way. Eleven tracks of whimsical guidance create a galvanizing space of adventure and tranquility for forty gratifying minutes.

“As The Light Fades” begins with a deep rumble and harrowing soundscapes, as if traversing the darkest corridors of the forest. Serene synths and prominent textures signify a bright end for the path less traveled. Soothing leads and ambient fills create a monumental sound as this track is a cinematic adventure and properly starts this amazing album. “(Through The) Faerie Ring” commences with the sounds of nature and the peace that it represents. Chirping birds, clicks and clacks of various insects and an endless flowing stream makes quite an impact before layers of synth leads and ominous effects come into play. The arrangement slowly glides like the stream it overtakes and thrusts the listener on a courageous adventure through the paths of timber. “Midsummer Night” is my favorite track on the album and the arrangement waivers between whimsical leads and somber synth chops. Although there is a contrast of sounds, they fuse perfectly to produce a unique moment that is sure to garner repeated listens. Next is “The Dance Of The Nymphs” and the warping synth intro is reminiscent of that classic synthwave sound. Renaissance era leads erupt with a sense of accord and prosperity. The layers of activity in this track is quite compelling as they seem to be out of sync, yet blend perfectly. “Shrouded In Leaves” has a dreamy ambience that creates an endless depth of space, while reverberated keys play a symphony of eccentric harmonies. At various times, a flute effect, takes the lead and produces a magnificent tone that takes this track to another level. “Take A Darker Path” begins with a field recording of someone walking down a rugged path while crunching leaves and breaking twigs create a temporary diversion for the traveler. While traveling on, the soundscape fades into a melancholic arrangement with elongated keys and unidentifiable sounds. “The Search For The Sun” is a tranquil offering with a standout strings arrangement and the whirling ambient textures in the background portray a dreamlike state. The title track, “A Forest Portal” is a devious introduction with war-like percussion, blaring synth chords, and subtle hints of alluring melody. The combination of these beguiling textures creates an ambience for woodland appreciation and an inspiration for natural serenity. A brief narrative instills life into this otherwise uncharted territory. “A Glimpse Of Light Through The Trees” is filled with gloomy acoustic passages and ethereal keys that harmonizes in luminous beauty. The synth leads are a throwback to classic synthwave tones and are an imperative part of the mix. “By A Moonlit Lake” continues with the same sentiments of the last track and has a retrospective feel that is haunting and colloquial. The final track on the album is the illuminating, “Morningtide”. Complete with background ambience that produces a trance-like space this song is equally consumed with an array of effects and synth leads. Although short and to the point, it provides an uplifting ending to an amazing album.

Sylvanum is definitely an artist to keep an eye out on and if future sojourns are like ‘A Forest Portal’, then sign me up for the journey. From whimsical to melodic and a plethora of emotional sections, this is an album you won’t soon forget. The stellar production is an added bonus, creating a spectacle of theatric beauty. Although this album has been out for a while, I can’t recommend this enough. Please show your support for this fascinating artist and download ‘A Forest Portal’ from the link below.

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Links:

https://sylvanum.bandcamp.com/album/a-forest-portal

Cementation Anxiety Discharges Industrialized Dynamism On The Austere ‘Prospects Of Dissolution’

By design, Dark Ambient represents a sort of frigid, ominous variance of meditative music. A genre that soothes the mind and haunts the soul, dismal drones and soundscapes empowers the listener to drift in (mostly) apocalyptic settings and advance on portentous endeavors in – what seems like – slow motion. However, not all sub-genres of Dark Ambient follow that narrative as industrialized ambience presents a bleak side of this obscurity, producing more of an angst-like approach to audible reasoning. One such artist that excels at this approach is Cementation Anxiety. On latest album, ‘Prospects Of Dissolution’, three long tracks create a particular madness that corrupts the soul with harsh tones and a maddening approach to perilous drones. Meant to be heard as a single instance of mayhem, this is nearly twenty four minutes of rigid ambience with an outcome of severe proportions.

Opening track, simply titled “I”, commences with a malevolent commotion, as if saying Welcome to the industrial wasteland, where pollution-heavy skies and abandoned factories set a desolate scene. Looping drone of mechanized strength don’t let up for over ten minutes, while viscous soundscapes bear down on the listener at full force. Random tones and samples create a menacing plot full of negativity and resilient evil. This song is like an endless maze of torment, creating suffrage through apprehension and dread. As the track increases its modulating output, it morphs into the second track “II” rather than drifting off into obscurity. Pressurized drones reek havoc on the senses as the unknown lurks around every corner. Not knowing what to expect, tensions increase while assorted soundscapes and tones seem slightly buried in the mix before slowly ascending into audial darkness. The main drone accelerates with unabridged rancor, dragging the lister further into the abyss of uncharted terror. Just as the maniacal endeavor seems to be at its peak, it partly abolishes some of the harshness before leading into the third and final track, “III”. This final plight of audial terror presents over eight minutes of minimalistic modulations that act as a rigid recovery of the previous tracks as the deafening chaos suggests that there is no escape from the impending doom that awaits. The final few minutes dies down into a less modulated drone with reverberated soundscapes that drift in the background. This shows the collapse of civilization and ruins the chance of any return to a stable environment.

Cementation Anxiety produces top notch industrialized ambience and excels at telling a darkened stories of futuristic worlds and unexplored settings of demise. Although ‘Prospects Of Dissolution’ is an entertaining and important recording for the genre, I truly wish that this album was about an hour long. It’s so easy to get lost in the discord, but as soon as you do it seems like it’s over not soon after it begins. I highly recommend checking out this album, especially if the harsher side of Dark Ambient is your thing. Please click on the link below and support this exceptional artist.

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://cementationanxiety.bandcamp.com/album/prospects-of-dissolution

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

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

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

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

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

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

https://thyark.bandcamp.com/releases

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

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

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

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

~ Volkh ~

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links:

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

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

Not Dungeon Synth Nor Dark Ambient But…Fifteen Albums From 2021 That (for me) Transcended Greatness!!

Although The Dungeon In Deep Space is primarily focused on Dark Ambient and Dungeon Synth, I take great pride in the fact that my love for music has no borders. I’m a life-long metal fanatic but there are so many more genres that I love and respect. Here are some of my favorite albums of 2021 and I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

1. Spiritbox – Eternal Blue

https://spiritboxofficial.bandcamp.com

A lot of hype surrounded the release of Spiritbox’s debut album ‘Eternal Blue’. Prior to its release, quite a few video singles were released that catapulted the band into a much bigger realm. Was the album worth the wait? Absolutely!! With an impeccable blend of djent metal and commercial anthems with a slight pop vibe, the album lived up to the hype and much more. Soaring vocals, masterful instrumentation and top notch songwriting make this one of my favorite albums of 2021. Best of all, there was a cassette release as well!

2. Atomic Skunk – Wisdom Of The Sun

https://atomicskunk.bandcamp.com/album/wisdom-of-the-sun

I’ve been a huge fan of Atomic Skunk since 2009 and it’s the blend of light ambient, World music influences and a plethora of soundscapes & field recordings that make this style so unique. After an 8 year hiatus, Atomic Skunk started releasing consistently great albums in 2019 and has been on a relentless escapade since then. This years ‘Wisdom Of The Sun’ has been one of my favorite electronic album of the year and I hope this pace continues for the foreseeable future.

3. Cannibal Corpse – Violence Unimagined

https://cannibalcorpse.bandcamp.com/album/violence-unimagined

Hands down, ‘Violence Unimagined’ is Cannibal Corpse’s best album since 2006’s ‘Kill’. I’m not sure if it’s the addition of Erik Rutan (who recently replaced Pat O’Brien) or the fact that their songwriting is getting better with age. Either way, this is a banger of an album from start to finish and it reiterates the fact that Old School Death Metal is alive and well…and here to stay.

4. Kowloon Walled City – Piecework

https://kowloonwalledcity.bandcamp.com/album/piecework

Kowloon Walled City excel at creating a lethargic brand of Post Punk. The songs are complacent, not overly aggressive and no other band does it quite like they do. As adroit songwriters, they are able to blend heavy music with scaled back distortion while maintaining a massive sound. ‘Piecework’ is one of their best albums and I still listen to it on a regular basis.

5. Cosmic Abyss – Midnight

https://cosmicabyss.bandcamp.com/album/midnight

Cosmic Abyss is one of the best DIY artists in existence right now. Producing an offshoot brand of Doom Metal with an alluring ambient vibe, this is obscure experimentation at its best. ‘Midnight’ is one of his best offerings thus far and sets a high bar for other artists that dabble in this style of music.

6. Dinosaur Jr – Sweep It Into Space

https://dinosaurjr.bandcamp.com/album/sweep-it-into-space

80’s alt-rock masters, Dinosaur Jr., continue to release their brand of pre (and post) grunge rock. Expect plenty of fuzzy guitar tones, laid back vocals and well executed songs that continue to impress from an aging band that doesn’t see an end in sight.

7. Human Figures – After An Ordeal

https://popnihil.bandcamp.com/album/after-an-ordeal

If you grew up in the 80’s and were exposed to the surge of dark wave and post pop and liked it, then look no further than Human Figures. Creating a resurgence of the aforementioned genres, Human Figures excels at recreating that retrospective vibe and the production value alone is the icing on the cake. ‘After An Ordeal’ is an EP’s worth of incredible tracks that are sure to impress the listener with its emotional output and captivating sound. Don’t sleep on this one!

8. Breather 1 – The Noodle Bar

https://breather1.bandcamp.com/album/the-noodle-bar

Breather 1 has the whole cyberpunk and synthwave vibe down pat. ‘The Noodle Bar’ is a massive conceptual album that takes the listener on a retrospective journey in a futuristic setting. Sit back, grab your favorite headphones and enjoy this staggering ride to an enchanted world that you won’t soon forget.

9. Friendly Donut Shop – Childish Footsteps

https://friendlydonutshop.bandcamp.com/album/childish-footprints

There is a reason that Comfy Synth is a thing. It was meant to be a peaceful approach to the easy listening of obscure music. Friendly Donut Shop takes that concept seriously and is one of the best in the business. Latest release, ‘Childish Footsteps’ has a soothing and warm feeling that will take the listener away from their worries and replace it with positive energy. Another amazing effort by Friendly Donut Shop and I hope more albums of this variety are on the way in the near future.

10. Primordial Serpent – The Winter Warrior

https://primordialserpent.bandcamp.com/album/the-winter-warrior

Upon initial listen I was blown away by ‘The Winter Warrior’. Primordial Serpent has a serious knack for writing aggressive tunes that conjure that primitive sound of early 90’s black metal. With a lo-fi production and contentious style, this is exactly what I want to hear when listening to barbaric black metal.

11. Phurpa – Hymns And Rituals Of Gyer

https://modernbon.bandcamp.com/album/hymns-and-rituals-of-gyer

Phurpa takes ceremonial chanting and Tibetan ritualistic vocalizations to the next level. For some, an acquired taste must be obtained before soaking in the deep value of a Phurpa recording or you may not be able to handle it. However, for others that like it, the output is extremely rewarding. ‘Hymns And Rituals Of Gyer’ is nearly three hours of extreme mediation through deep chants and throat singing. Ancient instrumentation are used to give this bleak occasion a setting of ritualistic darkness.

12. Mastodon – Hushed And Grim

https://www.mastodonrocks.com/?frontpage=true

Although Mastodon is not as heavy as they were when they first started out, for what they lack in the “heavy” department, they more than make up with superior songwriting. This mammoth two-album set of songs is some of their best – and most accessible – work to date. There are some heavy tracks on here as well as dark ballads and they are all amazing. What’s more impressive is the three-vocal attack that just keeps getting better.

13. Flotsam And Jetsam – Blood In The Water

https://www.flotstildeath.com/news/flotsam-and-jetsam-releases-title-track-brand-new-video-of-upcoming-album-blood-in-the-water/

80’s Thrash Metal pioneers Flotsam And Jetsam may not have a storied career like that of Metallica, Megadeth or Slayer, but you have to be impressed with their sticktoitiveness approach to releasing music. ‘Blood In The Water’ is their fourteenth full-length album and quite possibly their best to date. Every track is a banger and the vocals, music and production are the best they’ve ever been. Definitely check this one out if you’re into that classic Thrash Metal sound with a slight modern influence.

14. Converge & Chelsea Wolfe – Bloodmoon: I

https://convergecult.bandcamp.com/album/bloodmoon-i

I love collaboration albums and when I heard that Converge and Chelsea Wolfe were releasing an album together, I almost lost my mind. At first, I had no idea what to expect, especially since the styles of both artists are on the opposite end of the spectrum. However, the results is a clean mix of both artist with even distribution of styles and pristine song writing. I wish more artists would follow the lead of Converge and Chelsea Wolfe and push the envelope of fusing styles. This is amazing stuff.

15. Novemthree – Storms Of Memory

https://glassthroatrecordings.bandcamp.com/album/storms-of-memory

I’ve never been disappointed with any release from Glass Throat Recordings. With artists such as Blood Of The Black Owl, Moon Mourning Earth, and Cedar Dreamer, Glass Throat Recordings releases Nature-inspired Folk music with elements of acoustic passages, ambient, and impressive vocalizations. The addition of Novemthree is just a natural progression of the label and ‘Storms Of Memory’ is one of the finest albums to be released this year. Light vocals, dreamy instrumentation and the occasional percussion input are stand-out factors for this highly impressive album.

Top 10 Dark Ambient Releases Of 2021

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

10. Blackweald – 666 Minutes In Hell

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

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

9. Xerxes The Dark – Soundtrack To The Blind Owl

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

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

8. Dead Melodies – Fabled Machines Of Old

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

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

7. Mora-Tau – Wellcome Back, Nuclear Summer

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

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

6. Wampyric Solitude – Echoes Of Undying Darkness And Bloodshed

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

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

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

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

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

4. Sydalesis – Living Machine

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

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

3. Hilyard – Division Cycle

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

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

2. Delmak-O – The Colony

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

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

1. Sumatran Black – A Taxonomy Of Grief

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Beyond The Ghost – The Desolation Age

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

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

2. Max Corbacho – Nocturnes III

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

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

3. Kalte – Morphology

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

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

4. Uburgrund – Dionelos

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

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

5. Cities Last Broadcast – The Umbra Report

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

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

6. Dr0ne – Nimb

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

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

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

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

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

8. Alphaxone & Proto U – Back To Beyond

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

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

9. Bonzaii – Death In The Cities

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

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

10. European Drought – By Ways Of Winter Past

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

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

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Video Premiere Of Dmigor’s “Pathways Beyond The Hallowed Rift”

Malibu Psychic Laboratories presents the daunting short film of Dmigor’s “Pathways Beyond The Hallowed Rift”. Nearly nineteen minutes of ominous dungeon synth with the visuals to match. The lo-fi tones of this musical journey are set against a minimalistic environment of forestry, dark images, ritualistic manner and perilous characters that succeed at telling a voiceless story. Director Vilus Rilus did an excellent job at capturing the spirit of the music and conceptualizing the necessary visuals that do it justice. Check out the video below and enjoy!

Directed by Vilus Rilus. He had this to say about the Dmigor endeavor:

“The voyage with Dmigor has been a great one, indeed, both harrowing and marvelous. Upon my first listen, the vision for the film unfolded effortlessly and the portal to the Realm of One Million Veils had been opened, spewing forth the sights we share with you now.”

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Links:

https://linktr.ee/malibupsychiclaboratories

https://dmigor.bandcamp.com/releases