Akashic Envoy Records Assembles An Immense Compilation For A Charitable Cause Called, ‘Apostils Against Hegemony, Vol. I: Transitive Properties’

I love compilation albums for several reasons. For one, they are usually extremely long and provide near endless amounts of entertainments. Secondly, it gives us listeners an opportunity to check out artists that we’ve never heard of before. Especially in this incessant sea of Bandcamp artists, it’s nearly impossible to catch every amazing artist that’s out there. Akashic Envoy Records recently summoned LBGTQAI+ artist from multiple genres to lend their amazing talents not only for this behemoth of a compilation, but also for a great cause. Akashic Envoy Records has decided to donate 100% of the sales of ‘Apostils Against Hegemony, Vol. I: Transitive Properties’ to The Trevor Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to the prevention of suicide amongst LBGTQAI+ youths. The fantastic music on this compilation range from dark pop, synth wave, death metal, black metal, dungeon synth & dark ambient. For my reviews, I typically provide a breakdown of each song on an album. However, due to the sheer size of this compilation, I’ve decided to pick ten of my favorite tracks and talk a little about those. That’s not to say the rest of this album isn’t worthy, because that’s not the case. This is one of the most interesting and entertaining compilations I’ve heard in a really long time. However, If I were to write about each track, it would take you an hour to get through this review. That being said, let’s get started!

“Dew Tipped Grass Along The River Banks” by Bowels Of Eternity is a theatrical adventure with massive dungeon synth undertones. Dark ambient like drones and atmospherics, complimented by eerie soundscapes and textures puts this track in a class all of its own. “Ghost” by Forbihavet is an unforgettable post-metal affair that will insert the listener into a fantastic, dark world where somber melodies slowly build like overflowing volcanic lava. The ethereal acoustic ambience floats endlessly like objects in the vast universe. However, as the instruments become louder, the mood becomes more dense. The elongated buildup leads to an emotional and climactic ending that is heavy and energetic. “Her Stillborn Body” by Putrescine is a brutal, death metal affair with old-school 90’s style production. The high-pitched screechy vocals take turns decimating the ear drums with low end gutteral growls. The music is ferocious without being over the top and the amazing guitar solo is a welcoming sound – especially since a lot of bands turn a blind eye on solos anymore. “Ancestral Magick” by Mutable Body is a really cool synth track that builds slowly, layer by layer, until a full on melodic assault takes the listener into a dark world of fantasy and fiction. There are plenty of otherworldly effects and smooth droning to boast a huge sound, but the real treat here is the keyboard arrangement that remains constant throughout most of the track. I could listen to this stuff all day long and never get tired of it. “Evocation I” by Guan Yin, is an eerie track full of samples, soundscapes and gruesome vocal effects that will keep you on the edge of your seat. I sense a ritualistic theme to this track and as it proceeds, the listener is subjected to cultural beauties and horrors that may not be fathomable by some. Listening to this track is a very rewarding experience, as it’s so different, yet fits right in. “The Void, Transmuted” by Blood And Dust is one of my favorite tracks on this compilation as it mixes the aggression of synth wave and the deep droning sounds of dark ambient music. It slowly builds out of a simple drone, layered soundscapes and simple narrations, then mutates into a multi-layered synth wave track as if the climactic ending of an 80’s horror movie is coming to an end. “His Words Are A Void” by Vulgarite is a blackened doom metal track with a great main riff that is layered to have a slight echo sound. Although the vocals are typical of a harsh black metal style, the music has a bit of a post-metal influence, so all of this combined makes for a stunning track that will embed the listener into a trance-like state. “Six Of Swords” by Jenn Taiga is a progressive synth masterpiece. This track is a mix of something you would hear from the Stranger Things soundtrack, 70’s style fusion progressive rock, as well as the instrumentation from the Swedish band Anekdoten. Jenn Taiga is something special, as it takes an extraordinary ear for music to write a track like this, with such passion and restraint. “The Worm/The Wretch” by Age Decay is one of the most unique tracks that I’ve ever heard. It has a good mix of singer/songwriter, metal, clean & harsh vocals and masterful songwriting. If I had to sum up Age Decay in a few words, I would say it’s a metal version of The Swans – which is a huge compliment. This eleven and a half minute track flows between soft acoustic parts and bombastic metal parts, with all around great vocals. Finally, “Wealth Beyond Measure” by Mausoleum Wanderer is a dungeon synth track that tells a voiceless narrative in the most legendary way. Pulling no punches, Mausoleum Wanderer brings his “A” games in a cinematic score-like anthem that soars high above many tracks of this nature. Beautifully produced and with a clear and crisp sound, this track is a very mature step for Mausoleum Wanderer and I’m looking forward to many more tracks like this from him.

Aside from the ten tracks that I just wrote about, this is an overall extremely impressive album and Akashic Envoy Records couldn’t have done a better job assembling a group of top-notch artists with great talent in a wide-array of genres. It’s not often that you get to hear a compilation of this nature that contains all of your favorite genres of music. At just over three hours of playing time, there is plenty of music to explore on here and I’m sure there are some artists on here waiting for you to discover their awesome music. Since this all for a good cause – supporting The Trevor Project – I highly recommend you clicking on the link and supporting this magnificent compilation album!

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Links:

https://akashicenvoy.bandcamp.com/album/apostils-against-hegemony-vol-i-transitive-properties

Boschivo Form Anomalous Compositions On The Outlandishly Diverse ‘Bardo Dell’Autodistruzione’ Offering

Now it’s time for something a little different. And when I say different, I mean a cacophony of obscure musical genres ranging from Dark Ambient, experimental, noise, dark folk, and any twisted ritualistic audio terror that you may not think of, to form an integrated euphonious choir of melody. Welcome to the distinct world of Boschivo, where anything goes and there are no borders for harmonic tastes. On ‘Bardo Dell’Autodistruzione’, elemental bizarreness is pushed to the limits as magnetic drones are accompanied by acoustic guitar, clean & harsh vocals, various synths & pads, and an array of styles to keep things interesting from song to song. Although this may be a challenging listen for some, it’s without a doubt, a rewarding experience for most others. Let’s dive right in.

“Pozzoscuro” starts with a single droning sound and some ceremonial overtones before a grim acoustic guitar riff takes over. Priest-like chanting accompanied by some eerie background noises blend well with the music. Soon the chanting is replaced by distant sounding vocals, but just for a few bars. The track ends with multiple guitar effects playing altering notes. “La Dania Perversa Delle Falene” is all over the place as it begins with cathedral-style organs and strange vocal effects before giving way to a deep guitar and bass riff that is played over a narration. Soon, that is followed by some harsh vocals while the guitar tone becomes more distorted. About halfway through the track, sampled effects and whispers mesmerize the listener before a frightening organ sound once again infiltrates the airwaves. Like a disharmonic orchestra, this part of the track is like listening to the dead come back to life. “Il Rituale Delle Mosche” features dissonant guitar riffing and haunting narrations, as well as industrial ambient noises. Additionally, soothing guitar riffs and clean vocals come from out of nowhere, almost seemingly out of place but fitting right in at the same time. “Essenza Di Te” continues with the clean vocals, but the guitar riffs are played on on an instrument that seems out of tune. Interestingly, it sounds rather awesome – especially for this album, and I wouldn’t expect to hear anything less. This track also features a great bass line as well – that is played in tune. “Distorta Luna Sterile” is a dark folk track with some excellent droning going on in the background, as well as some creepy sound effects. “Venere D’avorio” has a dark pop vibe to it, albeit with a very discordant sound effect in the foreground. The vocals are very clear on this track but there are echo effects in use to give it a grim feeling. “Quando La Morte Verra’” is a beautiful, dark acoustic passage with whispering narrations and deep droning in the background. Although this is a short and simple piece, it’s one of my favorites on the album. The final track on this underrated masterpiece is the title track, “Bardo Dell’Autodistruzione”. At almost eighteen minutes in length, it’s the longest track in the album and definitely shows what Boschivo is all about. Starting with background drones, ringing bells and simple percussions, other samples and effects are thrown in along the way, including deep, death metal like growls. As these heinous growls continue, church organs begin to play, adding another element of surprise to the album. Eventually, multiple loud bells begin to ring at different tone levels for a divergent sound mix.

Boschivo is an interesting artist that knows no boundaries. Combining all sorts of obscurities to produce a compelling musical experience, this album demands your full attention – and multiple listens – to really appreciate the value of the art for which it provides. ‘Bardo Dell’Autodistruzione’ is an addictive album that doesn’t reside in a particular genre, however it belongs everywhere. If you have an open mind for challenging, but rewarding music, look no further than Boschivo. The album is available for FREE DOWNLOAD from the link below, so check it out.

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Links:

https://totenschwan.bandcamp.com/album/tsr-112-bardo-dellautodistruzione

Empty Chalice Ignite Cold And Repressed Auditory Visions On ‘Mother Destruction’

One of the missions of Dark Ambient is to instill otherworldly emotions and senses in order to expand the horizons of the conscious mind. If you allow your psyche to open up to the music, the reward can often be rewarding. Whether the listener is seeking solitude, darkness, horror, a deep space adventure, or just an escape from reality, no other genre of music will capture that experience quite like Dark Ambient. Empty Chalice excels are doing just that, as their brand of Dark Ambient is a culmination of ritualistic ambience, terrifying field recordings, grim sequences and sampling, as well as vocal narrations. All of these combined create the malevolent recording known as ‘Mother Destruction’. At just over fifty one minutes long, these five tracks of neural dread, will anesthetize the senses and draw the listener into a hollow realm of consternation as they try to find the exit back to a normal reality.

Prominent album opener, “Unholy Light”, penetrates the ear canals with jarring synth pads and frequent cymbal crashes as a bombinate drone sound breaks through and add a depressive dynamic to the track. Moments of eerie near-silence pull the listener down even further before more deep drones start to rumble again. Various instruments add brief moments of angst, but this track halts on a grim & long silent ending. “Treblinka’s Snow” begins with a calming drone with dreamy instrumentation heard in the distance. Soon, beautiful female narrations add to the story, and it creates a numbing effect with its soothing structure and pacing. Scattered samples are amply placed throughout the narration, followed by a harsher droning sequence. “Qva Resvrget Ex Favilla” is a downright sinister track, as it features black metal vocal style narrations, as well as clean, operatic singing. At around the seven minute mark, the track begins to morph into more of an industrial ambient piece, with screechy drones and piercing synth pads. The near fourteen minute long “Rest In Pain” begins with inaudible narrations that have a echo effect on them. Combined with some high-pitched drones, and melodic sequences playing in the background, this track is a slow builder but very rewarding in the ends. At around the three and a half minute mark, a mid-paced drum beat enters the picture as the melody of this song becomes more prevalent. Even after the drums fade away, the melody continues to play on for a few minutes and then too it fades into the hisses of the synth sequences. The final track on the album, “Mother Destruction” begins with haunting tape loops, obscure samples and alluring synths slowly fade in. As the drones grow louder and harsher, the tone of the track becomes more evil sounding and bleak samples can be heard throughout. The final couple minutes of this song is a slow burn into obscurity as all of the noises gradually seize to exist.

Empty Chalice takes the listener to a cold and empty world, where escaping becomes the nightmare. Over the course of fifty one minutes, ‘Mother Destruction’ creates atmospheres that are both serene and nefarious. Featuring various vocal and narration styles, as well as elements of percussion and sampling, this is a very diverse and musically versatile album. I highly recommend this if you’re into the more obscure styled Dark Ambient recordings. Show your support for this amazing artist by clicking on the link below.

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Links:

https://emptychalice.bandcamp.com/album/mother-destruction

Two Obscure – Yet Groundbreaking – Genres Collide On The Unfathomable ‘Crypt Hop Compilations I’

Who would have ever thought that two musical genres at the farthest ends of the sonic spectrum could provide so much listening pleasure when combined? Well, quite a few obviously, because it’s definitely a thing. Crypt Hop was born out of the enigma known as Dungeon Synth and the ambiguities of Memphis style hip hop from the early 90’s. If you’ve not heard artist from that genre such as Manson Family, Gangsta Pat and Three 6 Mafia (among others), you’re missing out on some of the early, most innovative artists from the Memphis Horrorcore genre. If you strip away the gangsta rap, hip hop beats and underlying samples, you’ll actually hear an early 90’s rendition of Dungeon Synth, that typically features lo-fi production and the structural hissing of vinyl and cassette tapes. Fast forward to 2020 and we have the Dungeon Synth-led ‘Crypt Hop Compilations I’, which features thirteen daring tracks from various artist that intend to leave their mark not only in the Dungeon, but also in the Crypt!

The track that begins this morose phenomenon is “Poltergeist Manifestation At Midnight Cemetery” by Kravtun. Ghastly lo-fi synths compete against background static before a stunning hip hop beat immerses to synchronize everything. A swift breakdown in the middle with layered synths before the massive beats and bass tone reignites to finish out the track. “Astrals” by Leneaux has the warm sounds of fantasy synth that is soon accompanied by smooth drum & bass with a constant clap track. The background organ tones throughout add a nice texture to the track. “The Horla” by The Spirit Of Luvenium begins with a traditional Dungeon Synth sound then is bombastically merged with a mid-paced trap beat that is right on point. “Unterwelt Pt. 1” by Orcaluv is more of a hip hop track, as it features some grime style rap but the music is undeniably cemented in Dungeon Synth. “Tenebris Et Spiritus” by Lurk starts with droning synth notes that tip the creepiness scale. Barbaric percussions are interlaced to give a big, theatrical sound as layers of instrumentation continue to build. As soon as it reaches that “wait for it” moment, narrative samples take over, leading the anticipation, then it happens – slow, doom-like hip hop beats explode onto the track for the final minute. “Towers Of Time” by Moon Druid is truly unique in that it features an early 80’s style hip hop beat and clean sounding synth tone. Soon in, it changes to a more modern sound with a lush atmosphere. The track then morphs back into its original beat to close out the track. “On The Darkest Occurrence That Has Ever Happened By Right Of My Own Hand” by Pharanick is a straight up horrorcore rap track with eerie backing music and with medieval rapping about wizards and daggers, what can go wrong? “Windy Night (Crypt Hop Remix)” by Francis Robert is another superb fantasy/forest synth-based track with manic hip hop beats and throbbing bass lines. “From The Ashes Of Bael’s Kingdom” by Erythrite Throne is my favorite on this compilation. The multi-layered synth work is amazing and the quality Of Dungeon Synth in this one track is unmatched. Not only is the production spot-on, but the beats are amazing as they consistently ebb and flow with the tempo change of the music. “His Crimes Against The Realm” by Poodle Knight is another amazing track as it has multiple genre influences. Not only hip hop and Dungeon Synth, but I also hear influences of early synthwave on this track and it fits in perfectly. “Skull Bong” by Resinator begins with ambient undertones, Tibetan bowl sounds, and narrative samples before introducing a dark dub beat and discordant sound effects that are reminiscent of early-90’s pioneering electronic experimental artist, Scorn. “Noblesnatch” by Were-Panther is one of the most unique tracks on this compilation as it features medieval times centered rapping, 8-bit sound effects, chorus breakdowns, and a whirlwind of strange instruments. However, as weird as it is, it’s also a highly addictive listen and probably my second favorite track on the album. The final track, “Belabored With Mysteries” by DJ 行者, is a three and a half minute trip hop, psychedelic adventure that properly closes out this astonishing compilation.

What more is there to say? This compilation album is pure fire! The artists selected for this project have a gift for fusing two seemingly incompatible genres of music and making it sound like a band of gangsta’s should be raiding a castle with 9mm’s instead of swords. At any rate, this compilation is an incredible body of work in which these artists should all be proud to be a part of. If this is any indication of what’s to come, then I can’t wait for what the future has in store for Crypt Hop! Show your support for these artists and download this album from the link below.

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Links:

https://crypthopcompilations.bandcamp.com/releases

Audioalias Fuse Elements Of Downtempo and Drum & Bass To Form Mystifying Electronic Ambience On The Intelligent Offering, ‘Birds Of Prey’ EP

The atmospheric sounds of ambient music is a transcendent phenomenon. Although it doesn’t (normally) contain a rhythmic beat or percussive pattern, this mainly texturally layered music is mixed with soundscapes and the occasional field recording to produced an empowered and emotional music brand that is very addictive. However, due to the open-ended realm of the song compositions, it leaves a lot of room for experimentation and genre mixing. That being said, what do you get when you take the rooted consistency of ambient and combine it with the smooth vibes of downtempo and drum & bass music? You get the supreme recordings of Audioalias, the experimental electronic project from Melbourne, Australia, and on ‘Birds Of Prey’, you get four songs of magnificent electronic culture that combines the dreamy elements of ambient & soundscapes with the upbeat and rhythmic pulses of downtempo music.

To get things started on this EP, “Awkward Serenity” fades in with a looped drum beat and low end bass lines. Simple but effective digital piano arrangements can be heard providing a melodic balance. Additional sounds and keyboard effects augments random spots throughout, creating a spacious groove. The title track, “Birds Of Prey” begins with a haunting keyboard segment that loops, providing a cadence for the harrowing bass and beat to catch up with. Once all in sync, this fluid jam lay ground to additional sounds, tones and catchy vocal lines. Just as your mind and soul start to sink into the music hysteria, it fades out to the end of the track. “Port Park” has moments of darkwave and synthwave, showing versatility and the willingness to cross additional musical paths. Aside from a couple of spots of spoken word samples, there is a lot of looping elements to this track with some beautiful mixing moments. This one is probably my favorite song on the album. The final track, “Waiting For You” contains the most ambience as well as some killer vocal effects. This track is a slow builder, as it layers instrumentations and sounds practically one at a time until there is a conglomerate of musical ideas going on that form a chilling and climactic ending. This really gives me something to look forward to with future releases from Audioalias.

I really like the direction that Audioalias is going with electronic experimentation. Having the ability to combine elements from multiple genres of music takes talent and skill and there is no doubt that Audioalias has both. Audioalias also recently conducted an interview with Emanate Community, where he discussed his inspirations, collaborations and recording gear. I’ve included that interview link below so please check it out as it’s a wonderful read! In the meantime, you can check out ‘Birds Of Prey’ by clicking on the Bandcamp link below.

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Links:

https://audioalias1.bandcamp.com/album/birds-of-prey

Audioalias Interview With Emanate:

View at Medium.com