Month: April 2017 (Page 2 of 2)

Keosz – AVA – Review

Artist: Keosz
Album: AVA
Release date: 18 April 2017
Label: Cryo Chamber

01. Aquitted from Illness
02. All I Had To Do
03. AVA
04. Downfall
05. Nothing Left But Gloom
06. Consigned To Limbo
07. Behind The Horizon of Preconceptions
08. Resurrection from the Dust
09. Equanimity of the Senses
10. The Took All I Had
11. Farewell To Hollow Space

In 2016 the Slovakian electronic artist Keosz first appeared on Cryo Chamber with his album Be Left To Oneself. Since 2010, Keosz has been releasing a variety of singles and EPs through varies labels. He won the Radio Head Award for best electronic artist in 2016 for his work through these various projects.

Be Left To Oneself was Keosz‘ first real venture into dark ambient. On his dark ambient debut, we heard a fairly uniform style throughout the album. Keosz delivered a collection of melancholic droning ambient tracks, perfect for reminiscing one’s past. The sound Keosz produced had a unique atmosphere in that it was simultaneously downtrodden, and yet uplifting. For me, it was the most fitting when traveling through the city by metro. Watching a sunset over a cityscape alone, yet surrounded by people and modern technology.

AVA starts out in a similar vein as Be Left To Oneself. The first few tracks follow the same formula and ultimately evoke the same set of feelings. Yet, this time around there is a noticeable shift after the first half of the album. As we move into “Consigned To Limbo” Keosz changes everything. The track starts out calm with a bit of field recording sounds and a very gentle airy drone. This is the first time I can recall any real use of field recordings in Keosz‘ music. Two minutes into the track an electric guitar enters the mix. Again, this seems to be a first for Keosz. The guitar gently strums the same notes gradually increasing in volume and intensity. By the time it has moved to the front and center of the mix, it has added such an emotional charge that one can’t help but feel moved.

As AVA continues through the second half of the album, we are repeatedly presented with the use of the electric guitar. In fact, often the album takes on an energy and template that would be a perfect fit in a post-rock band. Similarities to acts like Caul could easily be found. Even comparisons to bands like Explosions in the Sky or This Will Destroy You would not be misplaced.

Keosz creates something in AVA that has been tried on more than one occasion. But on this album this artist perfects the formula. The combination between dark ambient and post-rock elements is flawless. The soundscapes move from introverted to highly energetic and back again in such a natural way that the transitions are often hard to notice.

These dynamics of AVA are quite a pleasant surprise. All the elements that made Be Left To Oneself such a gorgeous album are still present. Yet, AVA offers so much more. It is alive with emotion on a whole new level for this artist.

Cryo Chamber has slowly shifted over the last year from a label which strictly focused on cinematic dark ambient to one that gives a home to all sorts of different ambient music projects. Keosz and Phonothek both made their debuts last year on Cryo Chamber and each were quite surprising in their deviation from the norm. Yet, this year with both of their sophomore efforts being released back to back, we find in both that there has been abundant growth. Both projects took what made their debuts so interesting and went much further with their innovations.

AVA will likely be heralded as the greatest work yet by Keosz, an artist who already has quite a following. It will be very interesting to see where he takes his style in the future, because it seems that this artist has much more to offer than may have initially been realized. Between the heavier use of field recordings and the introduction of overt post-rock elements, Keosz will be finding many more listeners receptive to his sound. AVA is surely one of the best albums I’ve heard yet this year. It is bound to find a similar place in the hearts of many other listeners.

Written by: Michael Barnett

Druhá Smrt – The Way and The Virtue – Review

Artist: Druhá Smrt
Album: The Way and The Virtue
Release date: 23 March 2017
Label: Sombre Soniks

01. The Way
02. The Virtue

Druhá Smrt have been one of my favorites in dark ambient for years now. Their sound is distinct and quite different from the majority of dark ambient artists. They seem to be reminiscent of early Cold Meat Industry acts, using a combination of guitars, drums and vocals to accompany their dark ambient-esque drones. The effect is ethereal, dark and mystifying. Druhá Smrt produce an atmosphere that brings forth visions of devastated cathedrals, a religious overtone with an ever present sense of decay.

Last year they released Mythologem on Sombre Soniks giving listeners one of the most accomplished albums on the label to date. This year they return again to Sombre Soniks with two long-form tracks, coming in at exactly 31 minutes total. The Way and The Virtue sticks to the framework generally produced by Druhá Smrt. There will be few surprises here but the consistency of high quality sounds holds strong.

“The Way” uses a heavy dose of instrumentation and vocals to build an intricate wall of sounds which are generally easy on the psyche. The slowly evolving guitar work complements the gentle use of ritualistic styled percussions perfectly. The vocal arrangements will be nothing surprising to longtime fans of the project. Apocalyptic atmosphere abounds as the drum section reverberates as if signaling a coming storm, thundering on the distant horizon. The chimes and bells throughout the track hold the religious elements in place. The subtle use of drone melts almost seamlessly into the background.

“The Virtue” is quite similar to its predecessor. It serves as a continuation of the same themes, rather than the end of one and the beginning of the next. There are slight changes in the arrangement. The drones become a bit more pronounced. The guitars take a slightly bolder route. Yet the percussion and vocals stick almost exactly to the delivery of “The Way”, with the addition of the occasional vocal segments from Lucie, whom usually focuses mostly on the visual elements of the project. Her feminine voice is a nice complement to the deep and bassy vocal style of Jindrich.

Druhá Smrt are not the kind of project that will affect an amazement in the listener at their technical prowess. Through much of their discography, they hold a relatively uniform style. Yet, this style is immediately recognizable and always welcome. Often their contributions to compilations are highlights of the albums in question. So, The Way and The Virtue stands as a minor evolution in their structure. It is one step closer to that perfection they are seeking.

Anyone familiar with Druhá Smrt will likely be pleased with, but not surprised by this release. This is as good of a place as any for new listeners to experience the dark and religious stormy soundscapes of Druhá Smrt. While I can’t find much innovation here, the album is highly immersive and always enjoyable. It is active enough to keep a dedicated listener entertained, but subtle enough to be the background to late night reading sessions. I would be happy to see a bit more experimentation next time around, but that in no way negates the highlights of this solid release.

Review written by: Michael Barnett

Frozen In Time: Weekly News 10 April 2017

This week we see another vast list of quality releases from the dark ambient genre and its close relatives. There are also plenty of previews for upcoming albums, as well as weekly specials from a few labels and mail-order stores. Enjoy, and as always be sure to let us know if you have a new release or other pertinent information for the upcoming week! Contact:

Concert Coverage and Music Videos

Ashtoreth – Listen to the live score to The Holy Mountain by Alejandro Jodorowsky. Recorded during Frisson Acidulé festival, Paris, France on Sunday 2nd of April 2017 Photography by Anja Aerts. Listen to the full performance here.

Damballah release a new music video. “Appel au Simbi d’l’eau”, is an invocation to the Simbi Dlo, a lwa with the unpredictability and immense power of the oceans, guardian of freshwater, springs, lakes and pools and. Simbi is tellurian nature, the underworld beneath the topside world who brings Voudou Visions.

Northumbria will be performing live to celebrate the release of their new album Markland, available now on Cryo Chamber.
Nite Comfort 44 – Release Party! – Northumbria (LP release), North Atlantic Drift
Handlebar 159 Augusta Ave., Toronto, Ontario M5T 2L4

Robert Rich – Documentary
“I made this short documentary to honor my friend and colleague, composer Robert Rich. It is my first film and it took a long time to complete. I hope to make it the first of many films to come, and I’m happy that Robert was it’s subject matter.”
-Dean De Benedictis aka Surface 10 (for the Fateless Flows Channel)

New Releases and Pre-orders

A Bleeding Star – releases a new single, “Ghostmachine”.

ARNWALD & Ruairi O’Baoighill release teaser for their new split on Noctivagant.

The Caretaker releases the second stage of Everywhere at the End of Time.
Everywhere at the End of Time is a 6 part album which will release one stage at a time through 2019. The theme focuses on the degenerative effects of dementia. Each stage will be released as part of a one-time purchase through Bandcamp. Each stage will also be available on vinyl. You can read my review of Stages I-II here.

Corona Barathri and Sodomic Baptism release a promo video for their upcoming split album, Womb Ov Sheol on Noctivagant.

The Howling Larsons– release a new PDF magazine.
“Thee seventh volume of thee pdf magazine from Sombre Soniks, fokussing on one of thee Projekts involved with thee label. Featuring an in depth interview by P23, photos and an exklusive unreleased komposition from thee featured Projekt.
Volume VII is dedikated to The Howling Larsons to koincide with thee CDR Digipak re-release of their Parmenides Proem this month!
++Get a FREE kopy of this Volume if you purchase a kopy of thee Parmenides Proem CDR Digipak release++ Parmenides Proem Digipak pre-order is available here.

Iron Cthulhu Apocalypse release new album.
Insatiate is the latest industrial dark ambient experience from the Denver, Colorado project.

I’ve Seen Demons release a new album.
Same is now available on attenuation circuit.

Mystified and Daniel Barbiero release a new collaboration.
Sustain The Unsustainable was formed as Daniel Barbiero sent Mystified some sound recorded with his double bass. Mystified processed these and add to them in order to create this industrial soundscape.

Ruairi O’Baoighill releases a compilation of previously unreleased tracks.
Ruairi says of the release, “Thresholds is a compilation of pre-Ruairi recordings from 7-10 years ago. (its mad to think some of these recordings are a decade old). It was a lot of fun working on this album, and getting a feeling of my headspace at the time, someone in a very weird place, with very little experience but a lot of ideas. It was also nice to see how much I’ve grown in the passing years, but also noting that limiting my ideas, to what I thought my expected output was to be, is a fools move. Theres a lot to be learned from the outright experimentation, and creativity, of the carefree past. All in all, the whole thing was massively eye opening in the most positive of ways. Circuit bending, noise, sound experiments and very uncomfortable weirdness from 2007-2010.”

Shibalba / Alone in the Hollow Garden and Nam-Khar release new split.
The digi-cd of Yang Trol Lé  is available now here.

Sun Through Eyelids release a new long-form track.
Ever Blooming was crafted for the sleepless and the spiritually lost.

Ugasanie – Releases a new compliation.
In the Breath of the Wind 2014-2017 follows in the path of Absence 2011-2014, gathering a collection of previously unreleased Ugasanie material from the noted time-frame.

Other News

David Thiérrée releases a new books and t-shirts.
Owls, Trolls & Dead King’s Skulls: The Art of David Thiérrée is the latest book from this graphic artist. Variations of two t-shirt designs are available to coincide with the book release. Both will be available on 31 May 2017 here.

Weekly Specials

Deep-Audio are offering a €5 bargain on Penjaga Insaf album Sama Sadja on 10 April through 16 April 2017. Purchase here.

Malignant Records

Today’s $5.00 special is Abjection Ritual’s Futility Rites CD. New material is in the works to be released later in the year, so here’s your chance to grab what Noise Receptor called “a highly focused and expertly crafted album” that hits “many of the hallmarks of a classic death industrial sound”. Purchase here.

Reverse Alignment
This week you have the possibillity to obtain Jarl Case 1959 – Dyatlov for a discount of 30%. Use code “yxa” when checking out to obtain the discount. Expires 14th April.

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This Is Darkness Week in Review

Atrox PestisAtrox Pestis – Review

Atrox Pestis is the blackened dark ambient side-project of Grant Richardson, best known for his death industrial work as Gnawed. Through the Gnawed project, we are used to hearing an intricate and disturbing blend of decrepit industrial noises coming from the deep recesses and forgotten districts of his city. Richardson is known for incorporating field recordings, collected from just such places. So it wasn’t a stretch for him to branch out into the dark ambient genre for the self-titled Atrox Pestis album.
Read full review here.

The CaretakerEverywhere at the End of Time: Stages I&II – Review

Each section of Everywhere at the End of Time will focus on a different aspect of the degenerative stages of dementia. Stage I, released in 2016, focuses on the early signs of memory loss. It is bright and generally has a positive vibe. It is sort of a throwback to the heyday of the “patient”. It is a window into the fond memories and high points in life.
Stage II takes a turn to darker thoughts. It focuses on the saddened acceptance of the disease. The Caretaker begins to realize the full ramifications of his position. As his memories begin to fade and become foggy, so too does his mood become more negative.
Read full review here.

In the Mountains of Madness: The Life and Extraordinary Afterlife of
H.P. Lovecraft by W. Scott Poole – Book Review

Poole‘s attention to minute details, and his ability to objectively analyze Lovecraft‘s life events, gives readers the means to accept Lovecraft for his achievements as well as his flaws. Then, he gives an informed overview of the legacy of the man, through all the adaptations of his works into various entertainment media. So, in these roughly 300 pages, there is a great deal of important information for readers new to the life and writings of Lovecraft. Yet, there is also some much needed criticism of the years worth of analyses of Lovecraft as a person, giving well-read fans plenty of new information to analyze.
Read full review here.

Atrox Pestis – Self-Titled – Review

Artist: Atrox Pestis
Album: Self-Titled
Release date: 25 November 2016
Label: Maniacal Hatred

01. With Seven Tongues He Spoke
02. Tourniquet (Live in Minneapolis)

Atrox Pestis is the blackened dark ambient side-project of Grant Richardson, best known for his death industrial work as Gnawed. Through the Gnawed project, we are used to hearing an intricate and disturbing blend of decrepit industrial noises coming from the deep recesses and forgotten districts of his city. Richardson is known for incorporating field recordings, collected from just such places. So it wasn’t a stretch for him to branch out into the dark ambient genre for the self-titled Atrox Pestis album.

Atrox Pestis is a natural evolution from Gnawed. Richardson already had plenty of dark and brooding passages on his latest Gnawed album, the brilliantly executed Pestilence Beholden. With Atrox Pestis we get a lot more of a good thing. The sounds are cavernous, subterranean ventures. They are complex with a vast array of sounds displayed.

“With Seven Tongues He Spoke” is based in a hollow and lightly rumbling drone. It is decorated with a plethora of industrial noises, metal clanging, blood-curdling metallic grinding noises and even more layers of the hollowed-out drone work, much of which appears to be based in field recordings as opposed to synthesizers. As the track progresses we are presented with a quasi-religious element. There is a voice chanting drawn out and malign notes. This description must sound much like something from raison d’être. Yet, the sounds produced here have a defined originality, using some similar elements, but to a totally unique manifestation.

The flip-side of this release, “Tourniquet” also comes in at roughly 20 minutes, like “With Seven Tongues He Spoke”. While the first track was a studio production, this half is taken from a live performance in Minneapolis. My initial reaction was one of skepticism. Live tracks can often provide a mediocre addition to physical releases. But, here the track sounds just as well executed and polished as its other half.

“Tourniquet” follows much the same framework as “With Seven Tongues He Spoke”. There are numerous field recordings and drones. But this track takes on a bit more aggressive nature. There is a prominent droning noise, which sounds like it could as easily be a bass guitar as a synthesizer. At some points it screams with feedback, but never to a level of irksomeness. Through the progression of the track we again here the chanting vocals, giving the entirety of the album a sort of irreligious vibe.

Placing these semi-religious elements among the industrial squalor leaves the listener with an impression of some post-apocalyptic death cult. A group of desperate and filthy heathens who have lost all sense of hope in their old god, now searching for ones that can show them real results. Their grimy faces cast ahead, absorbing the heresy of their wretched new faith. Incense clouds the rotting cathedral, giving them a brief departure from the putrid smells of this cancerous and dying  civilization. The future seems particularly bleak, which is clearly the impression Atrox Pestis intends to convey.

This self titled album was originally released on a limited lathe 12″ but is now re-released as a C45 cassette, through Richardson’s label, Maniacal Hatred. While the cassette is already sold out from Maniacal Hatred, as of this publication there were still some copies to be found on Malignant Records mailorder page. The digital version can be purchased indefinitely through the Maniacal Hatred Bandcamp page.

The debut of Richardson’s dark ambient project is overall a brilliant composition. Both tracks fit within a similar framework to keep a consistent atmosphere throughout the album. I wonder if this is the first or only album by Atrox Pestis. I would be happy to hear a proper full length release under this moniker. Richardson plainly took caution and executed this release with precision, unlike many dark ambient releases which seem to be emotionless and futile. I would recommend this album especially to listeners that enjoy their dark ambient on the slightly harsher and more industrial side. Death-industrial fans will surely find much to love here as well. We can only hope the future of this project has more to offer on this caliber of craftsmanship.

Written by: Michael Barnett

The Caretaker – Everywhere at the End of Time: Stages I-II – Review

Artist: The Caretaker
Album: Everywhere at the End of Time: Stages I-II
Release date: September 2016 / April 2017
Label: History Always Favors The Winners

01. A1 – It’s Just a Burning Memory
02. A2 – We Don’t Have Many Days
03. A3 – Late Afternoon Drifting
04. A4 – Childishly Fresh Eyes
05. A5 – Slightly Bewildered
06. A6 – Things that are Beautiful and Transient
07. B1 – All that Follows is True
08. B2 – An Autumnal Equinox
09. B3 – Quiet Internal Rebellions
10. B4 – The Loves of my Entire Life
11. B5 – Into Each Others Eyes
12. B6 – My Heart Will Stop in Joy
13. C1 – A Losing Battle is Raging
14. C2 – Misplaced in Time
15. C3 – What Does it Matter how my Heart Breaks
16. C4 – Glimpses of Hope in Trying Times
17. C5 – Surrendering to Despair
18. D1 – I Still Feel as Though I am Me
19. D2 – Quiet Dusk Coming Early
20. D3 – Last Moments of Pure Recall
21. D4 – Denial Unravelling
22. D5 – The Way Ahead Feels Lonely

The Caretaker is one of the musical projects of James Leyland Kirby. Kirby is also known for his projects: V/Vm and The Stranger among several others. He started The Caretaker in 2011 as a look into the past, with a focus on the failings and degenerations of the human mind. The Caretaker project was named after the character from The Shining, Jack Torrence. Some of these sort of sounds could be heard in the 1980 film by Stanley Kubrick. Deciding to build a musical project around these premises, it wasn’t long before Kirby had a highly successful offering in the second proper album, An Empty Bliss Beyond This World.

Stage I

The Caretaker project is based around borrowing sound samples from a period of musical history which has been all but forgotten. He started the journey in old records stores, perusing collections of vinyl which were coated in dust from years of neglect. From these hidden gems, Kirby sampled and manipulated the music to fit into his narrative.

Everywhere at the End of Time is being released in six segments, but the entirety of the series is a one-off purchase. At a very low price, the final three year period of The Caretaker music project will be fully available to buyers. This gives Kirby the ability to spread his music to as many listeners as possible. This is a bold move, while many artists try to find ways to maximize profit, Kirby has vied to maximize exposure, caring more for the ears than the wallets of his fans. Of course, this direction is easier to choose for an artist with multiple music projects from which he may continue collecting an income.

Each section of Everywhere at the End of Time will focus on a different aspect of the degenerative stages of dementia. Stage I, released in 2016, focuses on the early signs of memory loss. It is bright and generally has a positive vibe. It is sort of a throwback to the heyday of the “patient”. It is a window into the fond memories and high points in life. Each track is rather upbeat, with only a few taking on a slower pace. Even with the more laid-back tracks, their is always an uplifting energy present.

Stage II

Stage II takes a turn to darker thoughts. It focuses on the saddened acceptance of the disease. The Caretaker begins to realize the full ramifications of his position. As his memories begin to fade and become foggy, so too does his mood become more negative. There is a heavy sadness weighing down the entirety of Stage II, an extremely noticeable shift from Stage I. Track titles like “A Losing Battle Is Raging” and “What Does It Matter How My Heart Breaks” give the listener further cues to understanding the emotional elements presented, with the latter being an alternate version of “It’s Just A Burning Memory”, the first track from Part I.

For the most part, Stage II brings all new (in the sense that it hasn’t previously been used by The Caretaker) material into the project. From a technical standpoint, the music is much less direct, it seems to meander between varied levels of energy and emotion. Some of the tracks feel like they have a light use of field recordings complementing the sampled music loops. This second stage brings the track count up to 22, each of which are beautifully presented.

Each stage of the process is being released on vinyl, a fitting format to present this wonderfully staticy and purposefully flawed material to the public. The last four stages are set to be released between September 2017 through March 2019, at which point The Caretaker project will be officially laid to rest. Such a massive undertaking seems fitting for the close of a project which has managed to receive such positive feedback from fans and critics alike. There is no doubt that James Leyland Kirby will continue making music through one project or another. Yet, knowing that the end of The Caretaker is near gives fans a termination date that they can look toward with an air of sadness. It is a clever maneuver on the part of Kirby. As we know that the project will soon “die”. We can be part of the process, watching, waiting, and fearing the inevitable death of The Caretaker.

Written by: Michael Barnett

In the Mountains of Madness: The Life and Extraordinary Afterlife of H.P. Lovecraft by W. Scott Poole – Book Review

Author: W. Scott Poole
Book: In the Mountains of Madness: The Life and Extraordinary Afterlife of H.P. Lovecraft
Release date: 13 September 2016
Publisher: Soft Skull Press

H.P. Lovecraft can be found everywhere these days. His stories are constantly being reprinted. His ideas are used in films, games and musical compositions. I found my way to his work through one such project, the Lovecraft Gods series on Cryo Chamber. Seeking to understand the meanings of his system of Gods, I began to delve into Lovecraft. But, with so many stories, many of which only barely touch on any of the structural order of the Gods, the task proved to be daunting. This is when I came upon In the Mountains of Madness.

In the Mountains of Madness is a 300 page book which serves as a historically grounded biography as well as a means of connecting Lovecraft‘s legacy to current trends in the entertainment industry. W. Scott Poole is certainly not the first author to set out on this task. Where his telling becomes unique is in its attention to fact over myth or prejudice.

Most books in the market on Lovecraft serve one of two purposes: to glorify his life and legacy, or to provide a highly critical antithesis to his cult followers’ works. Authors like S.T. Joshi and August Derleth have dedicated their lives to furthering the influence of H.P. Lovecraft, and to covering up his less desirable traits in the process. Their opposition most significantly focuses on his deeply held racist beliefs. One of the victories of the opposition was the removing of the “Howies”, the award busts of Lovecraft, from The World Fantasy Convention.

Lovecraft in 1915, age 25

Poole manages to walk the thin line between these two camps. Throughout In the Mountians of Madness he consistently shows both positive and negative aspects of Lovecraft as a person. He is able to achieve this goal because of his focus on historical accuracy above all other considerations. This has led S.T. Joshi to voice some of his criticism against the project, even while contributing to its accuracy by way of an interview conducted by Poole. Poole has the necessary nuance to admit that S.T. Joshi is the most dedicated and accurate of Lovecraft scholars, while simultaneously attempting to debunk some of Joshi‘s long-held beliefs/findings on Lovecraft.

Poole leaves himself open to lavishing Lovecraft with the deepest praise where due. Speaking of a correspondence between Lovecraft and Robert Howard (creator of Conan the Barbarian among other tales of swords and sorcery), Poole states, “Lovecraft writes to Howard in an early 1930 letter that ‘the basis of all true cosmic horror is violation of the order of nature and the profoundest violations are the least concrete and describable.’ Perhaps no better short description of the chills Lovecraft administered to his readers has been written.” Yet moments later Poole states that, “Unfortunately, most of their letters are unrelievedly boring. Both are contemptuous of immigrants and African Americans and pour into their missives venomous indignation about the ‘mongrel hordes’ allegedly swamping the United States.”

Oct ’79 cover of Heavy Metal Magazine

The question of Lovecraft‘s racist leanings is revisited often throughout In the Mountains of Madness. Poole argues against the excuse of Lovecraft‘s position being a product of his time, by showing evidence of some of his closest friends attempting to change his views on these topics. Yet, Poole simultaneously admits that since Lovecraft had very close friends which held these opposing views, he clearly wasn’t given to shouting down those with beliefs contrary to his own. In conclusion, he admits that the topic is very complicated and both sides of the argument have valid points, while neither camp will ever fully admit to the complexity of the matter.

Poole speaks in detail about the women of Lovecraft‘s life, from his mother and aunts to his Jewish wife of a short-lived marriage. Speaking of his wife, we are shown a perfect example of the complexity of his racist leanings. The fact that he was able to marry a Jewish woman and still hold derogatory views about her heritage is very telling of these complexities.

Poole convincingly explains how it was unlikely that Lovecraft‘s mother played such a negative role in his life contrary to many previous biographers. Pointing at numerous documented events throughout Lovecraft‘s history, he shows how Lovecraft‘s mother, through allowing her son to indulge all of his unusual interests, gave him the perfect foundation for becoming the revolutionary author which he is now remembered to be.

Providence, Moore

As the book draws near its close, Poole gives us a brilliantly presented overview of the most recent happenings related to Lovecraft. Poole speaks about Providence, a new graphic novel series by Alan Moore which focuses on a character who is very much like H.P. Lovecraft and explains how Moore has managed to capture the essence of the man behind the books, with all his flaws and short-comings. Poole then goes on to document a vast and international list of stories in which Lovecraft himself is the main character, leaving readers with a huge catalog of books and comics to track down, if one so desires.

Poole‘s attention to minute details, and his ability to objectively analyze Lovecraft‘s life events, gives readers the means to accept Lovecraft for his achievements as well as his flaws. Then, he gives an informed overview of the legacy of the man, through all the adaptations of his works into various entertainment media. So, in these roughly 300 pages, there is a great deal of important information for readers new to the life and writings of Lovecraft. Yet, there is also some much needed criticism of the years worth of analyses of Lovecraft as a person, giving well-read fans plenty of new information to analyze. At a relatively cheap price and having just been released in 2016, Poole‘s In the Mountains of Madness should be a must-read book for anyone and everyone with any interest in H.P. Lovecraft.

Written by: Michael Barnett

AFFECTVS & Lamia Culta (Corona Barathri) – Interview

Interview with: AFFECTVS & Lamia Culta of Corona Barathri
Conducted by: Michael Barnett

AFFECTVS & Lamia Culta are set to release their second opus, Blessings from the Darkness on Black Mara Records. A continuation of their previous themes, Blessings from the Darkness is a ritual ambient album focused on their Luciferian religious leanings. Yet, the music created has enough technical prowess to allow listeners with no religious creed to enjoy Blessings from the Darkness. I recently spoke with AFFECTVS and Lamia Culta, two parts of Corona Barathri. They gave some insight into their mindset,  creative processes and the future of their project. Enjoy!

Michael: Congratulations on the new album release. Blessings from the Darkness seems to be an excellent evolution in your sound. Are you happy with the final product?


AFFECTVS: Thank you from all the wicked hearts! In fact, this material was recorded earlier than Homines Sacerrimi [Opus I], it was our debut work in collaboration with Lamia Culta which we recorded at the end of 2015, originally this work was called De Spiritu Diaboli in Homine (Spirit of the Devil in Man). But, in the end, we added 4 more tracks to it for integrity, made a re-mastering, and as a result the occult material got a new life and was embodied on the Russian label Black Mara.
Lamia Culta: We put in a lot of effort to get this result.

Michael: Black Mara has prepared an exquisite limited-edition physical release. Was this their making or did Corona Barathri provide all these amazing items to the package?

AFFECTVS: Yes, the release was prepared by the members of the label Black Mara, they decided that our material – should be released in an exclusive edition. We submitted the idea for additional attributes (incense and sigil of Antichrist for meditation). This was embodied with the support of the Cultus Diaboli adepts, as an auxiliary material for descent into the depths of Gekhinom, for the unification of all the dark souls and the embodiment of the Devil’s design.

Michael: The physical release comes with a herbal mix called “The Evil Smoke”, can you elaborate on this blend and explain to fans how it is best used?

AFFECTVS: Smoke of incense – clears the mind of all extraneous and alien, helps to direct one along a downward spiral deep into the inner Darkness, in order to come into contact with the Principle of the Antichrist.

Michael: Corona Barathri is such a highly ritualistic experience. Do you consider each album to be a full rite from beginning to end, or are these separate rituals collected into a whole?

AFFECTVS: The two opuses are interrelated, they are the Heritage of the Devil. Each track is a Call to the Darkness, it is an Appeal to the Evil Force in different manifestations and aspects.
Each track is a Hymn to the Devil.
Each Face of Darkness – in essence its only Force.
This is transcendental immersion in the Darkness.
Lamia Culta: In general, all of this project is one Ritual, even if it seems like separated parts.

Michael: The leather-bound magic book includes a detailed description of the album. Will this be an explanation of the individual tracks, the lyrics printed in their Latin form, or a bit of both?

AFFECTVS: It contains a description of the tracks, some key texts that were used in this opus. Also there are pictures, dark art – by Lamia Culta, contemplating which will be given the right impulse for immersion in the mystical atmosphere.

Michael: Speaking of the Latin, Lamia Culta uses a lot of, or entirely, Latin verses in her vocals. Do you have an education in the Latin language? Have you learned these verses on your own? Are these verses taken from a greater religious text?

Lamia Culta

Lamia Culta: Latin language is often used In Black Magic and Sorcery , so , at least, the basics, is a necessity on this Path. Some texts were composed by Corona Barathri, some were given us by some Dark orders.

Michael: If you are trained in Latin, what are some of your other favorite texts in this ancient language?

Lamia Culta: There is no favorite, I use the Latin language in some rituals of glorification.

Michael: Is your music focused only on the current state of your being, or does it also reference ancient times, some old cults throughout the history of the world?

AFFECTVS: Our Creativity is an integral part of ritual practice and Dark Being. It bears the imprint of the ancient Cults of the Devil.
Lamia Culta: I think our music is from the worlds where there is no time. It is from the occult. It seems like from the ancient because of it`s melodies or some instruments. But sounds that appear in our minds always exist beyond .

Michael: Do you follow a specific religious doctrine, or are these rituals totally of your own creation?

AFFECTVS: We belong to the Orthodox Diabolical Path.
Lamia Culta : We have created our own ritual as a base, that I prefer to call Dark Tradition. This is the Path of my heart.

Michael: AFFECTVS seems to have a thorough understanding of the ritual ambient style. Blessing from the Darkness easily equals many other ritual ambient projects. Have you been working in this style for many years?


AFFECTVS: Yes, I have been long interested in this direction, but, the first demo was dubbed by me in September 2015 under the name AFFECTVS – Ars Magna Atra [Demo MMXV], then in November we started working on a joint material with Lamia Culta. And now we unite in a single occult project Corona Barathri, we joined another musician named Kein from the project Sol Mortuus, now we are in common – we bare the Word of the Devil. Corona Barathri – is not an ordinary musical group, it is a kind of Dominion in a musical formation, the Sorcerous Circle (Coven), in the future our Circle will be replenished – the faithful sons of the Devil. Ayzen Kaoz also takes part in our project with the black metal project Nahemoth and Infernvs.

Michael: Do you prepare the music together, as a collective, or do you have individual studios and share your progress on an album between these studios?

AFFECTVS: We live in 3 different cities, and we interact remotely. AFFECTVS and Kein – from Russia, Lamia Culta – from Ukraine. I think over aspects of works, texts in cooperation with one more witch from the Cult, I prescribe the darkest soundscapes, Lamia Culta writes vocals and ritual flute, and Kein uses a large number of live instruments (tambourine, tambourine, darbuka, bells, mandolin, cello, etc.) + he is already mastering the finished material. We all worked together, and each brings its essence into a single material.

Michael: Are the instruments used in Blessing from the Darkness all traditional, or do you incorporate any homemade instruments?

AFFECTVS: At most in this opus, not much was used by the living. But already in the project of Corona Barathri will be embodied the Devil’s Design for 100%.

Michael: This is your second opus. It follows Homines Sacerrimi [Opus I], which was released on Noctivagant. Do you consider these to be two parts of a whole, or are they separate entities?

Lamia Culta: They are only aspects of the One. Gems in a Crown of the Abyss.

Michael: Do your countries have an influence on your sound? Do you think you would have made this music if you lived in other areas of the world?

Lamia Culta: Maybe! As for me, I recorded this material during very hard times of my life, So, I didn`t need special tuning to the Darkness. The making of these two albums was already a recourse to Forces.

Michael: Have you traveled to any places which had a significant impact on you?

Lamia Culta: I have to live in a place that forces me to mobilize all for the struggle and makes me oppose my dark purity to that human and divine mud that seeks to break down and destroy at all levels.

Michael: Has Corona Barathri performed any live rituals in the past, would you be open to live performances in the future?

AFFECTVS: I do not have experience working on live shows. But, in the future, of course, I would like to work fully and make live ritual shows, like Shibalba – they are for me authoritative musicians in this direction.
Lamia Culta: Our project has existed for a year, there were proposals, but the organizers were not able to pay the expenses. Live performances are theoretically possible, but in practice it is very difficult now.

Michael: Does this strong religious element only pertain to your music, or does it dictate your entire lives?

AFFECTVS: Our Creativity is part of the Dark Path, and the Way is – a life in the Name of the Devil and for His sake!
Lamia Culta: I would say that in our project it reaches the highest concentration. Everyday life is not a scene where spirituality will be appreciated. However, my faith affects my life.

Michael: Have you played in any previous projects that you would like to mention?

Lamia Culta
: Lamia Culta, Swamp FM, Capitollium, Divinity, Poltva Sharks and also I do rap as Fosco Culto, sang jazz and many other genres that helped me improve my vocals, but did not improve my financial position.

Michael: Do you burn any specific kinds of incense or anoint yourselves with ointments of some kind before performing these rituals?

album coverAFFECTVS: The writing of such creativity should be approached with intelligence and spirituality. The night is spent in meditation and ritual, in order to come into contact with the Force, it is better to understand it. In the day – the track is embodied. This is in a simplified form.
Lamia Culta: The only incense that accompanied me throughout the whole work is the mist of horror of persecution and hatred of everything that deprives me of freedom.

Michael: Thank you very much for taking your time to conduct this interview. I’ll leave the last words to you!

AFFECTVS: Be in Power, bring Evil to this world! Praise the Dark Father with your sizzling Black Flame! By the Wicked word and evil deeds! DCLXVI
Lamia Culta: The whole world will be against me, I’m right, I alone know this and it inspires me. 666.

Cult Support:
Exsecramentum –
Luna Atra –

Corona Barathri Facebook

Frozen In Time: Weekly News 3 April 2017

The third edition of Frozen In Time is again filled to the brim with news covering dark ambient music and any other topics deemed relevant. Enjoy this week’s segment and please feel free to send any feedback (positive or negative) as well as information for potential entries to If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out the latest reviews published:
Phil Barrington – Cracked Amber Solid – Artbook Review
AWARE – The Book of Wind – Music Review
AFFECTVS & Lamia Culta – Blessings From The Darkness – Music Review

Concert Coverage and Music Videos

Treha Sektori and Lamia Vox will perform at this year’s Nuit Dark Ritual in Thoix, France on 4-6 August. More information can be found here.

Dronny Darko, protoU and Phelios recently performed at the Cryo Chamber Label Party presented by Mist Crossing Division in Moscow on 25 March 2017. Below you can see the full sets of all three artists!
Dronny Darko



Shibalba have released the official video for “Opening The Shadow Box” from their upcoming album Psychostasis – Death Of Khat which is due out on 30 April via Agonia Records. The video was created by Maria Martinegou. Pre-orders for the album are available in physical and digital formats.

New Releases and Pre-orders

Irezumi – New Single Released
Irezumi had release their new track, “Broken” on Bandcamp. Describing themselves as somewhere between dark/light ambient, Irezumi falls into the gray. Their sound brings forth images of cloudy melancholic days, when the sun refuses to rise. Their latest single, “Broken” takes listeners on a deep introspective voyage with a sound that includes gentle drones as well as many unexpected subtleties.

Zoloft Evra – Release a New EP
The hard hitting post-industrial / dark ambient act Zoloft Evra deliver a new EP which is available in digital and cassette formats. The first track is previously unreleased, while the other two come from a 2015 sampler compilation. Expect all the usual intensity and rage of Zoloft Evra.

Atrium Carceri – Two More Re-releases
Atrium Carceri continues in the path of re-releasing their previous albums from the Cold Meat Industry days in physical format. This month we see the release of Seishinbyouin and Kapnobatai. Both discs are released in a new digi-pak manifestation with their original album art.

Phonothek – New Album Pre-orders Available
Red Moon is Phonothek’s second album on Cryo Chamber, continuing the theme of the inevitable death of our planet. A sad lonely trumpet echoes between ruined apartment complexes. The ground is dry and dusty, nothing grows here. Where once laughter of children lingered, now only the creak of broken swings remain. The earth is dying. The chosen got on the ships, but not you.  Red Moon explores a world in flames through use of atonal instrumentation and layered atmospherics. Recorded in Georgia (Europe) it brings the sound of the old world to life as it shines light on the new and dying one.
Recommended for fans of Experimental Atonal and Dark Ambient”
Releases on 4 April 2017

Otto van Kleist & Filmy Ghost – New Album Released
On Abandoned Places, Kalpamantra delivers a split / collaboration between these two experimental dark ambient artists. Expect to hear strange and often abrasive sounds as these two artists capture the soul of derelict ruins.

Black Wanderer – New Album Pre-orders Available
Black Wanderer is a new cinematic drone project from the artist behind Stuzha and Algol. Hostile Territory will release on Ksenza Records. Black Wanderer explores much more inhospitable territories. It focuses on darker minimalistic tunes which suit perfectly sci-fi and horror films. Consider Hostile Territory as an alternative soundtrack with more menacing and suspended atmosphere. Black Wanderer recorded the album using only bass and electric guitars which deliver more natural ambiance and presence to the sound.
Releases on 1 May 2017

Dungeon Synth Compilation – New Album Released
From users of the Dungeon Synth Facebook Group we have a new compilation, set as “name your price”. “While some gathered in forests, others throughout the land held private rituals and spoke solemn incantations. In castles, cottages, and crypts, these individuals venerated things once seen, things to be heard, and even things unnoticed by others. From the light and magical to the dark and sullen, these individuals were one in their workings. While the things they did and the words they spoke were different from one another, a silent thread of the arcane wove them together and for one night they rode side by side under the banner of the Wand & Shadow.”

Unexplained Sounds Group – Pre-orders Available
The latest in their Survey series is a compilation of tracks from artists based in Latin America. As usual with Unexplained Sounds Group, we can expect to hear a wide range of sounds and musical styles. Experimental is certainly the description of this mix of artists. Electroacoustic Music In Latin America features some of the biggest names in the experimental scene of Latin America including: Sajjira, Julio Torres and Susan Campos among many others.
Releases on 7 April 2017

Jaja – New Album Released
One day on Arcturus is a space ambient album which seeks to take the listener on a mental journey in a dream of time. “About the process: The music on this triple album was written in late summer nights of 2016 under one of the brightest stars in the northern hemisphere, my favorite star, Arcturus. The album is made with some brand new musical gear: the RME Fireface 802 audio interface, the Lexicon PCM 92 reverb/effect processor, the Roland XV-88 synthesizer and the Allen & Heath GL-2000 432 audio mixing console. Main tuning to sidereal 429,2 Hz.”

Thoughtloop – New Album Released
Under Droning Skies is the latest release on Petroglyph Records. “Thoughtloop is an ambient/drone/minimalist music project based in Madrid, run by Jorge García Martínez.
it’s music consists basically in recorded, processed, looped and layered bits of electric string and key instruments, such as guitar, banjo, lap steel or synth.
Though purely instrumental, the basic themes the pieces reflect upon are introspective sensations and thoughts, inner peace and depression; observation of both nature and civilization, and altered states of mind. This music works best in a dark environment, with headphones or good stereo speakers, and at loud volumes. Altered states of consciousness, such as those achieved by meditation, sleep, or psychedelics, might enhance its effects.  After releasing Gray Landscapes in 2016, Under Droning Skies is Thoughtloop’s second work. It is loosely based around the abstract concept of the sky.”

Sol Mortuus – New Album Released
Ur – Ala is the second release from Sol Mortuus. It is dedicated to the ancient legends of the native population of the Ural Mountains. Ur – Ala is released by Evil Dead Productions.

Dirty Knobs – New Album Released
Random Orbital Floor Sander is the latest from Zac Bentz of the drone ambient project Dirty Knobs. Bentz says, “I’ve spent more time on this one track than any other. It represents the core of my music career. But as always, I want to leave it up to each individual listener’s interpretation. Enjoy the ride.”

The Vomit Arsonist – Teaser Video For Upcoming Album
Meditations on Giving Up Completely will release on April 28th on Malignant Records.

Book Releases

Cracked Amber Solid {Frieze of the Faded} is the latest book published by Phil Barrington. You can see my review of the book here.
book cover

Other News

Force of Will brings The Call of Cthulhu by H.P. Lovecraft to the anime big screen.
More information can be found here.

Weekly Specials

Malignant Records
$5 Monday Special:
SPHÄRE SECHS – Enceladus CD TumorCD83

A follow up to the highly acclaimed and quickly sold out Tiefschlaf, this project of Phelios’ Martin Stürtzer and Christian Striztel finds the duo traveling even further out into space, beyond the reaches of light and into realms never before explored. While the overall approach is similar to Tiefschlaf and there’s certainly some shared DNA at play here, the seven tracks that comprise Enceladus feel weightier and darker…a glorious amalgam of drift and synth drone that seems to extend beyond any visual measure, the tones and textures floating off into an infinite expanse, pulled and stretched by an unseen gravitational force. Space inspired dark ambient can be a tricky thing…a common theme attempted by many with some measure of success, but few capture the coldness, stillness, and awe inspiring beauty of the interstellar void so brilliantly as Sphäre Sechs. Recorded solely on analog equipment without the use of computers, Enceladus is a deeply mesmerizing and hypnotic excursion best played on headphones or in solitude for maximum effect. 4 panel, matte finished digipak with metallic ink highlights designed by Alonso Urbanos

Deep Audio  5€ Bargain on Bad Sector CMASA CD

Reverse Alignment Spring Cleaning Sale continues through 9 April! Stop by their webshop to see the list of discounted items. There are some real beauties in their on sale that you won’t want to miss!

Cryo Chamber has a ‘Meditation Sale’ featuring three albums at 50% off which are perfect for relaxation and meditation! Click album art for link to Bandcamp pages.
SiJ & Textere OrisReflections Under the Sky

“A field recording focused release it merges elements captured in nature and the ruins of the east. Wet rain on autumn leaves. A lonesome Tibetan bell rings in the distance. An alien hum pushing you deeper into euphoric sleep. Sacral voices far behind us.  Soothing tape noise merges with analogue acoustics on this album.
Recommended for a calm state of mind. Perfect for meditation, relaxation and sleeping.”
HoshinPath of Dissolutions

“Hoshin, also know under his alias Esylt, presents us with a soothing ambient music album. Ripe with field recordings of lush forests and damp ancient temples. Layered with mechanical undertones it creates a unique atmosphere. An enlightening voyage to the center of Mysticism. Blackened machines summon dread, while the spiritual world knocks on the door of reality. ”

“Exploring eastern esoteric traditions this will take you on a voyage through old civilization. The crackling sound of incense fills ancient ruins. A solitary flute by Ivan Ioanov leads you through dim lit passageways underneath. Deep drone summons forgotten spirits as lush noise of mother earth calms the soul. The contrast of dark and light on this album serves an enlightening experience.”

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