Month: October 2017 (Page 2 of 2)

Dark Piano Nights Mix – Dark Music For Dark Nights

Dark Piano Nights is a combination of dark ambient with some various other styles that all come together to form a peaceful yet melancholic nighttime listening session. This is mostly free of vocals, but there are a few exceptions throughout. The music becomes more active at times than that of a strictly dark ambient set-list, but I think the flow is good and the music, which includes classical, jazz noir, and a mix of others, is all highly enjoyable. I hope you will also enjoy this mix on a lonely dark rainy evening, when you are alone with only your thoughts, a good book, and an internet connection. Cheers!
The full set-list with links to the albums is available below the player (scroll way down!).


Dark Piano Nights

01. 0:00:00 Atrium Carceri – Dark Water
02. 0:04:00 Arvo Pärt – Für Alina
03. 0:14:50 Beyond Sensory Experience – Time Travels
04. 0:20:45 The Human Voice – Is This a Palace or a Prison?
05. 0:24:45 Philip Glass – Koyaanisqatsi
06. 0:27:45 Tusen År Under Jord – Sorgsendömet Fobos I
07. 0:32:00 Elegi – Hvor Her Er Ødselig
08. 0:37:00 Enmarta – Ain Soph Aur
09. 0:42:00 Comadescent – The Calm
10. 0:43:10 Peter Bjärgö – As Rain Falls
11. 0:45:45 BVdub – Your Painted Armor Aches to Crack
12. 0:53:15 Aware – So He Got Up and Ate and Drank
13. 0:56:10 Randal Collier-Ford – Reverence of Wounds (feat. Simon Heath)
14. 1:00:40 Aythis – Night
15. 1:03:45 David Lynch & Marek Zebrowski – Night (City Back Street)
16. 1:16:40 Cryobiosis – Murkfall
17. 1:20:50 Apocryphos, Kammarheit, Atrium Carceri – Avenoir
18. 1:24:20 Bohren und der Club of Gore – Maximum Black
19. 1:30:25 Wolves and Horses – Aphelion
20. 1:37:30 Flowers for Bodysnatchers – Hearken Our Storm
21. 1:41:40 Northaunt – A Silent Battle
22. 1:46:00 Daniel James Dolby – Noir
23. 1:49:00 Black Box Memories – Interlude – Night Landing
24. 1:52:00 The Caretaker – Hidden Sea Buried Deep
25. 1:53:00 Inemuri – Part IV
26. 1:57:00 Goldmund – Methusela Tree
27. 2:00:40 Scanner – Underwater Lake
28. 2:04:10 protoU & Hilyard – Final Refugium
29. 2:12:50 Paranoia Inducta – Whispers and Cogs
30. 2:16:20 Cities Last Broadcast – Lights Out

A Cryo Chamber Collaboration – Tomb of Druids – Review

Artists: protoU, Aegri Somnia, Dead Melodies
Ager Sonus and Creation VI
Album title: Tomb of Druids
Release date: 17 October 2017
Label: Cryo Chamber

01. protoU – Eyes of the Shaman
02. Aegri Somnia – Temple of Druids
03. Dead Melodies – Bryn Celli Ddu
04. Ager Sonus – Well of Knowledge
05. Creation VI – Birds Turning Stones

Just when I thought I had figured out the pattern and common elements of the Tombs Series by Cryo Chamber, Tomb of Druids came along and blew me away. There is no doubt for me that this is the best Tombs Series collaboration/compilation to-date. The extensive and bold use of field recordings throughout this album gives it a huge edge over the previous Tombs Series releases.

The use in the foreground of field recordings on this one gives the entirety of the album a smoothness and consistency that was only touched upon in the past. It feels like one neatly flowing experience for the 50+ minute duration of the album. Of course, each artist certainly brings their own flavor to the album. Each set of drones differs, each use of vocal elements, instrumentation or even the movement sounds (walking, placing items on a table) is a little different from the one before. But I get the feeling that some of these field recordings were all from a single source and shared amongst the musicians to help create this synchronization of sounds.

The cover art looks to depict a human sacrifice. Robed and laureled figures stand in the foreground, the bearded male carrying a knife and the stern but beautiful female gazing into the distance. Between and behind them lies their human victim, spread on a table, head dangling lifelessly over the edge. The sacrifice is complete and the druids look to the distant stormy skies for signs of the Gods’ acceptance of their offering.

protoU delivers the opening, and one of the longest tracks, on the album. From the very beginning we are overwhelmed with thick and intense uses of field recordings that protoU has hinted at in the past, but never used so boldly. The outcome is pure excellence. This is the sort of dark, stormy, cryptic field recording laden cinematic dark ambient for which I constantly am searching. The mastering by Simon Heath, the man behind Sabled Sun, surely helped to give these cinematics a full and proper edge, taking them even further toward her goal than she likely would have imagined. While their is plenty going on musically on “Eyes of the Shaman”, in terms of drones, these field recordings are rightly the main and focused element of the track. We can only hope for more of this sort of sound in the future for protoU.

On the following track, “Temple of Druids” by Aegri Somnia, the thunder storm field recordings continue from the protoU track, but enter later in this one. It initially begins with deep crushing drones, intricate field recordings of movements, ritual incantations, a haunted choral/drone section, and other oscillating drones which all combine to add a depth to the psychological effect on the listener, bringing us into the rituals. Distant chants, toward the end of the track, along with the thunder storm kicking in bring the whole experience to a new level of emotion.

Dead Melodies decided to name their track, “Bryn Celli Ddu” which means the mound in the dark grove, after a specific prehistoric site on the Welsh island of Anglesey, dating to the neolithic period, some 17,000 years ago. So we can have a hint from this title at the sort of extent to which this whole album depicts a scene that is long lost and forgotten, tombs that are slowly being erased from history by the constant movements and destruction of modern humanity. The track evokes strong vibes of this period with the use of what sounds at times like the clashing of rocks or wood tools and/or ritual paraphernalia, sounds that continue through later tracks along with the storms. Lush guitar drones build the foundation along with these field recordings of dripping waters as if the rains here had just ended. The drones continue to thicken and become more menacing as the track progresses.

Ager Sonus‘ track begins with campfire field recordings. Deep drones fade in and out of the mix, leaving only the fire as the foundation. A lonely flute-like instrument or synth, and later the ensemble of stringed instruments cut through the mix giving it a dreamy and melancholic sort of feel as the field recordings of movement, dripping waters and distant storms all come together making the experience vivid and highly enjoyable. This is not at all the Ager Sonus we know from their Cryo Chamber debut several months back, giving plenty of room for hope that their next album will be equally enjoyable in a totally different way. The track ends with the recurrence of the thundering storm moving to the foreground as the drones fade out.

Creation VI starts his track with some highly manipulated chanting, that quickly brings to mind old raison d’être, even more so than on the previous Metatron Omega releases in which I’ve made this sort of comparison. Something that sounds like a cross between muted picking of a guitar or tapping on a drum with heavy delay oscillates between speakers as a hollow airy drone starts to move into the background. These manipulated vocals slowly fade out or shift into another sound that continues to move in the background. As the drones become extremely thick and prominent, field recordings occasionally cut through the wall of sound, rocks bashing on rocks, also oscillating between speakers, as many elements of this album have done. Toward the end of the track the deep voiced incantations similar to those of the Aegri Somnia track resurface, adding what ends up being a chilling sort of vibe to the soundscape, even if it’s not intended as some shocking or haunting content.

Tomb of Druids is an absolute success. When I saw that it incorporated all new artist that had never participated in the series previously, with one track each, I was hesitant about how well it would work out. But after a number of listens, it’s absolutely clear that this album is worthy of the Tombs Series and, as I’ve previously mentioned, it is likely the most successful at extracting the correct psychological and perceptive responses from listeners. At this point the series could move in any direction. Taking it into these ritual grounds is certainly an interesting path and one that continuing to follow would likely bring about even more levels of success. Highly recommended for the cinematic and ritual ambient listeners.

Written by: Michael Barnett

Frozen In Time: Weekly News 10 October 2017

This article covers the last two weeks, as I’ve been playing catch-up on everything recently. Once the physical therapy ends everything will be back to normal and reviews/articles will be running at their previous pace. Thanks to everyone that has supported This Is Darkness through the compilation, I’m so happy to see how great of a reception its been getting. This is a huge article and there are a lot of great albums to look through. So take your time, listen to as many as you can and have a great week!

Music Videos & Teasers

Atrium Carceri and Herbst9 – Teaser
Teaser for new album ‘ur djupan dal’ which will be releasing before the end of 2017 on Cryo Chamber.

Budowle Socjalizmu Nasza Duma – Promo Video:

Cryo Chamber – Yog Sothoth Album Art Revealed
Finally finished the artwork for our new Lovecraft tribute album, above is a page from the booklet. The album will be out in a deluxe digibook edition, stay tuned for more news soon!

Mebitek – Horror Teaser #3 The End Of Everything (Funeral Movement)

Richard Schattenwald – “Life As Ritual” Promo

Synapsis – “Continuum” promo

The Caretaker – Everywhere at the end of time – Stage 2 (

New Releases & Pre-orders

A Bleeding Star – New Single Released (Digital Only)
Another “name your price” weekly offering from A Bleeding Star!

Anemone Tube – Three New Albums Released (The Epicurean – CD/Digital)
“Far reaching pleasures will be at hand – Anemone Tube reveals a series of three CDs entitled “The Three Worlds: Allegory of Vanity / Forget Heaven / Vanity of Allegory”, referencing a cosmological treatise on the universe from the Theravada Buddhism of the 14th century, the subject matter of which is the description of three levels of existence of all beings and mythical creatures.
This extensive retrospective release contains selected tracks from various tapes released between 1997 and 1999 – mostly rare and unavailable today – as well as yet unreleased tracks recorded between 1997 and 2013, a.o. outtakes from the “Death Over China” recordings, handpicked and recontextualized by Anemone Tube, representing the project’s roughest and most atmospheric material up to date, ranging from depressive ritual experimental ambient over dark rhythmic industrial soundscapes to whirlwind noise. Sharply mastered by Hunter Barr for a powerful, contemporary sound, each CD comes in a 6-panel digifile featuring beautiful photography by Dario Lehner and is available as single CD as well as a limited edition 3 CD set in a lavish slipcase with poster, sticker and patch.”

Ben Rath – Pre-order Available (eilean rec. – CD/Digital)
“Ben Rath is an amateur musician currently based in Manchester, UK. He makes experimental, ambient music using original recordings of guitar, keyboard and piano, as well as samples and field recordings. He has been recording and releasing music through a variety of labels since 2014 and has also released a short EP of improvised acoustic guitar tracks under the name Slow Heart Music. ”

Blackjack Illuminist Records – New Compilation Available (BlackJack Illuminist – CD/Cassette/Digital)
By the end of 2017 Blackjack Illuminist Records will have sold their 1000th item. With 40 records (and one book) in ten years the label has been constantly growing from a bedroom project to … a cellar project. This cellar, however, has become the starting point for the worldwide travels of albums and EPs from eleven different projects. Handmade, hand painted, glued, cut, folded – every copy is personally processed by label boss Alexander Leonard Donat who originally founded BIR to give his first solo project Leonard Las Vegas a home. A decade later you can find his fingerprints on the sleeves of other artists’ releases, as well.
Celebrating the 10th birthday of the label this compilation was initiated to comprise exclusive tracks by artists and bands which crossed the path of Blackjack Illuminist in one way or another: friends, acquaintances, label mates, supportive folks, people who had an impact on the label’s philosophy.

DeepDark – New Album Released (Digital Only)
“…deep immersion in the depths of space…”

Hoarfrost – ReEdition
Boanerges Diy label has prepared the reedition of Arbeit’s album
„Budowle Socjalizmu Nasza Duma”, which was well received in 2013. The
secondary project of the creator of dark ambient Hoarfrost takes a listener
to socialist reality of Polish People’s Republic. Speaches of
dygnitaries, stertorous sounds of machines and crossed next norms of
production. „Budowle Socjalizmu Nasza Duma” is everyday picture seeing
by the eyes of ordinary worker. Social and political satire smelted in
industrial-noise furnace. Premiere: 08.10.2017r.

Jacek Doroszenko – Pre-orders Available (eilean rec. – CD/Digital)
“Jacek Doroszenko is an audio-visual artist, treating sound phenomena as a legitimate material of visual art and highlighting listening as a practice. The artist engages with the contemporary soundscape to select and rephrase the notion of noise as redundant element. The first artist’s release on Eilean Records contains a suite of compositions produced during Artist-in-Residence programs in Norway and Greece. Using field recording as the basis for further musical compositions, artist reveals the power of audible juxtaposition and natural potential of a certain place. Ostensibly unnecessary sound events are treated here as the key components, revealing massive landscape of possible progressions. ”

Maha Pralaya – New Album Released (Digital Only)
Experimental Space Ambient, Live improvisations from March 2017, remastered for release.

Moloch Conspiracy – New Album Released (Cephalopagus – Digital Only)
The Burned Temple by Moloch Conspiracy tells of the hidden rites of the old Gods of Persia, through different eras. Despite the burning of the sacred temple, and the murder of most of the sect, the disciples still perform their blasphemous rites to the old gods. The tracks describe the characters, the settings and stories of revenge and conspiracy through time, and the efforts to seize and regain power.

Noctilucant/HollowHecatomb – Tape Release of Latest Split
The cassette version of this split released by Gray Matter Productions. [Note: A self released CDR version will be released in the coming weeks]
Available on Noctilucant’s bandcamp for only $2.00!!!

Onasander – New EP Released (Digital Only)

Randal Collier-Ford – New Demo

Richard Schattenwald – New Album Released (Noctivagant – CD/Digital)

Scott Lawlor – New Album Released (Digital Only)
Deep Space Drones

Sea of Åland – New Album Released (Throne of Bael – Digital Only)
Experimental dark ambient. “name your price”

Sonologyst – Album Gets Vinyl Release
The album Silencers – the conspiracy theory dossiers gets a release on vinyl by the nascent NYC label Nocturnal Anomalies you can check out the album below and find links to the vinyl and digital releases within.

sound_00 + lefterna – Pre-order Available (Winter-Light – CD/Digital)
“After a series of collaborative publications on multiple experimental labels, the duo of Toni Dimitrov (Sound_00) & Boban Ristevski (Lefterna) finds its ‘Elementals: Collabs 2’ conceptual release on Winter-Light. ‘Elementals: Collabs 2’ is an ambient/experimental release of deep drone contemplations and ambient exploration, good for deep meditative and learning sessions.
‘Elementals’ gathers together selected collaborative works from the artists Sound_00 + Lefterna. All tracks have previously been released separately on compilations from the labels Fall Into Void, Post Global Recordings, HNM Recordings, AOsmosis and Crna Zemlja. For this release on our Winter-Light label, the tracks have been completely remastered by Cruel Sound Works, adding a richer, more distinctive warm feel to each piece. ”

Stuzha – Pre-orders Available (Ksenza – CD/Digital)
“Stuzha returns with the third full-length ‘Siberian Sketches Pt. II’ album. This is a logical continuation of the first part and the Winter theme dominates throughout the album. Field recordings, as usual with all Stuzha albums, are abundant and bring to a listener sounds of Siberian nature. The journey goes to cold winter forests, rural villages and even the Transsiberian railway. It is a return to original acoustic atmosphere, however the sound is even richer with layers of acoustic, electric and bass guitars.”

Svarte Greiner – New Album Available (Miasmah – Vinyl/Digital)
11 years since it´s inception, the surreal and darkly romantic Knive still sounds like a mystery and something that´s hard to pin down. Svarte Greiner´s debut album feels like a trip into the forest at midnight, with all the sounds and impressions that comes with it. Spiritual, horrific and fragile in essence, it´s melancholic core is hard to shake off, and feels as present today as it did back then.
While starting off the sub genre of “Accoustic doom” back in 2006, it´s difficult to say what else to name it now, with it´s inspiration and elements from countless genres. The record flows through the dissonant cello´s and washed out vocals of “Ocean out of Wood” past the introverted church organs of “The Black Dress”, distorted guitars and wooden beats of “The Dining Table” to the operatic finalé of “Final Sleep”. Everything scattered with field recordings from crows, branches, walking, sleeping, rain, wind and who knows what. Knive stands on many feet, wherever they may be.
Erik K Skodvin´s path as Svarte Greiner have since been dwelling more and more into this world, picking each element apart to focus on them, stretching them out or cutting them down, looping, experimenting and flooding with reverb – trying to make time stop and night fall. But for now a re-visit to where it all started seems appropriate.

Synapsis – New Album Released (Noctivagant – CD/Digital)
The new album Continuum has been released on the Noctivagant label.

Taphephobia – Pre-orders Available (Reverse Alignment – CD/Digital)
“As Reverse Alignment was established in 2007 we also made our first contact with Ketil Søraker. His guitarbased drone project Taphephobia had just a moment ago released it’s first opus “House of Memories” through the belgium label Nothingness Records. From there on we’ve been in touch more or less, (in a more constant period) when putting out “Anomie” and “Black City Skyline”, (and more or less) over the years when new production’s emerged.
Since Taphephobia’s first release in 2007, Ketil’s project is now a permanent act under the banner of Cyclic Law and has since it’s start released six albums, and a load of collaborative albums and compilation tracks.
Now, 10 years after it’s publication, Reverse Alignment release House of Memories again, with new artwork and design from Haerleif Langås and mastered by Frédéric Arbour. As a special treat follows eleven selected compilation tracks put together for this release. All a good way to summarize ten years of Taphephobia, from how the project sounded in the early days to today.”

Theologian announces new release.
Theologian – Forced Utopia is a 60 minute cassette coming October from Danvers State Recordings (label run by The Vomit Arsonist ) to coincide with our performance at Into The Aether Fest, Friday the 13th & Saturday the 14th. Mixed and mastered by Derek Rush of Chthonic Streams audio samples at

Troum – Pre-orders Available (Black Mara – CD/Digital)
“It is a musical labyrinth in which we go from our earliest days, reliving every moment of the immense awe of the sublime. One topic gives way to another like the meandering paths. And revelation comes when seemingly no way out of a confusing puzzle. And if you’re a wanderer, your journey is complete. You’ve found yourself. ”

Winterblood – New Album Released (Digital Only)
“A selected, remastered version of the limited self-released edition tapes released between 1996 and 1999. Recorded on elementary equipment, finally back to life from a lost archive. Raw and unclean, and very dangerous.”


Cryo Chamber – Retro Sale
In this weeks sale we are focusing on some of our earliest releases, these albums will always have a special place in Cryo Chamber history. Order these albums here.

Dark Matter – How Cold is the Sun
“When I listen to How Cold Is The Sun, I go through a dimensional gate leading to an opposite universe.
I’d arrive on an Earth where the sky is red, the light dark, the ambiance threatening and the sun would never heat me up but just freeze me.
A place of darkness, sadness and hopelessness where humans are erratic empty beings heading to nowhere.
Firm industrial roots completed with gloomy ambiance and flirting with space opera, Dark Matter made a work as enjoyable as it is ominous.”

Alt3r3d Stat3 – Dubbed in Black
“A great album on the Cryo Chamber label. Created as a tribute to the Silent Hill video game, we get another dark,industrial oriented soundtrack like work that is just stunning. If you like the label or the other artists on Cryo you won’t be let down. Doom comes in all kinds of unpredictable ways.”
Compilation – Behind the Canvas of Time
“A wonderful compilation made of desperate and ominous soundscapes. A very good introduction to the Cryo Chamber universe for every new visitor.”

Halgrath – Out of Time
“This is a great first offering from Halgrath. In keeping with Cryo tradition it’s a mixture of field recordings and more industrialized ambiance marked with occasional beautiful female vocals. Vastly different from Halgrath’s second album showing this artists immense talent and diversity. I love them both but favor this one just because I love it’s shifting feel. This is dark ambiance at it’s finest! Halgrath takes you into the primordial dreamworld with fire and ice. ”

Week(s) in Review on This Is Darkness

Anemone Tube & Post Scriptvm –  Litaniæ Mortuorum Discordantes
Litaniæ Mortuorum Discordantes is clearly a triumph for these two veteran artists. The album succeeds in its attempts at creating an atmosphere of religious blasphemy, a kind of funeral music for the dark-minded and irreligious. For a veteran listener of dark ambient and other weird and “spooky” music, I’m delighted to say that Litaniæ Mortuorum Discordantes manages to instill an unsettling feeling of dread and anxiety in my soul, a feat that is not often achieved. Listen to Litaniæ Mortuorum Discordantes in the midnight hours, alone in the dark, incense burning and mind open to the dark entities of the night. Or, if it is possible, play this in a cathedralic setting, and witness the utter disgust and terror of some unsuspecting clergy, the effect should be a delight to witness.
Read full review here.

Myrkur – Mareridt
Mareridt sees Myrkur improve sonically, but the room the project has to grow remains. Its distinct atmosphere and instrumentation are a beautiful testament to Brunn’s upward tangent, and upping her songwriting will make her an inexorable force in black metal.
Read full review here.

Vacant Stations – Clones
The music doesn’t distract you, there are no rhythms, no samples of any kind. It is all based on the layers of deep drones intertwining one with another. They mostly are kept in quite dark shades, but there are a few moments of reflection, like in the composition called “Reprieve”. Everything is perfectly mastered by Cruel Sound Works, so you may sleep well.
Read full review here.

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Northaunt – Artist Spotlight

Northaunt is the main project of Hærleif Langås from Trondheim, Norway. Northaunt is a dark ambient project that is mainly focused on recreating the feelings of frigid climates and regions through the medium of dark ambient music. Though, Northaunt is not strictly tied to this format, since some releases will focus on different elements or different styles of music. On The Borrowed World, Northaunt focused on creating a post-apocalyptic soundscape, which would be fitting as an aural companion to the novel The Road by Cormac Mccarthy. On Istid I-II, Northaunt split the two section of the album into light and dark, which was further made clear on it’s vinyl release: Istid I, on white vinyl, and Istid II, on black.

started out as a duo, with Ketil Søraker (the man behind the current project Taphephobia) as the other half of the project, with Hærleif Langås. Their first release was The Ominous Silence, originally released in 2001 on Fluttering Dragon Records. This initial iteration of Northaunt took a more active approach than the later albums. The Ominous Silence featured guitar, piano and vocals which all added a more “band-like” feel to the music. The following album Barren Land would be the last to include the contributions of Ketil Søraker, and this album kept much of the active elements present on The Ominous Silence, but was already beginning to move into a more subtle and strictly ambient/drone direction.

Horizons was the true turning point in the sounds of Northaunt. Horizons was the first full length Northaunt release on Cyclic Law, as well as the first to be created solely by Hærleif Langås. It was a more subtle yet equally brooding release, which garnered significant praise from the dark ambient community, and is still looked at fondly to this day as one of the greatest releases in the genre. Yet, after Horizons, Northaunt would not release another full length album until almost a decade later in 2015.

During this lull in activity by Northaunt, Hærleif Langås was not inactive. 2007 saw the sophomore release of Syk Asfalt by his side-project Non Ethos. Non Ethos was the most experimental of Langås projects, and focused on manipulations of field recordings to create the majority of the soundscapes. 2008 saw the release of Exit Lines by The Human Voice, another side-project of which he was the sole contributor. The Human Voice is the most personal of Langås projects, focusing on human emotions as its inspiration and containing samples and piano to give it a more personal touch. The Human Voice would later release its second album (and one of my favorite releases by Langås) Silent Heart in early 2016. In 2011, his third side-project Therradaemon released its debut Den Mørke Munnens Språk. Therradaemon could be considered black ambient by some, and has a harsher, darker edge than any of his other works. In 2012, Mulm, a project which saw the reunion of Langås and Søraker along with fellow Norwegian musician Avsky, released The End of Greatness, a bleak and abstract dark ambient album.

Istid I-II released in 2015, again on Cyclic Law. Istid I-II follows the basic framework of Horizons by focusing heavily on subtly shifting drones to create meditative and atmospheric soundscapes.

Coming to the present we have been able to gather some information from Langås which will give us an idea of what to expect from Northaunt in the relatively near future. Langås recently conducted a contest which allowed fans to submit ideas for an album name. The winner was Matt Brown, who submitted the title ‘Night Paths’. Northaunt released a track on our recent compilation, This is Darkness Presents Vol. 1 Dark Ambient, entitled “Beneath The Ice”. Langås later stated that this track would be included on the upcoming album Night Paths.

After Night Paths, we can expect the release of Istid III, the proper full length follow-up to 2015s Istid I-II. Langås said of this release in June 2016 on social media “I have been invited to release something on renowned Italian label Glacial Movements, a label that specializes in drone and “glacial” ambient. It is one of my own favorite labels so I’m happy to announce that I have started making music for what I hope will become Istid III.” Langås later gave some more news about this release, in a recent interview with This Is Darkness, “The album is done, I worked really hard to have it finished by early 2017 since it was supposed to be released this year, but when it was done I got a mail telling me the release is postponed till January next year, I was quite disappointed.” Lucky for us, January 2018 is just a few months away and we are sure to have plenty of great music to enjoy on Night Paths to hold us over in the meantime!

Find out more about Northaunt in our recent interview with Hærleif Langås here.

links: Official Site, Facebook, Bandcamp

Written by: Michael Barnett

Myrkur – Mareridt – Review

Artist: Myrkur
Album: Mareridt
Release date: 15 September 2017
Label: Relapse Records

01. Mareridt
02. Måneblôt
03. The Serpent
04. Crown
05. Elleskudt
06. De Tre Piker
07. Funeral (ft. Chelsea Wolfe)
08. Ulvinde
09. Gladiatrix
10. Kætteren
11. Børnehjem
12. Death of Days (Bonus Track)
13. Kvindelil (Bonus Track ft. Chelsea Wolfe)
14. Løven (Bonus Track)
15. Himlen blev sort (Bonus Track)
16. Två Konungabarn (Bonus Track)

As much as many outlets have tried to push Myrkur as groundbreaking for having a female vocalist, Amalie Brunn’s approach is a natural progression of black metal as a movement. The genre’s aesthetic lends itself to much more than barrel-chested machismo, and its musical palette accommodates ghostly chorals as well as wraith-like shrieks.

That being said, Brunn’s past work left a lot to be desired in terms of fully fleshed out ideas. The components of solid folk-inspired black metal were there, but it translates more as the result of her musing about how neat it would be to try on black metal for size rather than taking it by the reigns. While Mareridt still falls shy of Brunn’s full potential, the album capitalizes on her strengths in a new and exciting way.

Five of these 11 songs aren’t metal at all (Kveldssanger style, baby!). Brunn had the right idea by hyping the record around its ethereal and delicate leanings, considering the five non-metal tracks stand out the most on Mareridt. From the title track’s opening “yop” onward, she emphasizes her resonance with traditional Celtic instrumentals and vocals throughout this record. This is what makes “Måneblôt” so energizing. Harmonious tremolo picking and rushing blast beats certainly maintain their presence, but the track reaches its summit when danceable string arrangements and percussion contrast and commingle with black metal elements.

“The Serpent” is arguably the weirdest track on the record. Its plodding guitar chugs and drum thuds starkly depart from Myrkur’s past sound, and it emphasizes Randal Dunn’s oddball production. While songs like “Crown” have a vast, yet earthy sound, the harsher elements of this record have a distant, mystical sound that may even throw off seasoned atmospheric black metal fans. For “The Serpent,” this leads to moments that would ordinarily blast listener’s eardrums if played by other bands, but instead levitate listeners into another headspace. This approach provides a freshness previously absent from her sound.

“Ulvide” best exemplifies Dunn’s production steering these songs away from expectations. Warm, sinister modulations suddenly drop into a brittle guitar riff and half-time beat, completely changing the song’s dynamic in an instant. The contrast between realistic Celtic traditionalism and otherworldly black metal becomes more jarring here. Pleasant orchestration suddenly becomes so elusive that one might not even hear certain parts at all without a solid speaker system, but his lack of accessibility allows Mareridt to transcend past confines and bring unique qualities to the table.

Although they’ve certainly improved this time around, Myrkur’s black metal could still use more inventive structure. “Funeral” realizes the most potential in this aspect of her style, as Chelsea Wolfe’s sensual elegance entangles with Brunn’s elfish inflections to a gorgeous effect over an evocative collage of tumbling drums and dreary guitar chords, but “Elleskudt” is memorable more for its ornamentation rather than the solidity of its essentials. Still, Myrkur’s amalgamated tracks like “Gladiatrix” fully come off much more dynamic than ever before.

While her vocal performances and ambient additions remain transfixing, this album’s structure essentially apes the style Ulver perfected 12 years ago with Bergtatt. She might be well advised to look towards Ved Buens Ende’s Written In Waters to see how forward-thinking playing could make her atmospheric prowess timeless.

As mentioned earlier, the true sublimity of Mareridt manifests in Brunn’s traditional songs. Whether it be the echoing percussion and monolithic drones of “De Tre Piker” or the strange rhythmic backdrop of “Kaetten,” Brunn’s skill as a multi-instrumentalist provides a way to keep these songs believably archaic yet profoundly fantastical. The only real complaint I have about these songs is the awkward way “Børnehjem” fits into the mix. It’s droning vocal reprises and witchy spoken word, though compelling, would have translated better if it melted directly into another track rather than standing as a separate idea.

Mareridt sees Myrkur improve sonically, but the room the project has to grow remains. Its distinct atmosphere and instrumentation are a beautiful testament to Brunn’s upward tangent, and upping her songwriting will make her an inexorable force in black metal.

Written by: Maxwell Heilman

Anemone Tube/Post Scriptvm – Litaniæ Mortuorum Discordantes – Review

Artist: Anemone Tube / Post Scriptvm
Album: Litaniæ Mortuorum Discordantes
Release date: 1 December 2016
Label: The Epicurean / La Escencia

01. Anemone Tube – Myth and the Relation to the World
02. Anemone Tube – Recueillement (Sa Propre Mort)
03. Anemone Tube – Irruption of the Whore
04. Post Scriptvm – Buried in Fabula
05. Post Scriptvm – Dark and Nameless Gods
06. Post Scriptvm – Laterne D’Horreur (Lantern of Horror)

Anemone Tube & Post Scriptvm are two well known and respected post-industrial projects which have been releasing music on various labels for well over a decade each. In 2012, The Epicurean label was formed, releasing many of the subsequent works by both of these musical projects. When listening to either Anemone Tube or Post Scriptvm, followers will usually expect deeply complex soundscapes which often fall on the harsher spectrum of the dark ambient, power electronics or death industrial genres. Litaniæ Mortuorum Discordantes will likely be a surprising release for many, as the sounds on this album are vastly subdued in comparison to the usual sonic intensity of either project.

As a fan of dark ambient that dabbles in death industrial and power electronics, I found Litaniæ Mortuorum Discordantes to be an exceedingly interesting album. The theme of this opus combined with the funereal dreary soundscapes immediately attracted my attention. Early on in my considering this release for review, I realized that the vinyl version would likely be the optimal listening format for such a work. Upon purchase of that vinyl, I can say that this theory has proven accurate, and I highly recommend any reader that enjoys the themes and/or sounds herein to consider purchasing a copy of the incredibly well-crafted vinyl version of this release. The album would be classified as a “split release”, but I urge listeners to think of this as one whole unified musical experience. The album progresses through the six tracks in a way that feels natural and brings the vision of both artist to fruition without a clash of interests or jarring shift in structure.

Litaniæ Mortuorum Discordantes takes its inspiration from a classical style of ritual music which, instead of inducing a positive euphoria in its Christian listeners, induced feelings of “dread, existential anxiety and feelings of death and decay”, as these musicians aptly describe it. Anemone Tube & Post Scriptvm decided to create their own ‘Litaniæ Mortuorum Discordantes’ or, in English, ‘Discordant Death Litanies’ as this seemed particularly appropriate for their musical tastes combined with our infatuation and mad-dash toward an apocalyptic end-time.

Anemone Tube takes the first half/side of the album. Their music, as alluded to previously, is extremely subdued in comparison to the works which I have come to recognize as representative of their trademark sound. The first track “Myth and the Relation to the World” is quite simplistic, consisting of the sounds of some distorted chants and haunted choirs backed by peaceful yet brooding drone-work. It is followed by the equally subdued “Recueillement (Sa Propre Mort)”, which translates to something like Contemplation (His/Her Own Death) in English. This track again features a slowly shifting drone-scape which seems to originate from some lonely-sounding horn. Both of these tracks leave ample room for the listener to become lost in thought, pondering the meaning of life… and death, or to simply meditate on the sounds.

“Irruption of the Whore” is the first move into the more anxiety driven, disturbed soundscapes, which will fully blossom on the Post Scriptvm half of the release. The track consists of bells which shift and distort, a hollow airy drone floating subtly in the background. As the intensity increases further into the track, we hear raspy noises and sounds akin to haunting voices. Chains seem to rattle in the background as other industrial noises combine to form what almost could be considered a percussive beat. This beat, as we move over to the second half, will translate into a beating heart, which provides a foundation for the first of the Post Scriptvm tracks.

Post Scriptvm will gradually build upon the intensity that was introduced in “Irruption of the Whore”. “Buried in Fabula” starts with a contorted passage which seems to have religious undertones. A heartbeat builds the foundation, before drones enter the fold, which blend miraculously well into the sounds of haunted choirs. Feedback and white-noise moves in and out of the mix adding a further sense of anxiety and dread. The sense of increasing anxiety bleeds into the following track, “Dark and Nameless Gods”. Spoken word continues as well from the previous track, with sparse words which are hard to separate from the mix, but give an added measure of darkness and dread to the composition.

The final track, “Laterne D’Horreur”, which translates to English as “Lantern of Horror”, is certainly the apex of Litaniæ Mortuorum Discordantes. This track continues to descend into darkness and apocalyptic despair. The sounds have an almost futuristic sort of sci-fi feel to them. Field recordings of what sounds like wolves howling cut unexpectedly into the mix. Contorted synths give an effect as if they are raspy gasps for air from some dæmoniac creature. The track slowly subdues and descends into a harsh noise, that never becomes prominent as it mingles with what sounds like cries and cats screaming in terror. This may all sound as if it has become absurd, like some 50s horror film, and indeed it does feel reminiscent of something akin to this, yet it manages to keep its intended atmosphere as well as its integrity throughout this strange experience.

Litaniæ Mortuorum Discordantes is clearly a triumph for these two veteran artists. The album succeeds in its attempts at creating an atmosphere of religious blasphemy, a kind of funeral music for the dark-minded and irreligious. For a veteran listener of dark ambient and other weird and “spooky” music, I’m delighted to say that Litaniæ Mortuorum Discordantes manages to instill an unsettling feeling of dread and anxiety in my soul, a feat that is not often achieved. Listen to Litaniæ Mortuorum Discordantes in the midnight hours, alone in the dark, incense burning and mind open to the dark entities of the night. Or, if it is possible, play this in a cathedralic setting, and witness the utter disgust and terror of some unsuspecting clergy, the effect should be a delight to witness.

Written by: Michael Barnett

Vacant Stations – Clones – Review

Artist: Vacant Stations
Album: Clones
Release date: 25 August 2017
Label: Winter Light

01. Day
02. Clones
03. Cordon
04. Stanza
05. Five
06. Load
07. Lapse
08. Cluster
09. Penultima
10. Stay
11. Reprieve
12. Rubberneck
13. Publix

If you take a closer look on Winter Light label releases, you’ll notice that they have quite a specific vision of their enterprise and want to create a coherent picture of what they do. Apart from Abbildung‘s All Demons Are Horned all the covers are hazy and surreal, holding a colour scheme which is cold, and yet also warm. Through the music, which may touch different sub-genres of dark ambient, but – on the contrary to the Cryo Chamber releases, which always tell a specific story and to a certain degree are a musical equivalent of a book or movie – they leave a whole lot space for the listener’s imagination. Taking a certain style as a starting point they let you follow it or not if you don’t want to. I wrote about it on the occasion of  the VelgeNaturligOpalescent Pust review, so I don’t want to repeat myself, so I’ll just say this: if you expect that their album will take you by the hand and guide you through all the plot meanders, you should look elsewhere.

Clones by Vacant Stations is no different. It’s a fairly new name in the dark ambient business, at least I haven’t heard about it before, but the musician’s skills indicate that he’s producing sounds that didn’t start yesterday. Or simply he is a pretty talented fellow. The science fiction genre is a point of reference here, through the titles, the graphic design containing clouds, strange silhouettes and “zeros and ones”. And the music too, though don’t expect any plain sounds indicating that you’re dealing with a sci-fi based album. You know, the beeping of the computers, the hum of the engines, the sound of opening doors on the space station, all these sounds telling you: hey, you’re listening to a dark space saga, keep that in mind all the time. With Clones, when you hide the digipack in the drawer and forget about the titles, you may treat it like, for example an alternative soundtrack for the “Alien: Isolation” videogame, but you may as well use it as an inductor of the inner journey deep inside your own mind. The music doesn’t distract you, there are no rhythms, no samples of any kind. It is all based on the layers of deep drones intertwining one with another. They mostly are kept in quite dark shades, but there are a few moments of reflection, like in the composition called “Reprieve”. Once again, everything is perfectly mastered by Cruel Sound Works, so when it comes to the quality of the sound, you may sleep well.

I’m aware that my conclusions on this one are quite similar with the ones I drew in the Opalescent Pust review, but it is all because of the label’s bigger picture. They have a plan for themselves and they keep to it. And I’m a big fan of their plan.

Written by: Przemyslaw Murzyn

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