Home » Reviews

Category: Reviews

Review of Big Sleep Little Death from Bedtime For Robots by Leo Zaccari

Big Sleep Little Death is the latest release from the purveyors of dark electronic music, Bedtime for Robots. This ambitious release comes on the heels of the enigmatic Music From an Undisclosed Location.

The album opens with the sprawling and spaced out electronic horror track “All My Idols Are Dead”. Given the pedigree of disparate musical acts that make up the brain trust behind Bedtime for Robots, this list of idols is undeniably quite impressive. The description on Bandcamp states that this album was inspired by horror and sci-fi films. The album does not disappoint, as one can easily hear certain tracks dropped into scenes of stalking or dismemberment (and who among us doesn’t love a good dismemberment?) But one can also hear glimpses of Junkie XL or The Crystal Method, and even The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, especially in tracks such as “National Lobotomy”.

The album features two centerpieces: the first is the title cut, which features dark electronica that is so sinister it sounds like it belong right at home in a William Friedkin film. The second is the final cut, entitled “Easter”, a bleak post apocalyptic sci-fi soundtrack that will make you think of all the possibilities and could have beens that the world once held while you’re staring at the mutated corpses rising from the wreckage of what was once your favorite record store.

Bedtime for Robots is the brainchild of Michael Ferentino. He was a musician once. You don’t want to know what he’s become now.

 

 

https://bedtimeforrobots.bandcamp.com/album/big-sleep-little-death

Review of Elementals from Sacra Fern by Leo Zaccari

Elementals is a very grounded recording based on the elements of earth, air, fire, and water. The wind plays a major role in this album which is described on their bandcamp page as ritual ambient soundscapes. According their label, Black Mara, Elementals is a “spirit of the Elements”.

“Elementals is a result of working with the subtle world, where the sounds becomes
the key to the unknown, to the mysteries of alchemy. This is an attempt to find the truth of a certain existence in the perceptions and emotions.”

The album is somber, and brings to mind images of autumn and winter, of desolate skies, over fields of rock earth untouched by human civilization. “Place of Force” has a tribal vibe conjuring up spirits of the long dead and forgotten. The centerpiece of the album is creepy sounding “Hole”. Clocking in at ten minutes, this track is by far the darkest and the most likely to be used in a horror soundtrack.

The album is mostly low key, more supernatural than horror, and uses low fi field recordings in place of mechanized synth pop, but it does have a sense of foreboding. Rather than a post apocalyptic world that is the realm of cyberpunk, this album has more of a portent of things to come. Dark things. But it’s a future that is not set in stone. One that may be changed. One that possibly offers hope for humanity.

 

 

https://blackmara.bandcamp.com/album/elementals

The End of the World – Review of Solaris from Antwan Graftio by Leo Zaccari

Antwan Graftio’s Solaris is an album filled with mythological themes and all the dark world ending horrors that come with them. The tracks themselves stand on their own, but when put together they are as pieces of a puzzle that create an amazing tapestry of a story. It is a story repeated in all the ancient cultures of the world, from ancient Chinese folk mythology to the Hindu cultures, to the Babylonians, Egyptians, Olmec, Greek, and Norse mythologies. All cultures used their mythology to make sense of the universe around them, and this album is like its own mythology in miniature.

“Cosmic History of the Earthly World” – works in tribal like percussion to give it a world music vibe with an electro synth cyberpunk feel. “On the Eve of the World Apocalypse” continues the mythological tone of a world in transition from one age to the next.

In ancient mythologies this was called Eschatology, the study of the end of the world. The world ends in a flood mostly because most of the oldest civilizations lived in close proximity to large bodies of water, such as Egypt being on the Nile, Mesopotamia being near the conjunction of the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers, and China being near the Yellow and the Yanxte rivers. But in other ancient civilizations, such as the Inca, there are many worlds, or ages, and they end in many different ways, including floods.

“Dead Tree” is another track that continues the mythological symbolism. From the ancient Maya and Inca to the Scandinavian Norse, the world tree is one of the oldest world myths and it is rife with symbolism. The roots that extend into the ground but also the branches that extend outward are meant to symbolize the different but parallel dimensions of this world and the spirit world. If the tree is dead, do the souls of those who have died travel on to the next plane of existence, or are they stuck here to haunt us forever?

“Last Train Cold Winter” is the album’s coldest darkest point, the point at which the old world must be destroyed before it can rise again anew. In both Norse and Mayan mythologies, the apocalypse is preceded by a dark era of lost morals where people lose their humanity. In Norse mythology this is known as Fimbulwinter, and is doubtless the source of inspiration for George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. “Coming Home From Deep Space” has a clockwork feeling to it as well as a more subdued tone. Electronic music lovers might recall the early works of Jean Michele Jarre or Vangelis.

Graftio has constructed an album fitting of a world at the end of an age. An age of Apocalypse is followed by the promise of a new dawn, which brings with it, another album of awesome music.

 

 

https://graftio.bandcamp.com/album/album-solaris-2015

 

Review of Papilionidae from Dawn Tuesday by Leo Zaccari

Remember that evil spirit in the J Horror film The Grudge? Dawn Tuesday’s latest track, Papilionidae, is that same malevolent force in song form. It’s a creeping, unrelenting, horror spectacle that destroys anything in its path and cannot be controlled. Papilionidae is split into two tracks, the first clocking in at twenty minutes, the second at a mere seventeen minutes and six seconds.

The term Papilionidae is the term for the family of butterflies that include, but are not limited to, the Swallowtail butterfly. In choosing this title, Dawn Tuesday might be alluding to some sort of metamorphosis, perhaps suggesting that the listener will undergo some transmutation into some altered form of consciousness. Or perhaps it’s suggesting that it is the transformation into a higher conscious realm that she traveled to receive inspiration for her music?

Papilionidae isn’t just spine tingling horror that belongs in a horror movie – it is a complete cinematic experience all by itself. It needs no visuals because the listener will create their own with the help of this eerie, supernatural music. “Part One” conjures up images of bodies everywhere, blood spattered walls and a killer on the loose. Without words it speaks of horrors too ghastly to imagine and too terrible to speak of.

“Part Two” is more paranormal like the soundtrack of a coven of witches as they commune for a midnight summoning of some otherworldly demonic creature that will carry out their malevolent bidding. Missing children, mutilated cattle, crop circles, foreboding storm clouds, shadows moving across the land all come to mind when listening to this mystical and menacing track that wasn’t so much recorded as it was summoned into existence. Most likely the writing and recording of this otherworldly delicacy involved a ritual killing of some kind. But we best not speak of that.

Pay a visit to Dawn Tuesday’s Bandcamp page, purchase these tracks and immerse yourself in some of the best horror music you will ever find anywhere, in this realm, or in any other. But whatever format you choose to listen to these magnificent beasts, whether on your smartphone, or your computer, be sure to draw a circle around it or use some other religious or traditional folk remedy to ward off any evil that might have come with it.

Just in case.

 

https://dawntuesday.bandcamp.com/album/papilionidae

Review: Spheres – Phantom Ship

Phantom Ship is a Dark Ambient music project of Roberto Faloci from Italy. The magnificent music of Phantom Ship’s Spheres is absolutely superb, a masterpiece from a master artist, like a combination of fine wine and dark space opera. The album’s intro, fittingly titled “Intro” is a hauntingly sad but beautiful piece played on piano. If you have any shred of humanity left in you, this track will touch your soul.

“Orbiting Ion Spheres” is ethereal and inspiring, an intricate piece that is frightening, trippy, and yet somehow spiritual. “Warp 7” features clips of astronauts communicating with ground control like disembodied voices of the dead that only Major Tom can hear somewhere out there in the deepest reaches of space.

The focal point of the album leads to “Plasma Core”, a droning dreamlike wonderland of ambient sound. “Chakras Chant” combines eerie voices with bell chimes and other sounds to create a cosmic enlightenment type of atmosphere reminiscent of Jon Foxx’s Cathedral Oceans.

“Cygnus” is a slow persistent march towards infinity that doesn’t end so much as it fades away like a ghost that no longer inhabits a dwelling.

Spheres is absolutely brilliant, the kind of music that is both beautiful and tortured at the same time, like a genius writing music for someone or something he that he longs for and can never have again. The evocatively chilling album is both superb in its execution and amazing in its ability to create somber otherworldly atmospheres.

 

https://phantomship.bandcamp.com/

by: Leo Zaccari