Month: November 2017

Cadabra Records – Fungi from Yuggoth by H.P. Lovecraft – Review

Andrew Leman (Spoken Word)
Theologian (Soundscapes)
Jason Barnett (Art)
Album: Fungi from Yuggoth by H.P. Lovecraft
Release date: September 2017
Label: Cadabra Records

Cadabra Records has, by this point, solidified themselves as the forerunners in the genre of spoken word arts. Not that they have a ton of competition in this field, but even if that were the case, the works that they have been creating could only be described as premium in every element. Each chosen theme is given the absolute best presentation one could hope to find. Original album artwork, professional well-rehearsed readings and soundscapes that give the perfect atmosphere to each reading all come together in a packaging that is itself top-notch.

For myself, as well as for readers of This Is Darkness, the selections by H.P. Lovecraft have been the most appropriate to cover. The connections between H.P. Lovecraft’s works and the dark ambient scene run incredibly deep, with inspiration from his works going far back in the history of the genre. Though currently, more so than ever before Lovecraft is a prime inspiration for the dark ambient musicians and their albums. I could give a pretty lengthy list of all the tracks and/or albums of the last few years which have been inspired by Lovecraft or one of his weird contemporaries.

While Theologian doesn’t often tap into the energies of Lovecraft in his solo albums, he has become the face of the Lovecraft collection from Cadabra Records, contributing his brilliant and haunting soundscapes to most of the Lovecraft releases on the label. Fungi from Yuggoth is no exception in terms of energy or quality. Theologian again seeks to top his previous output on Fungi from Yuggoth and wholly succeeds in adding the perfect score to this beautiful collection of weird poems.

Fungi from Yuggoth is almost universally agreed to be the most successful collection of H.P. Lovecraft’s poetry. Where Lovecraft had previously written a large swathe of verse about everything from epic ancient Greek mythology to short and playful poems often included in greetings cards to his correspondents, Fungi from Yuggoth taps directly into Lovecraft’s knack for cosmic horror and weird fiction. We are given short fleeting glimpses of many of Lovecraft’s most recognizable components of his corpus of weird works.

Starting with “The Book”, we witness an account of someone taking a tome from some dusty shelves and hurrying it to their home. This singular act builds a backdrop for the rest of the poetry in the collection. We could take each poem as separate parts of a thematically similar whole, or we could see “The Book” as presenting the protagonist of the first few poems with a collection of dark tales, which unfold as he reads through the old tome, so as the protagonist and us, the modern reader/listener, become one and the same. The perfect start to the collection, “The Book” talks about an old tome from elder times, which holds some monstrous secret. Andrew Leman reads with perfect emotional emphasis, giving one particular line a whole life of its own that Lovecraft surely would have appreciated, when he says,

I entered, charmed, and from a cobwebbed heap
Took up the nearest tome and thumbed it through
Trembling at curious words that seemed to keep
Some secret, monstrous if one only knew.

With an emphasis on the word “charmed” Leman gives extra attention to the fact that Lovecraft was a life-long bibliophile. When writing this poem, Lovecraft surely would have been day-dreaming of how wonderful it would feel to actually discover a collection of books, all but lost to history, which told of occult secrets and ancient forgotten aeons. He would have equally felt the same exhilaration when removing one of these dusty tomes from the collection and spiriting it off to his home for further investigation.

By the third poem, “The Key”, the protagonist has made it home with this book and is now able to greedily consume its ancient knowledge within the privacy of his own home. Again, Leman’s recital of this poem and the emphasis on certain sections bring the story to life, giving it a level of emotional depth which surely would have made Lovecraft smile. In the last two lines we hear the greed of the protagonist in successfully getting home with the book, but we also hear the fear that immediately sets in as he realizes he might not be alone after all.

The key was mine, but as I sat there mumbling,
The attic window shook with a faint fumbling.

Whereas the first few poems seem to build a sort of narrative, giving a foundation to the collection, later we are presented with snippets of plots which are further elaborated upon in Lovecraft’s prose. Two of these particular poems, “Azathoth” and “Nyarlathotep” give accounts of several of Lovecraft’s ‘Outer Gods’. The “Nyarlathotep” poem works in a similar way to its prose-poem counterpart of the same name. It gives an account of Nyarlathotep’s emergence from Egypt and the ensuing chaos which befalls humanity at his hands. Taking Nyarlathotep to be the messenger for Azathoth, as he has been described in several stories, the poem “Azathoth” seems to describe the narrator/protagonist of the Fungi from Yuggoth collection being taking into the depths of unimagined space by Nyarlathotep to witness his master, Azathoth. The poem ends interestingly with an elucidation of how these two gods interact with one another.

‘I am His Messenger’ the daemon said,
As in contempt he struck his Master’s head.

The artwork for this release was created by Jason Barnett (no relation). In the insert which accompanies the physical release Barnett tells of his immediate reaction to the thought of working on a Lovecraft concept,

When I was approached by Cadabra Records to illustrate H.P. Lovecraft’s Fungi from Yuggoth, a sequence of 36 sonnets, my mind was immediately flooded with fleeting and horrifying glimpses of Lovecraft’s universe. As if these denizens had been patiently waiting in my sub-consciousness to be summoned.

Barnett went on to create a beautifully realized landscape painting which would be included as a whole on the inner two panels of the package as well as on a large 24″x36″ promotional poster which comes with purchases of the album directly bought from the Cadabra Records online store. This landscape artwork is brilliantly detailed with images of many of the elements from the Fungi from Yuggoth collection, including among many other things, the statue of Cthulhu, Nyarlathotep emerging from his tomb, Azathoth descending upon fog enshrouded mountains and the night-gaunts traversing the skies. While the outer-cover of the release is greatly darkened and subtle, the painting is certainly one of the best to-date from a Cadabra release.

As with most Cadabra releases, there are a number of different variants of Fungi from Yuggoth. The box-set edition, as usual, is the most impressive, with black swirls on clear vinyl making for an incredibly gorgeous album, probably one of the nicest variants of a vinyl I’ve seen to-date. To regular buyers, there are two options: the “Night-Gaunts” variant which is metallic silver and the “Nyarlathotep” variant which is a light blue and white opaque mix. The packaging is a thick sturdy cardboard which should withstand years (dare I say aeons) of storage without deterioration.

It seems with almost every Cadabra release I cover I must make this statement, and here again it is in order: this is one of my absolute favorite releases of the year, one of the best releases yet by Cadabra Records and absolutely worth the highest recommendation for fans of the works of H.P. Lovecraft, Theologian or both. Cadabra continues to put quality at the forefront of their consideration when releasing albums and seem to have no intentions of letting up on this rigid adherence to detail above all else. A highly recommended release!

Written by: Michael Barnett

Eislandschaft – Tales of the Frost – Review

Artist: Eislandschaft
Album: Tales of the Frost
Release date: 13 October 2017
Label: Lighten Up Sounds

01. I Found Them Buried in the Ice
02. Demented and Lost in the White Plain
03. There’s Something Out There, In the Middle of the Winter Night
04. Ten Thousand Footsteps in the Snow
05. The Iced Plateau
06. The Tombstone Under the Aurora Borealis

Lighten Up Sounds‘ recent release, Tales of the Frost, is the latest by up and coming dungeon synth artist Friedrich Curwenius of Argentina. In March of this year, Lighten Up Sounds released Curwenius’ first album Tunnels Under the Forest, under the moniker of Goblintropp. Now his latest release, Tales of the Frost, takes his dungeon synth style into a totally different territory, often transcending that genre itself, with this polar ambient / winter synth amalgamation.

Tunnels Under the Forest was a proper dungeon synth release which showcased Curwenius’ ability to create a spectacular and enchanting atmosphere within the tried and true style of previous dungeon synth masters. The album nods to the sounds of artists like Murgrind, and of course the forefather of the genre Mortiis. On Tales of the Frost Curwenius goes by a different name, Eislandschaft, which can be roughly translated to mean ‘icy landscape’. This is an appropriate title for the new album which can find comparisons to works by Vinterriket, Northaunt, Elador and Foglord among others.

While comparisons to these aforementioned artists would be helpful in describing the general direction of Tales of the Frost, it only begins to cut the surface of this brilliantly realized and well-honed release. The album could easily fit into the confines of the polar ambient or winter synth styles, but where it really stands out from the crowd is in its use of straightforward piano sections. Indeed, the album is heavily laden with this neo-classical flavor. Looking no further than the opener, “I Found Them Buried in the Ice”, the piano work sounds and feels as if it is the real deal, not a synthesizer version of a grand piano. One can almost imagine Curwenius sitting behind a beautiful Steinway, in the midst of a deep winter whiteout, winds whipping the fine granules of snow into massive drifts against the window of a cabin, high in the mountains.

The piano work is certainly the highlight of this album for me, but there is still plenty more to be said for Tales of the Frost. When incorporating the more conventional droning synth styles of other winter synth artists, like on the second track “Demented and Lost in the White Plain”, Eislandschaft proves to be a worthy competitor with some of the greatest of the style. The synth notes find that perfect balance between mid-range and a shimmering high-pitched timbre.

By the third track, “There’s Something Out There, In the Middle of the Winter Night”, we are presented with the last element which makes Eislandschaft such a successful project. As the synths take on a more subtle drone style, there are equally subtle field recordings layered in the background. These field recordings, unlike those of many winter synth artists, are perfectly balanced with the track. There is no overbearing attitude forcing this wintry atmosphere upon us. The layers of drone and field recording commingle exquisitely, making for a track which is as incredibly relaxing as it is isolating.

The original release by Eislandschaft in August 2017 would have been the middle of winter for the southern hemisphere, so we need not think of this as a summer release. The October re-release on Lighten Up Sounds gives the physical album the perfect amount of time to find its way around the world, before the winter months of the north commence. The beautifully realized cassette version of this release by Lighten Up Sounds fits the soundscapes splendidly with the cassette, cover-art and Norelco case all in white and the lettering on the cassette itself in a shimmering silver.

Tales of the Frost is a combination of winter-synth, polar-ambient and neo-classical at its absolute finest. The album makes for the perfect background to a cold winter night, nestled in one’s favorite chair in front of a blazing fire. For me, this album will be getting plenty of play through the coming winter months of the northern hemisphere. I would highly recommend the release to anyone with a deep love and respect for the frigid months of winter. Tales of the Frost is close to a perfection of its musical equivalent.

Written by: Michael Barnett

Frozen In Time: Dark Ambient News 17 November 2017

Michael’s message:
What an incredibly turbulent month! I had no time to feel sorry for myself about missing the CMI 30th Anniversary show, I’ve been moving into a new (temporary) home over the last few weeks. I’ll likely be moving again within the next month or two (hopefully to my own place finally).  In the meantime I’m going to try my hardest to keep This Is Darkness going at a reasonable pace. But the good news is that I was approved for disability a few weeks ago and have now moved out of the place that was demanding entirely too much of my time. So This Is Darkness should be my number one priority and should be updated at a much more frequent pace in the very near future.

There are a few really interesting articles in the works, some should become available over the next week, others will take a bit longer to be fully prepared. This edition of Frozen In Time is covering about 2 1/2 weeks and there were a good many interesting releases over this time. I definitely recommend that everyone watch the two music videos at the beginning of this article, they are both really awesome! I hope everyone is doing well and that everyone made it home safe from the CMI and Wroclaw Industrial festivals.

Anyone interested in helping to support my relocation fiasco, anything is appreciated. As usual, you can find several ways at the bottom of this article to support This Is Darkness. Now that my personal crap is out of the way, let’s get into the music!

Music Videos

Anemone Tube – “The Three Worlds” live set Berlin 2017


Mebitek – “The End of Everything (Funeral Movement)”
“A shortfilm by mebitek cinematics (mebitek & Serena Pilloni)
A bizarre, surreal and grotesque pantomime, in which the Unconscious (based on Jung’s thories) is explored, inside a mind afflicted by a personality disorder.
After the whirl and creation, we finally reached the final chapter: the funeral. Leading us to a Shakespearean reborn, but sentenced to survive in an eternal loop, until the end of time.”

Qeight – “Eniloctus” feat. Polina Leonteva
Get the track on Bandcamp here.

New Releases & Preorders

A Bleeding Star – New Single Released (Digital Only)
“I May Be Drownin’ Underneath Icy Current…But At Least I’m Not Homealone Reboundin’ In Regret” is the latest ‘name your price’ single by A Bleeding Star. An interesting release which incorporates many experimental uses of electro elements along with some bold percussion comes together brilliantly for a warm thought provoking track.

Ajna – Preorder Available (Reverse Alignment – CD/Digital)
“2016 saw the release of Ajna’s debut on Reverse Alignment; “Inevitable Mortality”. An isolationist journey through desolate landscapes. External, but most of all internal. On “An Era of Torment”, Chris F plunge deeper into the darkness of the soul. This time derived from psychological battlefields contemplating on lo-fi textures, blackened drones and abandon hopes.”
Releases December 22, 2017.

Alone in the Hollow Garden – New Album Released (2xCD/Digital)
“This present material is a follow up to the former “Akashic Records” double CDr released two years ago. But most of the present channellings were actually recorded prior to the above mentioned material.
The current collection celebrates the healing & renewing power of the Total Solar Eclipse which took place on the 21st of August 2017, by symbolically releasing the past to invoke a clear space for future manifestations.”

Aram 17 – New Album Released (Cephalopagus – Digital)
“’Necromancy’ is the third official album of the Armenian dark ambient project Aram 17,album idea inspired by a supposed practice of magic involving communication with the deceased – either by summoning their spirit as an apparition or raising them bodily – for the purpose of divination, imparting the means to foretell future events or discover hidden knowledge, to bring someone back from the dead, or to use the deceased as a weapon, as the term may sometimes be used in a more general sense to refer to black magic or witchcraft.
The word “necromancy” is adapted from Late Latin necromantia, itself borrowed from post-Classical Greek νεκρομαντεία (nekromanteía), a compound of Ancient Greek νεκρός (nekrós), “dead body”, and μαντεία (manteía), “divination by means of”.”

The Cherry Blues Project – New Album Released (Petroglyph – Digital)
Note: As with all Petroglyph releases, this album is ‘name your price’.
“It is a collection of tracks inspired by childhood memories and vacations spent in the city of Gualeguaychu (Entre Rios province, Argentina) during the nineties. We tried to capture the feeling of the city on those days, the noise, the train, the cars, the winter, and most of all, the memories attached to that special place for us.”

Coven – New Album Released (Noctivagant – CD/Digital)
Coven deliver an album in Suicide which is filled with field recordings, crushing drones and ritual undertones. Enjoy late at night, enshrouded in incense, by the light of a single candle.

Eighth Tower Records – New Compilation (Eighth Tower – Digital)
“One of the great axioms is, “Within everything is the seed of everything,” although by the simple processes of Nature it may remain latent for many centuries, or its growth may be exceedingly slow. Therefore, every grain of sand contains not only the seed of the precious metals as well as the seed of the priceless gems, but also the seeds of sun, moon, and stars. As within the nature of man is reflected the entire universe in miniature, so in each grain of sand, each drop of water, each tiny particle of cosmic dust, are concealed all the parts and elements of cosmos in the form of tiny seed germs so minute that even the most powerful microscope cannot detect them. Trillions of times smaller than the ion or electron, these seeds–unrecognizable and incomprehensible–await the time assigned them for growth and expression.”

The Embers of Tara – New Album Released
(Grey Matter Productions – Cassette/Digital)
Grey Matter delivers some exquisite lo-fi dark ambient / dungeon synth music to drag you into the haze of night in the Realm of Sleep.
“As summer lays dead and the fiery hues of autumn fall to the ground to be covered by frost each morning, the Realm Of Sleep shall soon come to mourn the seasons of warmth and plenty, and usher in the frozen desolation of Winter.”

Fabio Keiner – New Album Released (Petroglyph Music – Digital)
Note: as with all Petroglyph releases this one is ‘name your price’! “Fabio Keiner came late to music and music making; interested in sound rather than in music. (‘I hate music, but I love sound’:)) – in the sound of wind and waves (and windharp and generative programs and humming:). if a decisive influence, than that of giacinto scelsi and of klaus wiese, whose music taught me a lot and is stull teaching me.)”

Fief – New Album Released (Digital Only)
Dungeon Synth masters Fief have returned with their third album, III. Expect the same levels of beauty and craftmanship seen on their first two releases, but taken yet again to a new level. For anyone unfamiliar with Fief this is certainly one of the better current dungeon synth acts, so definitely check this out!

The Inquisitor – New Album Released (Dark Age Productions – CD/Digital)
Note: This is a dungeon synth release!
“The debut album ‘Rise & Fall’ by THE INQUISITOR uses an epic orchestra to tell the story of an adventurer who sets out for glory only to find his path marred by dread and despair.

Lugubriousness – New Album Released (Cephalopagus – Digital)
Some harsh and deeply disturbing dark ambient music that I suppose would fall under the banner of “horror ambient”. This release is sure to take your mind to the darkest of territory.

Macelleria Mobile Di Mezzanotte – New Album Released
(Signora Ward Records – CD/Vinyl/Digital)
Macelleria Mobile Di Mezzanotte bring together the genres of dark ambient, dark jazz and a bit of harsh noise to create an album that feels truly unique and atmospheric. Not your typical dark ambient, but definitely worth a listen!

Melankolia – Preorder Available (Hypnotic Dirge – Digital)
“Ambient / Neo-classical artist Melankolia presents their fourth full-length album ‘Vividarium Intervigilium Viator’. Founded by musician Mike O’Brien, (Appalachian Winter, Veiled Monk, Ritual in Ash) Melankolia has been releasing introspective and thoughtful music since the project’s beginnings nearly 10 years ago.”
Mike O’Brien states:
“This album bridged nearly 5 years of hardship and resurrection in my life. Thematically, this album is a journey of OUROBOROS in my personal life; self-cannibalizing at one end, enigma of absolute perpetuality at the other. It wasn’t the project that changed, but me. The music was always there, but I had to learn to extricate it from the ruins of a life that was no more. In this way, the album is a study of personal catharsis.”

Mykja – New Album Released (Faint – CD/Digital)
“North Paths is the first album by Mykja. An immersive journey through frozen soundscapes.”

Poetry of Thorns – New Album Released (Kalpamantra – Digital)
Eyes To Breath is an experimental dark ambient release with ties to glitch which brings to mind the music of acts like Access To Arasaka, Subheim and Bad Sector. A worthy listen for those that don’t mind a bit of electronic percussion and other techno-leaning soundscapes.

Rafał Kołacki – New Preorder Available (Zoharum – CD/Digital)
“Rafał Kołacki’s new album entitled ‘Ā’zan. Hearing Ethiopia’ is another set of field recordings of this artist in which he aims at an in-depth analysis of the audiosphere of a big city. This time of Addis Abeba, the capital of Ethiopia, the place with an extremely wide range of sounds. A multicultural city, both ethnically and religiously, where there are many different languages and different forms of religious activity. The voice of Muezzin praying in the distance, the Christian songs sung in the church or played through loudspeakers throughout the day. It all remind us of the openness and tolerance of the Ethiopians, their ability to function in mutual symbiosis, beyond religion and politics.”

Shivrag – New Album Released (Noctivagant – CD/Digital)
An intriguing dark/ritual ambient album that includes a combination of sweeping drones, rituals which include vocals and percussions, and extended vocal samples.

Winterblood – New Album Released (Digital Only)
Winterblood gives us the entirety of the Waldeinsamkeit trilogy in this latest release. Waldeinsamkeit I-III are some of the coldest tracks yet by Winterblood and are highly recommended!

This Is Darkness Recently Published Articles

Danny Mulhern (with London Contemporary Orchestra)
Reflections on a Dead Sea – Review by: Maxwell Heilman
Minimalism and atmosphere are nothing new to contemporary composers like Mulhern, but Reflections on a Dead Sea bridges the gap between dark ambient and modern classical in ways not often heard on either ends of the spectrum. Rich compositional potential commingles with introspective sonic platitudes, yielding a profoundly stimulating experience.
Read the full review here.

Frigid Horizons – Dark Ambient / Dungeon Synth Mix

Follow the protagonist through the coldest and bleakest northern horizons. From cold windy shores to the peaks of the tallest mountains he moves through these landscapes unwaivering in his will to push forward, searching for new lands and better days. Dark ambient and dungeon synth come together for this calming yet bleak and unforgiving wintry mix.
Listen to the mix here.

Sky BurialChapel Image
Review by: Przemyslaw Murzyn
“You may think of dozens of expressions to describe Sky Burial music, but “intimate” or “austere” definitely are not one of these. Michael Page surely knows how to overwhelm the listener with his vision and this album proves it once again.”
Read the full review here.

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Sky Burial – Chapel Image – Review

Artist: Sky Burial
Album: Chapel Image
Release date: 1 October 2017
Label: Wrotycz Records

01. Chapel Image


It’s been a while since the last time I reviewed a Sky Burial album. But it’s one of these projects which are difficult to forget about, even when it is quiet about them for a longer period of time, because each release by Mike Page is like an epic journey, like watching the Earth from the perspective of the stratosphere, when you get the bigger picture. Literally and metaphorically.

This time we get only one monumental track lasting 45 minutes. “Chapel Image” came out through the effort of Wrotycz Records from Poznan, Poland. Iwona and Szymon produce about 2-3 releases a year, yet you can always be sure of the high quality and – what’s perhaps the most important – their honest and unconditional love of each and every record they work on.

And what’s not to love about “Chapel Image”? Maybe the cover as I really find this picture rather ugly. As for the music though, once again we get an epic ambient form in equal proportions deriving from the dark branch of the genre, the ethereal and the noisy/experimental one. The music is waving, slowly changing shapes and atmospheres, you don’t even notice when the turbulent “earthly” noise transforms into a spectral journey into the unknown. It pulsates slowly like the cosmos combining the massive drones with the multitude of different sounds and effects, natural and digital.

You may think of dozens of expressions to describe Sky Burial music, but “intimate” or “austere” definitely are not one of these. Michael Page surely knows how to overwhelm the listener with his vision and this album proves it once again.

Written by: Przemyslaw Murzyn

Danny Mulhern – Reflections on a Dead Sea – Review

Artist: Danny Mulhern and London Contemporary Orchestra
Album: Reflections on a Dead Sea
Release date: 10 November 2017
Label: 1631 Recordings

01. Ganfuda
02. Captive
03. Night
04. Libya
05. Clandestine
06. Undercurrents
07. In the Hands of Strangers
08. The Dead Sea
09. My Child’s Name is Hope
10. Libya (Instrumental)

The cross-pollination of classical and ambient music is nothing new, as exemplified by more minimalist strains of the former coincided with the latter’s atmospheric entrenchment. Their shared evocative nature also gave them common ground in film scores, which Danny Mulhern’s newest outing proves as the London-based contemporary composer blurs the lines between modern classical and dark ambient to a magnificent effect.

Originally conceived as the score for a short film released last year called The Dead Sea, which follows the story of Libyan refugees caught trying to enter Europe, Reflections on a Dead Sea is the product of Mulhern’s collaboration with the London Contemporary Orchestra. Two violinists, a violist, a cellist, a harpist and a pianist join ranks and wash over the listener with arresting austerity.

The longest and most formed track on Reflections, “Libya” demonstrates Mulhern’s concern for modernized production within his orchestral pieces. Over a ritualistic chant, the song’s swaying lines find support from a sampled bass pulse and intentional use of white noise. This combination between traditional and synthetic sounds captivates with its gushing crescendos, yet remains intimate in its lurking dread. In fact, the album’s conclusion reprises this instrumental maze, proving its re-playability while emphasizing its instrumental strength.

Though certainly minimal, Reflections diverts from ambient conventions with its relative brevity. Five of these songs fall short of two-minute mark, none rise above five minutes and the album itself clocks in at 27. While those looking for something to soak in might find this underwhelming, Mulhern proves that length isn’t the only means of effectively transporting listeners out of a state of mind. Mulhern’s ensemble gives every track a unique stamp of musicality, pulling the album out of nebulous gloom and molding it into something undeniably memorable.

Whether it be the immense soundscape created by Oliver Coates’ cello and Vicky Lester’s harp in “Night” — along with piano interplay between Katherine Tinker and Mulhern — or the subterranean swells and thuds in “Clandestine,” these shorter cuts create their own vibes while bolstering the emotional weight of longer ones. Time limits certainly don’t stop “Undercurrents” and the title track from finding their respective footing in purposeful atonality, tremolo trills, and gargantuan drones (“My Child’s Name Is Hope” even pulls off a convincing arrival point in just over a minute). Of course, it goes without saying that the longer cuts allow Mulhern to truly shift reality for the listener.

Amorphous phrasing and chords envelop the listener in “Ganfuda” as the tonality of each instrument gushes through speakers and pulverizes the senses, while densely arranged cuts like “Captive” submerge the listener in monolithic textures. As it consistently avoids convention, the core of Reflections remains one of stark darkness.

“In The Hands Of Strangers” represents the most uplifting point of the record, but it still features an overarching sense of melancholy. The movie it bolsters certainly imparts beauty within suffering, and this song embodies this quality spectacularly. Harp and piano provide a melodic and modulative nucleus from which the other musicians blossom into heart-rending progressions. Though the tale he tells is marred with tragedy, Mulhern’s music still finds room to impart aspiration to the listener.

Minimalism and atmosphere are nothing new to contemporary composers like  Danny Mulhern, but Reflections on a Dead Sea bridges the gap between dark ambient and modern classical in ways not often heard on either ends of the spectrum. Rich compositional potential commingles with introspective sonic platitudes, yielding a profoundly stimulating experience.

Written by: Maxwell Heilman

Frigid Horizons – Dark Ambient / Dungeon Synth Mix

Follow the protagonist through the coldest and bleakest northern horizons. From cold windy shores to the peaks of the tallest mountains he moves through these landscapes unwaivering in his will to push forward, searching for new lands and better days. Dark ambient and dungeon synth come together for this calming yet bleak and unforgiving wintry mix.
See the full set-list and links to each album below the player.

01. 0:00:00 Eislandschaft – I Found Them Buried In The Ice
02. 0:08:25 Eric Holm – Column 37
03. 0:13:25 Old Sorcery – Further Beyond the Melancholic Horizon
04. 0:26:00 Northaunt – Skjelletering
05. 0:31:45 Svartsinn – Yearning Part 2 (Å Kjenne På Ensomheten)
06. 0:39:25 Elador – Into a Mystery of Frostwind
07. 0:42:35 Halgrath – Cold Breath of the Mountains
08. 0:49:30 Murgrind – Stronghold in the Mountains
09. 0:55:20 Grimrik – Polare Transmissionen
10. 1:00:00 Sibri29 – Silent Wind
11. 1:07:45 Winterblood – Segni
12. 1:10:00 Sonologyst – Dying Oceans
13. 1:15:25 Ugasanie – In Cold Arctic Winds
14. 1:20:00 Sequestered Keep – Vastness Without End
15. 1:25:45 Northumbria – Still Clearing
16. 1:29:20 Stuzha – Winter Forest (Into Slumber)
17. 1:34:45 Eislandschaft – There’s Something Out There, In The Middle of the Winter Night
18. 1:42:00 Secluded Alchemist – A Shimmering Structure
19. 1:46:45 Ben Rath – Winter Blues
20. 1:48:30 Skincage – Cool Air
21. 1:52:00 New Oracle – Chasm
22. 1:54:45 Sven Laux – From Sadness to You
23. 2:00:05 Aural Whiteout – Over The Frozen Landscape

Frozen In Time: Weekly News 2 November 2017

This is covering the last two weeks, so needless to say, there will be a huge selection of music this week for readers to discover. Tons of great releases here so take your time with this one! For all those at the two huge dark ambient festivals in Europe this week, be safe, have fun, and take pictures!

New Releases and Pre-orders

A Bleeding Star – Two New Singles Released (Digital Only)
The latest track by A Bleeding Star is a thirteen minute a cold and contemplative track, entitled “Mesmerized Night: Amidst the Solace’s Mist of a Witch’s Crystallized Sight”.

“With Icefire Coursin’ Deep Within Me?.?.?.?I Hunt’d Her Killer through Kyoto’s Nightglowin’ Streets” is just short of six minutes. And yet, within this short time, A Bleeding Star takes us for a journey through the depths of Kyoto’s underworld. A harrowing journey which is made all the more attractive by its release in the ‘name your price’ format!

Akoustik Timbre Frekuency – New Album Released (Sombre Soniks – Digital)
“This month sees thee 17th release from Akoustik Timbre Frekuency on thee Sombre Soniks label. After thee mainly akoustik work of ‘Shamanik Sessions Vol. I’, ATF returns to a more processed elektroakoustik sound with a 52min Drone piece designed to augment thee listener’s meditative and trance Workings.
This is thee kulmination of nearly 2 years of experimentation fokusing on thee psykoakoustik properties of Drone Muziks. Instrumentation for this inkludes a range of processed Singing Bowls, Gongs, Bells and synthesised sounds.”

Anemone Tube – New Trilogy 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.

Aram 17 – New Album Released (Cephalopagus – Digital Only)
“Gloomy Angels is the second official Dark Ambient LP by an Armenian dark ambient project Aram 17, the album idea inspired by The Book of Enoch,an ancient Jewish religious work, ascribed by tradition to Enoch, the great-grandfather of Noah, although modern scholars estimate the older sections (mainly in the Book of the Watchers) to date from about 300 BC, and the latest part (Book of Parables) probably to the first century BC.
This first section of the Book of Enoch describes the fall of the Watchers, the angels who fathered the Nephilim and narrates the travels of Enoch in the heavens. This section is said to have been composed in the 4th or 3rd century BC according to Western scholars.”

Arcana – Preorder Available (Cyclic Law – CD/Digital)
“Petrichor, the strong scent that emerges from earth when rain has fallen. Compiled here are songs from Arcana’s various eps and a gathering of compilation tracks, songs that may have been forgotten, gathered now for the first time as a whole. Throughout the years, the music of Arcana has morphed sonically, through various instrumentations, production techniques and most importantly it’s members. This compendium is another prime example of Arcana’s multiple facets and ethereal sound.”
Releases November 8, 2017.

Corona Barathri – New Single Released (Digital Only)
“A new ritual material written on the eve of the Great Sabbath, dedicated to all the dark souls – Faithful to the Diabolus!
Night of Evil, Night of the Nights, Night of the Triumph of Evil Force, Feeding the Fire with our blood.
Samael is the Father of Sins, the Source of Death.
Children of Nahema – Sons of Death, Dark Warriors, curse to god, curse to the world, curse to mankind.
Keep Black Fire Burning!
Honor Satan with your shed blood, evil word and evil deeds!
One Heart – One Essence.

Cryo Chamber Collaboration – Preorder Available (Cryo Chamber – CD/Digital)
A 2 hour dark soundscape album recorded by 20 ambient artists to pay tribute to H.P. Lovecraft.
Field recordings from foggy towns to desolate mountains. Deep space drone and crackling amplifiers combine into a black sky devoid of stars.
Yog-Sothoth is a cosmic entity and Outer God of the Cthulhu Mythos and the Dream Cycle of H. P. Lovecraft. Born of the Nameless Mist, he is the progenitor of Cthulhu, Hastur the Unspeakable and the ancestor of the Voormi.
Yog-Sothoth is omniscient, and is locked outside the universe, meaning he knows and can see all of space-time all at once, that there is no secret hidden from Yog-Sothoth.

Cyclic Emanations – New Single Released (Ksenza – Digital Only)
Asylum is the latest single from Cyclic Emanations. It is a teaser for their upcoming cinematic horror / dark ambient release on the Russian Ksenza label.

Dark Awake – New Album Released (Dark Awake – CD/Digital)
“A combination of Martial Industrial and Dark Ambient soundscapes towards a deep and beautiful experience and even a sense of the sacred. Neoclassical arrangements with obscure and ritualistic dark ambient atmospheres.
“Atropos Of Eudaimonia” is not music for the entertainment…is a path for the wisdom.
Through the years DARK AWAKE have established their own identity and quality.. the new album is full of beauty, strength and spiritual evolution and the tracks convey and spread the ideas of aestheticism and transcendentalism.”

Dawn Tuesday – New Album Released (Digital Only)
Entity is a crushing drone ambient release by Dawn Tuesday. The sounds are quite interesting, sometimes giving a deeply malevolent feel, other times bringing forth a sense of calm ponderance.

dB/Mz – New Album Released (Frozen Light – CD/Digital)
“Frozen Light presents second album by Power Drone duo dB/Mz. Heavy Drone music with Ambient, Noise and Industrial elements. Dark sceneries of surrounding forests inhabited by strange animals, frightening birds and revived mushrooms…. Loud music for uneasy perception.”

DeepDark – New Album Released (Digital Only)
“New mysteries of the mind.
New dimensions of the soul.”

Elador – New EP Released (Digital Only)
Drowned Dreams, the latest release by Elador, showcases all his many talents in the varied fields of medieval dark ambient, dungeon synth and neo-classical. A brilliantly fantastical journey, as could only be expected of Elador!

EugeneKha – New Album Released (Aural Films – Digital)
“Aural Films is very happy to announce the return of Russian poet, musician, sound and visual artist, EugeneKha. His new album Breathe Slowly is a glorious showcase of the artists’ many talents. Blending field recordings, synthesizers, and sources from other artists with thoughtful musical passages. EugeneKha creates a unique, yet highly inviting music that drawls the listener into a warm sonic environment.”

EvilNox & Chaostetic – New Collaboration Released (Digital Only)
This is the collaboration of two dark medieval ambient projects, EvilNox and Chaostetic, from Russia and Moldova respectively.
The track “Silver Blood Of Moon” was recorded in 2014 year, but only now we want to publish this ambient manifesto.

Fear-Modern-Man – New Single Released (Digital Only)
“Desolation of the Wicked” takes listeners into the depths of an abandoned prison complex. In the bowels of the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, recognized as one of the most haunted properties in the United States, prisoners rot away in their pitch black, cold stone cubicles. Solitary confinement tears at the very fabric of one’s sanity in the best of cases, but in the underground solitary cells of this earliest form of the modern prison system, prisoners felt an acute discomfort and disconnect from humanity, as they would in few other places within the “civilized world”.

Halgrath – Two New Releases (Digital Only)
This latest EP by Halgrath brings together three of her recent tracks. The music certainly displays some of her established style, but this EP aims to be used as a tool for “deep space meditation” and taps into a space ambient style of sound that we wouldn’t usually associate with the Halgrath project.

Existence Beyond the Edge takes Halgrath even further into her new deep space ambient territory. Music perfect for meditation and contemplation of the vast barren expanse that is our universe.

Hermit – New Album Released (Grey Matter Productions – CD/Cassette/Digital)
“A series of of negative vibratory expulsions from my conscious joined together with depressive anti-mantras swirling in my mind during the most difficult time of my life thus far. Consider this a transfer of energy from my personal emotions and feelings during that time into sound.”

Jinthra – New Album Released (Sombre Soniks – Digital)
“Sombre Soniks is very excited to announce thee debut release from Jinthra, thee new solo Projekt of Jindrich Spilka (Druhá Smrt & A Most Accursed).
From thee Artist:
‘As Jinthra is a solo project, the manifestation of sounds are from a strictly personal magickal/existential Weltanschauung. This was recorded during rather extreme magickal practices; deconstruction to a Non-Self from a radical perspective of aut(arch)ist in the moment that awakens from flowing cycles of time/times…'”

Maha Pralaya – New Album Released (Digital Only)
Chronos is a live set performed by Maha Pralaya at a live summer session in 2017. Expect all the darkness and ritual ambient that Maha Pralaya have to offer!

Moloch – New Album Released (CD/Digital)
“At last, after eleven years since the debut, the dungeon synth / dark synth legacy of Moloch will finally be released on CD. It’s not your ordinary “The Best of Record” but a true journey through time and space…
This upcoming, huge compilation, “The Vatican Cellars” will feature a total of 36 tracks that have been meticulously selected by Moloch himself. The 2CD collection will include both full-length releases “Withering Hopes” and “Onoskelis” as well as the “Yog-Sothoth” EP released previously on CD-R and digital by Moloch under the guise of I.A. SERPENTOR. Above all that the compilation will also include never before released tracks written and recorded between 2004-2011.”

Nunc Stans – New Album Released (DataObscura – CD/Digital)
“Deep ambient excursions from Nunc Stans. Journey to the edge of invisibility and uncertainty. A more purely drone based release than recent Nunc Stans albums, but also a little more enigmatic, minimal, and exploratory. This is music for the beginning of things. Composed and performed by Anthony Paul Kerby.”

Old Sorcery – New Album Released (Garavlúth Records – CD/Cassette/Digital)
This is one of the most talked about new dungeon synth projects of the last year. When Old Sorcery posted this album to their Bandcamp several months back there was a frenzy in the industry deciding where the album would be physically released as fans patiently awaited the outcome. Garavlúth Records is giving Realms of Magickal Sorrow a proper release on CD and Cassette. I highly recommend this release to those that only find few dungeon synth releases which they enjoy. This one is top-notch.

Randal Collier-Ford – New EP Released (Digital Only)
“‘Everything has brought you here… You were never in control.’
[APEX] is an effort to fill in the blanks in the Apocalypse trilogy, the sombre story of Promethean’s protagonist before embarking on the pilgrimage of metamorphosis during the third chapter in the series. Here, we’ll see the reality of his life play out in individual stories through each track through avantgarde industrial drone music.”

Rapoon – New Album Released (Winter-Light – CD/Digital)
“In celebration of this, his 25th Silver Anniversary, we are releasing a triptych of new work from Rapoon entitled The Mercury Rising Trilogy. The Mercury Rising Trilogy will comprise of three brand new studio albums, all with exclusive material. The albums will bring a new feel to Robin’s work, that of a more off world spacious feel, jazzy in parts with a ceremonial thread running throughout. Each album interlinked by this feel and theme, as the titles suggest, but with each one still having it’s own unique identity.
Sanctus Equinox is a portrayal of that world, a painted landscape of the secret rites and ceremonies practiced by it’s inhabitants. Celebrations and rituals created to overcome the sense of loss and abandonment, after being discarded by their creators, deemed to have no further worth. Scattered across the many moons in their new solar system, they gather en masse to worship under alien skies, bathed in the fractured light of moons and suns. Dressed in splendid costumes, they sing and dance along great winding, standing stone pathways; a procession of vibrant colours and chants moving hypnotically towards stone circles raised high to the heavens.”

Robert Davies – New Album Released (DataObscura – CD/Digital)
While certainly more in the realms of ambient than dark ambient, this latest release by Robert Davies is awash with brilliant field recordings and somber, relaxed dronework. Highly recommended for those that love field recordings of nature to be a major component in their ambient listening experiences!
“A gorgeous new release from Robert Davies, a perfect follow up to the earlier Estuary. Consistent and delicate pastoral ambient beauty.
A work that brings the listener into intimate liaison with a nature both beautiful and profound.”

Scott Lawlor – New Album Released (Digital Only)
The Origin of Supernatural Astronomical Phenomena 5 is a three part album, coming in at over an hour play-length. The music consists of three long-form ambient drone tracks which take a spooky sort of space ambient theme.

Sea of Åland – New Album Released (Throne of Bael – Digital)
A new dark ambient experience that focuses on the mystery of the 1959 disappearance of 9 ski-hikers at the Dyatlov Pass.

Sun Through Eyelids – New Album Released (Digital Only)
Impermanence, also called Anicca or Anitya, is one of the essential doctrines and a part of three marks of existence in Buddhism. The doctrine asserts that all of conditioned existence, without exception, is “transient, evanescent, inconstant”.
“Awareness of impermanence and appreciation of our human potential will give us a sense of urgency that we must use every precious moment.” ~ Dalai Lama

Sven Laux – Pre-order Available (Dronarivm – CD/Digital)
Paper Streets is a deeply intimate and vulnerable affair. Released on the Russian label Dronarivm, Sven paints minimal landscapes with watercolors in shades of violin, cello & piano; stripped bare & soaked in memory.
The artist’s works bares a sense of detachment & reflection that usually occurs with the passing of time. Forlorn irony shows itself as it reminds you what feels like to fall in love for the first time, while conjuring ghosts from the last time you shared a gaze.
Now residing in Berlin, Sven Laux has done anything but conform. His unique take on music making has him sharing the company of artisans like Pheek, Ezekiel Honig and Marc Neyen. Laux has become notorious for manipulating foundsounds and employing layers of field recordings in his work. In a discography that stretches back to 2006, there remains a prevalent underlying passion for the obscure.”
Releases November 3, 2017.

Theologian – New Album Released (Danvers State Recordings – Cassette/Digital)
“Theologian returns from a trek into the deepest internal chasms, after drowning in misery and self-defeat, to the gates of the Forced Utopia, released in time for Theologian’s appearance at INTO THE AETHER, a two-day festival in Portland, Maine.”

Troum – Preorders 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.” Releases 10 November.

Waeltaja – New Album Released (Digital Only)
The Cold Journey takes Waeltaja into the cold foggy mountains of Northern Europe. A nice combination of winter synth and dark ambient which brings to mind the sounds of Vinterriket. Definitely worth checking out.

Wolves and Horses – New Album Released (Digital Only)
Many readers will be familiar with Wolves and Horses from the their recent contribution to the Tomb of Seers collaboration on Cryo Chamber. Sangreal takes us into the rich history of Arthurian legend. “Every track was written with this story in mind and is an evocation of a place or a character.”


Reverse Alignment
Reverse Alignment Autumn Sale!
Check out Reverse Alignment’s distro page here for their Autumn Sale with many discounted items. Move fast it will be ending on 12 November!

Cryo Chamber
Council of Nine Sale!
In this weeks sale we are focusing on Council of Nine and his beautiful, melancholic and dark ambience. Save 50% on these digital downloads:

Council of NineDakhma
“After two outstanding pieces on the Tomb Of Empires split, the first LP by Council Of Nine raised high hopes. And even if I found Dakhma pretty hermetic at first, persistence paid and revealed this album as a great personal overview of a thousand-year-old Persian ritual.
Not unnecessarily subtle, the massive drones and cryptic sonic elements serve the aural descriptions of ancient rites revolving around the topics of spirituality, death and purification.
A captivating release.”

Council of NineDiagnosis
“Council Of Nine’s Diagnosis feels personal, deep, dark, and yet still warm and inviting. It doesn’t warn us of the twisted mind as much as it invites us to join it. Council Of Nine offers the perfect meditative experience here.”

Council of NineTrinity
“The subtlety and nuance on Trinity is only possible for an artist that has been fine-tuning his craft nonstop over the last few years. Council of Nine has had little downtime since his first appearance on Tomb of Empires. He has become a master at pulling the emotions of the listener in any direction he chooses, all the while delivering top-notch musical output.”

This Is Darkness Week(s) in Review

Svartsinn Mørkets Variabler – Review
Mørkets Variabler is an absolute success and well worth the long wait since the last proper full-length release. Svartsinn proves that he is still at the very top of his game on this one. Each will have their own opinions, but to me this is the apex of his work. The further addition of Amund Ulvestad’s cello and the bolder format of the majority of the album give Mørkets Variabler a character of its own, allowing it to distinctly stand out from the rest of the Svartsinn discography. If you are looking for pure and utter darkness, one need look no further than Mørkets Variabler. This is darkness in its purest form.
Read the full review here.

AeogaObsidian Outlander – Review
For those familiar with the previous works of Aural Hypnox, and Aeoga in particular, there should be little motivation needed to purchase this release. For those, likely many, dark ambient fans that have not experienced the music from this label, Obsidian Outlander is a great starting point. It showcases some of their more stripped down ritual ambient style, while other parts of the album move into that more subtle and hypnotic territory, which I find to be such a draw to these projects.
Read the full review here.

Bell WitchMirror Reaper – Review on the Periphery
Funeral doom stands apart from metal stereotypes in that its exploration of death goes beyond something to deal or be dealt, instead exploring the philosophy behind finality and the combination of fear and serenity it entails. Since Funeral’s first demo sparked the genre into existence, no band has embodied a metallic procession quite like Bell Witch. The duo have done to funeral doom what Sleep did to stoner metal with Dopesmoker — taking the genre to its limits while epitomizing its potential on a grand scale. Mirror Reaper will be remembered as a triumph for this movement, an encapsulation of its most moving attributes.
Read the full review here.

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