Eyre Transmissions III: Interview With Ambient/Winter Synth Artist, Winterblood

Every once in a while, an artist comes along and consistently produces albums that immediately grab your attention from the very first note and captivates you until they fade off into the cold silence. For me, Winterblood is one of those artists and from the very first time I heard the album ‘Waldeinsamkeit I-III’, I knew I was listening to something special. After getting my hands on the back catalog and quickly downloading anything that comes out new, it’s apparent that Winterblood is an extraordinary addition to the winter synth/ambient community. I recently had the opportunity for a Q&A session to find out what drives such a momentous force behind the atmosphere. Enjoy!

1. First of all, thank you for taking the time to participate in this interview. Can you tell me how Winterblood came about?

Hello there! To talk about Winterblood, means to looking back at my childhood first of all. I remember a film called Antarctica, where the haunting melodies played by Vangelis left an indelebile sign on me; I was so attracted by that landscapes, dogs, and all that atmosphere. All so hostile and dramatic, but at the same time so comfortable. As the years passing by, searching for that power and feelings, I discovered the distorted guitar, and soon I was involved in metal music. In 1997 I started recording with some pc softwares, under the influence of very great act in Cold Meat Ind. and Burzum ambient style, and I find out that only the synth can bring that ‘not human’ character that I was looking for. Winterblood is something within me since the beginning and recognized through sounds and images.

2. You have a pretty lengthy discography! What are some of the challenges that you face while consistently writing such impressive material?

I put no limits in what I’m doing. Most of the albums are similar? May the other dimension brings me in the same direction! I’m just a kind of medium doing atmospheres, not ‘songs’. I’m still discovering my inner voices.

3. Sometimes I wonder if Winterblood is a dark ambient project or a dungeon synth project, or maybe a mix of both. What genre would you classify it as?

If I had to choose a term, it would be Polar ambient; ‘dungeon synth’ is more fantasy oriented, and my project is focused on spiritual affairs through coldness and blackness.

4. Music wise, many Winterblood albums have a trance-like quality to them, enabling the listener to drift off in a meditative state. Is it your intention to provide this type of introspective state?

All is about intuition. Every note, every drone you hear, is recorded following inner voices (I repeat myself), voices that make me dream, make me sleep, make me relax, and bring my imagination in a no-limit zone, where all is infinite and beautiful at the same time. In Winterblood, all comes from the darkness, and look how all is bright! Purification through listening, through making music. If it works with me, may it can works with others, and is real cool to have positive feedbacks. To quote my page site: ‘… the really ambitious goal is to put the listener – after a reassuring prelude – into a cold state of loss and confusion; this may causes an awakening…’. Intentional? Of course.

5. When you set out to record a Winterblood album, do you have a plan in place for a particular sound or style or do you improvise based on your feelings at the time?

I spend hours doing tests, sounds, and right fx. The visions leads all, as intuition as well. Music flows naturally cold, ripetitive, obsessive, but at the same time melodic, hypnotic… It’s not about technic, but magic and sensibility.

6. Do you play and record with physical equipment, VST’s or a mix of both?

In the past I usually worked with softwares and plug ins, with the time all is went in the analogue direction. With this equipment I can give originality to my works, something unique.

7. Do you draw inspiration from any particular bands or other genres of music? If so, what/who are they?

As said before, the Cold Meat ind. scene has a great impact on Winterblood. Act like Aghast, first Ordo Equilibrio, Mz412, Sephiroth, Raison d’Être… But also Eliane Radigue, Burzum ambient-era, Apoptose…

8. One of my favorite Winterblood albums is ‘Waldeinsamkeit I-III’. Is there a distinct theme for that album that makes it so special?

Waldeinsamkeit is an album the literally ‘break the borders’. Why? Still don’t know. All is strange behind these album, from the beginning to the end. What make it so special? The total alchemy between artwork and music. It is so nocturnal, mysterious, magic, really describes as well the title itself. Thanx goes again to Canto Críptico label for the first tape press and artwork, and Kunsthall prod. for the massive Lp release that is unbelievable.

9. You recently released ‘Hiraeth’ which was an impressive 3 hour plus long recording. What inspired you to write such a mammoth of an album?

The purpose is to inaugurate a series of releases focused on meditation, Hiraeth as first. I was looking for something very extreme, something that can makes you dream up, sleep, and floating without an end, something eternal. Of course length is fundamental in this. Hiraeth, as other Winterblood opus, is inspired by my obsession for the grey color, dark woods, old vintage illustrations, and the melancholy for something lost, that is nothing but the lost the original perfection.

10. Can you tell me a little more about your side project called Macchine Per Comunicazioni Spiritiche?

MPCS is just a container for bizarre experiments. Let’s see…

11. Are you involved with any other projects (that you care to discuss)?

Absolutely not. Winterblood is my only project.

12. I really appreciate you taking the time to answer these questions. Do you have any final words or thoughts for the Winterblood fans that will be reading this?

First of all thank you for let me open a window to my music, and thanx to all the supporters around the world! A lot is on the making…

Links:

https://winterblood78.bandcamp.com

https://www.facebook.com/WinterbloodOfficial

Hints of 80’s Retro Synth Illuminate On Winter Synth EP By Castle Zagyx Called ‘The Frozen Moor Of Your Memories’

The mind is a fascinating thing. Full of thought, emotions, intelligence, and memory, we have the power to control more that we can fathom. Unfortunately, there are time where we can decline to a darkened state without a means or a will to escape. In these times, obscurity overshadows our thought process and keeps us in a trance-like state until we are powerful enough to make the return to commonness on our own. The music displayed by Castle Zagyx on ‘The Frozen Moor Of Your Memories’ would be the perfect companion piece to listen to while contemplating a rebound from your own mental asylum. Filled with 80’s style retro synth, this is a soothing EP filled with many magical moments that you’ll not want to end.

Dreamy album opener, “Overture: End Of Summer Season” pulls the listener in with its classical keyboard arrangement and saddened tones before descending down the dark and gloomy path set forth by the rest of the album. “Remembrance I: Carter’s Antarctic Twilight” begins with an introspective sound as if you’re waking up from a cold dream, into an unknown world. As a single keyboard key drones, cold winter synth melodies expand the obscurity of your mind allowing you to meditate beyond the imagination. “Remembrance II: Katabatic Winds” maintains the same dark desires but introduces 80’s synth wave patterns that give the song a chilling sound. Sparse field recordings are compounded in spots for added gloomy textures. While this track successfully preserves its hyperborean effect, it’s easy to drift off to another dimension so that your mind can deal with clearing of the consciousness and lull memories. “Remembrance III: Ittakka” leans heavily on discrepant notes and eccentric harmonies, while light percussion sounds set the pace for something wicked yet to come. The EP’s final track “Remembrance IV: Poulsen Arc/Ice Hole” provides a ghastly conclusion to this overarching story of the hopeless decline of individual thoughts. Inaudible field recordings are a stark reminder of being institutionalized in our own mind, as we deal with our darkness. The keyboard arrangements are melancholic and somber, but seem to end too soon. However, this is the perfect way to rap up such an amazing story.

‘The Frozen Moor Of Your Memories’ is an exceptional EP and it pushes the boundaries of crossover music, diving into winter synth and retro 80’s style synth wave. The overall feel is gloomy and cold and you can easily get mentally lost in each track. My only wish is that this was a full length album, as this is has been an extremely enjoyable experience. I highly recommend this album, especially if you need something to relax and meditate to. Show your support for Castle Zagyx and download this EP 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://castlezagyx.bandcamp.com/album/the-frozen-moor-of-your-memories-ep

Destructive Forces Are Strong At Work On Latest Nordvargr Outing, ‘Daath’

Evil comes in many forms, and although a certain mode of malevolence can be hidden in plain site in order to entice a following, some forms are in-your-face, with nothing to hide, and are ready to test your limits of dealing with the powers of it’s unpleasantries. A good example of this – especially when it comes to music – is the pioneering black ambient artist, Nordvargr. Always seemingly pushing the boundaries of dark ambient, black & industrial ambient as well as other hateful, unorthodox sounds, Nordvargr has just released the punishing new album, ‘Daath’, and it’s here to cultivate a particular madness amongst the masses. From pounding percussion, heinous vocals and thick sounding tribal instrumentation – as if they’ve been dredged from the abyss – Nordvargr has conceived a soundtrack set to obliterate all that is good, and cover the wasteful ruins in a layer of audial soot.

“Inner Monarch Awakened” is like the calm before the storm, as heavy sirens awaken the dark forces to begin its destructive plot. Immediately we hear the influence of sickening, death metal style vocals and it’s outcome is simply massive. In the background, the music has a harsh industrial influence but is maintained at a sludgy pace. “The Horsemen Ride Out On Foaming Steeds” continues without pause from the first track. The vocals continue to be the main attraction but an underlying guitar riff adds another layer of intelligence to this song. Various vocal effects are used throughout making it the primary instrument of focus, as well as constantly increasing the creepiness factor until the end. “Tabernakelvisa – The Redeemer And The Secret” begins with a deep, tribal percussion pattern and sounds as if it could be taken from a fantasy film soundtrack during a scene where a great, fanatical battle was taking place. Thumping bass lines, more calamitous vocals and ghostly synthesized arrangements help provide a chilling vibe for this track. “Death Closes The Gate Of Time And Opens Those Of Eternity” features gristly, rhythmic patterns and more stellar vocals that tell a horrifying story in the most hateful tone. “Invocation Of The Unseen” features more of a dark/black ambient atmosphere and is like an interlude from the destruction set forth by the first half of the album. In addition, this track also serves as a preparation piece for that remainder of the album that will set a relentless pace. “As King, As Queen – When Kingdom Collide” sets an industrial-like sound with some inaudible vocal samples, while the main pernicious vocals scream out in pain. “The Light Of The Lord And The Black Sun Behind The Sun” slowly fades into some chaotic chanting and tribal percussion beats, with a lot of thrilling vocal effects going on. Droning, dissonant sounds can be heard in the background as this turns out to be one of the most eerie songs on the album. The final dirge on the album, “Where There Is Word, There Is Enlightenment” is a return to the superior sounds of dark ambient, as disorder and chaos have finally given way to desolation and ruin. Frightening sound effects and field recording can be heard throughout but ultimately, evil has prevailed this time around.

Nordvargr has created one of the most evil and punishing sounding albums I’ve heard in quite some time and what better label to release ‘Daath’ than Cyclic Law – home to some of the most viscous black ambient recordings around. Not only is this album unique, it is certain to have longevity in your playlist as well, as these tunes are fascinating to listen to and are just so well written. Please support this fascinating artist and download ‘Daath’ 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/daath

Mortiloqvist Deliver A Necropolitan Tale Of Death On The Imposingly Brilliant ‘Overmorrow’ Release

Death is inevitable for all of us and although we cannot escape it’s clutches, the dreadful end continues to captivate us in many ways. Not only are we mystified by the moments that lead up to the actual occasion, but thoughts of the afterlife and how our physical remains are dealt with (over time) are equally fascinating. What better music is there than dungeon synth to provide a platform for exposing a compelling story of the death and the afterlife? Even with just music alone, ‘Overmorrow’ is an alluring look into a mischievous tale of life after death gone wrong and Mortiloqvist takes us on that passionate journey with extraordinary synth tunes.

Sensational album opener, “The Taste Of Graveyard Dirt” begins with the sounds of workers digging, as if they are seeking to resurrect a long lost tomb. Demon like grumbles signifies they are near their goal but are they really ready to unleash what they are about to find? A beautiful guitar chord plays willfully in the forefront which eventually leads into a clean-sounding, classic dungeon synth recording. With almost a summer synth vibe, the instrumentation leans heavy on medieval times as wondrous melodies layer to create a dazzling sound. Next up is “The Dead Rise Up And Form Into Ominous Words The Night Wind That Moan Through Their Skulls” and is has a dark, winter synth vibe as a single keyboard note drones in the background. Supreme string picking creates an architecture for discordant harmony and although it may sound random, it’s like a cosmic and brilliant string solo from a scene in a horror movie. “Among These Sacred Ruins A Doppelgänger Of You Rots In Silence” is the longest song on the album, as it clocks in at just over eleven minutes. Starting with a quick dose of field recording before moving into a orient style synth structure, this track is full of surprises. Quickly moving back to a traditional dungeon synth sound, the main melody in the song is very unforgettable and you’ll surely be humming along. The addition of exceptional, female operatic vocals is very welcomed and fit in perfectly with the direction of this track. After that, there is a short dark ambient interlude with demon like growls before kicking things back into high gear with the medieval synth melodies. The final track, “Looting A Corpse” begins with the crackling sounds of a small fire in the forest while a lush tune surrounds it in dominating fashion. With the lonely strums of a stringed instrument and long-noted keys augmenting the harmony, this track signifies the dreadful beginning of the end and a sudden journey to the great beyond.

Although we all will probably not have the fortune of having a soundtrack to signify our journey into immortality, Mortiloqvist has put together an exquisite album that tells an adventurous story of the hereafter. As music listeners, we seek fulfillment in satisfying the senses with tales like these and when the music is able to do the talking, then the artist has created a successful endeavor. ‘Overmorrow’ is one of those albums and it is also special in that it uses an equal mix of synths and organic instruments. Additionally, the field recordings are used sparsely but very tastefully. I definitely recommend checking out this album so please click on the link below and download this masterpiece.

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://mortiloqvist.bandcamp.com/album/overmorrow

Ruohtta Infiltrates The Dark Realm Of The Conscious Mind With Black Ambient Exploit, ‘Kaanij’

The darkness in music can be a wonderful thing. It allows us to drift off into a world that doesn’t normally occupy our physical being, so that our minds can expand beyond the realm of ordinary existence. Dark ambient is a great medium for this, as it’s soothing, but bleak drones gives us the time to open up and meditate in the moment. Although dark ambient is normally set in austere and desolate conditions, it has a calming quality that keeps our mental capacity dialed in on a relatively easy landscape. However, the darker, harsher off-spring known as black ambient has some of the same sound qualities as dark ambient, but it goes a step beyond with its anxious loud textures and drones to create an edgier vibe. Ruohtta uses this creativity to their advantage to emit a chilling and boisterous effort on their latest release, ‘Kaanij’. An EP consisting of two long tracks, ‘Kaanij’ is a solid display of monotonous, emphatic drones with mind numbing, discordant keyboard and guitar sounds that are enough to permeate the mind and alter the mental path forward toward a cold, dark existence.

On the opening track, “Ganii I”, Ruohtta’s sole provider of doom & gloom – Tervaaja – blasts us with a perpetuating distorted drone that assimilates through the whole track. The random keyboard arrangements are a stark reminder of the cold, winter season and it’s vulnerabilities. Various sound effects blaze through the mix, like meteors penetrating the atmosphere. There are hidden melodic moments throughout that not only make this an interesting track, but keeps it focused on the elements of its craft. “Ganii II” contains many of the same conditions of the first track but at a different tone. The backing distorted droning track is in a lower key, as if an evil presence has possessed the mindset of the listener and has taken the subconscious into a new, dark direction. The guitar harmonies are supremely written and have a grandiose sound that constantly expands time and space, allowing the listener to drift in and out of the music while creating their own subjective headspace.

Although only consisting of two tracks, this is a very impressive recording. This is black ambient at its best with a little bit of a mix of other genres thrown in and it’s very well written. Not only does this have a digital release, Realm And Ritual have issued a cassette release as well. I’m looking forward to hearing more from this impressive artist, but in the meantime I highly recommend downloading ‘Kaanij’ 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://ruohtta.bandcamp.com/album/kaanij

Towering Guitar Riffs Prevail As Poppet Engage In Eccentric Intonations On ‘Ascending The Stairs Towards My Nightmares Supreme’

In 2001, one of the most brilliant films of our times was released. The film, “A Knights Tale”, was a black-comedy set in medieval times but had modern age references, as well as classic rock soundtrack. I know that it sounds strange, but somehow the styles just meshed together perfectly and the results were simply incandescent. Almost twenty years later, I’ve come across an album that has that same vibrant connection. The album, ‘Ascending The Stairs Toward My Nightmares Supreme’ by Poppet, is a fantasy-styled dungeon synth album with bellowing, harsh guitar tones that take center stage the majority of the time. Imagine if Sunn O))) were to add bits of dungeon synth keyboard to their droning tracks, and you’ll get a better understanding of the vibe that Poppet displays on this outing.

The album opener, “I Escape From The Forest”, begins with a soothing keyboard arrangement that sounds as if it could be taken from a Harry Potter soundtrack. However, within the first minute, loud and blaring guitar droning pierces the track and provides the first sounds of the unique texture of this album – and Poppet in general. Although the distorted guitar riffs drown out the keyboards in some sections, wondrous fantasy dungeon synth melodies continue to creep along throughout the track, making its ominous presence felt. The next track, “Finding Solace In A Temple, I Am Surrounded By Stairs And Artefacts To Forbidden Gods” finds a happy fantasy synth intro before bludgeoning, sludgy doom riffs infiltrate the scene. As the guitar riffs drone on at a slow pace, the keyboards tell a compelling story of curiosity of well being in a sacred place, where you find yourself enclosed by objects of dark desires. Unable to escape the present situation, the music seems to provide an alternate reality. The third track, “I Climb The Temple Stairs, Frightened By The Sights I Shall See”, continues down the same path as it’s predecessors and instills a certain darkness while the guitars and keyboards alternate in providing a chaotic scene. Although it seems a bit tumultuous in spots, this song has quite a bit of melody and synchronizes well even when it seems like it doesn’t. The final track, “Oh! What I Beheld!” Is a short track consisting of a layered & discordant keyboard arrangements and is a nice closing statement for the album as it’s grandiose vibe winds down the tone and complexity of everything that has happened previously.

Poppet is a very unique artist that contributes an incomparable approach to dungeon synth. I always like when artist try something different and hone their craft in an unconventional way. Poppet epitomizes that approach and excels in doing so. If you’re into dungeon synth with no limitations, I highly recommend checking out Poppet and the latest album, ‘Ascending The Stairs Towards My Nightmares Supreme.

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://poppetblackmetal.bandcamp.com/album/ascending-the-stairs-towards-my-nightmares-supreme

Tasos Fotiou & Dimitris Korontzis Embark On An Improvised, Free-form Jazz Induced Journey With The Aberrant ‘Time Lapse’ Session.

For me, improvised music is some of the most entertaining music that I’ve ever heard. Despite the genre, when an artist has the ability to play, perform and record impressive music on a whim, it tends to catch (and hold) my attention more than written and rehearsed music. I first fell in love with improvisations back in the early 90’s with the works of the multi-talented musician, John Zorn. A saxophonist by trade, John Zorn crossed the boundaries of many genres such as metal, punk, hardcore, grindcore, fusion jazz and avant-garde. Of his hundreds of albums, many of them were improvisational collaborations with the likes of talented artists such as Bill Frisell, Bill Laswell, Yamataka Eye & Mike Patton. I credit this scene for opening my eyes (and ears) to a wide variety of genres of music and appreciate for the artistic value of their craft. Fast forward to now, there are new artists on the scene that continue to carry that improvisation torch and do it well. Enter Dimitris Korontzis (guitar) and Tasos Fotiou (saxophone), a pair of musicians from Greece that are masters of their instruments and impressively construct improvisations with ease. Their monumental album, ‘Time Lapse’, is a thirty one minute improv session that tests each musicians skill and determination to create a compelling story of transitioning through time and space.

Consisting of six tracks, all which are named “Time Lapse Pt. 1 – Pt. 6”, this is hardly a single track just broken down into smaller sections. These tracks are individualistic in idea and expression but wondrously flow together in a seamless manner. The album opens with a beautiful ambient guitar tone that provides a calming drone. As discordant picking starts to take place, long-winded saxophone notes arrive and displace the arrangement, showing the first sign of many excellent improvised moments on this recording. Pt. 2 begins with a classic jazz moment and then a groovy guitar riff joins in. At this moment, I hear influences of the great Miles Davis, during his fusion jazz movement of the early 70’s. Pt. 3 has some bizarre arrangements that features excellent guitar work and greatly distorted saxophone notes that are especially creepy. By the time we make it to Pt. 4, a heavy ambient influence can be heard and the sound of deranged instruments playing in multiple tracks sound especially eerie. This continues into Pt. 5 as it seem there is no end in sight for the conglomerate of sound effects that have taken over the recording. However, the basic guitar and saxophone tracks are predominant and finally make their way back to the forefront toward the end of the track. When Pt. 6 starts playing, the craziness fades away and a nice saxophone solo part dominates the majority of the track. By the time the guitar joins in, its more of an ambient arrangement, providing a refreshing sound for closing out this thoroughly impressive album.

‘Time Lapse’ is a very enjoyable album that reminds me a lot of my favorite artists from many years ago that influenced me to listen to a wide variety of music. It’s improvisations like this that show the heart and skill of a musician and it happens to be right up my alley. Tasos Fotiou and Dimitris Korontzis pull out all the stops on this one and their skills and patience are put to the test as they deliver an album that is definitely worth checking out. When it comes to music and if you’re as open minded as I am, I highly recommend downloading ‘Time Lapse’ 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://dimitriskorontzis.bandcamp.com/album/time-lapse