Archive for Dark ambient

Calea Dreaming – The Rainforest Canopy

Posted in Instrumental, Metal with tags , , on 4th February 2019 by izaforestspirit

Calea Dreaming
The Rainforest Canopy
Released 9th December 2018
Atmospheric Post Black Metal / Ambient
Self-Released

Calea Dreaming - The Rainforest Canopy

‘The Rainforest Canopy’ is the debut album from the Australian post-black metal one-man project Calea Dreaming. All his music is instrumental and it is inspired by nature, specifically the landscapes surrounding the New South Wales region of Australia where the musician is based.

I’m not all that well versed in post-black metal but based on my limited exposure to this sub-genre, anything with a “post” prefix, be it metal or rock tends to imply that it is a mixture of that style with some added ambient. This is definitely the case here. Aside from the guitar riffs and some of the drum work, this album has very little to do with black metal. As stated in the intro, there are no vocals on this album. The songs are melodic, atmospheric and very long, with the shortest track Rivers of Rosewood clocking in at over nine minutes. This is what I would describe as “chill-out” music, the kind that you might want to put on when you want to relax, enjoy a hot drink and a good book. I almost dozed off in my chair while writing this review!!

If any of you suffer from insomnia I would recommend that you give this album a go. It creates this tranquil mood, inviting the listener to close his or her eyes and picture themselves in one of the landscapes referred to in the songs. You can actually hear the sound of rain falling in the background on A Storm In The Mountains. There are also violins and other string instrumentals present on here, all contributing to the relaxing atmosphere.

Overall, ‘The Rainforest Canopy’ is a very atmospheric album which I would recommend to those who enjoy ambient and instrumental metal. It’s very relaxing and pleasant to listen to. It is not really my type of music though so I am unlikely to play it again unless I have trouble sleeping.

4/5

Iza Raittila

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Psyclon Nine – Icon of The Adversary

Posted in Industrial, Metal with tags , , , , on 17th September 2018 by izaforestspirit

Psyclon Nine
Icon of The Adversary
Released 24th August 2018
Industrial/ Industrial Metal with Black Metal elements
Released via Metropolis Records

I really wasn’t expecting to hear anything new from Psyclon Nine again. It’s been five years since their last opus ‘Order of The Shadow: Act 1’. The following year proved to be a very turbulent time to the band with various factors contributing towards what effectively became the end of Psyclon Nine. Or so I thought… It turned out that band needed some time to recover, regroup and refocus. After several line-up changes and a few successful live shows in 2015, it became pretty clear that Psyclon Nine were back. They are now a trio and frontman Nero Bellum is the only original member left.

So that’s the background out of the way, now on to music… If I were to sum this album up into just a few words it would be ‘creepy, gritty and disturbing’. As far as genre classifications go, there’s a fair bit of dark ambient on here. This is most notably on the opening track. The eerie-sounding, analog synth and voice samples are also prominent on Behold An Icon. Nero Bellum’s black metal -esque shrieks are as haunting as ever and the guitars have a coarse and unsettling feel to them.

The predominant style is industrial metal as evidenced by the likes of Crown of The Worm which reminded me a lot of their previous works. It has all the markings of a classic Psyclon Nine song; in other words thunderous guitars, atmospheric synth noise and harsh, creepy vocals. Beware The Wolves also caught my attention due to the change in vocal style, from shrieks to an eerie rasp which reminded me of Marilyn Manson’s trilogy. The only disappointing part of the album is the final track The Last. I’ve never been a massive fan of dark ambient so having to endure it for nearly fifteen minutes seems a little too much.

In summary, ‘Icon of Adversary’ is one of those bleak, creepy “feel bad” albums. ‘Creepy, gritty and disturbing’ seems to be very fitting for Psyclon Nine in 2018 given what they have been through. I would personally skip the final track unless you’re really into dark ambient but other than that this is a good industrial album and black metal fans might like it too.

3.5/5

Iza Raittila

Mortiis announces new ‘Era 1’ tour dates

Posted in Experimental, Industrial, Metal, Misc., News with tags , , on 12th September 2018 by izaforestspirit

Good news for Mortiis fans, particularly those who like the band’s older works. The band has announced a series of new tour dates continuing with the Mortiis Era 1 Tour. As the tour name suggests, these shows will include songs from the band’s dark ambient era which ended with The Stargate album.

Image result for mortiis era 1 tour poster 2018

 

They have recently played two shows in Russia. Here’s the rest of the schedule:

14. 11 Lo Barnechea, Chile
15. 11 Buenos Aires, Argentina
16.11 La Paz, Bolivia
17.11 Quito, Ecuador
30.11 Erfurt, Germany
1.12 Mannheim, Germany
2.12 Stretch, The Netherlands
13.12 Brighton, United Kingdom
14.12 Belfast, Ireland
15.12 Dublin, Ireland
28.12 Tampere, Finland
29.12 Helsinki, Finland

For further details go to:

https://www.facebook.com/officialmortiis

https://downloadmusic.mortiis.com/

Iza’s Highlights of 2016 (part 1: Industrial/EBM/darkwave)

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated, Industrial, Misc. with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 30th December 2016 by izaforestspirit

2016 is almost over which means that it’s now time for my annual “Best of” or “Highlights” as I prefer to call them. This year’s edition will be in two parts – industrial and metal. I’m still working on my list of top ten metal albums so I’ve decided to list the industrial ones first. So here are my favorite industrial/EBM and electro releases of 2016:

1. Lord of the Lost – Empyrean
Genre: Industrial Rock/Dark Rock

Lord of the Lost is a new discovery for me. I’ve been ignoring them for years, thinking that they were some sort of glam rock band. Then this year I had the pleasure of seeing them live when they supported Combichrist and I was totally blown away by their performance. I ended up buying all their albums. They sound like a mixture of HIM and Deathstars. ‘Empyrean’ is their heaviest and most complex album to date. Stand-out tracks: ‘Drag Me to Hell’ and ‘In Silence’

2. Heimataerde – Aerdenbrand
Genre: Medieval Industrial/Aggrotech

The German brotherhood of dark electro Templar knights are back with a new album. Fans of their work will know what to expect from this one; atmospheric dark electro with a medieval tinge. It’s a delightful mix of creepy and catchy Aggrotech with both ballads and dancefloor hits. Favourite tracks: ‘Fühl die Zeit (featuring Joachim Witt)’ and the kids’ nursery rhyme -inspired ‘Hick Hack Hackelbeil’.

3. Combichrist – This is Where Death Begins
Genre: Industrial Rock/Aggrotech

This album was not the easiest one to get into. Fans of Combichrist’s older songs will be shocked to discover just how guitar-driven this band has become. The previous album ‘We Love You’ was just a taster of what’s to come. The industrial and harsh electro elements are still present, but guitars are making inroads and they are here to stay. Combichrist is now an industrial rock band. As soon as you accept that you might actually start to enjoy this album. I did. Favourite songs: ‘Exit Eternity’, ‘My Life My Rules and ‘Skullcrusher’.

4. Memmaker – Let There Be Lasers
Genre – Power Noise/Rhythmic Noise

Eight years is a long time to wait for an album and that’s how long it’s been since Memmaker released their debut ‘How to Enlist a Robot Uprising’. Luckily the follow-up ‘Let The Be Lasers’ was worth the wait. The Canadian power noise band have essentially picked up from where they left off. So if you like power noise and songs about space travel and robots is your thing, then this is the album for you. Best tracks: ‘Doom Ray’, ‘Manipulate’ and ‘Race to Space (feat. Detroit Diesel)’.

5. Nachtmahr – Kampfbereit
Genre: Techno Industrial/Aggrotech

Nachtmahr are a bit controversial band within the industrial scene. Their music has always had a militaristic theme which has led to allegations of fascism. They sure like to harbour a fetish for women in uniform but I never quite got the fascist or misogynistic connections. I personally I like their music and I try not to think too much about their imagery. This year was the first time that I chose not to buy a physical copy of their new album. I have enough coffee-table books and these days I mostly listen to their music at the gym. So I bought the digital version instead. It’s great treadmill/cross trainer music. Best tracks: ‘Kampbereit’, ‘Tempus Fugit’ and ‘Burning Bridges’.

6. Scandroid – Scandroid
Genre: Synthwave

Scandroid is a side-project of the American musician Klayton (Celldweller, Circle of Dust). It was originally a two-man project featuring Klayton and Nick Pittsinger (Varien) who took on the identities of “Red” and “Raven” in the futuristic cyberpunk world of Neo-Tokyo, where the Scandroid story takes place. “Raven” left the project in 2014 which means Scandroid is now a solo project with “Red” as the main character. The music is a mixture of ’80s -style synth-pop/synthwave with a sci-fi tinge. The album tells a story so it’s difficult to pick out any specific individual tracks, but personally I’m very fond of ‘Aphelion’, ‘Empty Streets’ and ‘Neo-Tokyo’.

7. Terrolokaust – Dissensions
Genre: Industrial Rock/Aggrotech/Dark Electro

This year I finally got to see this Spanish harsh electro duo live at Resistanz Festival. That was a good show which served as my introduction to the band. They are similar to Combichrist in a sense as their style has changed from Aggrotech towards a more industrial rock sound. Their latest opus ‘Dissensions’ contains a mixture of both styles. There is something here for fans of either genre – whether it’s dance tracks like ‘Pursuit of Ruin’ or guitar driven industrial rock song such as ‘A Masochist’s Tale’.

8.Ost+Front
Genre: Neue-Deutsche-Härte

I have to be honest here in that I have mixed feelings about this album and Ost+Front in general. They give the impression of being essentially a Rammstein-clone, adapting not only the music and vocal style but also the themes and the imagery of their world-famous countrymen. Despite this I decided to include their new album on this list because of a few tracks that stood out – the sombre and profound ballad ‘Sternenkinder’ and ‘Bruderherz’. ‘Fiesta de sexo’ also deserves a mention due to guest appearance of Erk Aicrag (Hocico).

9. My Own Sorrow – The Entity
Genre: Dark Electro/Occult Ambient

‘The Entity’ is the latest album from the Swedish dark electro artist My Own Sorrow. His music is primarily instrumental, atmospheric dark electro with strong themes of horror and occultism. All the songs have an eerie feel to them. It’s like listening soundtrack to a horror movie. Best tracks ‘Succubus’ and ‘Rats In The Walls’.

10. Blutzukker – The Ultimate Collection
Genre: Dark Electro

Blutzukker is the dark electro project of the German artist Ben Blutzukker. He is currently involved in two projects; a heavy metal band under the name of Ben Blutzukker, who released an EP last year and the aforementioned dark electro act Blutzukker. What we have here isn’t really a new release but rather a collection of all Blutzukker’s works including some rarities and unreleased demos. So if you like dark electro, horror themes with a touch of humour then I would strongly recommend this. Best tracks ‘Fright Club’, ‘Queen of the Nite’, ‘The Vampire Strikes Back’.

Biggest new discovery: Lord of the Lost
Best live show: it’s a tie between Combichrist live in Tampere and Memmaker at Club Infektio, Helsinki
Most Anticipated albums of 2016:
Marilyn Manson – Say10
Blutengel – Leitbild
New albums by Suicide Commando and Grendel

Stay tuned for the metal edition, coming soon!

Árstíðir lífsins – Aldafǫðr ok munka dróttinn

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , on 22nd February 2015 by izaforestspirit

Árstíðir lífsins
Aldafǫðr ok munka dróttinn
Released 11th December 2014
Pagan Black Metal
Released via Ván Records

‘Aldafǫðr ok munka dróttinn’ is the third album from the Icelandic pagan black metal band Árstíðir lífsins whose name translates as “The Seasons of Life” in English.

The opening track ‘Kastar heljar brenna fjarri ofan Ǫnundarfirðinum‘ features a long, ambient style intro enhanced by narration, Icelandic chanting and the melancholic sounds of what appears to be either a violin or a cello. It’s not until well into the second minute of the song that the guitars finally enter the fold followed by the pounding drums and black metal screams. Despite this, the melodic ambient and folk-style elements remain an integral part of the Árstíðir lífsins’s unique sound.

This pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the album. All the lyrics are in the band’s native Icelandic, and the songs are long and complex just like any good saga should be. The storytelling narrative reminds me of Wardruna; yet unlike their Norwegian brethren these guys combine this with black metal. Their music maintains a very delicate balance between the two styles; the beautiful and melodic Icelandic folk tunes and the harshness of black metal. The structure varies depending on the song, for example ‘Þeir heilags dóms hirðar‘ actually starts with the harsh black metal guitars before a pause for some narration accompanied by the sombre sounds of the cello.

Each track sounds like it’s a story. The black metal guitar riffs and screams mimic the sounds of a battle or the start of a voyage while Mársel’s deep, melodic vocals and the cello act as a reflection on the aftermath and the long journey home. One noteworthy track is ‘Tími er kominn at kveða fyrir þér‘ which features more narrative along with Icelandic chanting, and the beautiful yet sombre sound of the violin. This is also the only song that completely omits the black metal elements and puts an emphasis on to the folk style. Once again the use of their native tongue works to their advantage as it fits the music perfectly. The rest of the album marks a return to black metal, though the folk elements are still present along with the narration.

Overall this album has been an absolute pleasure to review. Árstíðir lífsins is not the first pagan black metal band that has caught my attention but they are definitely one of the most unique within the scene.

4.5/5

Iza Raittila

Krieg – Transient

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , on 30th August 2014 by izaforestspirit

Krieg
Transient
Released 6th October 2014
Black Metal
Released via Candlelight Record

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‘Transient’ is the new album from the New Jersey -based, American black metal band Krieg. The band was formed back in 1995 and has changed their style a lot over the years. The latest album, the follow-up to ‘The Isolationist’, has been described as “churning cacophony of modern black metal, crust punk, and experimental noise.“

Just in case the album cover itself wasn’t bleak or eerie enough, the first song The Order of the Solitary Road definitely adds to the grim atmosphere thanks to the haunting, dark ambient -style intro. This is followed by a barrage of equally bleak and nihilistic black metal akin to the likes of Leviathan, Nachtmystium and to some extent Burzum. The pace tends to vary depending on the song ranging from the slow, ponderous and almost doom metal -style grooving guitar riffs; for example the latter half of To Speak with Ghosts to the mid-paced and ferocious, as evident in the guitars at the start of Return Fire and Time.

Vocalist N. Imperial’s screams sound as creepy as ever. When paired with the nihilistic guitars and the additional noise such as the dark ambient intro to Ruin Our Lives and the melancholic experimental noise of Home, each song leaves a bitter taste in the listener’s mouth. The band’s cover of Amebix’s Winter is yet another manifestation of this feeling. The chorus and the agonizing cries of “Winter!” alone are enough to send shivers down my spine. Yet the undisputed highlight of the album is Walk With Them Unnoticed which is also the most complex song on here. The intro is almost catchy at times due to the “rocking” guitar melodies that make even the bleakest screams sound more refined, softening the blow to the eardrums.

Overall ‘Transient’ is everything that one would expect to hear from Krieg. For those unfamiliar with the band, I’d recommend this if you’re a fan of Leviathan, Nachtmystium, Clandestine Blaze, Burzum or any other black metal band that has ever experimented with dark ambient.

3.5/5

Iza Raittila

Abysme – Strange Rites

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , on 11th September 2012 by izaforestspirit

Abysme
Strange Rites
Released: September 2012
Death Metal
Released via Hellthrasher Productions

‘Strange Rites’ is the debut album from the American death metal band Abysme.

After the dark ambient style intro it’s straight into death metal with ‘Scribbled In Dust’ offering stereotypical old Morbid Angel style growls, steady drumming and guitar riffs. The tempo is mid-to-low pace depending on the song, which is fairly standard for this genre. There’s a few attempts at thrash metal style guitar solos such as the one at the start of ‘Formless’ though these do little to make the any particular song stand out.

More often than not you get these slow, almost doom metal-esque intros followed by some average sounding slowish death metal. ‘Annihilated Memory’ is a good example of this problem; it just lacks energy and has a tendency to drag on for a bit longer than necessary. Same thing applies to ‘Gift To The Gods’ in which the guitars riffs only add to the monotony of the vocals. Then there’s the random stop-starts on ‘We Shall Sleep’ and ‘Fallen Colossus’ which wreck what may be been two energetic and semi-decent death metal tracks. The only song that has potential is ‘Remarkable Conqueror’, mostly due to the increase in pace and the guitar riffs during the first part of the track.

This is more like another demo recording rather than a studio album as some of the tracks sound as though the band was still learning how to play together.

2.5/5

Iza Raittila