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

Caldon Glover Delivers A Ritualistic Incantation of Celestial Malevolence On ‘Death Mycelium’

Earlier this year, I reviewed an amazing album by Monstruwacan. It’s based on the sorrowful concept of grief and poverty and project mastermind, Caldon Glover excelled at creating a dismal state that listeners can dwell in and become at one with the music and theme. I wouldn’t necessarily call that album a side project, but it’s one that relates with the horrors of mankind and societal shortcomings. As for his main Dark Ambient project, Caldon Glover plunges into the very heart of mayhem and polarizing destruction with the harsh sounds of Indistrialized ambience and deep tonal modulations that produce a sinister atmosphere of gruesome discovery. On his latest album, ‘Death Mycelium’, he presents 5 tracks of violent commotion that weighs much more on the psyche than it does toward physical bloodshed. At almost an hour long, these songs send a pulverizing image of darkness and disturbing images by way of horrific drones and soundscapes. Let’s dive deeper into each of these tracks.

The ill-lighted album opener, “Gateway To The Fiber Network Deadworld”, begins with an isolated drone that sounds as if it’s drowning in frequency abandonment. Simplistic but relevant effects depict a scenery of obscure visuals and a dismal populace. As the mind starts to wander with a slow walk through destructive landscapes and architectural structures, soundscapes begin to build, increasingly becoming the dominate force in this song. Sounds of ghostly shrills begin to terrorize while hollow modulations multiple with a brutal sense of depth. It’s as if the clash between tangible disasters and deep space came to an infinite conclusion. “Sunk Into Thin Spaces” commences with several frightening tones, equaling that of the terrorizing music that plays in unison with a killing scene in a horror movie. Although a bit more minimalistic than the first track, it’s just as effective in creating a void that listeners can describe as they are falling endlessly into an abysmal pit. This song sounds like a nightmarish space disaster that has taken place far out of recollection of other beings. “Endless Worm” continues with the grimness but in a less chaotic way. Minimalist sound shift from hollow oscillations to desolate bitterness that seems perpetual. As this twelve minute song continues, deeper instances of continual drones push the boundaries of insanity. Although there is not much going on with regards to effects and soundscapes, there is something deeply disturbing with a track of this nature. Definitely one of my favorite songs on the album. Next up is “Broadcasting Calls Through Strange Winds”. The celestial launch of this intonation is like an unnatural velocity of force that is set to destroy all in its path. The deep bellows of synth pads create a reverberated sound much akin to our thoughts of what the frigid corners of the universe must sound like. At thirteen and a half minutes long, this is the second longest track on the album and is a tour de force of cosmic vacuums and the doomed pandemonium that is kept hidden within. The last four minutes is what nightmares are made out of, as if an unseeable force is pinning you down against your will and infiltrating your mind with terror and dread. The final – and longest – track on the album is, “Let Yourself Away From This Place.” At fourteen and a half minutes long, there is no denying that the bleak adventure that lay ahead will be lethargic and unbearable. Dreamy drones paint a picture of boundless turmoil and apathetic occurrences. The occasional use of percussion is a welcomed sound as it blends with the texture of the dreary soundscapes and ceaseless moments of tonal dissonance. Interestingly, the final few minutes depict a spot of hope, as warm drones enter the picture, shining a hint of light on the distant horizon. What a spectacular way to approach the final moments of this stunning album.

Caldon Glover has provided us with an array of Dark Ambient albums since 2018 and ‘Death Mycelium’ just may be his most challenging (and rewarding) album to date. There are no over-the-top cinematic tricks or indulgences, just bleak, atmospherics that takes the listener beyond imaginative realms. If you’re a fan of sinister and minimalistic Dark Ambient music, look no further than Caldon Glover. Click on the link below to download this amazing album, and check out the remainder of his discography while you’re there.

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Links:

https://caldonglover.bandcamp.com/album/death-mycelium

Serenity Flows Through Vast Medieval Fields On Ruins Of Xibalba’s ‘Gobeklitepe’

Ruins Of Xibalba, the soaring new project of Tir main man, is much more than a Dungeon Synth side project. It is an ambient adventure into outer realms, where cosmic soundscapes compliment daunting melodies and admirable song structures for an outcome of refreshing proportions. Bits of synthwave and cinematic arrangements elicit a high level release that eclipses the boundaries of many electronica genres. Mystical second album, ‘Gobeklitepe’ is an excursion through ancient mythos and compelling sacred cultures through 9 distinguished compositions that erupts in almost an hours worth of synth greatness.

Celestial album opener, “Sirius”, commences with a soothing drone that is reminiscent of gothic overtures from a classic, transcendent period. As altering tones shift like a slow flowing current of vast oceans, luminescent soundscapes and peaceful synths build a scene full of dreamy characters and endless landscapes. “Reverie” begins with a calming tone that creates a sense of relaxation and drifting timbres while utopian synth leads play somber intonations that pay homage to 80’s synthwave. Harrowing textures build into an austere arrangement that is addictive and completely mesmerizing. This is one of my favorite tracks on the album and one of the most played songs in my synth playlist. “Pedestal” is one of the shortest tracks on the album and has more of a traditional Dungeon Synth flare than the previous songs. Layers of synth leads build in crystal clear context and this beautiful little dirge is over just as it starts to create a dream state for the listener. “The Flame In The Temple” fires off on all cylinders as bombastic samples paint a picture of dread and anguish. As if a battle is looming near, this particular sound continues for a few minutes until a melodic chop begins to integrate, forming a massive sound of Medieval spirits. Alluring female vocals are added, sending this song to soaring heights and giving the listener a sensational overture of adventurous development. Additional spoken words enhance the terrain of musical endeavor, making this a supremely well rounded song. At just over ten minutes in length, “Prophesy” is the longest track on the album. Combining elements of synthwave and atmospheric effects, this song is a slow build into a captivating cinematic performance. Sonic drones and spacey keyboards fill the void as a wall of sound is created in hypnotic fashion. Representing the subtle changes that occur at dawn, “Prophesy” runs the gamut of sounds, from elongated and peaceful to melodic and grandiose. “Shaman Of The Welkin” is a change of pace, as a rhythmic drum beat leads the charge in this eerie dirge. Written in a very theatrical way, it features a gigantic orchestral sound that flows in a very emotional way. This track could very well be featured on a soundtrack of a fantasy/adventure-based movie. “Göbekli Tepe” is a whimsical outing featuring a quirky keyboard chop that plays in the background, while sounds of the orient take center stage with colorful effects and serene synth elements. “Eternal” is a daring, ambient adventure with a host of menacing soundscapes and effects. Immediately commencing with a sinister drone, mind-melding effects play sporadically, showcasing a sense of dread and endless agony. About halfway through this eight minute opus, fluid keys begin to play, opening the depth of this track like an endless black hole in deep space. It’s as if a constant storm reaping havoc on the mind and causing a depth of internal commotion. The final track on this spellbinding album is, “Reverie – Yetzer Remix Version”. For over seven minutes, we are treated to a masterful drone experience with minimalistic effects that bridge the gap of various electronic genres. With an anodyne of modulated tones, there are similarities to the original track but this remix version is a darker presentation of an already bleak performance that demands multiple listens.

This sophomore album by Ruins of Xibalba is an extremely fascinating affair and a one-of-a-kind experience. Overall, ‘Gobeklitepe’ is a consoling journey through time, space, the mind and any other relatable experience and certainly fulfills a particular destiny with thoughtful arrangements and mesmerizing cadence. Although this album was released last year, it’s still extremely relevant now and I highly recommend this for fans of ambient textures and the wonders of Medieval soundscapes. Please click on the link below to dive into this amazing adventure.

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Links:

https://ruinsofxibalba.bandcamp.com/album/gobeklitepe

Xerxes The Dark Employs Metal Aesthetics To Intensify The Industrial Ambient Experince On ‘The Rise Of AI’

Xerxes The Dark is one of the most consistent artists of the Dark Ambient genre. Not necessarily when it comes to the Dark Ambient sound in the traditional sense, but with the unheralded impression of incorporating new ideas and tactics that indicates an endless realm of musical opportunity. With a string of highly influential albums that thrusts the Dark Ambient maestro into elegiac territories such as industrial, noise, fusion and metal, ‘The Rise Of AI’ just may be his most enigmatic release yet. With a futuristic story and theme that is not so far off from reality, this album thins the comfort zone of ambient music with a thrust into chaotic bleakness. Think about the hostile take over of bio-engineered humanoids in ‘Blade Runner’ with the invasion of indestructible alien robotics of ‘Terminator’ and then mix it with the technological destruction of ‘Black Mirror’ and you’ll have a sense of what the flow of ‘The Rise Of AI’ is all about. Let’s take a dive into this amazing recording.

Bold album opener, “The Rise Of AI” makes a critical statement for the flow and direction of the album. Slowly building into an industrial nightmare, this track more resembles Godflesh than dark ambience. From the steady cadence of drum machines and solid bass lines to a variety of voice samples and guttural transmissions, this track properly prepares the listener for the destruction that will soon follow. The nightmare continues with “Nuclear Winter”. Starting with eerie drones and haunting whispers, it quickly turns into an emergent, industrial anthem with muddy and distorted vocals. Guitar tones hint on melody but that quickly fades into a realm of bleak discomfort. “Take (No) Shelters” emits more dark ambience than previous tracks and is accommodated by stark samples and mechanized soundscapes. More vocal narration are heavily modulated and are right inline with the horrowing story that continues to unravel. “Synthetic Consciousness” is a full on Dark Ambient endeavor with a Space Ambient vibe, complete with celestial soundscapes and dark timbre that rapidly expands beyond the outer reaches of the universe. Malevolent machine nuances continue the harsh undertones of robotic supremacy. “Cyborg Soldiers” embodies an industrial sound with looping noises and drum beats, while a gritty vocal line chants in disdain. “Signaling The Alien Machine” marks a return to the Dark Ambient domain with a plethora of discordant noises and background echoes. As the drones increase in volume, muffled communications depict a scenery of imminent hostility. This calm before the storm approach creates a sense of anxiety and wonder, while complete AI take over is close at hand. “Simulating The New World” is a cinematic adventure that combines a barrage of industrial beats, melodic arrangements and and glitchy rhythms that flow together seamlessly. Portions of this track stimulate a warm sensation, as if there are light moments amongst the chaos that appear to be fathomable. “Interpret X11-01-10” is a short track that depicts communicative transmissions between AI and distant worlds. Soothing drones in the background allow this effort to be audible but untranslatable, as the evil machines prepare their next move for impending takeover. “Domination Of Humanoids” begins like a sneak attack with small, subtle noises as if being surrounded by unidentified beings. With a slow crescendo, industrial drum beats and bilious vocals elicit a constructive output that wages the war between AI and mankind. Like a battle cry of the ages, this track becomes a statement of dominance and leads the mission of AI acquisition. “Accessing Cosmic Memory” is a desolate ambient track that contains wavering drones, empty soundscapes and a looping pattern that signifies a positive communication efforts between the AI and their end goal. This expressive intonation creates a cessation of offensive strikes while vast information is being absorbed for future use. “Meeting Space Tribes” once again delivers a stark vocal arrangement with looping, industrial passages, while layers of drones produce a grandiose sound. The vocals spew a ton of pain and anger throughout and combined with the music, present a chilling, glacial landscape. “Intergalactic Empire” showcases a new side of the story as well as a new sound for XTD. With a melodic approach to Sy-Fi soundscapes, this track is industrial, yet light-hearted and probably one of the most accessible songs on the album. Complete with drum beats, bass lines and samples, this style is a welcome addition to the album as a whole and actually fits in quite well. Next up is “Holographic Wormhole Drive”. Not only is this the coolest song title ever, it’s also the closest this album comes to the traditional XTD sound. This is Dark Ambient in its truest form, with deep drones, creepy soundscapes and an overall menacing essence. There are several pitch shifts in this track that enhance the listening entertainment value, as well as present multiple sides to this gloomy effort. The final track of this epic album is the summarizing, “Gateway To The Unknown”. This is another scorching Dark Ambient masterpiece that includes some insane trip-hop beats and intense soundscape and noises. This ends the album in dominating fashion, just as the AI has systematically overtaken human kind, in this bewildering conceptual masterpiece.

I continue to be amazed by the many faces and directions of XTD. It’s safe to say that I never have any idea of the direction of each album, but pursue in amazement at how impressive each outting is. Whether it’s the established arrangement of Dark Ambient mainstays, drudging Noise Ambient, Industrial Ambient, or a conglomeration of the aforementioned, rest assured that the entertaining value (and listening experience) will be extremely high. ‘The Rise Of AI’ is right up there with the best that XTD has to offer and I highly recommend this for those that love an eclectic blend of electronic music styles. Please click the link below to download this incredible album and also check out the XTD back catalog while you’re there.

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Links:

https://xerxesthedark.bandcamp.com/album/the-rise-of-a-i

Temple Of The Fractured Light Projects A Balance Of Psychedelic Fervor And Soothing Accents On ‘PSYOP Theory’

Since 2020, Temple Of The Fractured Light has gone above and beyond with their brand of psychedelic-infused Dungeon Synth music. Combining soothing anthems with whimsical instrumentation and vivid expression across five amazing albums, there is a sense of joyous wonder when experiencing these amazing recordings, especially since they get better and better with each new release. Last years ‘The Groovopolis’ A was met with high praise and amazement and it would be hard to imagine future recordings outshining this pentacle release. However, that has happened as ‘PSYOP Theory’ is an astounding effort into multicolored territories of consoling synth greatness. Six tracks and nearly thirty seven minutes of mind-bending synth compositions, this album contains a multitude of twists and turns and supremely weaves them into massive sounding arrangements so that audial transparency remains intact.

Tantalizing lead-off track “Circle Or Square::Black Or Grey” begins with a 70’s style synth effect, playing a catchy, melodic chop that is soon joined in unison with orchestral instrument sounds. With a very mellow vibe, this ghoulishly mixed track is a spectacular way to start off the album and sets a melancholic mood. Next, is the uptempo “Roswellian Waltzes”. A droning synth slowly crescendos just before a crashing symbol cascades into a histrionic percussive beat. Lush synth effects and mesmerizing echoing sounds maintain the psychedelic appeal while traditional Dungeon Synth melodies exude a tempting resonance. “Sacred Geometry And The Eye Of The Pyramid” is a hypnotic blend of clean synth arrangements and grandiose leads that are reminiscent of classic – and even gothic – intonations from 70’s and 80’s cinema. This is a very impressive track and one that I seem to return to the most often. Following this is a song of similar caliber, “That Which You Should Not Know”. Starting with a few single-note keys that are equally gloomy and ariose, this track maintains a serene prowess from start to finish. Even with additional synth leads that are slightly louder in the mix, this savory piece is a delicate treasure. “The Persuant Theories Of MK Ultra” is a proverbial nod to the illegal experimentation program designed by the CIA. However musically, whimsical keys and spacey synth effects are arranged in a slow looping pattern and become more mesmerizing with each passing. Sudden symbol crashes and sparse percussion add to the mystique of this track as it continues to build into a psychedelic frenzy all the while maintaining a beguiling Dungeon Synth essence. The final endeavor on the album is the alluring title track, “PSYOP Theory”. Beginning with beautifully modulated synths and charming leads, this inspiring track provides a haunting platform for a barrage of strange sounds and peculiar drum beats. I can imagine a group of travelers back in ancient times, escaping the grips of an invisible force while running through and endless, multi-colored forest. Eccentric and atypical, this is an intriguing piece and solid way to close out this magical album.

Another crowning achievement for Temple Of The Fractured Light, ‘PSYOP Theory’ is an exquisite addition to the Dungeon Synth community. From whimsical to battle-ready anthems, these tracks set a prescience for quality Dungeon Synth music while adding a stunning psychedelic aesthetic. In a category all of its own, ‘PSYOP Theory’ is an addictive listen and capable of cleansing the audial pallet for a new, fresh sound. Please click on the link below to support this exceptional artist and enjoy this amazing experience.

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Links:

https://distrokid.com/hyperfollow/templeofthefracturedlight/psyop-theory

Ager Sonus Takes Us On A Journey Through Ancient Civilizations On ‘Niflheim’

Over the years, the Cryo Chamber label has become my go-to label for top-quality, cinematic Dark Ambient music. Not only that, the label has introduced me to – what would become – some of my favorite artists of the genre. One of those artists is Ager Sonus. One thing that sets Ager Sonus apart is the inclusion of ancient mythological themes for each album and contrasting musical sounds that present a deep dive into the theme at hand. On latest album, ‘Niflheim’, Ager Sonus incorporates hoary deities and recollections similar to that of Norse mythology and civilizations. This alone creates a dynamic atmosphere that is supremely backed up theatrical ambient pieces, telling an age-old tale through superior musical expression.

Starting the album off in a tribalistic fashion is “Going North”. After a brief descent into dark modulations, a rhythmic beat begins and a variety of instrumentations treat us to a theatrical composition that depicts the beginnings of uncharted civilizations. Concluding with a jarring ambient section, this track sets a high mark for what will follow. “Murky Waters” introduces an array of field recordings and soundscapes that thwart this mystical journey into undiscovered realms. Synth leads create a chamber of wonder as it produces a visually bleak setting. Haunting vocal patterns and percussive moments broaden the scope of this intense recording. “Bonfire Stories” takes us back to ancient times of Viking warriors and the fight for land and heritage. This song creates such a magnificent image of natural landscapes and dark times of an age-old civilization with its pulsating beat and emotionally charged instrumentation. “Tundra” commences with a dark ambient vibe and slowly incorporates a mid-tempo, pulsating beat with Middle-Eastern influenced arrangements. I can imagine this song playing while venturing through a narrow alley with a multitude of people selling goods and pacing relentlessly as if there is no where in particular to visit. There is a sense of tense atmospherics as some sort of evil may be lurking around every corner. “Decay” has a beautiful new age vibe as a slower drum beat sets a steady cadence for alluring melodies and soundscapes. As crows let out harsh, modulated caws in the background, a sense of tranquility plays on through elegant tones. “Ghosts Of Battles Past” is one of the more darker tracks on the album, as bleak drones and sinister vocal patterns are featured. The flute-like leads produce a harrowing moment as serene charm and cold decay begin to fuse for a mesmerizing output. “Dreamland” continues the pace and aura of previous tracks with industrialized samples and a huge reverberated sound that produces a huge space for maximum audial control and imagination. Toward the middle of the track, an assembly of resonance – previously heard – slowly make their way into the mix and the outcome is simply amazing and addictive to listen to. This is without a doubt, one of my favorite tracks on the album. The final track, “Journey’s End”, supremely summarizes this spectacular album with evocative drones, natural field recordings and pounding beats that are more bombastic and destructive than they are rhythmic. However, it showcases the abrupt ending that was expected on this ancient expedition. The drones intensify and build in layers as this is probably the most traditional sounding Dark Ambient track on the album. Nevertheless, it’s such a soothing way to end an excursion that is full of triumphs, struggles and alluring engagement.

Ager Sonus never ceases to amaze me with his brand of cinematic Dark Ambient music. Whereas many of his albums are rooted and themed in existing ancient cultures, this album – in my opinion – is more inline with the beginning of times and how certain ancient cultures began. This is yet another amazing album from one of my favorite Cryo Chamber label artists and I highly recommend checking out ‘Niflheim’ if your itching for a wondrous audial adventure into ancient civilizations.

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Links:

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

Prepare For A Light-Hearted And Memorable Quest On ‘Journeys In The New North’ By The Wanderer

Music truly is a celebrated art form. When any type of craft can submerge your into another world by way of imaginative interpretations, I’d say there is a degree of success into what one has achieved. Specifically with music, it’s easy to drift into another world where uncommon realms of fascination take center stage. One such artist has has completed that feat, and then some. ‘Journeys In The New North’ by The Wanderer, checks all the blocks as a fantastical, Medieval endeavor, as it showcases a wonderful tale of adventure through a multitude of kingdom happenings. Wander with me beyond the keep as we break down each song on this meticulously crafted album.

“Dawn In The Forest” wastes no time in setting an insouciant mood, as dreamy melodies and crisp acoustic instrumentals merge with confidence and carefree essence. Birds chirping in the background, along with a few narrations gets the imagination flowing as this placid endeavor begins. “Mushroom Grove” layers whimsical refrain with soothing synth parts that open the path of adventure through a mystical forest for boundless quests. “March Of The Esserman” begins with a slow tempo before gradually expanding to a celebrated tune of gleeful energy. Fast-tempo percussive elements reinforce the amazing string effects that play in a capricious pattern of jovial proportions. “A Hillside Confrontation” brings a darker image to the album as war chants and pounding drums take center stage. Bolstering synths and haunting rhythms successfully create a battle-like anthem as the daring adventures continue. “An Unwelcome Valley Journey” commences with field recordings of horses and wagons as entrance into a new territory causes apprehension for the travelers. Alluring synths and symphonic arrangements fuse together in harmony and creates a theatrical anthem that is catchy and exciting. “The Grand City Of Dralden” showcases another dark arrangement filled with bellowing horns and powerful percussion parts. As anxiety fills the air, various sections in the track match the imaginative scenario with captivating leads and courageous horn effects. “The Loss Of Hope” begins with a bleak ambience and tribal-like percussive beats. When the instrumentation kicks in, it becomes apparent that this somber dirge is meant to represent some sort of loss. The flute sounds take center stage in this track with austere impulses of dread. By the end of the track, the music slowly fades into a hollow drone. “Alone And Forlorn” is a subdued offering that features a gloomy piano ballad that is soft, yet full of funereal characteristics. This is a masterful composition and one of my favorite songs on the album with a melody that won’t soon be forgotten. “The Escape” is a short track that wonderfully combines several stringed instruments that play a mesmerizing tune of various tempos and emotional stances. As the title suggests, it represents a break from captivity and a quick flee to the next daring quest. “Dance Of The Aldra” is another standout track as all of the instruments play in unison to a daring drum beat. Flute leads create a bold statement of victory and long-overdue celebration as the travelers dance to their freedom. “Moonlight Majesty” presents another mid-tempo dirge with frigid synth leads and layers of harmonious instrumentation that produces a hypnotic effect with its wall of sound production efforts and beguiling compositional strength. The final track on this audacious album is “Unknown Realms”. At just over seven minutes, it’s the longest song on the album. Combining the strengths of previous tracks it’s the perfect way to end this album. Full of melody, ambience, soundscapes and eccentric synths, you’ll not want this one to end, as it also completes the journey into the new north, where travelers hope to settle and create a easygoing life for those that venture beyond its keep.

The Wanderer has done an amazing job at creating the perfect soundtrack for an untold, transcendent adventure. Each track is different, yet flows transparently to the next with amazing tranquility. This album could truly be a soundtrack for a future fantasy film set back in the Medieval days. It’s so easy to imagine what all could happen inside of this forty six minute offering. ‘Journeys In The New North’ is a one of a kind album and I can’t recommend this enough for those that appreciate daring Dungeon Synth exploits. Please click the link below to download this incredible album!

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Links:

https://songsofthewanderer.bandcamp.com/album/journeys-in-the-new-north