Thursday, December 25, 2008

This is Past - Alice in Uglyland

Year: 2008
Genre: Psychedelic Black Metal

Unusual psychedelic black metal.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Arcaïde - Cyclic Sound From the Form

Year: 2008
Genre: Psychedelic Dark Ambient

Twisted and strange dark ambient sounds.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Velvet Cacoon - Genevieve

Year: 2004
Genre: Ambient/Black Metal

Haunting, drug induced introspective journeys with a large ambient/drone overtone weaved within noisy, washing black metal. Perfect for late nights looking out over a snow covered landscape.

Underjordiska - Landscapes of Depression

Year: 2004
Genre: Ambient/Black/Noise

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Year: 2002
Genre: Ambient/Black Metal

This really is a remarkable feat for a first demo, creating an ambiance and atmosphere that is all its own. It seems to serve as a promo, or taster, for the first full-length, but this easily stands alone, and is a fantastic effort in its own right. It is very much black metal, but there are ambient sections added in, passages of distorted, rumbling noise, haunting keyboard work and all manner of techniques interspersed to create a deep and captivating atmosphere. The black metal elements are also remarkably well done. Unusual and unpredictable tremolo-picked chord progressions soar above unrelenting programmed drum beats, accompanied by inhuman screams drenched in reverb and effects that give the illusion of immense distance. The second track has a far more industrial feel, with distorted, whispered vocals over deep, almost choral keyboards, pounding beats and jarring metallic clangs and scraping sounds. It is very repetitive, but in a captivating, hypnotic manner rather than a boring one.

Year: 2003
Genre: Ambient/Black Metal

Dark Space I is first a mystery to the auditor. An indefinable mix of different styles, samples and ambient sounds combined to a terrifying musical abyss. But after several wanderings through Darkspace’s dimension, you’ll notice the fine differences in each song which make every track to a stand alone masterpiece that fascinates you for hours.

Year: 2005
Genre: Ambient/Black Metal

Dark Space II exists as an organic entity where melody is made by thick bass notes – sanguine spasms that pulsate under a thin, gossamer web of guitar, reminiscent to the tone of horror flicks ambient. The music represents an amorphous mass, hard to break down in pieces due to the compact style with which the instruments are played. The composition brings to mind the sobriety and icy tension of doom metal, tension that discharges into the listener through vast detonations of static that don’t disturb the flow of already overburdened sound.

Year: 2008
Genre: Ambient/Black Metal

The music of Darkspace here is a blend of the first two albums. The heavy rhythmic palm muting riffs of the first album that almost gave a death metal touch are back after being put aside for "II". The huge airy and open keyboard sounds of two are also back, and III almost feels as if it is the best of the first two albums blended together. The songs are all very long, but this time the music is as varied as ever for Darkspace standards. One of the key things that Darkspace do are create a wall of sound rather than distinct riffs and melodies. This is effective because you don't notice repeats or reoccurring structures which makes the music flow very organically. The mix is also very organic, including a good amount of distortion on the guitars bass and vocals. The drumming is still being handled by a computer and I think the synth is also programmed as it is rarely actually playing anything melodic. The synth creates moods and bursts of sound which work extremely effectively.

Fungoid Stream - Celaenus Fragments

Year: 2004
Genre: Ambient/Funeral Doom

Fungoid Stream is a two piece from Argentina. One handling vocals [Simon O.] and one handling all the instruments [Joseph C.], the whole concept of the band is based on the works of writer extraordinaire H.P. Lovecraft, the lyrical concept and even the band name is all product of the influence of Howard Phillips on these guys. This stuff is really atmospheric, dense, slow, funeral doom. The clean guitars mix with the distorted ones creating a aura of uneasiness, the pounding riffs and the ever present keyboard adds a eerie atmosphere to each song, reminder of the bands main influence.

Vhernen - Vhernen

Year: 2007
Genre: Black/Funeral Doom Metal

Following the roots of the previous work but improving the style and the sound towards something more personal and intimate, more atmospheric with a mature songwriting that in this opus has put in prominence a massive use of his classic electric cello and orchestral harp, to create austere and mystic ambiances. A noble and eclectic piece of extreme art, a concept album based upon the deadly passage from Autumn to Winter. No need to say that one more time Vhernen will enchant who is looking for a personal concept of black metal and for a music that live in a proper dimension.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Worship - Last Tape Before Doomsday

Year: 1999
Genre: Funeral Doom Metal

It's the sign of a truly great band when they can convey exactly their intentions without relying on lyrics. Being able to transcend language barriers and express an emotion or atmosphere through music alone, and Worship do it effortlessly. The album opens to one of the best tracks "Whispering Gloom". It's an amazingly atmospheric piece, maybe even the most atmospheric on the album. It opens almost immediately immersing the listener in the style that's to be most frequent throughout the album. Soon it slows to almost a halt, becoming almost ambient, with wonderful and sorrowful spoken vocals. It's ridiculously depressing, and quite evident that this has no intention of trying to uplift you, but rather to wallow with you in the depths of sorrow. Despite being slow to the point of absurdity at times, the music is amazingly well written. The guitars above all else stand out to me, incomparably crushing and heavy at times, stunningly beautiful and sorrowful at others. Such as the part around the five minute mark in "Whispering Gloom", a gorgeous slow riff, instantly crushed by a ferocious, heavy funeral doom riff. The contrast between the lighter and heavier parts is masterful. It also serves as one of the many strong points of the album. It's used again on the closing, and my personal favorite track, "Worship". The song builds throughout, drops into a slow sparse ambient like passage, before building once more to a stunning and heavy climax. It then meanders into a drawn out noisy close.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Ruins of Beverast - Unlock the Shrine

Year: 2004
Ambient/Black Metal

Imagine a black operetta staged upon barren shores, or an island; the set is either an old, crumbling castle or a dungeon where they lock up the criminally insane. Hooks and metal chains dangle off the ceiling, and the stench of lunacy (that's even worst than the stench of death) hangs in the air. The insane, wretched, cloaked figures locked in this dreaded place pass their time in philosophizing, mad as they are, debating over the morbid philosophy of non-existence and the ancient methods of producing nocturnal, perpetual anti-light. The soundtrack, you ask? How about long passages of distorted speech that drag the listener towards the edge of a cliff, where a free fall awaits him followed by the gaping abyss of blacker-than-black insane and fast industrialized monotonic guitar riffing, razor-sharp and menacing, slowing down, picking up speed again, feeding the flames of psychosis with incessant, distorted sampling loops from hell, torturous and sinister vocals, tolling bells, whispers and martial, fascist-like spoken verses? At times the music is extremely emotional, at times cold (but at all times bleak), some of the time is it minimal and simplistic to the bone, and at other times, well, it is confusion and chaos made flesh. If music has got still a meaning, if individuality and evolution and experimentation are all still valuable terms in the realms of the art of making sounds, then anybody who still holds dear these values should embrace this gem of psychological darkness, of many illusions and nerve wrecking mysteries…

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Uaral - Sounds of Pain...

Year: 2005
Genre: Doom/Folk Metal

Sounds of Pain, the first full length from the Chilean duo, Uaral breaks the mold of what doom used to be known for. The album keeps a ceremonial, ritual-like atmosphere that at times reaches the edge of brilliancy. The use of simple, slow and melodic bases of piano and acoustic guitars, some flutes and a lot of different vocal elements going from subterranean grunts to nostalgic clean vocals give magic feelings and an everlasting presence of nature. Sounds of Pain tries to capture the essence of beauty, loss and despair and does so in a great way, making the listener a true accomplice of its dark and hidden emotions.

Öröm - 8

Year: 2006
Genre: Ambient/Doom Metal

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Darkest Grove - Pain and Suffering Shall Be Known

Year: 2006
Genre: Philosophical Black Metal

Deriving its name from the darkness of nature and from the sanctuary of a grove. A name that may as well mean to dwell alone in darkness and in contemplation of existence. Darkest Grove concepts are that of philosophy, psychology, astrology, science, etc. As well as an everlasting connection with the solitude of darkness. Pessimism is a very strong force within the Darkest Grove's lyrics, simply because of the lack of spiritual acknowledgment in mankind. The imbalance of life is the chaotic falsehood that persuades this entity into the dark forces of nature and with its skepticism towards normality. Individuality is also another very strong ideology of Darkest Grove as it represents the empowerment of the self [Spirit], these all are a very prominent force in the concept of the Darkest Grove.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Lifelover - Promo

Year: 2005
Genre: Dark Ambient

Much different from what subsequently followed it, the Lifelover promo was more in the vein of a strange ritual caught on tape. Ambient sounds and drones encompass the recording, with a few wails and shrieks heard here and there. Overall, quite a mesmerizing, though a disturbing and depressing atmosphere can be found here. Good for a late night listen with one's own company.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Farsot - IIII

Year: 2007
Genre: Avant-Garde Black Metal

With IIII, this young German band proudly present their debut release on Lupus Lounge, which is the first of a five album deal inked with this label. On their 2004 demo titled 042103Freitod, Farsot had a rather raw and cold version of the black metal art. On this brand new work, their black metal roots are very present, but they have taken an appropriately refined sound production to deliver their darkened message. Their lyrics and song titles are all in their native tongue, conveyed by efficient and expressive rasps, perfectly suiting their musical direction. Of the first six tracks, the pair numbers are all short musical bridges. "Hass: Angst" and "Angst: Tod" are more of the industrial/noise/electronics style while "Tod: Trauer" has a more melodic/ambient approach with choirs, dark keyboards and samplings. The three Thematik ("Haas", "Angst" and "Tod") are all high quality black metal with classical and modern elements: varied paces, strong bass, punchy drums, distorted vs. clean arpeggios, tremolo pickings and of course, great raspy vocals with a certain sickness involved once and a while. Not too many blast beats as such but more of the mid-fast to fast furious paces meeting calmer and melodic passages, much to my liking. Then, the closing song "Thematik: Trauer" is a long lasting pleasure clocking in at 20:40! It doesn't feel that long since it is varied in tempo and intensity; including great clean arpeggios, a nice piano solo, excellent crushing riffs, fast/furious black metal parts with some sort of cool psychedelic lead near the end. IIII is a very good introduction into the underground from a promising young German black metal act.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Sombre Présage - Infernale Procession

Year: 2006
Genre: Dark Ambient

As the sound of rain and thunder hit your ears, you're immediately warped to another time and place. The church bell tolls, signifying the coming of a new age. An age of sorrow and desperation. Voxum carefully works his moods and takes the time to weave the dark veil that envelopes us throughout the listening. While the instruments and sounds used differ, everything is done to us into a single trip: the abyssal depths of the human soul in all its most bleak, desperate and morbid. Percussion, bass, keyboards, distant guitars, feedback, murmurs and whispers. You are then completely helpless facing this flood of frightening sensations, a darkness unprecedented. The atmosphere is wet, cold, opaque, the music is particularly disturbing, ritualistic, but to which one can not help being attracted. The attraction uncontrollable in fire, water, vacuum, and even death.

Bosque - Dead Nature

Year: 2005
Genre: Funeral Doom Metal

The demo consist of three songs, clocked at 30 minutes of atmospheric and crawling doom metal, with a strange experimental sound, sometimes reaching almost noisy atmospheres due the ultra slow riffs, which sometimes sound like a dense and saturated buzz, but adorning this chaotic background we find some interesting, quite delicate, guitar lines creating a remarkable contrast. The drumming is really slow, but very fitting to the whole of the music. But to this point, you will probably ask: what the main differences between Bosque and 1,000 other “crawling” moom metal bands are? Well, the music of Bosque is very climatic, with few melodies, some monotone, trance like atmospheres and a clean voice, which seems to be singing from the depths of some catacomb or something. The whole production is pretty poor; almost rehearsal sounding in some passages, but the music is undoubtedly good.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Beatrìk - Requiem of December

Year: 2005
Genre: Black/Doom Metal

Hypnotic chiming and discordant guitar work is woven over the most basic drum lines, and topped with grimy jarring Varg-like barks. The songs are mainly mid-paced, and on average are roughly eight minutes long, although they do have the occasional blast-ridden section when the bile is fully raised, and the vocal department begins to sound as if desolation and despondency have been captured in corporeal form, transferred to aural format and been laid alongside a musical accompaniment. Let this not fool you into thinking that "Requiem of December" is not without its hugely placid moments too, as it has some really doom-laden passages with church bells tolling as an accompaniment, intertwined with melancholic acoustic guitar and church organ styled keyboards exuding the overall dark vibe of morbid sorrow. Just listen to track four 'Eternal Rest', with its imaginatively radiant use of trickling stream and birdsong samples alongside sad, downcast guitar – striking in its magnificence.

Black Seas of Infinity - Within Daathian Chasms

Year: 2005
Genre: Ritual Dark Ambient

Within Daathian Chasms is a journey to hell and back. From the industrial tinged beginnings of "Vortex of Awakening" to the crashing waves of "Path of the Void", the listener is pulled through soundscapes of beauty only to be pushed to the brink of terror and back again. This is the soundtrack to the horror movie in your mind. Total ambient beauty like "Blessed Sacrament of Levanah" puts you in an alpha like state, while others like "Retromingent Periodicity" had me jumping out of my fucking skin. These are complete contrasts of dark and light, the aural Tao. In reality, "Daath" is the Hebrew word for "Knowledge". 11 tracks to that end.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Boris & Merzbow - Sun Baked Snow Cave

Year: 2005
Genre: Ambient/Drone/Noise

A single hour-long composition shuffled back and forth between the two groups to yield maximum aural overload, Sun Baked Snow Cave is something of a wolf in sheep's clothing, playing possum for the better part of twenty minutes. Then, out of nowhere, it sandblasts your synapses with the sound of a million locusts devouring a steel mill, boring relentlessly forward until your cerebral cortex is nothing but a pile of dust. Fifteen minutes in, you'll be slightly confused, lulled by the song's murky piano lines and murmuring electron pulse. A half-hour in, you'll swear that your speakers are melting, or that an avalanche of poisonous Vietnamese beetles is about to crash through them and kill you where you sit. At the forty-five minute mark, you'll start seeing things: your toaster is walking away with your laptop and the television is broadcasting nothing but pornographic low-def H.R. Pufinstuf episodes. After the full hour, you'll be slack-jawed, drooling like a mental patient and twitching like a ballerina on crack, rendered immobile and unrecognizable to even your closest friends.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Wold - Screech Owl

Year: 2007
Genre: Ambient/Black/Noise

Man has long since lost the connection to the primeval world. Ephemeral desires replace the hunt, the ritual. Wold erect a Winter Lodge out of this behavior, banished by convenience, left like tusk-less boar to bleed out in the field. From pounding, overdriven guitar to vocals as hot-wired power tools, these songs work to betray their source material, ultimately serving as manipulated field recordings. When device fails to shake its mask, there’s only imagination. The mind turns percussive strings into evergreen branches torn from their trunks, others hum and buzz and throb like waning insects, their wings and antennae slowed by sap. Keys bleat and thump, a buck’s heart cut from his chest and bright with deep red gore. The title track opens with yawning guitar, cold breath in tight clouds that melt away. Fortress Crookedjaw’s voice is the river and the sky; below and above, in motion and static by nature, it creeps free of river rock, rushes over tonal stones, breaks over banks and falls into great white din. As much indebted to early Sightings as it is Cree Indian Conservationist proverb, Wold distorts the Black Metal paradigm into a perversely plastic idiom. Their disregard for fundamentals has empowered their sound, and like the seasons that conditioned its release, this is a work in flux. The unfinished quality that pervades the sound, the music, is not for lack of polish or resource. Intentionally left undone, the listener’s only recourse is to configure the loose matter into something figurative.

Anubi - Mirties Metafora

Year: 1995
Avant-Garde Black Metal

An avantgarde black metal band with strong psychedelic and ancestral folk infusions from Lithuania. Anubi is a name taken from an Egyptian mythology, it is a name of an ancient Egyptian god. The band emerged in summer 1992, when a guitarist Skro and a drummer Renofer started rehearsing and experimenting at home and recorded some psychedelic music. Vocalist Ptah (later renamed to Lord Ominous) joined in 1993 and the band recorded their first demo in March 1993 during full moon (which was very important for them), which they called God's Pantheon. Anubi said that these compositions were intended to affect listener's psyche and create a darker world. Later, during 1994-1995, they recorded two more demos and released an EP, Sutemus Skambės, in 1996. The only full-length album, Kai Pilnaties Akis Užmerks Mirtis, was released in 1997 by Danza Ipnotica Records; after that an EP was recorded, titled Sielų Pirklys, but it was not released. The band got a four-album deal - the biggest deal in Lithuanian underground history - with Code 666, an Italian record label, but it was canceled due to a tragic split up of the band: the main person in the band, Lord Ominous (Martynas Meškauskas), lost his life in a boating accident on Lake Michigan in USA on March 30th of 2002.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Sopor Aeternus & the Ensemble of Shadows - Songs From the Inverted Womb

Year: 2000
Genre: Darkwave/Neo-Classical

Songs From the inverted Womb is dedicated to the "memory and resurrection" of Little Seven, a boy who died when he was six years old. This album was recorded in an attempt to resurrect at least the memory of the boy, producing some rather grim tales, especially the climactic opus "There Was a Country By the Sea". The music, now featuring a group of around ten guest musicians, contains many more cohesive and flowing arrangements reminiscent of progressive rock. "May I Kiss Your Wound?", from "The Inexperienced Spiral Traveler", makes a fresh appearance; "Résumé..." is in fact an extensive re-interpretation of "Time Stands Still... [...But Stops for No-One]" from Sopor Aeternus' first album, ...Ich Töte Mich Jedesmal aufs Neue, doch Ich bin Unsterblich, und Ich Erstehe Wieder auf; in einer Vision des Untergangs...

Friday, July 4, 2008

Inward Escape - Sacred Nothing

Year: 2004
Genre: Dark Ambient/Post-Black Metal

Presented in two volumes over the course of as many disks, the first comprising of Atremores’ unique direction and approach of what could possibly be labeled under the ambiguous title of ‘avant-garde black metal’, with great emphasis upon the former half of this title. These works further substantiated by the prose and lamentations of its author, and in some respects in stark contrast to its second volume, distinguished by its subtle, atmospheric compositions based this time more upon the absence on human voice and delving its listeners into the disturbed waters of ones own consciousness. Despite the difference in musical exploration throughout its total playing time, Sacred Nothing is kept in harmony and continually bound by its introspection; a realization of the overwhelming worthlessness of human concepts and a defiant detachment from societal convention. Here ideas and manifestations of nihil are wielded and bought into new form. Sacred Nothing is an original, mature work wedding perfectly together celebrated musicianship and audial exploration with staunch individualism, and is a heralded beginning and beacon for art to come.

“To sever from life is to fly within dreams… Here, society’s nightmare is my goddess: Nothingness”

Aluk Todolo - Descension

Year: 2007
Genre: Psychedelic Black Metal/Ambient

This first full-length album shows the band developing the esoteric theorems established on it's debut 7-inch EP, and going far deeper in the methodical exploration of the occult powers of musical trance. With the goal to create a timeless, organic mixing of krautrock's strangeness and grim black metal's coldness, Aluk Todolo conjures rabid obsessive rhythms and abyssal disharmonic guitars, subliminal spiritualist vibrations and bizarre, magick summonings. By reducing psychedelic improvisation to a bare, telluric instrumentation, and basking in the archaic rawness of lo-fi production, the trio elaborates on an audio ritual meant to be monolithic and stabbing, hypnotic but unpredictable, minimalist yet teeming.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Alpha Drone

Year: 2007
Genre: Dark Ambient/Noise/Black Metal

The name Alpha Drone is taken from a science fiction short story inspired by Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World" John Gill wrote at a younger age. After seeing the movie "Gattaca" and discovering too many parallels he decided never to publish the story. The name symbolizes the superiority of theozoological eugenics attempting to restore man's divinity over modern "bee-hive" genetic engineering attempting to increase man's economic productivity.

"This album is to be consumed in shimmering twilight and at high volumes. Extreme sleep deprivation, red wine and absinthe as conductors of drifting beyond common perception of reality can add to an optimal effect."

Friday, June 6, 2008

Staruha Mha

Year: 2003
Genre: Tribal Psychedelic Ritual Ambient

The tribal ritual music on this album sounds rather mysterious and distant. The inspiration for this project comes from archaic nature cults and psychedelic experiences. Most tracks have titles which refer to elements of nature. With no less than 80 minutes and 12 long soundscapes “Rusali” is filled to the brim.

You can hear death ambient, with harsh guitar drones and elements of industrial noise. But also more atmospheric passages, with ethno-ambient influences and sounds of field recordings. And indeed, the music of Staruha Mha has something otherworldly or out of line with modern times. I love the deep drones on "Grasses", making me want to close my eyes and wander to ominous ancient landscapes. The music is too noisy to be truly relaxing. But the dense textures have a lot of brooding atmosphere. There is also something machine-like about the music, industrial rumbling soundscapes like "On Branches" or "Deformation" go and and on, disturbed by nothing. A good piece of work if you like dark ambient and ritual drones.

Year: 2004
Genre: Tribal Psychedelic Ritual Ambient

This mysterious and short-living Russian project has always been a kind of unique folklore/musical mythology projection. Its conception seems to be far from modern world in terms of both aesthetics and social issues, taking us back to the roots, where forest is like fairyland, embodying the dream of every hermit creature. Follow-up to the first released, but last ever recorded album "Rusali", "Fires" goes beyond that obscurity edge and features more vivid forms of sound, but never like new-age sweetness. All compositions are undoubtedly anxious, uneasy by the nature; it will surely destroy your afternoon meditation and face you under the hostile, wild and indifferent atmosphere which nevertheless is not going against ambient harmony. Fantastic real music, which is intended in absence of words... Deep solitude softly transformed into selflessness - only ridding oneself of rational thought it was possible to achieve such alienation attitude. This is beautiful and very peculiar work, and there is no real comparison, neither surmising instruments nor similar projects. Sometimes I catch myself at thinking this music was recorded not in a studio but in a real forest, by the supersensitive facility which can feel the aura of the environment.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Maeror Tri - Myein

Year: 1995
Genre: Cosmic Drone

... this man-size slab of ground zero Ambient hints [aptly] at concealment and secrecy and shadow and exclusion, the sweep of sandstorms around silos and the rumble of underground detonations, to the extent that even the tentative melodic praises and half-heard rhythmic patterns which start to appear in track two assume a threatening aspect. Stylish and sumptuous, yes, but beware: with just three tracks in a patience-testing 74 minutes, this is strictly buff stuff for only the most monomaniacal minimalist.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Ad Lux Tenebrae - Sketches From That Autumn

Year: 2006
Genre: Dark Ritual Ambient/Drone

The first official release of Ural project Ad Lux Tenebrae [“Towards the Light of Darkness”] consists of recordings made during “That Autumn”. The main style of Ad Lux Tenebrae’s playing is shamanic, ritual drone, dark ambient, performed [mostly] & fixed with improvised means in a hut in the midst of Ural forest. Ad Lux Tenebrae uses hand-made instruments - a violin with springs instead of strings, which is played with a bow of steel - field recordings, fixed in the forests, swamps and villages of Ural. Harp, acoustic & bass guitars, vocals & voices, as well as old recordings with folk-songs of Bashkir nation were used. Very potent & original album with strong taste of muskarine, fragrance of autumn forest and fierceful mesmerism. Edition of 132 copies, hand-numbered.