October 30th was the release date for the debut album, Abyss by In Tenebris. Power noise extrodinaire, SebastianSünkler of Stahlschlag, is the driving force behind this project, out on the label, Crunch Pod.
And so into the inky Abyss we travel, with the lonely, echoing call of a raven to “Inferis“, otherwise known as the Underworld. This slow build of wind tunnel sound, rings with eerie chimes.
One of the scariest creatures is “Mandkind“. They consume everything, create war and destruction and continue on. A mixture of subtle power noise creeps into this unrelenting march, with possible gun shots and Sünkler’s distorted vocals.
An electrical impulse, that could be a message. It then stops, with the atmosphere becomes murky and oppressive. This is “Interception“, with graduating industrial bangs in the background.
“Hollow Hills” might emit whistles and groans, with an errant wind blowing through them. This feels bleak and forlorn, haunted by ghosts of the unfortunate, as the electronic chimes, twitters and knocks never seem to cease.
“Mandragora” is the drug form of mandrake and this starts off like a bad, tormented trip. The lone piano, followed by struck chords and hazy noise, make this feel other worldly and darkly unrealistic. Mental screeching and lost filaments of lucid thought, drifting away.
The wavering apparition of the “Phantasm” is a very constant electronic echo of things past, making their presence felt. This shadow is what has been and never will be again, reaching out to the living. The finish with heavy breathing makes you apprehensive.
The final track is, “Antinatal“. Maybe this is opposite of birth and a return to the aether, the limbo between life and non existence. This music is like a fog, seemingly feathery and yet heavy and unable to be penetrated by light.
This is very much an album of dark ambient style sound scapes with leanings towards the nightmare realms.
‘I started this side project because of a coincidence. Someone on instagram asked me if I could do a spooky soundtrack for one of his lost places videos. Well, in the end he didn’t like what I did for his video but because of that I discovered how much I enjoy to create dark soundscapes.’, Sünkler explained to me.
With a taste for these dramatic, brooding vistas, one can presume that this is not the last we have heard from In Tenebris and nor should it be. Have a listen to the creeping doom coming from the darkly, delightful Abyss.
Sebastian Sünkler is the man behind German, industrial, power noise act Stahlschlag and September has seen the release of his 6th studio album, Alive!.
Based in Hamburg, Stahlschlag have a reputation for experimental rhythmic and atmospheric noise and he does not disappoint on this album.
From the start of “Bitterness“, the production on this album is just beautiful. The synths are clear, the beats pound into your brain and there is that hint of static fizzling. The name for this track is almost an anomaly, as it is almost joyous.
The same cannot be said for “Hate“. Grating and metallic, mincing the powerful noise into one angry climaxing beast, broken with a soliloquy from young Arya of Game of Thrones fame, on the hate she feels.
Fabulous beats hail in the smooth synth sounds for “In Tension“. It is driven in its contrasts of heavy beats with delightful, lilting tunes hovering above it.
“Addiction” with its female moans has you wondering what this addiction might be. Could be sexual, chemical or maybe to do with the music as it screeches along on its merry way.
And low, like Thor hamering on iron girders, “Rage Of Fury” is just as the name implies. A whirling cacophony of industrial noise held together with yet more noise.
There is a world of painful electronic distortion in “Wohlstandstrotz” repeatedly slamming into your brain, only broken by voice clips, as it gathers itself together for another onslaught.
You can almost imagine yourself in a jungle with the crickets singing in the humid night air, as the natives beat their drums. This is “Madness” and it almost tastes different.
“Pan” continues the tribal feel but this is far more Germanic and foreboding. This is forceful and moves at a terrifying speed, like a freight train that will not stop for anything.
After the last track, “Disbanded” is almost, positively light… almost. The the keyboards lure you into a state of near bliss before the beats drag you further in.
“Shake ‘Em” is somewhat an interlude which isn’t fully noise but isn’t sitting still either. A rhythmic breather with psychedelic oddities.
Back to German efficiency with extreme power noise in “Whataboutism“. Again this is so god damn crunchy, that you can almost feel it grating your skin.
In “Sui generis“, there is a futuristic vibe as it is cleaner than any other number in the album and yet there is such a undertow of tension.
Any track called “Plague“, is going to be coming from a dark place and the ambience indeed feels grim. Again there are those wonderful static beats that stick out starkly to the ambient tune.
The concluding track is “Aufstand“, a crunchy rhythm piece. It feels tortured and wind swept, as it echoes into the metallic void. This is the uprising.
I am not the world authority on electronic/industrial noise but I know what I like and quite frankly this is a feast for the ears. Sünkler is quite the musician, sinking melodies into distortion and noisy rhythmic sound scapes.
Alive! is tribal in a way, as the music is very motivated by Sünkler’s high energy rhythmic input. You can hear two of the bands that heavily influenced Sebastian, in his musical endeavours, those being XOTOX and NOISUF-X.
Released on Crunch Pod, I can do nothing else but highly recommend that if you have any interest in industrial music, you must check out Alive! for an intelligent and superbly crafted album that might just make you see noise in a whole different way. For the converted, you are going to seriously enjoy this Stahlschlag gem plus he’s a seriously great guy. Get Alive!
German composer and musician, AlexanderKling, just released his latest album, Love, which consists of nine song. You will find synth and piano lead music with soundscaping from his project, Dedalos.
This is the beginning and it starts with the “Ending“, a slow yet gradual building piece, with piano at the front and centre and synths giving depth. There is definitely the feeling of melancholy.
“Why” is a soundscape that taps into the MassiveAttack feels. A lonely expanse with whispered questions.
Third number is “Missing“. This is the loss of another or even a part of one’s self. A languid piece of realization that not all is right. There are musical outbursts along the way as the feeling builds. The buried vocals in the background lamenting ‘miss you so much‘.
Next is a bit of “Insanity“, a reflection of a mindset. The plodding rhythm of sadness settling into ones soul which then becomes the deafening noise that encapsulates all reason.
Darkness with bright areas is how I would describe “You“. There is such poignant bubbles of joy that slowly are eaten by the intruding dark fringes.
And so “Unbearable” follows. Low flowing and tidal with sound enveloping your senses. Nothing else but the feeling of being overwhelmed and that heartbeat rhythm.
“Last” is like the slow waking and a movement towards the dawn. It pauses for an effective break as the music builds. It is not joyous nor does it feel relieved but rather purpose driven.
The completion of any relationship is the “Farewell“. This is release with emotions still attached and yet within you hear the freedom to launch forward and leave the shackles of mental torment.
The conclusion is “Love“. Reflective and careful but with hope of the future, this is the title track and the end of a journey.
This is very much dark ambient/synthwave instrumental music which is very much based on real life. AlexanderKling explained to me how the album came about after the breakdown of a relationship.
‘Istarted with this album after the end of a relationship. But I started to recording this album with the burning pain. Sometimes I cried while recording, it is tear notes. You can feel the atmosphere, you can feel the pain, the depression and sometimes salvation and peace’. – Dedalos
This is an instrumental journey through the heavy realization that not all loves last and that there is a beauty in that suffering, though painful non the less. This is despair, loss and revelation with Dedalos and his Love.
This year, the band, Amaranth, in conjunction with SoundsAndShadows, released the epic goth/EBM/industrial compilation, Tiny Gods Who Walk Beside Us. All songs were donated by the bands for a rather wonderful cause.
Most dark alternative types will tell you they are very fond of animals and especially cats. When band member of Amaranth, KenMagerman found out his young cat, Freya, had cancer in her leg, Ken was devastated and desperately wanted to save his feline companion’s life. This is an expensive procedure, so musician friends from around the world offered songs to help pay for this treatment, so began this complilation.
The classical undertones of LoreleiDreaming bring us “Edge Of The World” (I.X.XI Remix), which is grand beginning with beautiful choral touches that give this great depth and a glittering beauty.
“For Freya” is a very raw piece from Amaranth, but then this is understandable knowing where this song is coming from. With bluesy overtones that expand to anguished gothic rock.
A quieter synth lead piece from US act, Covenant Of Thorns in “Dahlia” (The Joy Thieves remix). A sweet number that is both darkness and light at the same.
Got to say, Corlyx‘s “Deform” (ESA remix) is a really a great song and remix. A mixture of trap syncopation and lazy beats keeps this very entertaining.
Antipole and their sexy song, “1983” featuring the completely sexy Eirene (PeopleTheater remix) show you their brilliance. Danceable, pop electro synth number which you can’t help but enjoy the airy joy it exudes.
Like silk, Ego Likeness “Darkness” (Dracos Deep Mix) will grace your ears. This is smooth, electro beats and oh so catchy to boot with this remix.
Machinery Of Desire drip with gothic honey in the form of “Forever Remain“. I would not be surprised in the least of they were influenced by Wayne Hussey’s The Mission. That similar winding flowery style.
The synth musing of Adoration Destroyed in “Both of Me” (Authentic Impulse Remix) as they try to reconcile the two sides of their personally. Those that like Third Realm will really enjoy this number.
CryingVessel “Illusions” (remix DeadAgent) is a throw back to the early 80s electronic period. A simple, clean track with a light touch in the remix, making this a really danceable track.
The haunting number of “CodeBlue” by I Ya Toyah (remix Arcontas Blank) rings out with that wonderful heavy organ based synth filling it out. A song close to singer AniaTarnowska’s heart, about the loss that comes with suicide.
Really digging TwinTribes the more I hear them and “DarkCrystal” is a great example of their post punk, goth electro sound. Really fabulous tune that chimes away and gets into your head.
Radiograph is in essence JohnEdwards from PalaisIdeal and he has contributed “Catnipped“, an instrumental piece centred on an electro beat/ synths with guitar accompliment. Edwards is well known musician in the scene and a deft hand at penning a tune.
SilverWalks has remixed “FuckThatFascistBeat” by Caustic. This already a good song which now is even more urgent in the remix. The song is probably more poignant than ever before and is old school style industrial done well.
Straight from the beginning, you hear that this is going to be a bit special. Seven Federations gives you “Syzygy” or a celestial alignment. It is reminiscent of Attrition’s classic “Into The Waves“, with its simple beauty.
Vlimmer “Schnittstelle” is ethereal and unearthly as they try to interface. Even though ethereal, it feels so organic at the same time, natural.
Dogtablet are kind of a mini super group. “Showtime” (Melodywhore Slave Remix) is a rhythmic groove piece with piano as the standout instrument amongst the electronica.
If you like pure instrumentals with some sublime synths and an interesting configuration, then Kiss Of The Whip has “This Pain Is Ours” for you.
Welcome to Steven Archer’s “The Showroom“. It’s s little dirty and has a bassy chorus which is never a bad thing. Archer who is also Stoneburner, is all class.
This isn’t even mixed and Cliff and Ivy have a tremendous earworm in “Will To The Power“. I have to say, Christian Death. It smacks of many the great things about Rozz Williams and company in the 80’s.
The off kilter start by Orcus Nullify, launches “March Of The Lost“. Very much in the vein of the Bauhaus vibe with a experimental edge. A dirge to the those forever destined to wander without end.
The sombre tones of Ritchual‘s “You Lied” lilt with a plaintiff anguish. This is clean, delightful synth wave with a European flavour even though they are based in Austin.
Sister Sarin is the project for Hemlock and she gives to you “Split“. This is a percussion heavy piece with all the keyboards rounding out the beat heavy sounds.
Get ready for the nightmarish spokenword performance of Swansect with “Clovermouth“. This is claustrophobic and sinister in the modern era electro.
RobEarly and SimeonFritzpatrick are 11Grams and you are going to feel them in your “DNA“. This is a blend of old school industrial with a clever reinvention, which they are well known for. Slow and menacing, as it gets under your skin.
Ego Likeness is the last track on the album for the digital download with “Breedless” (Sombre Remix). The lyrics are truly interesting to listen to, with ‘maybe my mother was a hydra‘ as well fae folk and other such creatures making EgoLikeness the crooning sexy beasts they are.
This is a great showing of gothic, synthwave, EBM, darkwave and industrial being represented and definitely worthy of many listens. The best part of this story is that Freya may have lost a limb but she is still with Ken and a truly loved being.
My last cat passed away at 20 years of age and I mourned her death for many years until l adopted a rescue cat and to be honest, fell in love all over again.
Once cats were revered as celestial beings in Egypt and one can understand why. We love their arrogance, sass and let’s face it, they can be completely selfish pricks yet if you do love them, they will give you so much in return.
So show some love for Freya and her kind as well as all the wonderful bands that have been so generous.
July saw the release of the concept album, “AloneInTheNetwork” by αOri and Yaka–anima. JulianA Lacroix’s experimental project is αOri, composing dark ambient/electronic pieces. Yaka–anima is SábilaOrbe from Chile who is also the programmer for his other experimental music project, the duo, Humanfobia.
“Alone In The Network” is of course the title track and starts the album off ominously with its slow beat and a female, who sounds like she is in a clinical void, talking over the top.
The electronic journey continues with “Blue Lights” with its fusion of regular synth with experimental bleeps and keeps an interesting rhythm.
Now you can feel the futuristic adventure taking on form and speeding up. “StretchedPlain” is aloof and imperious. What is that woman telling us? This is a foreboding shadow.
We have entered the Twilight Zone. “LyricalPain” is light yet creepy. Trapped neither here nor there which leads into “GlitchedPain” which features Wildsilences. Imagine hearing breathing that is not breathing. The whispered acknowledgment of the disembodied voice of a tortured soul.
Track six is “RoseAltitude” and an electronic sound scape. A computerized heartbeat of a ghost of an organ reaches out without reply.
All computer data is essentially zeros and ones and maybe it is kept in the “NumericCrypt“. I love the glitching, chirping sounds over the ambient music, as it just adds a new element.
“MoireHormones“ is the kind of track that makes you feel a little on edge with its inconsistent tones and rhythm.
The wondrous “Cybernetic Owl” breaks up the moody pall with its strange yet charming ethereal quality, indeed almost Zen like but finishing in noise.
Everyone knows these days about the Matrix, the centre of the computer mind and now “Archons In The Matrix”. This delicately reminds me also of the music in Akira.
Does artificial intelligence fear passing away and no longer existing on any plane? “Electronic N.D.E.” or electronic near death experience might be the equivalent of leaving the physical and going towards the light. But it isn’t time to go and return is inevitable to the last track, “Level 0“, the shortest and most loneliest of the tracks. It calls out to the world.
If you haven’t guessed now, the album is based on the Japanese manga/anime GhostIn The Machine, which looked at a future where a human’s conscience could be downloaded to a computer but with that came with all sorts of other issues including the knowledge of no longer being a human who could physically love because in the machine, it is cold and lonely.
Ghost In The Machine was also a huge influence on the movies of The Matrix, a futuristic society anchored to a programmer’s code.
You can both see and hear the Japanese influence on both the art and the music. This album is thoughtful and thought provoking as it digitally creates you a picture.
The album was released on Cian Orbe Netlabel and the artists, αOriandYaka–anima are offering it to you for free. Sometimes good things can be free.
American industrial/EBM is alive and well, with the prime example, Slighter, also known as Colin Cameron Allrich. This accomplished musician and producer is based in Los Angeles and can be found on the Confusion Inc. label.
In May, Slighter brought forth his latest album call Automata which can be found on Bandcamp and most recently released a deluxe version with ten extra tracks.
There is nothing more memorable than a heartbeat and “The Shadows” has this familiar rhythm. This is a quiet and retrospective feeling number about things now passed and how the past can repeat itself to start off the album
In isolation, there is a loss of identity and the ability to be forgotten. Oscillating electronic tones with the vocals droning over the top of “Isolate”. This is serpentine in the way the music flows. If you can’t guess by now, this isn’t going to be the happy joy album…
“Give Me” is a solid EBM track. This features Craig Joseph Huxtable on vocal duties, who is best know for the Vancouver bands, Öhm and Landscape Body Machine. It has those wonder low vocals and heavenly ‘oooohs’. This isn’t the first time Huxtable has a dalliance with Slighter, as seen on the Erode album with the song, “Lights Out”.
The dark, atmospheric piece, “Survive”, is made even more delicious by the whispered lyrics. Colin’s enunciation is brilliant and so very crystal clear, so you can see the darkness reflected over and over again, accented with that solo guitar.
“Imbalance” is a spoken word observation about the destruction humans have caused our planet and that the Earth will go back into equilibrium without us in the end. Kadin Contois is the featured voice, speaking at us in a monotone, matter-of-fact way. Contois is an industrial musician from Virginia, formerly known as Pseudocide..
Not much is known about Floridian vocalist, Christy Hannon but her sweet tones ring true from the start of “Walls”. A hint of a swelling musical build-up and growing beat, yet this is deceiving, as the song does not get any faster.
Moris Blak is a Bostonian industrial powerhouse on the Australian label, Blind Mice Productions and can also be found on the track, “TheHunt”. Allrich gives us a much bigger vocal presence which might be influenced by Moris Blak’s heavy, moody bass beats. This is great. It’s seedy, bold, dangerous and could be picking its nose but you wouldn’t dare tell them to stop. Well worth looking for the Moris Blak Industrial Bass Edit on SoundCloud.
“Undertow” is a great gradual building, almost symphonic sounding piece. Not symphonic because of an orchestra, rather the vastness of the sound. It is so simple and yet so huge in its concept. Maybe this is also the link to tidal waters… A drop is nothing but a sea is deep, mysterious and powerful. All this is managed with simple electronics and vocals
If “Undertow” wasn’t good enough to set the hairs on your neck on end, then “A Moment of Inexplicable Clarity” just might. This is so ambient and thick with delicate vocals and synths that wouldn’t be amiss on Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds. American author, Rachel A. Desilets lends her hushed tones to her husband’s masterpiece. It has to be said, these two numbers compliment each other so very, very well.
The final track for all intent and purpose, is “Static on the Line”. This is slow and grimy, like you are stuck in a greasy, dirty hotel room, with a phone against your ear, dealing with the grainy reception.
On the deluxe version, there is a reworked version of each song, from darkwave to techno/trip hop. Soundscapes through to dark electro but it never feels disjointed or at odds with itself which is an artform.
There is a reason Colin C. aka Slighter, is featured on television programmes such as Bones and True Blood. Simply put, he is quite the evocative musician. If you like to not only hear your music but also see and feel it, then you should definitely give Slighter an opportunity to get into your ear and maybe even introduce you to some talent you may not have had the delight to be entertained by yet.
The Odyssey is a grandiose tale by the Greek writer Homer but it is also an album devised by far more modern Greeks, whom are no lest dedicated to the art of story telling in the form of Dark Awake, while Regard Extreme is the French connection in this collaboration.
So we are onwards “Towards A Long Journey” and it is slow and steady with each classical instrument getting it’s fair turn. This flows like deep water and oozes ancient charm of the mediterranean as our hero Odysseus leaves the Trojan Wars to head home to his kingdom.
“Polyphemus (A Trick Against The Cyclops)”has a gorgeous string ensemble which breaks in and out with horned instruments. You even get to hear the cyclops as the music goes from light and laid back to more intimidating, building. His enraged yells as he has been blinded in his one eye, calling on his father, Poseidon.
And so we enter the “The Land Of Laistrygones”, the seriousness is expressed which the deep menacing tones of this dirge as Odysseus and his fleet land on an island, only to find man-eating giants who hurl boulders at the unsuspecting fleet, sinking all ships bar one.
Odysseus must make the trip to see the dead and blind Theban, “Teiresias (Prophet In The Underworld)”, seeking advice. The music reflects the other worldliness and the unnatural, as the living invade the realm of the dead. This is far more electronic but suits well.
Whilst on the way back Odysseus and his men, land on an island belonging to “Circe (Metamorphosis)”who is a goddess of magic and a nymph as well as a daughter of Helios the Sun God. She turns all the crew into swine and Odysseus promises to live there for a years if she reverts the spell, which she does. The strings are hesitant and the heaviness is palpable and a single female soprano can be heard. Circe has gotten what she desired.
The most famous part of The Odyssey is of course “The Sirens (Fascinating Song)”. Their song lures the unwary sailor onto the rocks so that all hands may drown, consumed by the sea. A lilting female vocal rises and falls like the sea swells, enchanting and mesmerizing with such clarity backed by a piano played discordantly, a foreshadowing that not is all as it seems.
A single violin and chatter herald in what sounds like giant horns announcing battle. Travelling within a confine with enemies on both sides, waiting for something to happen. “Scylla and Charybdis” literally means to have to choose between two evils. A strait of water they must travel has Scylla on one side and Charybdis on the other. Two monstrous females that consume all that come past them. Scylla with her giant toothy jaws in 6 heads or Charybdis whom acts like a whirlpool sucking all within.
Soon our adventurers make their way to “The Island Of The Sun God (Helios)” where everything is fairly nice, the beautiful Helios has a chariot to draw the sun across the sky and he has a herd of immortal cows. The music is light with female singers giving pleasant intonations. This seems a sweet reprieve from the ominous pieces previously. One dead, blind Theban seer had warned them not to eat the cattle of Helios but no, the daft crew just had to eat them, enraging Helios into asking Zeus to take vengeance.
The sounds of water dripping within a cave. “Ogygia (Calypso’s Island)” is Odysseus’ next landing alone. Here he is met by the nymph, Calypso who has fallen in love with Odysseus and wishes to marry him. He refuses and holds him there for 7 years until Zeus intervenes, then she gives him a boat supplied with food and wine. The music wends its way, wary and building and reprising like an argument but constantly writhing seeking resolve. Then it becomes stark and grey with the voice of a goddess. Is this Calypso asking to be loved? Synths make this slightly deranged feeling that lingers.
Telemachus was Odysseus’ son and his education had been left to the wise old Mentor. “Mentor (A Message From A Goddess)” is about Athena taking the guise of Mentor to instruct Telemachus to go find his father before his mother remarried. It is etherial, light and unearthly as the visitation of Athena should be. Whispers and vocal exclamations heighten this sensation of light.
“Ithaca (Return Of The King)” is fair self-explanatory. An unrecognizable Odysseus participates in a show of strength and then kills all the suitors. After convincing his wife it really is the King, all is set to right. Dark and brooding with almost industrial banging, maybe the impending death knell. Though it doesn’t sound like the happiest of returns but then slaughtering all your enemies is like that.
This is indeed a music interpretation of the Odyssey. Musical visualizations of important pieces of this two and a half thousand-year old poem. It is evocative and poignant. If you love neo-classical music or have a great love of the Homeric poem, then I highly suggest you check this out. They say beware of Greeks bearing gifts but in this case it’s a good one!