Eighth Tower Records unveils companion book for ‘The Black Stone – Music For Lovecraftian Summonings’

The Black Stone – Stories For Lovecraftian Summonings

In January of this year, Eighth Tower records released another groundbreaking album of Dark Ambient resonance that featured the best-of-the-best artist of the genre. Some of them are amongst my favorite and include Mombi Yuleman, Alphaxone, Ashtoreth, NEW RISEN THRONE and Moloch Conspiracy to name a few. All of these artist successfully constructed Lovecraftian-themed tracks of fascinating darkness and a sonic exploratory of unmatched mythical subject matter. Fast forward a few months and we find another innovative event for Eighth Tower Records in the form of their first-ever book release. A companion to ‘The Black Stone’ album, it is entitled, ‘The Black Stone – Stories For Lovecraftian Summonings’ and features twenty seven tales of horror inspired by H.P. Lovecraft and his Cthulhu Mythos.

Here is some additional information about the book and writers, as found on the Eighth Tower Records Bandcamp page:

Featuring: Ramsey Campbell, Brian M Sammons, Glynn Owen Barrass, Lucy A. Snyder, E.A. Black, Chris Kelso, Andrew Coulthard, Stephen Mark Rainey, Kevin Lewis, Richard A. Scott, Russell Smeaton, John Buja, Made in DNA, David Agranoff, Pete Rawlik, Brian C. Short, Michael Housel, John Chadwick, David Voyles, Konstantine Paradias, Edward Morris, Parry Milton, Phil Breach, Garrett Cook, Andrew Freudenberg, Love Kolle, Sarah Walker.

Curated by Raffaele Pezzella
Cover illustration by John Chadwick
Editing by Parry Milton

https://eighthtowerrecords.bandcamp.com/merch/the-black-stone-stories-for-lovecraftian-summonings-book-cd
https://eighthtowerrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-black-stone-music-for-lovecraftian-summonings

Grab a copy of this book before it’s sold out and if you’ve not heard the amazing album that was released back in January, do yourself a favor a download that one right away for a stunning audial experience.

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Links:

https://eighthtowerrecords.bandcamp.com/music

https://unexplainedsoundsgroup.bandcamp.com

Cryo Chamber Label’s Seventh Lovecraftian Collaboration, ‘Yig’, Is The Most Versatile Offering In The Series Yet

Since 2014, the Cryo Chamber label has embarked on an annual endeavor that epitomizes the meaning of artist collaboration. Paying tribute to world renowned author – and creator of the Cthulhu Mythos – H.P. Lovecraft, these musical ventures have proven time and time again to be epically daring and adventurous beyond the realm of typical artistry participation. Consisting of mainly album-length tracks, these Lovecraftian collaborations find the gathering of current Cryo Chamber artists, alumni of the label, and additional artists that are some of the best in the business. As each album culminates an evolution of sound and dynamics, they also improve with more sophistication and a variation of modular potency. The seventh (and latest) album in the series, ‘Yig’, consists of two songs that are around seventy minutes in length each and the transparency of these arrangements make it the most accessible and auditory one yet.

“Yig 1” wastes no time in creating a cinematic ambience, as mystifying soundscapes and fearless drones find a balance between sinister accord and Middle Eastern vibes. Percussive elements of a tribal nature begin to create a ritualistic groove that challenges the senses which results in being caught between darkness and a theatrical emotive state. As the percussion slowly fades, it gives way to deep, peaceful drones that succeed in delegating mental prowess to the subconscious. Various field recordings and effects paint an eerie scene, but this is just the beginning. At the twelve and a half minute mark, electronic beats add a rhythmic cadence that is downright sinister, but it is also a well designed section for this track as it adds an authentic layout to the ominous subject matter. One of my favorite sections of this track starts at around the twenty eight minute mark. Up to this point, the output has been mostly dark and malevolent in nature, but here there is a particular calmness that is a perfect inclusion. Layers of vibrant drones create a spacey vibe while keeping it melancholic at the same time. It’s so easy to get lost in this section as it’s so dreamy and introspective. If you’ve not done so up to this point, you’ll want to close your eyes and soak in the fantasy world that is being created. This section carries on for about seven minutes or so before traversing into darker territories again. At around the forty seven and a half minute mark, another important section of this track is introduced. Commencing with a good mix of field recordings, it is soon joined by West Asian instrumentation and some wicked vocalizations that are barely audible. After a few more very powerful sections of this track, we finally make it to the last few minutes, which ends in the same fashion as it started – unique field recordings and beautiful instrumentations that provide the cinematic finale to this grandiose piece. “Yig 2” is another impressive feat of legendary proportions. Starting with dark, desolate drones and apocalyptic soundscapes, the beginning sets a ravaging pace of systematic annihilation for the next seventy minutes. At around six and a half minutes, spacious drones meander in slow motion while a calming effect pierce through its dense layers. The looping effect creates an arcane sensation and the trance-like results are mind blowing. Another impressive section begins at around nineteen minutes in. As one section transparently fades into the next, this one has soaring guitar and piano leads with almost a dark noir sound. I could listen to a whole album of this stuff. Well played and just enough distortion on the percussive parts to change things up a bit, this is one of my favorite parts on the whole album. Starting at around the thirty two minute mark is probably one of the most essential sections on the album, as it really provides that nostalgic Lovecraftian vibe of horror and fascination for darkness. The bombastic drum beats combines with various drones and soundscapes create a menagerie of sound that is addictive and suggestive of the subject matter. Ominous and explosive black ambience is captured at around fifty two minutes in, as elements of industrialized drones begin to take over. The sound continues to grow darker and more perilous as a sense of anxiety begins to mount. However after a few minutes, that is counteracted by soft, soothing drones that successfully develop into an emotional journey for the final few minutes of this monumental album.

One of the most impressive aspects of the ‘Yig’ collaboration is how over twenty artists from all over the world, supply a version of their craft for this themed story with absolutely no opacity between parts. We’re talking two, seventy plus minutes tracks of some of the best arranged Dark Ambient material that has been produced recently. That extraordinary effort has made ‘Yig’ one of my favorites amongst the Cryo Chamber Lovecraft Collaboration series. If you’ve not heard this yet, I highly recommend checking it out by clicking on the link below.

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Links:

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

Fflewddur Emits Sonic Impulses Of Chiptune, Synthwave And Gracefully Crafted Dungeon Synth On ‘Farther Down We Go’

When the songwriting is spot on, I will listen to just about any genre of music, to include sub-genre outputs that may go against the grain of traditional boundaries. Even for Dungeon Synth, there are some sub-genres that I enjoy more than others but I will always give anything a chance regardless. That being said, if there is a definitive skill set in the composition department and arrangements are done in an appealing taste, I’m up for anything. That definitely holds true for Fflewddur and their riveting album, ‘Farther Down We Go’. Although some of the instrumentation is a bit more whimsical than my normal taste for Dungeon Synth, these songs are crafted with such meticulous detail and an irresistible amounts of melody that I can’t help but fall victim to the addictive style that shines on these seven light-hearted tracks.

Album opener, “There’s Nothing In This Cave Worth Dying For” is quite an impressive beginning to this adaptable album as it exposes several layers of genre-defying sounds that are intricately woven to produce an initial audial stimulating experience set to take place over the next twenty six minutes. “Caution To The Wind” begins with the guns a blazing as massive synth effects expose a grandiose scenery of Medieval savagery. However, not even twenty seconds in, a beautiful 8-but melody begins to play and changes the course of this track. As layers of synths and orchestrations begin to make their presence felt, it’s obvious how imposing this song intends to become and the wonderful melodies continue to impress until the end. Next up is the title track, “Farther Down We Go” and it’s as daring and adventurous as the previous tracks but in a different way. The effects are more subdued and haunting and the rhythmic beat in the background will have the listener nodding their head with awe and admiration for the songwriting skills on display. “A Fire For Warmth” begins with, well, a crackling fire field recording and it’s soon joined by several layers of compressed synth effects. The background melody and lead keys play off of each other so well, and the lingering drone in the near distance holds everything together perfectly. “A Discovery Of Gnomes” is a jubilant and whimsical piece that borders the realm of Comfy Synth. However, the bombastic drum beat provides a darker essence than usual for a melody of this nature. Ultimate, it all works together very well for a short but entertaining track. “The Elders Speak Of Treasure” contains inaudible vocal samples (or probably a distorted synth effect) that sets an eerie scene and then follows it up with grim keyboard harmonies and soothing synth leads that set a melancholic mood. The final track is the breathtaking, “Reaving The Gnomic Keep”. Featuring fast-paced percussive elements and quirky 8-bit leads, this eccentric track pretty much sums up the musical genius of the previous tracks in just under four minutes. This one will have you reminiscing fantasy movies of the 80’s or leave you wanting to play dungeon crawlers games from yesteryear. If that’s the case, then mission accomplished for Fflewddur.

‘Farther Down We Go’ is such a charming and enjoyable album. Delightful melodies and compelling songwriting are a predominant factor for the duration of this twenty six minute long amusing journey, which is full of twists and turns along the way. If you enjoy your Dungeon Synth with a sense of easement and calm demeanor, look no further than Fflewddur’s ‘Farther Down We Go’. Please support this fantastic artist and download the album from the link below.

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Links:

https://fflewddur.bandcamp.com/album/farther-down-we-go

Abstract Conveyances Demand Universal Reciprocity On Mauve Zone’s ‘Transmissions From Carcosa’

I want to take a minute to appreciate the hard work that these Dark Ambient artists do to establish a story (or theme, if you will) for the audial juggernaut that comes to fruition at the end result of their albums. Not only do they go “all out” to always provide high-quality music, but producing a noble storyline is equally as important in order to assist in delivering a valuable product to us fans. That especially holds true on Mauve Zone’s valiant ‘Transmissions From Carcosa’ album. Showing a major Lovecraftian influence, this album digs deep into mythological worlds and obscure subject matter to deliver a creative realm of dark ambience with trance-like impulses and mystical drones on seven massive tracks.

“The Calling From Hyades” begins with a long, drawn out crescendo of tonal modulations that turns into a sonic drone, and the foundation for the first part of this near ten minute long track. As the drone passes and slowly fades, the ringing of bells signifies an endless apprehension of foreboding soundscapes that will follow. Although a bit minimalistic – as far as composition goes – the effects run the gamut from deep sounds to higher pitched synth pad intonations. “The Shores Of Lake Hali” commences with ominous soundscapes, as if providing the audial imagery for a horror film. Although the feeling is rather calm, it’s more intense than soothing and the range of harrowing variety will leave you in anticipation for more dismal sounds that may follow. “Fungi From Yuggoth” starts with an oppressive, industrial beat with an echo effect and along with the drone that is contributed, sounds bleak and poignant. Although this sound remains constant throughout, minor adjustments are added and frequency distortions are thrown in to give it that futuristic and mechanized feel. “Cassilda’s Song” begins with an extremely cold vibe, complements of the dissonant sound effects and layered drones. Slight alterations are made to this otherwise track-long, steady composition and sound bits of vocal narrations are added as well. An overall very creepy augury, it’s exactly how I envision Dark Ambient to sound when representing Lovecratian subject matter. Next up is the industrious piece, “The Yellow Sign”. Massive, swaying drones assuage the subconscious while synth chops play a manufactured sound of cold, discordant harmonies. Distorted attunement adds a sense of unity to this complex score and its trance-like arrangement is mesmerizing. “Tatters Of The King” compiles the best features of darkwave and synthwave and fuses them with Dark Ambient soundscapes to produce one of the best tracks on the album. A mosaic of instrumentation is fine tuned and perfectly deconstructed on this song and as the listener gets lost in the conglomerate of modulations, the represented story starts to unfold. The final track on the album, “The Red Comet” is a soundtrack worthy composition and the songwriting translates amazingly well to the synth and pad arrangements. Exotic sound effects present a retrospective feeling as this massive album comes to a close. This track is a warm light that shines bright behind the dark, grim songs that proceeded it. An excellent way to end this album that will immediately make you want to give this a second spin.

Mauve Zone’s ‘Transmissions From Carcosa’ is a spectacular album that paints a dark, fascinating picture of a mythological world of Lovecraftian influence. There is a variety of music on this album that breaks the monotony of minimalistic droning and I love the industrial and synthwave influences on several of these tracks. If this is a sign of things to come, then Mauve Zone will soon be a favorites amongst Dark Ambient fans. I highly recommend this album so please click on the link below and support Mauve Zone.

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Links:

https://mauvezone.bandcamp.com/album/transmissions-from-carcosa

Eyre Transmissions X: Interview With Dark Ambient, Dungeon Synth & Metal composer, Scorpio V

Scorpio V is one of the most accomplished musicians in the synth world. The multi-genre specialist has achieved insurmountable triumph in most of the projects that he’s released. From Dark Ambient mainstay, Metatron Omega to the amazing Dungeon Synth act, Stronghold Guardian, Scorpio V utilizes his musical dexterity to create synth music of another level. I recently had the opportunity to find out a little more about his prodigious projects, musical background and what’s to come in the near future. I hope you enjoy this interview with one of the best in the business.

1. First of all, thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions about your amazing projects. What is your background (musically) and have you always played synth-based music?

My pleasure. I don’t have a formal musical or some other “artistic” background. I’ve just always found myself having the need to either reproduce what I see (by drawing it) and hear, or to create something new based upon what I’ve been presented with. I was always the type of person who cannot just passively listen to music – I had to get involved in the process of making it. As for the musicianship itself, my early beginnings were with keyboards. Although I’ve grown up listening to metal and held great esteem for electric guitar as an instrument, it was only after I’ve dabbled with keyboards, synths and industrial/ambient music that I’ve started also playing the guitar. So, yes, one can say that synths, sound programming and sound design were, and still are, my main niche.

2. The albums on your Prometheus Studio Bandcamp page range from metal, dungeon synth, dark ambient, and various other synth projects. What usually sets the tone for the style of album that is released at any particular time?

There are absolutely no rules for me when it comes to creating something, although as one may have noticed, what I create can mainly be defined by atmospheric, lush, dark or sometimes “grandiose” spectre of experience. I just get the inspiration for something and start channeling the energies. If I should pinpoint what exactly influences the process, it is my life and experiences, my imagination and philosophy. Other than that, it could be the stuff I listen to, literature I read, sometimes a game whose lore or atmosphere I find immersive (although I very rarely actually play them). Same goes for a movie, especially soundtrack and visuals (LotR being a great example here).

3. My first introduction to your music was the Metatron Omega project – which releases music via the Cryo Chamber label. That is by far, one of my favorite Dark Ambient projects of all time. What inspired you to write such monumental arrangements for this project?

Metatron Omega is a story for itself, as is Paleowolf. The main inspiration for creating Metatron Omega was mainly philosophical, coming from the spiritually oriented literature (and readings about the inner workings of some historically important secret societes). I think that on some level, I had the need to create a kind of a “soundtrack” for myself while studying those topics and wandering through my own path of self-discovery. Through the landscape of sound, I’ve channeled what I was experiencing while searching for something greater than myself. I also listen to a lot of church music, litanies, gregorian chants, orthodox russian and Byzantine monastic music, therefore creating ambiental music with those elements has been a natural process.

4. ‘Evangelikon’ was my Dark Ambient album of the year for 2019 and I’ve since been hoping for more Metatron Omega releases. Do you have any plans this year for that project?

Yes, there’s a new album in preparation since the beginning of the year. A few things that happened in the meantime slowed it down. I can’t say for sure if it’s going to be this year, but I’m holding a place in my mind to get back to it.

5. After Metatron Omega, I soon discovered you were behind the projects on the Prometheus Studios Bandcamp page and spent a lot of time deep-diving into those projects like Gaetir The Mountainkeeper and Paleowolf. Although those are Dark Ambient projects as well, they are so very different from each other. Can you talk about how each of those projects came about?

Paleowolf’s story is a big one, I’m not sure if summing it up in a sentence or two would do the justice to the journey I went on with that project. For the sake of this interview, let’s say that I was always interest in prehistory (human or not), and shamanism drew my attention in my teenage years. All these years listening to Mongolian throat singing and shamanic overtone singing, and then one night of immersive myself in Syven’s “Aikantaite” the energies collided into something beyond me. So, put all this together and Paleowolf was born. And it all came spontaneous, natural to me, I had little to ponder about. Gaetir the Mountainkeeper begun somewhat differently, as a way to channel my imagination and journey with Norse mythology, put through my own emotional lense. I felt the need to take my own part in creating the atmosphere for the mythos and nature of the North. Although I can’t say why exactly I “chose” to manifest it in the style I’ve chosen.

https://gaetirthemountainkeeper.bandcamp.com/album/vetrarlj-s

6. Another project that I love – and one that helped solidify my love for modern Dungeon Synth – is Stronghold Guardian. Are you a big fan of that genre as well, and who are some of the artist that you looked to for musical direction for that project?

Dungeon synth followed me since my early plunge into the water of Black metal (as, I suppose, happened with majority of people in DS circles). Of course, in those time I didn’t know that if you put synths and black metal vocals together you call that a ‘dungeon synth’. I always went for the dark atmosphere – using synths and other instruments than electric guitar proved to work very well in achieving this kind of atmosphere. I actually begun finding synths, strings, drones to work much “better” than guitars when it comes to delivering something a lot more immersive. As for the influences, Summoning has been, and still is, one of my favorite projects and influences in a couple of my creations.

7. You recently released a new album under that moniker – ‘Castlelord’ – which is a rework/remastering of earlier material, to include metal guitars. How did this creation come about?

I just wanted to hear how Stronghold Guardian material would sound with electric guitars added. Seriously. And since I was satisfied with the outcome, I’ve decided to share it with the rest of the world.

https://strongholdguardian.bandcamp.com/album/castlelord

8. On some of the tracks, I sense an early Graveland influence. Did any of the mid 90’s Viking Black Metal bands/albums inspire any of these reworks?

Viking black didn’t have much of an influence on Stronghold Guardian. I listen to a lot of different genres and styles so most often than not, I’m not aware of the actual inspiration. When I think about it now, perhaps some clean vocal parts may have come from Limbonic Art’s “In Abhorrence Dementia”. That album also had a magnificent synth work. Fantastic album overall and certainly another influence.

9. One project that has really grown on me is Nebulon. It’s a great project but the ‘Across The Solar Tides’ album was on another level. It had more of a Berlin School/early Tangerine Dream influence. Was that the direction intended?

Sure, Nebulon is definitely following the trails set by ’70-’80 German-French electronics and Berlin School. Early Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze’s solo works too. Let’s also not forget early Vangelis (his synth work) and the masterpieces of Jim Kirkwood, such as “Middle Earth” and “Souls that Dance on The Edge of the Sword”, “Nightshade in Eden”, etc. Nebulon somewhat tried to merge all these into a different gestalt and drown it in the sea of lush cosmic, interstellar ambient with its own complex narrative.

https://nebulonambient.bandcamp.com/album/across-the-solar-tides

10. You recently released two albums [edit: a third album had been released by the time of this publishing] under the Monasterium Imperi name. These are the perfect albums to listen to, especially while waiting for more Metatron Omega, but what makes these projects so different?

The way I see it, the major difference is in the structure of the tracks and type of chanting. Metatron Omega is using heavy and masssive church choirs, most often processed in a droning/brooding manner in the midst of the ‘wide’ atmosphere and heavy dark ambient drones; while Monasterium Imperi keeps things a bit ‘simpler’ and more focused, using structured solo chants upon melodic strings. And of course, there’s a great difference in thematic. Metatron Omega deals with spiritually-oriented philosophy of our world and Universe, a journey of self-discovery, while Monasterium Imperi leads us into the fantasy-inspired Cathedral-worlds spread throughout the Galactic Empire set into an alternative universe, in a far future.

https://monasteriumimperi.bandcamp.com/album/chants-of-liberation

11. What process do you use for recording the amazing Gregorian chants?

It depends where I want them and what I try to achieve. Some are sung by me, some are sampled, and something is a work of the VSTs.

12. One of your more serene (and popular) projects is Forest of Yore. How hard is it to go from bleak and ominous sounds to a more somber and tranquil sound without losing the Scorpio V identity?

For me not ‘hard’ at all. I’m very close to Nature, I’ve spent great deal of time in forests since I was young (and still striving to spend even more time). Forests are one of my main inspirations, not just for musicianship but for my life conduct, philosophy and spirituality. A forest can provide both ‘dark’ and ‘light’ contexts and evoke an entire spectrum of emotions. So, as much as I’m awed by the darkness and mystery of it, the forest also evokes a feeling of blissfulness, a kind of aural peace that surrounds you while you make your way through the unknown path, and into the distance of the trees. Forest of Yore is a soundscape for just this tranquil ambiance far away from the rush of modern society.

https://forestofyore.bandcamp.com/album/mythical-woodlands

13. You have a couple of older projects (Temple of Gnosis & Grailknight) that haven’t produced any new material in a few years. Do you have any plans to keep this projects going?

I don’t have precise plans for some of my projects, such as those two mentioned. I’ve created something out of a ‘need’ to create and that’s it. I usually don’t have a ‘yearly plan’ of what I’m going to do, not to mention a plan to create this or that album. So, we’ll see.

14. There are a few other projects that I love, but didn’t ask about specifically such as Orkforge & Shogun’s Castle. Can we expect new releases from these projects as well.

I think you can, because I’ve already worked on some material with Shogun’s Castle. Still, I have to get into the mental spaces for both projects in order to properly think about hows and whats.

https://shogunscastle.bandcamp.com/album/the-ancient-arts-of-self-discipline

15. These days, cassettes are making a comeback – especially in the Dungeon Synth scene. Do you plan to continue cassette releases for some of your projects? How about a second run of cassettes for the Shogun’s Castle project?

Indeed, cassettes have (again) come a massive hit these days. It’s just amazing to see so many people involved in it and being interested in a pretty much overly outdated medium compared to the technology of this day and age. So, yes, I’ve thought about continuing to put out cassettes for other projects, and perhaps a re-release of some of Shogun’s Castle albums.

16. I really appreciate the time that you’ve take to answer these questions. Do you have any final thought or comments for your fans that may be reading this interview?

You’re welcome and thank you for your interest in my work. Actually, the interview was quite comprehensive thanks to your questions, so I’m satisfied in leaving it as it is.

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:

Bandcamp: https://prometheusstudio.bandcamp.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/prometheusstudio.official

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCttFYkVyUGHWsopvkRZgJbg

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/prometheusstudio

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

This is my second Celestial Ephemerides posting but the first one that dives into the Dark Ambient genre. Like I mentioned previously, I’m hoping these summary reviews will tide you over while I plow through my endless list of review requests with the hopes of getting caught up one day soon. All of these albums are incredible and it would be awesome if you would show your support for some (or all) of these amazing releases.

1. Cryo Chamber – Tomb Of Wights

Cryo Chamber Label’s Tomb Series, is one of my favorite collections of Dark Ambient releases. Instead of the typical collaboration effort, the Tomb series brings together many artists and allows them to provide their own cinematic input based on the theme. ‘Tomb Of Wights’ is an exceptional addition to the series and features some of my favorite Dark Ambient artists. The majestic quality of these tracks flow effortlessly, while magnificent drones and soundscapes provide a groundbreaking experience in audial sub-harmonics.

https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/tomb-of-wights

2. Deus Ex Lumina – Summoning

‘Summoning’ is a very unique album and is not typical of the Dark Ambient genre. Monolithic drones and callus soundscapes lay the foundation for vibrant orchestrations and symphonic melodies. Additionally, beautiful female vocals and worldly musical intonations can be heard throughout this recording, adding a delicate layer of harmony and variety. This is one that you can definitely go back and listen to over and over again.

https://deusexlumina.bandcamp.com/album/summoning-full-album-dark-ambient

3. Hiemis – Radix

Hiemis is the real deal when it comes to introspective Dark Ambient. Taking a minimalistic approach, Hiemis builds upon dreamy drones that border warm and dark ambient variances and instead of relying on heavy use of field recordings and sonic soundscapes, rich synth textures creates the dynamic and robust atmosphere. ‘Radix’ epitomizes all of these qualities and delivers an auditory masterpiece that is equally soothing and appealing to the depth perception of a cinematic music imagery.

https://noctivagantcollective.bandcamp.com/album/radix

4. The Oracle – Hypogeum

‘Hypogeum’ is way more than a Dark Ambient album; it’s a visionary conquest in experimental & electronic music in general. Although robust drones are used through this recording, it’s the excellent use of percussion, industrial soundscapes and the variety of synth tones that makes this such an adventurous outing. This is an audial experience that must be heard to be understood and thoroughly appreciated.

https://theoraclema.bandcamp.com/album/hypogeum

5. Harrogat – Ignotvs

When I’m in the mood for indisputable drones of the highest order, I usually look no further than Harrogat. ‘Ignotvs’ is a deep dive into the bare essence of Dark Ambient music and focuses on elongated drones and extremely bleak atmospherics. One advantage of this style is the complete embodiment of mind over matter and the ability of the listener to submerge themselves into a deep state of relaxation and remission from reality.

https://lakelabel.bandcamp.com/album/ignotus-2

6. Sydalesis – Dark Beam

Although not quite Dark Ambient, this is some of the most exhilarating ambient music that I’ve heard in quite a while. I can sense a huge Max Corbacho influence on these tracks as ‘Dark Beam’ has an effervescent quality about its tone and overall seamless flow. The Space Ambient quality that can be heard throughout is like an emotional ride through an euphoric realm. Very high-quality ambient music here.

https://sydalesis.bandcamp.com/album/dark-beam-2

7. Vortex – Helioz

‘Helioz’ is a daring Medieval adventure told through experimental musical and divine vocal narrations that will transport the listener back to ancient times. From whaling guitars, galloping tribal beats and engaging drones to foreboding soundscapes, this albums is the complete journey for the wandering mind. I guarantee that you won’t find many albums of this kind, that are completely enthralling and mesmerizing. Good luck waking up from this mystical expedition once the final song finishes.

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

8. Undirheimar – Heljarrúnar

This album is beyond amazing! Undirheimar sounds like a cross between Wardruna, Phurpa & Ashtoreth and ‘Heljarrúnar’ is a result of that fantastic fusion. This is ritualistic Dark Ambience at its most imposing stance. The overtone singing chants are the sustenance of these tracks, but the deep drones and primal percussive parts play a huge factors in creating an over-the-top cinematic experience. This is a must-listen for fans of ritualistic music.

https://cycliclaw.bandcamp.com/album/heljarr-nar

9. Desiderii Marginis – Departed

The variation of musical compositions on ‘Departed’ is beyond compare. From subdued drones and alluring soundscapes to astonishing vocal effects, this album has quite the mixture of Dark Ambient components to invoke various emotional states. In addition, evidence of synthwave can be spotted in several tracks, broadening the scope of sound to a more satisfying level.

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

10. Cernichov – The Mold Legacy

Pulsating, industrialized noises, distorted modulations and a conglomerate of obscure drones make up the bulk of the landscape on ‘The Mold Legacy’. These trance-like compositions are as crushing as they are mesmerizing. Although every track offers something a bit different, don’t expect smooth soundscapes and translucent textures. This album is a maniacal platform for agony relief, yet at the same time the listener will feel totally enthralled with the spacious vibes of each arrangement. This is not one to be overlooked.

https://cernichov.bandcamp.com/album/the-mold-legacy

Please Like/Follow my blog so that you’ll get first hand updates every time I post a review. Thanks for visiting the Dungeon!!

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

This is the first post of a new column that I’m writing called Celestial Ephemerides. I created this column for one main reason; I’m getting so far behind in reviews that I needed to find a way to push out more of them in a shorter amount of time in order to keep up with the request that flow in on a daily basis. I hope you enjoy these summary reviews and please support all of these amazing artists.

1. Akerius – Shadowed Paths Through Middle-Earth

Akerius continues to prevail on the Dungeon Synth scene with wondrous anthems of Medieval descent. Part cinematic beauty and part obscure synth compositions of the outer realm, Akerius is determined to produce something just right for everyone. ‘Shadowed Paths Through Middle-Earth’ is no exception as the gothic undertones enhance the masterful arrangements that take the listener on a journey of assorted musical textures.

https://akerj.bandcamp.com/album/shadowed-paths-through-middle-earth-2

2. Ethelborn – Ealdhláford

The sounds of Ethelborn are gloomy, yet warm and melodic. The four pieces that make up ‘Ealdhláford’ are not only charming, but their is a particular simplicity that gives this a natural feeling. The arrangements are well constructed and each song has that special moment that makes them stick out, enticing the listener to come back for more. This is a very enjoyable release and I look forward to more offerings from this artist.

https://ethelborn.bandcamp.com/album/ealdhl-ford

3. Amn – Lands Of Intrigue

‘Land Of Intrigue’ caught me off guard and I wasn’t expected to be blown away by this gem. Part Dungeon Synth, part synthwave, and a lot of psychedelic moments throughout, this album is peerless and put me in a melancholic mood instantly. The forty eight minute adventure that awaits you on this album is truly extraordinary and small, intricate details will surface with each and every listen.

https://amndungeonsynth.bandcamp.com/album/lands-of-intrigue

4. Archana – In The Halls Of Relics

Archana continues to dive deep into the realm of forest & fantasy synth with another ethereal performance of ‘In The Halls Of Relics’. With an overall minimalistic theme, the smooth synth performance careens somewhere between bleak atmospherics and a caliginous & visionary motif. Another impressive release from this reclusive artist.

https://archana.bandcamp.com/album/in-the-halls-of-relics

5. Whispering Mirrors – The Stuff Of Old Dreams

One of Whispering Mirror’s primary focus is to carry on the old-school Dungeon Synth sediment via epic song lengths and grandiose keys & pads. These two tracks tell a compelling story from start to finish and the listener will be captivated by the seamless arrangements and enchanting compositions. This album gets played on repeat quite often for me.

https://whisperingmirrors.bandcamp.com/album/the-stuff-of-old-dreams-2

6. Pale Castle – Sorrowful Mysteries

From the very first note unto the last, ‘Sorrowful Mysteries’ is an absolutely intriguing effort that has that old-school vibe, yet has a touch of modern melodic sense to it. The Lo-Fi production adds a touch of authenticity without sounding underproduced. There are too many stand out tracks to list a favorite and I typically never skip over any of them during a play through.

https://palecastle.bandcamp.com/album/sorrowful-mysteries

7. Arx Silvestris – Silvestris I

One thing I love about Arx Silvestris is their willingness to defy genre conventions and create something that is bold and cinematic. Although ‘Silvestris I” has touches of Dungeon Synth throughout these three tracks, there is a huge theatrical component the gives it an extravagant quality and the dreamy drones that are arranged throughout give it a touch of light ambience. This is a very impressive release.

https://arxsilvestris.bandcamp.com/album/silvestris-i

8. Rectory – Giallo

Rectory is an exceptional new talent in the Dungeon Synth community that focuses on elements of horror and paranormal entities. Not only does the music establish an eerie essence of ghoulish matter, the themes are relatively focused on the embodiment of afterlife activities and they mesh together quite seamlessly. ‘Giallo’ continues that fixation with malevolent synth-based melodies and spooky soundscapes that takes the listener into a dark world of ghostly imagery.

https://rectory.bandcamp.com/album/giallo

9. Forgotten Ghost – Cave Cathedral

‘Cave Cathedral’ is like a symphony of desolate soundscapes and bleak ambience that combine to form an evil orchestral movement designed to bring forth angst and dread. However, at the same time, there is a particular calmness in these tunes that make them so addictive to the ears. Whether it’s the trance-like song structures or the minimalistic arrangements, this is a fantastic recording that demands multiple listens.

https://forgottenghost.bandcamp.com/album/cave-cathedral

10. Wampyric Solitude – Darkness, Beloved and Eternal…

‘Darkness, Beloved and Eternal…’ is as soothing as it is haunting. These beautiful passages are like a full orchestral act to accompany breathtaking cinematic moments set back in the early Medieval times. From peace time to post-conflict situations, these grandiose anthems firmly represent an era placated by middle-aged imagery. This is high quality synth music that defies genre boundaries.

https://wampyricsolitude.bandcamp.com/album/darkness-beloved-and-eternal

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Guan Yin Video Premiere For “Repentance II”

In May of 2020, I reviewed an extremely diverse and unique collaboration album released on Akashic Envoy Records called ‘Apostils Against Hegemony, Vol. I: Transitive Properties’. Although that album contained thirty three extraordinary tracks, I detailed ten of them that stood out the most. Amongst those standout tracks was “Evocation I” by Guan Yin. The ritualistic essence laid a foundation for bleak drones, discordant vocals and black ambience and left me wanting more. The time has finally come for a new track and I’m extremely excited to present the video for “Repentance II”. It’s everything that I expected it to be and so much more. I hope you enjoy this song as much as I do and please visit the links at the bottom of the page.

Information from the artist/label:

Guan Yin: a ritual ambient project from multi-instrumentalist Cicatrix (Nodus Tollens, Chernozem – they/them)) and vocalist Espi Kvlt (Seas of Winter, Apricitas, Nehushtan – they/he).

In much the same way that the duo’s other collaboration Exsanguinated Shade doesn’t fit neatly within the parameters of a single genre, Guan Yin doesn’t approach ritual ambient in the traditional way. For starters, there are no occult themes in the duo’s music – Espi Kvlt is a practicing Buddhist, and all of their lyrics come from Buddhist texts. From a musical perspective, Cicatrix draws as much inspiration from power electronics artists like Prurient and Theologian as they do from the ritualistic sounds of Corona Barathri or Emme Ya.

For the dark and frequently harrowing half of their split with cinematic ambient duo Sun Through Eyelids, Espi Kvlt took their lyrics from the Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch, specifically the section on Repentance. They chose that particular text because they were struggling with a mistake they made around the same time the duo were working on the split, and when dealing with serious life issues, the way they tend to overcome the pain and suffering from said issues is by making music. By focusing on the Repentance section of the Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch, they were able to heal through singing the words and forgive themselves for said mistake. While no amount of repentance can ever truly eliminate the pain caused to another, it can serve to spread good will into the world and bring loving-kindness to any beings we have wronged.

The Sun Through Eyelids/Guan Yin split will be available on cassette from Acepahle Winter Productions on March 19. Limited to 50 copies on metallic silver shells. Preorders launch on March 5.

Links:

https://guanyin.bandcamp.com

https://acephalewinter.bandcamp.com

https://sunthrougheyelids.bandcamp.com

Vandalorum Surpasses All Expectations On The Extremely Diverse ‘Maewyn’

Vandalorum is an artist that needs no introduction, especially if you’ve followed the Dungeon Synth genre for the past couple of years. Quickly establishing himself as one of the premier acts in the community, Vandalorum has persistently released a number of exceptional albums, garnering a huge following amongst musicians and fans alike. Vandalorum is also no stranger to The Dungeon In Deep Space either, as I reviewed the 2019 album, ‘Flagellum Dei’. That album erupted with enormous Medieval anthems and made me an instant supporter. Although I didn’t get the chance to review the massive follow-up release, ‘Mesopotamian Death Cult’, it was also a work of art that surpassed its predecessor. That leads us to the latest release called ‘Maewyn’, the gallant story of the life of St. Patrick; from the trials and tribulations of his actions with bringing Christianity to Ireland to his lasting impression on history and story telling throughout the ages.

Jubilant album opener, “A Saint Lays Claim To The Souls Of The Irish” is light and vibrant and immediately presents colorful layers of energetic electronic music that transcends Dungeon Synth. The warm drum patterns and vigorous synth leads catapult this track down a genre-less path and exposes it to boundless sources of musical universal acclaim. From the very first note of “Rise Of The Fomorians”, I realized that this album was going to be special and once again eclipse its predecessors. After a short keyboard intro, a drum beat fuses with expansive synths and showcases a groove that is completely mesmerizing. Traditional Dungeon Synth keyboard effects have a few spots that are commendable and gives it a bit of flare and variety, but the real winner is the choir-like vocals and the bombastic drum fills. I can’t get enough of this track and it may be my favorite one on the album. Next up is the short, symphonic piece,“Moraltach”. Although at just under a minute and a half long, it plays an important role by continuing this voiceless story and shows just how powerful good music really is. “Children Of Lir” continues the passion set forth in the previous tracks and offers even more melody as layers of synth effects meld together to form a memorable composition. However, once the drum beats are engaged, this Crypt Hop track soars to chilling new heights. Retro synthwave vibes with a touch of reverb keeps it old-school while maintaining a modern appeal. “Enslaved By Celtic Raiders” takes us back to a more traditional Dungeon Synth style, but powerful percussive parts and soaring guitar leads makes this one of the most ambitious compositions yet. The synth break in the middle – complimented with natural sounding field recordings – is beyond extraordinary and it completely exudes tons of emotions. “Exodus Of The Tuatha De Danann” commences with an immaculate piano lead that builds up to a serene duet with a soaring synth. As other instruments are betrothed, you can sense a maniacal presence taking over as this early-dawn, synthwave track soars beyond the stratosphere. “Cu Chullain” is another musically diverse piece, as it begins with a peaceful and somber intonation. As various instruments assemble to form a harmonious arrangement, the track ascends to new heights as black metal vocals are introduced at the same time the drum beats come in to play. “The Nymph Of The Forest Of Neri” is an elegant cantata that has some of the best melodic moments on the album and the brisk drum beats are a welcomed treat. “The Cave Where He Saw Hell” takes us back to a more traditional Dungeon Synth sound, specifically in the layered synth effects. However, this one would easily classify as a Crypt Hop track as well, especially when the smooth beats start up at various times. There is a velvety shine throughout this emotional song and it serves as a spiritual uplifting guide, as this magnificent album comes to a close. The final track on the album is the near ten minute long, “A Prayer In The Fields, and God Answered”. Not rushing a single thing, it begins with a simplistic synth drone, with layered leads filling in with some lush details that sound very emotional. This structure remains throughout the track, although the synth effects change style a few times to maintain a curious introspective. This song is so mellow & beautiful and provides the perfect ending to this amazing album that has provided so much variety.

This is one of those albums that can be listened to from start to finish without ever skipping over any tracks. I can’t think of a single song on ‘Maewyn’ that I would skip during a play through. Since it contains so much diversity on every track, I wouldn’t want to miss any of the intricate details contained within because at any given time, any of these tracks could easily become my favorite song on the album. The vast improvements in musicianship and songwriting over the past three albums or so is just unreal and Vandalorum should be proud of such an amazing accomplishment. Please show your support for one of the genre’s best and download ‘Maewyn’ from the link below.

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Links:

https://vandalorum.bandcamp.com/album/maewyn

Randal Collier-Ford Ventures Down A Dark, Ritualistic Path on ‘Advent’

If you’re in the market for Dark Ambient that is loaded with substance and distinction, then look no further than Randal Collier-Ford. His unmistakable sound hangs in the balance between desolate drones and ritualistic terror. Somewhere amidst that rudimentary structure, frays of industrial modulations, sonic soundscapes and transcendental field recordings integrate seamlessly to present his signature take on Dark Ambient madness. However, on his latest effort, ‘Advent’, we find a broader approach to the songwriting venture, presenting a more melodic and cinematic sound than ever before. Ranging from effervescent orchestrations to tonal black ambience, ‘Advent’ is the Randal Collier-Ford album I’ve been waiting to hear for a very long time.

The opening track is the near twenty minute long juggernaut, “Beckoning Absurd Shapes”. It begins as expected – bleak, desolate soundscapes with a calm-before-the-storm approach. The drones ascend like low, howling winds and the sound of horns that resembles an early warning alarm enacts in the distance. Disturbing vibes continue to play out, creating an environment of angst and dread. Prolonged stringed arrangements add a slight gothic presence with a noir sediment. Ritualistic undertones in the form of dark, inaudible chants add a necessary layer of power and sonic presence to this track as it continues to ebb and flow with its audible storyline. The last half of this track is inundated with ghastly drones, beautiful stringed compositions and a variety of field recordings that will keep the listener engaged in this visionary conquest. The next track is “Eyes Of The Temple (feat. Northumbria)”. Northumbria – known for their textured guitar and bass recordings – adds a gripping layer of coldness that embodies the true essence of minimalistic ambience. The musical combination of these artists establishes a dreadful world of chaos and darkness that builds into a massive wall of sound. The star attraction in this track is the grandiose guitar reverb. It creates a sound so hollow and disturbing that it’s bound to create nightmarish effects. The final track on the album is the twelve minute long “The Second Wound”. Commencing with powerful drones of a destructive nature, this song slowly ascends into a world of desolate visions. A sultry piano arrangement leads into a tribal drum line of war-like proportions. Enormous soundscapes and industrialized summonings bring forth a climactic ending as the drones fade between the bombastic percussive parts. The track finally comes to a close, as the drums dissolve, leaving synth pads to create a fulfilling ending.

Randal Collier-Ford never disappoints, and has always delivered amazing results on his previous albums. However, with ‘Advent’, he’s stepped up his game and has conveyed his best performance yet. The epic track lengths make the difference for me, as they allow for the atmospherics to captivate the mind and dominate the emotional state. The Cryo Chamber label continues their effortless run of outstanding releases that continue to pioneer the Dark Ambient genre and ‘Advent’ embodies that streak completely. I highly recommend checking this one out so click on the link below and download this amazing album.

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Links:

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