Ana Roxanne – ~~~
Ana Roxanne’s debut ~~~ has been on the best-sellers chart on Bandcamp ever since its release. She has also been featured in three(!) articles: an artist feature, part of a Best Ambient monthly highlight, as well as an article on those associated with Mills College. I admit I didn’t really listen to it until recently, and like most ambient albums it takes its time to really unfold and envelope the listener, showing its true nature. The entire album, especially the first track, can really catch you off-guard and tap into your emotional core whether you’re prepared for it or not. This may be an album you really want to listen to alone, with the best headphones you can afford.
Darken Wood – VI
The sixth of currently-seven releases, Darken Wood’s VI is a wonderfully subdued dungeon synth album. It is one you can play and really turn up the volume, and be enveloped in its sounds and atmosphere. That’s a hallmark of truly great ambient music, and this album has it!
Delmak-O – The Colony
I first wrote about Delmak-O last September. Its album cover caught my eye, and its music kept my attention the whole way through. Now we have The Colony, a sequel and continuation of “the search for a new planet”. This is a much more subdued album compared to Cerulean Tomb, and took a few more listens to really get into it and appreciate its nuanced music. Where as the previous album felt warm and yet mysterious, this one has an underlying current of terror and unknown, and is far colder. It is different, but definitely still a great release!
Spell of Unseeing – Weaving Light and Shadow
From the creative mind of Tim Rowland (Hole Dweller, Bellkeeper) comes yet another moniker and fantastic dungeon synth release, Spell of Unseeing’s Weaving Light and Shadow. This is a fairly short release, and every time I listened to the album it was over before I realized it. As brief as the experience is, it is a great one. While I enjoy Tim’s other projects, this is by far my favorite, and I certainly he has plans for future releases!
Against Evil – End of the Line
It can be hard to find plain old “simple” classic heavy metal. These days it seems to revolve around death, thrash, or some crazy new genre I just don’t have the energy to keep up with. So it was a welcome surprise when I discovered Against Evil, a heavy metal band from India. While it’s easy as so many have to simply compare them to classic Metallica, I get more early-days Anthrax and Testament vibes. But that’s the great thing about heavy metal; it’s all good!
Hotel Pools – Palmscapes
Still on a big vaporwave kick, browsing Bandcamp’s main page yielded a recent find that I’ve continued to listen to almost every day: Hotel Pool’s Palmscapes.
Inhuman Condition – RatÂ°God
While I’m not a huge fan of growly death vocals, I HAVE to include Inhuman Condition’s RatÂ°God purely because of the artwork! Also, the guitars and drums are pretty nasty, so this will certainly get added to the workout playlist. The album artist, Dan Goldsworthy, has done quite a few other album covers, notably Alestorm.
Warrior Path – The Mad King
Speaking of outstanding guitars and drums, lets turn up the bass a bit, add some epic male vocals, and the result is Warrior Path’s The Mad King!
It’s been almost three and a half years since I last wrote about Perturbator’s EP release, New Model. Since then we didn’t hear too much about what he was working on, but now we know. Lustful Sacraments is not your synthwave Perturbator. The largest leap and growth since even New Model, this album has integrated darkwave and goth rock, but there is still that “French synth” signature that still helps the music stand out. More of the tracks feature vocals, and it’s a mixed success to my ears. The track Excess has some of the best music on the album, but the vocals did nothing for me. My favorite track is still Death of the Soul, and wish it was a minute or two longer.
Not only is the album overall far different from previous releases but each song has quite a variety, and many seem to strain from really fitting in with the others as a cohesive album. So, was this album worth the wait? Is Perturbator still the “king” of synthwave/outrun, the genres he dominated early on? I think if asked, he would likely answer it doesn’t matter. Starting out playing guitar in a metal band, his music seems to have made a full circle, integrating more instruments and vocals to zero in on perhaps the kind of music he’s always wanted to make. For me, while this album isn’t quite what I expected or wanted, I will continue to periodically check in on his Bandcamp and Twitter pages and see what comes next.
Landsraad – The Golden Path
While recently browsing the ambient releases on the main Bandcamp page, the album artwork for Landsraad’s The Golden Path immediately caught my eye. It wasn’t until I was on the album’s page and began listening that I realized it was a tribute album for Frank Herbert’s Dune. This is astonishing work, and I want more! Their Bandcamp’s Instagram link points to ORCUS, so I’m not sure if it’s the same people or not; the latter is also interesting but I haven’t listened to it enough to include on one of these posts.
TOWERS – TOWERS
I first came upon TOWERS quite awhile ago while browsing ambient releases on Bandcamp. While only comprising of four tracks, each one is between 12 and 16 minutes, so each really takes its time and draws the listener in. It’s an interesting mix of ambient and vaporwave; I’d love to find more like this.
UmbrÃa – The Sleeping Wizard
In my hunt for more dungeon synth, it was a good day when I discovered UmbrÃa’s The Sleeping Wizard. First, it was absolutely the artwork that caught my attention, mainly because it reminded me of the illustrations in the original release of OSRIC. The music itself I noticed right away was quite unique, even though I could pinpoint it as dungeon synth. The instrumentation and melodies are unlike any I’ve heard in the genre or anything else, and that’s a rare distinction for any musician. Luckily this album is just one of many releases from UmbrÃa, so if this album catches your ear I highly encourage you take the time to listen to everything else.