Category Archives: dark ambient

O Saala Sakraal – Etmaal (cd 2018)

Only out on December 21th, but the good thing about running a website is that sometimes I get promo material. Here we have a collaboration between five Dutchmen including two from Hadewych (and hence, including Distel).  Indeed, O Saala Sakraal reminds of Hadewych here and there.

Hadewych has a ‘soundscapish’ sound, but with guitar and more energy here and there, a quite unique sound that is hard to describe. That soundscape side is more prominent in O Saala Sakraal, but also here and there the sound becomes more ‘lively’. The music is fairly dark, nicely weird (but not as weird as Hadewych), contains several vocalists who recite poems, scream or sing. Overall this album is more tranquil from what we know from Hadewych and (of course) somewhat different in sound, but I think that band gives the best idea of what to expect from the album that has a Dutch title which cannot be immediately translated to English (perhaps being the reason for being chosen?). The word “etmaal” refers to a day of 24 hours. There are two tracks of about 20 minutes by the way. read more

va – Dyer’s Pledge (2018)

I thought Belzebez was Michael Idehall‘s publication outlet with an occasional music release. That does not prove to be entirely true. The latest book is a couple of years old and the label’s Bandcamp has a long list of releases. Now Michael comes with an online compilation.

The line-up has known and (to me) unknown artists. Trepaneringsritualen presents a soundscape. There is Æther who once did a split with TxRxP. Hadewych. Of course there is Idehall himself with a nice slightly industrial ritual track. There is even ᚾᛟᚢ ᛁᛁ // ᚦᛟᚦ. Somewhat surprisingly, a project that I located more in the so-called “witch house” scene: V▲LH▲LL. The biggest surprise is perhaps Carl Abrahamsson whose “Occulture” book I am reading right now. Then there are the new projects of which Slow.Slither (about whom I cannot find anything) presented the most interesting track of the compilation (it opens a bit noisey industrial).

As expected on such a ‘magical label’ the music is mostly ritualistic soundscape with a few hints of dark ambient and here and there a bit of industrial. As you probably know by now, not entirely my cup of tea. “Dyer’s Plegde” does contain a couple of good tracks and it is always good to find some new discoveries. Besides, it is easy to get through Bandcamp, so why just not try it? Also check out Belzebez’ other releases on Bandcamp of course.

Links: Belzebez, Belzebez @ Bandcamp

ᚾᛟᚢ ᛁᛁ // ᚦᛟᚦ ᚷᛁᚷ ‎– Alpha Ænigma (cd 2018)

The collaboration of Nordvargr and TxRxP on Nordvargr’s “Metempsychosis” is excellent. For “Alpha Ænigma” the two again stepped into the studio together.

The album consists of four long tracks, making a total time of a little under an hour. The style is pretty dark ambient soundscapes and you may guess it: a bit too soundscapishy for me. The album is alright, but not much more than that. The package is great though. An A5 sized digipack, a DVD case so to say.

Links: Nordvargr, Trepaneringsritualen

Nordvargr – Metempsychosis (cd 2018)

This album sounds a bit like a companion to “Kainskult” of Trepaneringsritualen. Even though Spotify lists TxRxP’s cooperation for only one track, I have the idea that all vocals are done by Ekelund. Otherwise Nordvargr’s voice sounds very similar!

“Metempsychosis” in some tracks sounds like the more tranquil tracks of “Kainskult”, very dark, with similar sounds and especially with similar vocals. In other tracks there is more of the dark ambient sound of “The Secret Barbarous Names” and towards the end some more experimental (technoish) sounds that Nordvargr sometimes blends into his music. This does result in some nice sounds though.

I particularly like the TxRxP-like tracks, the others are nice to good. The album is fairly short: 37 minutes.

Links: Nordvargr, Cyclic Law

Analfabetism – Skammen (cd 2017)

The previous album was also released on Malignant and contains an excellent piece of “ambient noise”. Dark and thundering distorted sounds and a very good atmosphere. The latest album opens with a dark ambient track that is somewhat noisy and nicely dark. The rest of the album seems to lean more towards dark ambient than towards noise though. For a dark ambient album “Skammen” is still pretty noisy, but the previous album sounds (to me) more like an ambient version of noise.

There is a very noisy outburst in the third track though that just may be loud enough to scare away some dark ambient lovers, but other tracks are too ambient, even ‘soundscapish’ for people who like noise. Overall the style is rawer and perhaps even more industrial than many dark ambient releases, so do not think that me using the term means that this sounds anything like Raison D’Être.

I personally found “Av Hjord Är Du Kommen” much more convincing, the new new album is still a descent one if I feel more ambient some time.

Link: Malignant

v/a * Estigmas (cd+dvd 2015)

In a double cd pack comes a DVD and a CD. The DVD has the film (or films?) Estigmas, but the package also mentions La Glorificación del Icono Traumatico. The menu has ‘original version’ and ‘directors cut’, the first of which has English subtitles and the latter does not. The film lasts 30 minutes and is directed by Jose Moral and José Luis Martínez. Unfortunately I cannot find it on IMDb. I guess it is not listed.

However the film looks good in colour, contrast and special effects, there is nothing much to the rest. The story is about some radiation experiment during WWII is but a rack to hang strange special effects and gruely characters on. Most of the time you hear a voice-over, of which I am not sure if it is supposed to be the main character speaking or his thoughts. There is a whole mash of the usual shock elements such as Nazis, runes, a whiff of Norse mythology, Ariosophy, sex and some horror elements. Nothing much original.

The soundtrack of the film is mostly the playing of music on the background. There is music of The Protagonist, In Slaughter Natives, Der Blutharsch, The Moon Lay Hidden Beneath A Cloud and some other bands that I forgot or did not recognise.

Then there is the ‘soundtrack’ CD which does not include TMLHBAC, but mostly music by Puissance, then The Protagonist, ISN, Der Blutharsch, Mayhem, Silent Love Of Death and a couple of projects I did not know, Turnavel, Suveräna, Kazeria and Hyperborei. The music is mostly dark ambientish and not too bad. Of the bands I already knew, I also already knew the presented material. The cd makes good background music for when reading or something.

However the film nor the cd is really good, I think this is an interesting project. Something different from the usual compilation release and perhaps a way to get film more into the music scene.

Link: GH Records

Arpatle * Quapi (cd 2015)

However this project is from my own country, I do not remember having heard of Arpatle. Judging Discogs, this is Arpatle’s fourth release in a seven year period (the website also lists a free download album).

Arpatle makes dark ambient which is sometimes fairly typical. Sometimes the music is more “soundscapes”. Here and there the music is a bit darker or even a little bit noisy and the sixth track “Sheithu” even sounds a bit industrial in a few moments.

I am not too crazy about the soundscape-parts, but in the more ‘lively’ parts are more of my liking.

Links: Arpatle, Offshoot Records

v/a * मोक्ष (mc 2015)

I do not receive a whole lot of promo/to-review material. Actually I am glad about that. When I buy an album and do not like it, I will say so; when I do, the same. I hear a lot of music that I am indifferent to. It may work as background music, it does not annoy me, nor does it please me. When I get such an album, I frequently decide not to review it at all. The owner of the Russian UIS label insisted that I would listen to their “post industrial” compilation to hear its brilliance. I did listen to this compilation, three times. There are but few reviews on this website of albums that I heard three times before reviewing it. Still I find it difficult to write this review. However the music on this compilation is varried in musical style, all tracks seem to have something incommon. They do not really ‘work for me’. But, to (probably) present you some new names, here we go for a free Bandcamp compilation that was earlier presented as an audio cassette.

The title of this compilation translates as “Mokṣa”, a Sanskrit term that according to the label means “breaking from chains of reincarnation and all the miseries of material existence”. The music is inspired by the funeral music of the balinese village of Trunyan. There are nine tracks on the compilation. The opening act is the Russian project Obt Grubuscrum with a rather typical, but descent, ritualistic dark ambient track (think of Herbst9 for example), Project Hypoxia reminds more of the Hyperium sound with melodic, ‘ethnic’ sounding music. Per Aspera also starts with such a sound, but goes over in something somewhat technoish. Next up is Bhārata Mātā with a bit of an experimental tribalish track. After this we get a slightly darker, yet melodic track of Krrau. As with Bharata Mata, we now get another piece of experimental tribal industrial, perhaps reminding of the more tranquil material of Hybryds; the project is named ﻗﺎﻣﺖ ﺍﻟﺳﺎﻋﺔ. Угасание is more dark ambient soundscape type music. The same can be said about Vehjora, but this goes over in guitar-drone. The closing track is weird minimalistic and experimental music; Discogs has it listed as “ethno-ambient” which roughly covers the sound (but could be applied to other tracks as well); the project is presented under the monicker Ajuleg & Irm.

The compilation works as background music, but to me the music is not interesting enough to really listen to it. What is somewhat funny, I more or less get the same feeling with each track (indifference, there are not really ‘highs’ and ‘lows’). Would that mean that “Mokṣa” is very well compiled?

Link: UIS

Amalthea * s/t (mc 2015)

Amalthea is Michael Idehall and Æther. Beläten released material of both projects and there is a message of Thomas Ekelund to accompany this cassette, but this self-titled tape was released by a label that is new to me (even though they released a tape with Trepaneringsritualen).

Well then. Michael Idehall records both material that I adore and more monotous ritualistic material that I like less. Æther is also a bit too monotous for my ears and yet I read that the split is somewhat noisy. That is not really the case on side A. The two tracks are soundscapes, mostly with an ‘industrial pulse’. The tracks are nicely dark, perhaps not brilliant but nice to listen to.
The two tracks on side B are indeed quite a bit noisier. They still have the slow rhythm, making what I call ‘noisescapes’. These two tracks are the more interesting of this tape to me.

A descent tape for background music. For people who like dark, slightly industrial and ritualistic ambient.

Links: Michael Idehall, Æther

Michael Idehall ‎* Deep Code Sol (cd 2015)

All material has been reviewed before, but this of Idehall is so good that I want to bring it under your attention again now that Ant-Zen put both Beläten tapes on one very nicely packaged cd.

The “Sol” tape has been rereleased before with two extra tracks. These are (unfortunately) not included on this Ant-Zen release. The cd starts with the 2014 tape “Deep Code” and then follows the 2012 tape “Sol”. Idehall also makes ritualistic soundscapes which are too minimalistic for my taste, but the music he recorded for Beläten is about the best music I have heard in quite a while. The sound is somewhere between the “angstpop” sound of other Beläten releases and more ritualistic music. Idehall uses his voice a lot, making an impression like that of the earlier material of Coph Nia; dark, chanting, haunting: brilliant!

Should you have missed the Beläten tapes, the Bandcamp versions or the “Sol” rerelease on cd, make sure to get this beautiful version of Ant-Zen.

Links: Michael Idehall, Ant-Zen