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dark ambient

Anima Mundi * Another World II. (cd 1999 old europe cafe a.v.s.)

This Czech project has released a tape in 1997. This tape was made available by the deleted electro-label Crew Zine from the same country. “Somnium” already showed that Anima Mundi is not just an average atmospheric ambient act. Two years later a cd is released by the notorious Italian label Old Europe Cafe. Listening to “Another World II.” you’ll be surprised constantly. Anima Mundi is mostly compared to Raison D’Être, but there’s really not that much incommon between the two projects. Okay, also Anima Mundi makes both atmospheric and dark ambient and uses gregorian samples, but that’s about it. On this cd you’ll not only find ambient, but also industrial (both lighter and harscher), a little noise, but mostly striking: dance! At times you’ll even have the impression that you’re listening to some popular trance-ambient cd. Even a name like Enigma sometimes comes to my mind. But that’s not all. There’re also strange dance-like experiments and a lot of tribal drumming. Long samples with speaking, flutes and weird sounds to complete this strange soundscape. Even though not all tracks are equally brilliant, this cd is pretty damn good! <31/12/99><4>

A Murder Of Angels * While You Sleep (cd 1999 middle pillar)

In a pretty strange digipack comes the (I think) first cd of A Murder Of Angels. This is an American act consisting off Bryin Dall (Loretta’s Doll, 4th Sign Of The Apocalypse, Thee Majesty) and Derek Rush (of December and Dream Into Dust). Together they’ve been making music under the monicker Of Unknown Origin. A Murder Of Angels is dark ambient, but very ambient and not really in the CMI vein. There are a lot of samples and strange sounds, so maybe ‘soundscapes’ would be a better description of the music. The problem with this kind of releases is that they are too monotous for my taste. It’s pretty good, but not enough happens to keep my attention. The same goes for A Murder Of Angels. Actually this kind of music only does well as background music to me. People who like the sound of bands like Genitor Lvminis, I Burn, Alio Die or Ora should give this cd a try as well.

A Challenge Of Honour * Seven Samurai (cd 2005 divine comedy)

However it seems that Peter Savelkoul has shifted to other activities (no more website, founded a small label, became a tekno-DJ, etc.) ACOH releases keep being made. The nice part about ACOH is that you can no longer know what to expect. Whereas early releases where bombastic industrial, now you can also get more neofolk-oriented, dark ambient or industrial music. Or of course orchestral! “Seven Samurai” is a very orchestral album, with mostly tranquil songs, but with here and there a martial touch. If you like the (also Dutch) band HERR, you will also like “Seven Samurai”. The album is put together very well and what I noticed immediately is that much more care has been taken to the sound. Older albums sometimes had strange sloppy elements (samples that cut too early, elements that seem out of place; this did get better as ACOH evolved though), “Seven Samurai” not only lacks these little points of annoyance, but it also has a crystal clear sound which really lifts this album above everything ACOH has done before. The artwork is beautiful and very atypical for the scene (and I hate clichees, so this is a compliment), so I can rightly say that ACOH has released a great album. <5/12/05><4>

A Challenge Of Honour * Monuments (12″ 2005 steinklang industries)

From the early days of this Dutch act, I’ve been following ACOH and I have most of the early material. Then it seemed to get a bit silent around mr. Savelkoul, but also some more very limited releases have been made available on various small labels. (This 12″ comes in 500 copies which are relatively many.) This makes it hard to keep up. Besides, ACOH experiments with its own sound. This is good of course, but doesn’t always result in something that I like a lot. The early releases where mostly orchestral bombast, then followed more dark industrial / ambient releases which are still very enjoyable. I am not too fond of the neofolk elements. This time ACOH sticked to a more tranquil pace with nice orchestral tracks, a terrible ‘poppy’ track, but also a very nice neofolkish song and a wonderfull dark orchestral track towards the end.
The (like this 12″) long delayed “Seven Samurais” cd seems to be available, so I suppose I will have my copy soon. I wonder what that one will sound like. Always a surprise! <4/6/05><3>

A Challenge Of Honour * Oradour Sur Glane (10″ 2004 divine comedy records)

Much later than planned ACOHs last part of his trilogy about the madness of mankind. This time the story is about Nazi soldiers who commit genocide in the French city Oradour sûr Glane. There are five tracks on this 10″ that give the story of each of them well. The 10″ opens with a tranquil track (‘morning’) when nothing was wrong yet. Then a bombastic and slightly militant track anounces the coming of the Nazi troups. The next track tells what happened in the village and the other what was done to the people who were driven into the church. The last track is the evening, quiet again, but of course everybody was dead. ACOH sure developed in style and this 10″ is another fine release of this Dutch act. Now we have to wait until the new cd that was anounced for januari of this year. <21/5/04><3>

A Challenge Of Honour * Angelic Torment (10″ 2002 divine comedy records)

In a beautiful cover comes the new material of the Dutch ACOH who released the successfull “Only Stones Remain” cd on the same label last year. Where the previous material is mostly bombastic industrial, “Angelic Torment” is filled with dark industrial / ambient. Side A has a really nice, long and dark track, side B opens with an a bit too ambient track, but then we get some of the old bombastic sounds. “Angelic Torment” is the first of 3 10″s that will be dedicated to the madness of mankind. This one is about the allied bombings of the German city Dresden on 13/2/45 that killed somewhere between 35.000 and 135.000 civilians. A nice 10″ limited to 500 copies, so be quick. <25/5/02><3>

Karjalan Sissit * Karjalasta Kajahtaa (cd 2004 cyclic law)

In a luxery package comes the third cd of this Finnish project. Karjalan Sissit already made bombastic industrial with orchestral influences, but on this cd mr. Pesonen exceeded himself. This new cd will maybe even more appeal to people who like Sophia than the previous. The tracks with opera vocals remind of Predella Avant, others are in the Sophia-style. Also like Sophia, you get dark ambient/industrial tracks and very bombastic tracks. Because this of course is a Karjalan Sissit cd, also some schlager(-like) music. Also again noisy influences, which is fine with me! <29/7/04><3>

v/a * Codreanu – Eine Erinnerung An Den Kampf (cd 2001 oktagön/neue europäische kultur)

After many problems and long delays finally the compilation dedicated to Corneliu Zelea Codreanu (1899-1938) and the Iron Guard is available. The first edition has 100 copies and comes in an A5 52 page booklet and further with two small books, two posters and a load of cards.
You will find a lot of texts about Codreanu and the Iron Guard of course (the Guard of today also contributed to this release). The articles are from Martin Schwarz, Kadmon, Josef Klump, Michael Moynihan among others and in English and German.
There are two cds with Von Thronstahl, Entr’aide Nationale feat. Karceral Flesh, Belborn, Tribe of Circle, Warcom, Dawn & Dusk Entwined, Ain Soph, Scivias, Blood Axis (old track!), The Days Of The Trumpet Call, Londinium Spqr, Book & Sword, Changes/Soul of Steel, Egoades/Natural Faith Project, Socrates Wounded, Marienburg Jugend, Invisible Empire, Foresta Di Ferro, Argine, Wutanes Heer, Sotto Fascia Semplice and my personal favourites Darkwood, Novo Homo, Dernière Volonté, Spiritual Front and Republik Awake. As you can see both industrial and neo-folk and some other music and well-known and less-known projects. Most tracks are (or at least were) exclusive.
Definately the compilation highlight of recent times! Be sure to get a copy of the second version which is limited to 400 copies.

Blood Axis & Les Joyaux De La Princesse * Absinthe, la folie verte (cd 2001 athanor)

It has been a long wait since “Blót” and even longer since “The Gospel…”, but here is new material of Michael Moynihan. It was recorded together with the well-known French industrial act LJDLP, who had much influence on the music. Therefor “Absinthe” doesn’t contain the orchestral bombast that we came to love Blood Axis for, but more minimal industrial and ambient with here and there Michael’s voice and sometimes a short moment of bombast. The lay-out and lyrics were found in the “musée de l’Absinthe” in Callé, France and are an hommage to liquor. However I find the lay-out nice and original, the music is a bit too LJDLP for me. Still quite nice, but I like Michael on his own better.

Coph Nia * Holy War (mcd 2001 cold meat industry)

I still play the debut cd “That Which Remains” quite often and I like it a lot. Now we get a mcd in a simple but well-done digipack. A disc containing 4 tracks (or 7 if you are lucky), beginning with a short piece of dark ambient and followed by a magnificent heavy piece with fierce drumming and shouting about holy wars. The third track is a long dark ambient piece and the last track is a bit ritualistic of style. All in all again a good piece of music from Coph Nia.