Mombi Yuleman’s Menagerie Of Soundscapes And Drones Unify As A Single, Unyielding Entity on ‘Wendigo’

Throughout history, mankind has been obsessed with folklore of the unknown, tales of the bizarre and unexplained and just about anything in between that will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Although there have been many traditional mythical legends passed down through the generations, a new genesis of strange & horrific tales are told through creepypastas – short stories meant to frighten readers – as the new means of malevolent storytelling delivery. Whether this form of scare tactic is transmitted via short-story, film, television, or on the Internet, the audience is in for a quick burst of grim tales that will leave a lasting appalling sensation. However, what if another means of conveyance was through the daunting sounds of Dark Ambient music with masterful soundscapes and subdued drones? The always impressive Mombi Yuleman presents his brooding new evil anecdote, ‘Wendigo’, a masterclass in electronic music that extends four exciting drones in a disturbing adventure and sends the listener on a daring journey full of haunts and paralyzing fear.

At just over fifteen minutes in length, “Possession” quickly sets the mood with a dismal and perpetual drone that gradually builds in volume, while including haunting synth effects and ghostly modulations. Giving the listener time to imagine their own frightening scenario, faint soundscapes are introduced to solidify the effect of this nightmare. However, close to the halfway mark, discordant keys and beautiful synth tones add a sense of melody to the track, taking it in a different direction. Various animal sounds are made know, followed by strong, manipulative drum beats, as if a climactic escape is close at hand. Suddenly, it all stops except for some layered, deep drones that are completely mesmerizing until the very end. “Fear” begins with polarizing drones that are sure to emit a sense of angst and despair. Several minutes in, there is a distant but muffled hammering sound, as if someone is trying to escape from an entrapment of sorts, brought forth by a lunatic on the loose. As the hammering sound stops, strident soundscapes prevail, sending the listener deeper into their evil dreams. Suddenly, the drones become louder and more sepulchral as if the nightmarish demise is close at hand. After a few minutes of this agonizing terror, it fades out into the sound of someone hesitantly breathing, the true-tale sign of being afraid of being caught. Only accompanied by random discordant noises, this is audio terror at its maximum. “Acceptance” is the longest track on the album, clocking in at just over sixteen minutes. However, as you close your eyes and release your mind to this nefarious expedition, it doesn’t quite seem that long. However, you’ll not be the same afterwards. Lengthy drones that resemble more of a space ambient tone will have the listener feeling as if they are lost in deep space, sucked up into a black hole and whisked away into the far reaches of the universe, never to have communication or contact with other humans ever again. However, there will be others! The ominous sound effects at around the six and a half minute mark are a bleak resemblance of having contact with other life forms and as that sound continues to play out, it’s joined by low-end bass tones at around the eight and a half minute mark and simulates ACCEPTANCE of acknowledging other life forms. However, that doesn’t mean there is always peace between the species. At around the twelve and a half minute mark, the track takes a dark dive with buried drones and echoed sound effects that are extremely creepy. Thunderous bass sounds crash into the mix as if to destroy everything in its wake. What a fantastic song with a cinematic and climactic ending. The final track on this colossal album is “Feed”. Although it’s the shortest track on the album, it’s still a ten and a half minute hearty dose of disturbing Dark Ambience that will leave you in a puddle of sweat. Starting right away with a loud drone, soundscapes and field recordings, this piece wastes no time setting a frantic mood. All at once, pounding drums roll in like a violent storm and are ready to commence with all-out destruction. Although seeming random at first, they are set in a tribal like pattern and continue to grow strong and angry. Toward the end of the song, ancestral chanting joins the drums as if an ancient ceremony is about to take place. Swarms of flies buzz in all around, as if they’ve been summoned by this ceremonious ritual to finalize the devastating effects of their mission. Suddenly the flies disappear and the ritualistic music ends soon after, bringing this amazing album to a close.

This is the second Mombi Yuleman album that I’ve reviewed for my site and his music continues to astound me. The mystifying affect that I feel when listening to his albums lead my imagination to places that are unfathomable. ‘Wendigo’ is truly a magical experience and one of the most remarkable Dark Ambient albums I’ve heard in a while. I can not recommend this album enough and I also highly recommend checking out Mombi Yuleman’s impressive back catalog as well. Do yourself a favor and don’t go another day without listening to this album. Please support this amazing artist and download ‘Wendigo’ from the link below.

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Links:

https://mombiyuleman.bandcamp.com/album/wendigo

Neraterræ Once Again Collaborates With Superior Dark Ambient Composers To Conceive The Ghastly ‘Scenes From The Sublime’

Last year, Neraterræ and his team of brilliant contributors, rendered one of the most accomplished Dark Ambient recordings of the year with ‘The Substance Of Perception’. Amazed at the depth and quality of that album, I immediately began to wonder how it would be topped. Fast forward to March of 2020, and the release of sophomore effort, ‘Scenes From The Sublime’, greeted us with a particular coldness that I could not wait to dive into. Although we see the synergetic return of the great Xerxes The Dark, Neraterræ hosts a new line up of willing collaborators to inflict a certain level of bleak disruption to your normal sense of mental prowess. At a hefty seventy two minutes long, these ten painting-inspired tracks of ominous drones, apocalyptic soundscapes and eerie, yet atmospheric arrangements will provide the listener with an out-of-body experience, as if succumbing to the participation of astral projection.

The aphotic journey begins with “The Last Abjurer (feat. Phelios)” | Inspired by Zdzislaw Beksinski’s AA72. The low-end synth effects fluctuate to unreachable depths as it paves the way for translucent drones and soundscapes, creating a paralyzing storm of audible penance – the genesis of the obscurity and depth perception that will follow for the remainder of the album. “Fate Unveiled (feat. Dødsmaskin)” | Inspired by Hieronymus Bosch’s Visions Of The Hearafter, opens with a thumping bass tonal sound, followed by ghastly howling winds and dim sound effects that will make your skin crawl. After a short breather that features some backward tracking samples, the heavy thumping bass sounds continue with accompanying distorted noises. “In Deafening Silence (feat. Phragments)” | Inspired by Ilja Yefimovich Repin’s Ivan The Terrible And His Son Ivan, starts with twisted synth tones then is systematically fused with an evil sounding drone, as if a sudden annihilation were about to commence. This is much like a calm-before-the-storm piece, as there are quick blasts of harsh tones in this otherwise placid offering. “Thou, Daemon (feat. vocals by Yann Hagimont from Cober Ord & George Zafiriadis from Martyria)” | Inspired by Francisco Goya’s The Exorcism, is definitely the most malevolent sounding track on the album, largely due to the fascinating guest vocal arrangements that span from soft narrations, screams & screeches, to resonating sinister chants and throat singing, that are clearly designed alter the mental purification process – whether for good or evil. The constant, profound drone allows the vocals to take center stage and complete the purging ritual process. “Passion Domain (feat. Mount Shrine)” | Inspired by Caspar David Friedrich’s Wanderer Above The Sea Of Fog, is the most meditative piece on the album and probably my favorite track. Beginning with hissing loops and subtle analog-sounding drones, this song has a very 80’s retro vibe to it. The perpetual drone is reminiscent of a spinning propeller of an airplane, as it’s flying high above the clouds at the crepuscule of night. Clocking in at just over ten and a half minutes, this is the longest track on the album but as you get mesmerized by its audible beauty, it somehow seems like it’s one of the shortest. “The Unfathomable Lives Again (feat. Xerxes The Dark & Cober Ord)” | Inspired by Johann Heinrich Füssli’s The Nightmare, features a surfeit of industrial influenced soundscapes, along with some creepy, inaudible whispers. Throughout this track, there is a lot of manic ideas with nefarious intentions and although this is the shortest track on the album, it’s just as nightmare inducing as the rest. I would be weary to close my eyes on this track, especially at night! “Doorway To The I (feat. Alphaxone)” | Inspired by Zdzislaw Beksinski’s AE78, is a Deep Space Ambient venture with warping synth effects and high-pitched keys that contrive a disturbing atmosphere. As if a cosmonaut were on a doomed mission, hearing abnormal sounds just before his demise, this track is providing us the same intense, discordant environment. “The Collapse Of Matter And Time” | Inspired by Salvador Dali’s The Disintegration Of The Persistence Of Memory, presents a somber atmosphere with its nominal synth tones and deathly drones. The ticking of the clock solidifies an anxious emotion as the mournful frequencies emitted may be a cause for distress. “Towards Oneiric Truths (feat. Leila Abdul-Rauf)” | Inspired by Arnold Böcklin’s Isle Of The Dead, is another enthralling piece that features clean piano chops and dreamy female vocals. Just as all of the pieces are coming together and you find yourself getting lost in the music, it all fades out into a field recording of water softly crashing on a seashore. The final track on the album, “Virtues Of The Dawn (feat. Shrine)” | Inspired by Joseph Mallord William Turner’s Light And Colour (Goethe’s Theory) • The Morning After The Deluge • Moses Writing The Book Of Genesis, is another long-form, hypnotizing track that is constructed for you to close your eye and get lost in its chaotic and alluring turbulence of creativity. Starting off soft and subtle, the intensity and melodic synth gradually increase over the next eight minutes. Although there are multiple layers of music happening here, the elegant keyboard create a certain harmony that is both dystopian-like and graceful. A perfect way to end such a miraculous album.

Neraterræ is the consummate producer of Dark Ambient music. Not only does he consistently gather top-notch musicians of the genre to collaborate on his stunning albums, but his musical vision is always running on all cylinders, allowing him to create massive audio adventures filled with emotion and mental stimulation. ‘Scenes From The Sublime’ is an exceptional musical journey that – in my opinion – surpasses the debut album. Neraterræ has upped the ante with this album and the songs are bolder, more emotive, and pull you in with ease. If you were a fan of ‘The Substance Of Perception’ the you’re going to love this one even more. Please show your support for Neraterræ and download this amazing album from the link below.

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://cycliclaw.bandcamp.com/album/scenes-from-the-sublime

Scott Lawlor’s Conceptual Dark Ambient Thriller, ‘But Everybody’s Gone, So I Will Never Know’, Is Not Far From Becoming Reality

Space exploration has to be one of the most daunting and exhaustive tasks ever faced by humans. From working in zero gravity, claustrophobic-like conditions, astronauts face many physical and mental constraints that only a few percent of the population are privileged to encounter. Other than a couple of audio and video transmissions, astronauts are segregated from all of society and communications with friends and loved ones are atypical. ‘But Everybody’s Gone, So I Will Never Know’, is a conceptual, dark ambient odyssey about a lone astronaut finishing up his mission on an orbiting space station before heading back to Earth. However, garbled transmissions over the airwaves have indicated the rise of a global pandemic, in which the Earth’s population is suddenly succumbing to a deadly virus. Although it’s too late to turn back now, voices across the airwaves are telling the astronaut not to return to Earth. This story tells of his harrowing adventure as he returns to the unknown.

“Pandemic Unfolding” begins with space station communication transmissions accompanied by eccentric samples and effects. As this coalescence of interstellar sounds begins to fade, deep drones and various news transmissions paint a vivid picture of what’s to come. The seriousness of the situation is evident as “Departure From Space Station Omega” blasts off with more compelling drones that sound abysmal and gravely hollow. Final audio transmissions can be heard as the astronaut prepares to depart for Earth on a doomed trajectory that is not yet known. Back on Earth, the pandemic is in full eruption as “Shelter In Place” is the order given to everyone in a last ditch effort to stop the spread of the rapidly expanding virus. Containing more ominous drones and narrative samples, this track is a vivid reminder of a stark reality that is a part of real-world current events in 2020. The minimalist approach makes this seem even more disturbing than usual. The near sixteen and a half minute long “Quarantined In Space” is one of the highlights of the album as the massive drone tone sounds as if the astronaut is orbiting the Earth, waiting for that final transmission from Mission Control, verifying that it’s safe to pierce the atmosphere and navigate to the landing zone. However, that authorization doesn’t take place and the astronaut feels as if this wasted time is like being quarantined in a void. Eerie voice narrations haunt the protagonist has he anticipates his own arrival back on planet Earth. About halfway through the track, the drones change in pitch, as if circumnavigating the globe has brought the astronaut back to sun lit conditions. Peculiar sound effects add a sense of terror to this track as this doomed mission keeps getting worse. Back on Earth, panic mode has set in as “World Closing Down” sets the scene for the new normal through the globe. From teleworking, lack of supplies, social distancing, permanently closed businesses, home-schooling and a disparity of local governments, the pandemic has taken over society and has set new standards. Minimal drones with bleak yet soothing tones incite peace and calmness, but the narrative samples provoke a sense of anxiety and panic. “Approaching A Condemned World” is full of garbled transmissions and placid drones that provides a safe path for the astronaut to finally come back home – so we think. Unsure if the transmissions are giving the authorization to return to Earth, the astronaut makes a command decision – based on his low return provisions – and starts the trajectory toward home. The albums title track, “But Everybody’s Gone, So I Will Never Know” features some manic narrations with the help of a miniport speech synthesizer. In the background, a thumping bass symbolizes an erratic heartbeat as the horrors unfold before the returning astronauts eyes. The albums final track, “Empty World” combines the menacing sound of a deep space drone and the peacefulness of piano keys. Un-acknowledged upon his return from Space, the astronaut departs his spacecraft and finds a world much different from the one he left behind. The piano melody in this track symbolizes the beginning of a state of depression that he starts to feel as he soon realizes that he stands alone in completing his mission. A very dark, but excellent way to end this amazing album.

Scott Lawlor is a jack-of-all-trades musician that excels with themed ambient releases. Whether it’s light ambient, dark ambient, noise, experimental, or piano improvisations, Scott puts his imagination to work in order to release some of the best ambient music around. ‘But Everybody’s Gone, So I Will Never Know’ is no exception, as it’s one of Scott’s darkest and most ambitious releases to date. Fans of space themed dark ambient will love this album and I can not recommend this one enough. Please show your support and download this grimly amazing album from the link below – and check out Scott’s massive back catalog while your at it.

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://scottlawlor.bandcamp.com/album/but-everybodys-gone-so-i-will-never-know

Dark Ambient & Dungeon Synth Recordings To Enthrall You During The Global Pandemic Continuation

Back in March, I published a playlist of Dark Ambient & Dungeon Synth recordings to help tide you over during the shelter-in-place order. Well – here we are – almost two months later and not much has changed, with the exception of a lot of great music being released. So, whether or not you’re still stuck at home, or have the ability to venture out, please enjoy this personal playlist of Dark Ambient and Dungeon Synth recordings that have been keeping me entertained lately! This is all great stuff so please support these artist and download an album or two!

Dark Ambient Playlist:

https://melanohelios.bandcamp.com/album/the-psychonaut
https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/eternal-drift
https://blackweald.bandcamp.com/album/leonov-2
https://noctilucant.bandcamp.com/album/the-autumnal-end-2
https://roberteggplant.bandcamp.com/album/earth-sinking-into-water

Dungeon Synth Playlist:

https://varkana.bandcamp.com/album/cosmic-terror
https://lordorots.bandcamp.com/album/latzineko-erresumaren-itzulera
https://namelessking.bandcamp.com/album/downfall-of-drangleic
https://wyrmlodge.bandcamp.com/album/the-short-but-touching-tale-of-slime-golem
https://serpentsswordrecords.bandcamp.com/album/perpetual-cruelty

Shelter-In-Place Dark Ambient & Dungeon Synth Playlist

We are living in dark times and whether we like it or not, we are witnessing a historical occasion that is effecting the whole world. Although many people still have to work, legions of the worlds population are under a strict shelter-in-place order. Not to make light of the situation, but what better time is there to check out some awesome artists that you may have never heard of before, or to revisit some newer albums that stand out amongst the others. These are some of my (current) favorite albums to listen to and I’m sharing them with you as a recommendation. Check out and support these amazing artists (and labels).

Recommended in Dark Ambient:

https://hiemalambient.bandcamp.com/album/vacant
https://scottlawlor.bandcamp.com/album/badseed
https://cycliclaw.bandcamp.com/album/the-outside
https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/shortwave-ruins
https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/dystopian-gate
https://cycliclaw.bandcamp.com/album/scenes-from-the-sublime

Recommended In Dungeon Synth (and beyond):

https://borg.bandcamp.com/album/woodland
https://serpentsswordrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-woods-of-galdura
https://crypthopcompilations.bandcamp.com/releases
https://jenntaiga.bandcamp.com/album/plight
https://coniferousmyst.bandcamp.com/album/queen-of-the-timberline-realms
https://criptadel.bandcamp.com/album/the-goblin-market

Eyre Transmissions IV: Interview with Visionary Dark Ambient Artist, Ruptured World

My love for the dark ambient genre goes back several decades. Although admittedly I started off as just a casual listener, I soon found a love for the eerie soundscapes & deep, ritualistic drones and the emotional state they put me in. Through the years, there have been many artists that have captivated me with their musical ventures, but one that stands out amongst my favorites is Ruptured World. Seamlessly combining dark ambient, piano sounds, and scripted narrations, Ruptured World emerges as a unique entity in a genre known mainly for its minimalism. Additionally, Ruptured World was one of the artists that inspired me to begin writing this blog and ‘Archeoplanetary’ became my very first review. I recently had an opportunity to interview Alistair Rennie – the artist behind Ruptured World – to find out the methods and inspirations behind his visionary craft.

1. First of all, thanks for the opportunity to conduct this interview. In 2019, you continued with the “Planetary” series and released the extremely impressive ‘Archeoplanetary’. Not only was it one of the first reviews for my site, it was also listed in my Dark Ambient Top 10 albums of last year. What what’s the writing/recording process like for this album? Do you have any plans to continue on with this series?

The process is one that starts off with a few nebulous ideas that begin to assume a more direct focus once the music and narrative elements start to form, and then it just starts to fall together and gather a momentum almost of its own.

Once the ideas begin to crystalize and take shape, I think that’s when I start to organise the music and spoken word narrative in more direct correlation with each other.

I never start with fully formulated ideas or a written narrative for the music to be written to. I find that too much planning in advance takes some of the excitement out of it. It’s a bit like getting spoilers before watching a film. So I try and leave room to allow for a certain degree of spontaneity. In saying that, once the first version of an album is done, I’ll go back over it making significant revisions and changes from start to finish. The idea or vision of the work gets clearer and more refined that way, until you have the completed work.

2. One thing that stands out for Ruptured World is the heavy use of commentary and spoken word. What influenced you to incorporate this into your brand of dark ambient?

It really comes from my activities as a writer. I write genre fiction (science fiction, horror and fantasy) and have a novel published and some short stories out there, mainly with US-based publishers and magazines. So it was very natural for me to create narratives that I could adapt to music through spoken word. Dark Ambient tends to be cinematic in terms of its characteristics, so it seemed a very obvious and quite normal thing to do.

3. Dr. Archibald Macrae is such a dignified and compelling character. What kind of research (if any) went into honing this character and his vast knowledge of archeology?

I have a good knowledge of ancient culture in Scotland, and, especially, the North of Scotland where I grew up. So I was able to feed a lot of that into the story through the character of Macrae. All of the places and some of the artefacts referred to in the album actually exist and serve as a basis for the fictional elements to be built on. These are places that I know intimately, some of them featuring also in my family history. So the knowledge mostly comes from lived experience and absorbing and learning over time rather than research. In saying that, I have studied aspects of the Picts at university, so there’s also some formal research that’s gone into it.

4. So, when you’ve created the albums of the “Planetary” series, do you write the music or narrations first?

I’ll start with the music but the narration starts to form alongside the music quite rapidly. It seems to happen as part of the same eruption of materials, overall, driven by the same impulse, both emerging simultaneously. I think there will be some music that has been created first, perhaps something that emerges from new material I’m working on, or something that rises out of periods of experimentation, that stands out and starts to go in a particular direction. And then the words and music will occur simultaneously. At a later point, I’ll start to do the vocal recordings and work on integrating those into the music using the appropriate sound design techniques.

5. I think I follow you on just about all of the major social media platforms and you seem to do a lot of field recordings. How important is this to your music?

This actually follows on nicely from the previous question. I’m now finding that field recordings have a much greater influence on how the music starts off and takes shape. It’s become one of the crucial elements of the music and is increasingly central to much of what I aim to do. In more recent stuff I’ve produced, I’ve aimed to capture the atmospheric detail of specific locations and to use this as the core sound around which to develop the music. I’ve also started making short video productions in which this music is featured, bringing everything together in one setting of audio-visual representation.

Field Recording Mission in New Aberdour, Scotland

6. Where are some of your favorite places to record sounds?

There are certain locations around the coastline of the Northeast of Scotland where there are all sorts of rock features, including wave cut platforms, sea stacks and sea caves, where I’ve started collecting some fantastic ocean sounds from fascinating acoustic settings. It’s a common subject matter in field recording but for a good reason. We never tire of hearing water and the sounds of the sea. The specific kinds of rock formations will present unique sounds and amplifications. The sea caves are my favourite, though. As you can imagine, the way the sounds of the sea resonate within these enclosed geological spaces is fascinating. And I’ll often create additional sounds and percussive sounds using whatever stones and aquatic vegetation presents itself within the caves.

I also like to go inland towards the mountainous areas, particularly in and around the Cairngorm mountains. The glens and hillsides present all sorts of interesting sounds to capture. There’s a lot of wildlife making some great noise. There are rivers and streams constantly flowing. The plant life makes an abundance of sounds you’d never imagine until you actually start listening through field recording.

It’s also a good idea to take things with you to record in the outdoor spaces. Instruments will always sound incredible when you play them outside. And so will playing a digital synth through a portable amp or speakers.

7. You also seem to have a high regard for the visual aspect to your work. Does this also influence the mood of your music?

I’d say it was the other way round, certainly where video is concerned. It’s more the case that the music influences and often shapes the editorial choices and stylistic tenor of the video-making.

8. Speaking of visual art, you have a keen eye for photography and videography. Do you do this as a hobby, or incorporate it into your business ventures?

With video, it’s more like an extension of the music, really, with a definite aim of making it part of the whole aesthetic. It’s something I’m working on more, now, and something I’ve had some formal training in, which always helps.

That’s not the case with photography, which is more of a supplementary activity, always good for putting online. In saying that, I have a friend (one of a few mysterious accomplices of Ruptured World!) who is a very fine photographer with a great knowledge and approach in what he does. Those really great photos you can see on my Instagram page, for example, are his. He did the photo for the cover of “Frontiers of Disorder” on the Ruptured World Bandcamp page.

The not so good photos, the ones taken on a cell phone and put through a filter, those are ones that I’ve taken. I try to take photographs of some of the places I go to for field recording or video footage trips, just to share for interest and fun. Fans of Dark Ambient are almost always people who have an interest in the natural world. So anything I can capture of any atmospheric or dramatic scenes, I’ll put it online in the hope it’s of interest.

9. Getting back to your music; What is your recording setup like? Do you use mainly VST’s, analog/digital equipment, analog instruments, or a combination of them all.

It’s a combination of different things—digital synths, a lot of sampling of sounds, voices and acoustic instruments, as well as objects. A lot of the piano sounds I’ll use are recorded live on a really nice Roland digital piano I’ve got. It can bring some really good room ambience, and sometimes the noise of the keys, that I really like, giving it a sort of haunted feel. Samples and sounds derived from field recordings, as well as voice samples, are things I use more and more. I have some percussion instruments, too. I’ll have some core sounds or samples that I tend to use regularly, but with lots of room for experimentation and trying out new things.

10. Other than your Ruptured World project, do you have any other main musical ventures?

Just Ruptured World! I did dabble with some horrorsynth stuff a while back, and it’s a type of music I enjoy. But it’s not where my interests lie, really.

11. I know that you recently contributed to the ‘Hastur’ Cryo Chamber collaboration album – which was phenomenal by the way. Have you been featured on any other collaboration projects?

Glad you enjoyed it! I haven’t yet featured on any other collaborations, but there may be a couple of things in the pipeline to look out for!

12. Do you have any recording plans for 2020?

Yes, I’ve actually got another “Planetary” album currently under production, so look out for that one. And I’m also working on music for video productions like the ones I’ve already produced and put on YouTube, with an aim to putting together an album at some time in the future. And there’s one or two top secret collaborations that may soon be underway. So a few things going on.

13. I really appreciate you taking the time to answer these questions. Do you have any final thought for anyone that may be reading this?

My pleasure. Thank you! I would just encourage people to keep listening, keep supporting the artists, and keep searching the skies for the gods of Dark Ambient, who must surely be out there, watching over us as we speak.

Links:

https://rupturedworld.bandcamp.com

http://alistairrennie.com

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

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

Harrogat Takes A Bold And Restrained Approach With Supremely Minimalistic Drones On ‘Pandemonium’

The term Pandemonium has several distinct meanings. The first definition that may come to mind is sheer and utter chaos, to the point where anarchy and uncivilized disorder can no longer be maintained or controlled. However, there is another meaning that is equally, if not more horrifying than the aforementioned. It is the habitat of a gathering of demons, simply known as hell. The characteristic for this definition is that the word Pandemonium is typically spelled out in all caps, is in the latest offering by Harrogat. ‘Pandemonium’ is a deep space, minimalistic narrative that will haunt you with its extended drones and creepy vibes. With a playing time of an hour and forty six minutes, this journey to hell will be a slow, agonizing descent, as Harrogat is determined to test sanity of all who are doomed

“Morning Star” is like the calm before the storm as the warm drones take you from a serene and peaceful existence into a realm of uncertainty. Like the dawn of a hazy sun on the distant horizon, this song gets brighter and continues to add more texture as it ebb and flows with soft velocity. The warmth ends there, however, as “Caronte” starts down the dark and grim path toward the evil destination. With field recordings that resemble the swaying and rocking of an old, wooden vessel, the drones in this track continue to build in layers, as if it is crossing the river Styx to deliver lost souls to the gate to the underworld. “Dite” continues to play on the psyche with eccentric pad effects on top of buried, rhythmic drones. During this twelve and a half minute bludgeoning affair, the tone stays constant for the most part but every so often, a frequency shift in the back end drones – which are barely audible at times – breath both life and death into this morbid manifestation. “Your Shadow, Your Name” features some towering soundscapes that provide an eerie depth to the overall theme for this album. Just like the deliverance of souls to the gates of Hades, this track signifies that there is no turning back and that the entrapped souls now belong to eternal abyss. “God’s Hypocrisy” uses broad soundscapes to set a true feeling of emptiness. It’s like a bleak space ambient tune set in a blackened void, where there is no sense of time or speed. “Evocation Of Lucifer” begins quiet and reserved but soon crescendos into an accelerated drone as if there is no inevitable way of escaping an anxiety-filled battle with faith. Random soundscapes in the background bridge the monotonous apex reached by the massively layered low-end noises. “The Death Of God” is a near twelve minute track of harrowing polar ambient sounds, set out to soothe the subconscious as the darkness prevails all around. There are several spots of inaudible spoken word recordings that are a cause for concern and angst. “The Shape” is a soundtrack-worthy ambient tune that provides a dark and emotional prelude to the massive ending for which is about to happen. The final track on the album, “Pandemonium” isn’t just the final stretch of the journey to hell, it is a colossal forty four and a half minute epidemic of dark ambient wizardry that sets the bar for long-play ambient tracks. Combining elements of dark, space and polar ambient, “Pandemonium” is a high-caliber dirge that is relentless from start to finish. The massive drone sounds escalate in volume, only to decrease – at times – to make way for other insanely penetrable commotions. At around the eight minute mark, the cacophonous space drones give way to a singular, grim polar ambient tone, deviating from an interstellar theme and bringing it back to and icy cold vibe. Incidental soundscapes push the boundaries of this section and give it a rather frightening foundation. At around the eighteen and a half minute mark, a barely audible deep frequency plagues the airwaves in a sense that it gives off an almost warping effect. It’s soon followed by added synthesizers, making it an absolutely gloomy section to fathom. At around the twenty nine minute mark, the reluctant droning tone is not as dark as usual but is in a subdued state, as if preparing the listener for a climactic ending. That’s exactly what the final four minutes of this track are, as luminous synths provide a final touch of melody and volume, like the souls finally reaching their gruesome destination of ‘Pandemonium’.

Harrogat has conceived quite an impressive album with ‘Pandemonium’. Not only does it take you on a spiritual, ritualistic and emotional journey, but there is enough depth to each track to provide a sense of realistic vision for the quest that is intended for the album. With each new album that is released, Harrogat’s exposure to the dark ambient elements become more impressive. This album is mind-blowing in the sense that it is nearly two hours long and the detail throughout doesn’t seem to repeat itself. Show your support for this exemplary artist and download ‘Pandemonium’ from the link below.

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Links:

https://lakelabel.bandcamp.com/album/pandemonium

Disen Gage Relinquish Orthodox Control On ‘Nature’, A Complex Adventure Of Psychedelic Infused Dark Ambience

For those of you that keep up with my blog must know by now that I have a particular formula for writing reviews and I rarely stray from that. I try my best to come up with a captivating headline that will grab the attention of the audience. Additionally, I write an introduction that relates the album (being reviewed) to a particular topic based on the imagination and emotions that are felt from the music, provide a detail of each track, and then close it with a final statement that summarizes all of the above. In most cases, my headlines come pretty naturally, but on Disen Gage’s tripped-out, experimental dark ambient outing called ‘Nature’, that wasn’t the case. Although this is quite the compelling album, I was almost at a loss for words when giving a quick synopsis of how to describe it. Then, after repeated listens, it hit me. This Russian duo goes above and beyond to eliminate the conventional means of producing dark ambient music by providing theme-based samples and soundscapes. The result is three tracks of nearly forty nine minutes of impulsive and experimental greatness.

“Planets” suddenly blazes through like a space craft coming out of warp speed, only to find itself in a harmful situation. As the space craft starts taking devastating hits from surrounding shrapnel, system alarms begin pulsating with anxious volumes as this song restlessly generates abrupt noises that match the situation. As this emergency condition draws to an end, the track eases into a hollow, deep space anthem that breeches the lines of industrial and black ambience. Horrifying sounds and effects throughout signify that danger isn’t over for this mission and the onboard systems aren’t under human control. Finally, toward the end, the madness winds down and deeps space ambience prevails. A strange song sample plays cautiously in the background as if it’s a long lost transmission that’s been accidentally intercepted. “Trains” is a dark and perplexing tune that features various train sound samples, arranged perfectly to create a particular despondency. The drones are creepy and sound as if they are long, drawn out screeches of locomotives trying to come to a sudden stop. As the train samples continue to make their presence felt in various ideas and speeds, one final pass of a lengthy caravan closes out this stunning and unique track. The final brilliant track is “Animals”, and if the bleak sounds of these oppressive drones don’t have you on edge, then how about the sixteen plus minutes of manipulated animal sounds. Twisted into bizarre tempos and speeds, this can seriously creep you out if not prepared for it. However, there is a massive amount of genius behind this idea and it works amazingly well for this track. The final few minutes include metal guitar riffs played with an echo effect and provides an off-the-wall psychedelic vibe to close out this extraordinary & unique song and album.

Disen Gage take musical experimentation to a whole new lever on ‘Nature’ by providing theme-based samples for each song that they go with. These three tracks travel through space, in rural city scapes and in natural habitats where animals are the alpha predators of the area. The substance of theses tracks is massive and the creativity is top notch. I will definitely be spending more time getting to know the music of Disen Gage. For those of you that are new to this artist and have a love for ambient and experimental music, don’t look past ‘Nature’, as this is an excellent starting point. I highly recommend checking out this album.

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Links:

https://disengage.bandcamp.com/album/nature

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

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

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

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

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Links:

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

Top 10 Dark Ambient Releases Of 2019

I’ve been a huge fan of dark ambient for quite some time now but this is the first time that I’ve had to put together a Top 10 list of my favorite albums of the year. If the truth were to be told, this could have easily been a Top 50 list as there were so many exceptional releases this year. Instead, I want to give props to the following 10 amazing albums that have impacted me in multiple ways. Although there were many more astonishing dark ambient albums that were released in 2019, these are the ones that (in my opinion) have set the standard for modern dark ambient.

10. God Body Disconnect – The Mist Between The Mirrors

https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/the-mist-between-mirrors

What a way to start this top 10 list. Right from the opening field recordings and narrative remarks, I knew instantly this was going to be one of my go-to dark ambient albums! Themed around emotional subjects such as disappointment & isolation, this recording is as therapeutic as it is relaxing.

9. Xerxes The Dark – Tower Of Silence

https://xerxesthedark.bandcamp.com/album/tower-of-silence

Xerxes The Dark is in my top 5 favorite dark ambient recording artists of all time, but XTD didn’t make my list based on a biased decision. ‘Tower Of Silence’ is simply XTD’s best release to date and one of my most listened to albums this year. Every track is haunting and addictive and will give you the feeling of being trapped in a post-apocalyptic industrial wasteland.

8. Melanohelios – VII: Warmth Within Endless Emptiness

https://melanohelios.bandcamp.com/album/vii-warmth-within-endless-emptiness

When it comes to space ambient, Melanohelios is one of the best in the business. On ‘VII: Warmth Within Endless Emptiness’, the drones are longer, chilling, and gives the sensation of relentless confinement on a doomed space mission. Seventy two minutes of vacuum filled incarceration will leave your senses void of all intelligible emotions.

7. Ruptured World – Archeoplanetary

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

I’m such a huge Ruptured World fan and the second album of the Planetary series, ‘Archeoplanetary’ is as good as they come. Whereas most Dark ambient recordings leave room for the listener to provide an imaginative scenario to match the music, Ruptured World prepare a captivating narration throughout the whole recording.

6. øjeRum – Without Blood The Sun Darkens

https://cycliclaw.bandcamp.com/album/without-blood-the-sun-darkens

‘Without Blood The Sun Darkens’ is one of the most haunting and mesmerizing dark ambient albums I’ve ever heard. Consisting of a single, fifty nine minute track of repetitive and impassioned synths and pads, this song is about reflection and memory. This is still one of my favorite meditative albums to listen to.

5. Winterblood – Finsternis

https://winterblood78.bandcamp.com/album/finsternis

‘Finsternis’ is a very enthralling and hypnotic work of art that will leave you in a trance-like state throughout the hour long recording. Winterblood is like a dark ambient accomplice to the black metal band Paysage D’hiver, as I receive the same type of ardent pleasure from both artists. This album is a MUST HAVE for any true fan of dark ambient.

4. Neraterræ – The Substance Of Perception

https://cycliclaw.bandcamp.com/album/the-substance-of-perception

Alessio Antoni has summoned an all-star line up for his debut project Neraterræ and the result is the impeccable recording, ‘The Substance Of Perception’. Each track is sonically different, yet they are produced as a seamless dark entity that is fathoms above most others. I cannot wait to hear more from this amazing project!

3. Ager Sonus – Mithra

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

‘Mithra’ is probably the most musically diverse album in my top 10. Taking us back to Ancient Rome, Ager Sonus uses subtle stringed instruments and grandiose drones to create a vision of enchantment and fascination. I still listen to this album on a weekly basis and although it was released in March, it continues to grab my attention with each and every listen.

2. Monocube – Substratum

https://cycliclaw.bandcamp.com/album/substratum

Monocube has to be the dark ambient sleeper artist of the year. With almost no attention drawn to this album prior to its release, I downloaded it solely based on the reputation of the Cyclic Law label lineup. One of the best decisions I made all year, as ‘Substratum’ is a mammoth of an album. The hollow – but frightening – drones will make you feel claustrophobic and uneasy and will leave you with a sense of uncontrollable anxiety. Although very minimal and austere, I tend to find new ambitious elements every time I listen to it.

1. Metatron Omega – Evangelikon

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

Metatron Omega is another one of my favorite dark ambient artists and anytime there is a new release available, it’s an instant purchase from me. ‘Evangelikon’ is a mastercraft in ritualistic dark ambient music with beautiful Gregorian-style chanting and unnerving drones. I listen to this album continually and it’s without a doubt my favorite dark ambient album of the year.