COMMON EIDER, KING EIDER delivers an ode to the moon, black air, and burnt soil “Egregore”

Common Eider, King Eider present us with Egregore, a beautiful ritual ambient collaboration between Rob Fisk and Arexis, known for his work in Stille Volk, invoking spirits of nature in four parts. A new chapter in the Common Eider, King Eider catalog, this work of magic brings to mind some of the most powerful works of groups such as Arktau Eos, Halo Manash, Lamia Vox, and others producing night hymns of shamanic potency.

This being their 11th album thus far, Common Eider, King Eider have undergone quite the transformation in their 12 year existence of releasing albums, a culmination of dabbling within the realm of folk, noise, experimental, and ritual psychedelic textures to give us a haunting sound quite unlike anything before it. Starting out as a surreal blend minimal acoustic passages, haunting opera wails, and string drones; the middle of their discography took quite the turn into much darker and slightly more frightening territory, more focused within the otherworldly and arcane. This album continues in that tradition of sound evolution, while keeping the spirit of their trademark organic approach that binds the gap between the earthly and the ethereal.

On display are four chapters of elemental dualism, four phases of transformative ordeals, focusing on a variety of hypnotic and bewitching sounds and textures. Ritual percussion, rattles, and distant whispers set the tone for a journey into the spirit self, as most of this recording was done live, in a cabin in the Pyrinees in France through midnight into early dawn. One can’t help but notice a certain planned spontaneity of the recording, but set to the backdrop of instrumental and vocal drones that hook you in for the ride.

Being a dark moon folk magic ritual, this recording is best listened to in a meditative state around midnight, with very minimal light and few distractions. This is a complete escape from the flesh into the realm of the various spirits and entities both conjured and retreating during the experience. You feel yourself in a dream travelling down a spirit path deeper and deeper into this primeval forest of manifesting energies, and it’s best to let yourself be swallowed and inspired by the visions conjured.

Live @ Ascension Fest 2019

This work represents Common Eider, King Eider at its most minimal and primal, but simultaneously most profound and pure, eschewing a lot of the modern sounds characteristic of their earlier work. Containing a multitude of chants, wails, whispers, and other inhuman vocalizations one is taken to that twilight world in a half-dreaming state where the influence of spectral energies is at its most potent and profound.

COLD SPRING RECORDS presents this ritual housed in a beautiful matte-laminate gatefold ecopak, with visuals prepared by Kevin Gan Yuen (Sutekh Hexen).


Covenant Records Premiere

SATURN’S CROSS EP ‘Possession’ unleashed now on Covenant Records – Listen to the full stream

Covenant Records is proud to debut the digital release of Saturn’s Cross EP Possession (CVNNT007). Written and recorded across the winter and spring of this year, the EP represents an enormous step-up in songwriting and production quality from the Vancouver-based musician.

As was the case with 2018’s This Is Going To End In Blood (also available digitally through Covenant Records), all visuals were produced by visionary photographer and film-maker artist Max Montesi, and an intense master was given to the songs by infamous Toronto-based producer and musician Camp.30.

Possession is not easy to penetrate. It takes an honest, galvanizing look at our inescapable flaws and faults in enormous wrong-doing. Drawing as much from a retro 80’s sound as a modern R&B sound, and combining it with intense industrial and ambient elements, Possession is sure to sound unlike anything else you’ll hear this year.



LLYN Y CWN leads excursions into the depths of night to confront “Twll Du”

Llyn y Cwn is an up and coming dark ambient unit from Wales, heavily influenced by the countryside from which the project spawned. The name “Twll Du” is in fact the name of a gorge in Wales known as the Devil’s Kitchen, where smoke from the depths is occasionally seen rising. It’s rare in the wide world of underground music that we’re exposed to the many treasures this nation holds.

From the outset, this is a rather minimal work focusing a lot on deep dark drones and what appear to be cavernous field recordings. You get a lot of that similar feeling as “deep ambient” artists like Amon occasionally generate, building layer upon layer of deep tones in order to generate a feeling of wide open spaces and deep chasms, but by the second track things take a much darker turn as the deep dirges and foreboding melodies kick in.

This isn’t just a nature walk or cavernous excursion, but the suggestion of something much more sinister and profound is lurking just out of sensory reach through the minimal melodies that act like a guide throughout this journey. Occasionally reminiscent of some of the darker moments of Dense Vision Shrine or even Vinterriket, though the ghostly atmosphere here is much more present and oppressive, like a thick tension in the air as one enters a haunted area.

On a whole, this is actually a very simple release. We never really get to see or hear what’s beyond the sinister door, but what we get instead is a very moody walk through the bowels of night, through foreboding landscapes, and a bit of a tour around the rim of the abyss without really falling in. Probably the best listening experience reading your favorite dark fantasy work by candlelight while this album throbs its magic through your headphones, or out for a walk through a mountainous landscape at night.

Presented by COLD SPRING RECORDS in a 6-panel digipak with breathtaking photography by the artist.


SATURN’S CROSS returns with lo-fi, noir video for “It Has Begun Again”

Covenant inner-circle dark synth act Saturn’s Cross returns after months of silence with a video for the opening track of 2018’s This Is Going To End In Blood. 

Directed by Max Montesi, the flickering, dark video clip features an extension of the shadowy deals, devious encounters, and urban decay that haunt the Saturn’s Cross egregore. A frightening aura of something undoubtedly malign, but hiding in plain sight. Perhaps even alluring …

Released in October with no warning or indication if its coming, This Is Going To End In Blood blends a 80’s synth sensibility with a strong futuristic darkwave feel, enhanced with a contemporary dark R&B production style. The album is available on Saturn’s Cross bandcamp or digitally through Covenant Records.

Directed, edited, and produced by Max Montesi. Staring: Chelsea Black, Culain, and Saturn’s Cross



CUT THE LIGHT approach tenebrous forms through black formlessness on “Aphotic”

Black Mara Records from Russia is a label this world needs when dark music has grown alarmingly safe and predictable. The dark ambient genre seems especially tame these days, often with artists prioritizing production values over content, or building pretentious themes the music can barely live up to let alone recreate.

The debut album from Cut the Light, a mysterious project with little to no background information, give us a refreshing blast of straight up darkness, and once more we are plunged back into the glory days of the genre, the focus itself once more being on pitch black atmospheres and fear. The term “Aphotic” itself refers to pure and absolute darkness, a place devoid of light, where demonic energies take being.

As for the recording and composition, the theme is definitely consistency, hearkening back to the days of Lustmord’s Paradise Disowned or early Endvra, where nearly every track is given the sonic backdrop of water. Water is the conduit spirits use travelling into this world, and the recording is made out to be like some sort of trip down a subterranean riverway, the waters and shores and cavernous walls and ceilings teeming with all forms of malignant life as all manner of sounds and voices and beastly moans enter the fray just out of reach of the lone traveler’s dying torchlight.

The composition itself is straightforward enough, not trying to reinvent the wheel of the genre, but pushing the envelope of tension and dread with each track, as more and more layers of subterranean madness are explored. Where an album like Lustmord’s Heresy would focus on the environment itself, and the deep subterranean rumbles from the bowels of the earth, this record takes form from the point of view of a lost traveler exploring those lost passages and encountering long-lost forms of predatory life and horrors better left undisturbed. At the heart of the album, one can even make out unearthly chanting and singing suggesting we’ve crossed the threshold to an undiscovered civilization, where their bestial rights and sacrifices to long undead gods continue unabated in the black-lit realms unseen by any human eyes.

Even to seasoned dark ambient listeners, this voyage is not for the timid or the weak. The atmosphere of this record is as obscure and genuine as a proper dark ambient record can possibly get, though be forewarned … the moment your mortal eyes glimpse the pale shores and Cyclopean ruins of the lowest realms, you won’t be coming back!

BLACK MARA presents the pitch black entity in a unique bound book with dark illustrations and description of spirits. Inside the handmade book features: audio CD, bottle of natural black oil, and black candle.


CAMP.30 leads the way down roads less travels on his Self-Titled album

Not two months since the release of his highly anticipated debut album – which we had the honour to present in fullCamp.30 (nee Michael Abercrombie) returns with another collection of surreal, outre, and altogether other-worldly songs. While the first collection, Eyes Only, was distinctly slotted in the dark R&B genre, albeit entirely instrumental, his self-titled psalter of utterly bizarre pieces, is distinctly more formless and experimental.

The trademark Camp.30 ethereal voices wade in and out of the background, and his ever-intricate drum patterns snip away with infectious capability, but there is something plainly different in the atmospheres being presented here. The heart-broken and always cocky Toronto sound that was present on his first full length, and all through his work with PLAZA, hasn’t necessarily been discarded, but clearly placed to the side in favour of something vastly grander.

The opening composition, “Lord Knows”, demonstrates that Abercrombie is an artist at the peak of his abilities. Presenting a stoic and determined sound, open cymbals chime away in a victorious manner that at times hearken back to when hip-hop artists used to perform with live drummers. Bleak synths enter and leave with fascinating melody lines and the straight-faced affair ends all too soon. It is immediately apparent to any and all remotely familiar with his work that this is going to be a unique experience.

When the second song “Doctor What” kicks in, we’re digested deeper into this void, and all expectation of norms should be immediately thrown out. Maniacal laughter calls out from the dark and immediately horrific harmonies, not unlike the work of Claudio Simmonetti, overwhelm the listener. Backed with a classic and slightly distorted bass, this is an effortless blend of what the subconscious expects from this music, and sheer innovation.

After a cut-throat start, the album shifts in to a meticulously chosen and contemplative cruise control. The darkness is omnipresent, but the bombast of the opening salvo is replaced with an ice-cold passage in the dark. Through “M5s”, “Down Again”, and “Grand Stand”, we see a clinical demonstration of Camp.30’s grasp of not just this genre, but too the dark ambient genre. Fantastic and constantly shifting drum production is supported by a soaking wet, under-lying ambience complete with choirs of ghosts, barely audible pads that enrich the songs on several levels, and add a level of care to a genre that sadly often exists for mass production.

Through all of this, there is never the sense of abandonment that is often felt when an artist explores new territory. At its heart it’s still distinctly Camp.30. However, when “SEQ (Interlude)” hits, something happens. Less like the Toronto sound, electronic sound, 40, Ill Angelo, or anything even slightly related to dark R&B, and more closely resembling a Philip Glass synthesizer, it is a brilliant piece that is fully outside of, and alien to, anything the man has released before as Camp.30, and more like his work with North Atlantic Drift (though distinctly quicker in pace). It is a fascinating and poignant piece, that all at once shows why Camp.30 is a pioneering Canadian artist, and shows why much of his music might never cross that thin line to true stardom – it is simply too smart and detailed for mass consumption.

And, as though ripped from a dream, we return to the extra-terrestrial horror of the album’s opening on “Northern Lights”. A demented flute line bums out the top melody of the album, with a hypnotizing, snake-charming sound.

Camp.30 is showcased at his best here, with a total fearlessness to experiment, switch tempos, change rhythms, swap atmospheres mid-song feature weird instruments, and quite plainly do whatever the fuck he wants. Whether he’s being irresistibly catchy, or questionably weird, it’s never forced. The natural flow of the album and its denizens is simply remarkable.

If Eyes Only was a calm first-date where he was afraid to reveal just how strange he really was, on this self-titled disc, you’ve been invited back to his house, and you are shocked at the amount of human bones, incense, taxidermy animals, and chandeliers everywhere.

Obviously you’ll be coming back.


MZ.412 returns only to descend into the depths of Helheim with “Svartmyrkr”

Mz.412 are purveyors of sonic terror; a noise cult of devious intent. Most of their work is labeled as “blackened industrial”, and this release certainly could be described this way as well, although it occasionally ventures into other territory.
Having been at it since at least 1988, Mz.412 have honed their craft into something truly remarkable, and as such, their latest offering, Svartmyrkr, is a powerful, primal piece of music that manages to be both intimate and cosmic in scale. A work that feels immediate and current, but also timeless.

The production carries a pristine clarity and punch which lends all that much more aggression to the distorted sounds. This is beyond production, and into the realm of sound design. There is a cohesive, well-paced, narrative sort of structure within the mix itself. What opens with just a few tracks conveying an intimate setting unfolds and expands into a multi-tracked monstrosity, a veritable titan of tracking awash in swirling, gnawing waves of sound, pulverized and dragged along by its own sonic undertow. Somehow throughout all this, every nuance and detail is heard, every piece of the story loud and clear. Often with releases of this nature, there is a quality of mystery present in the mix, with so much subtle layering and so on, but Svartmyrkr feels like a bold statement, a fully realized vision laid before us in startling detail. The fact that this is a self produced release is impressive to say the least.

Svartmyrkr is a work of unrelenting and ever increasing dread. An album that manages to grab your attention and hold it for the space of forty-eight minutes, without a single riff or hook. Dynamic, and escalation of dread are the keys to this feat, and the resulting work feels cinematic in its scope.

The album opens with what amounts to a teaser track. An ominous, tribal rhythm that seems to approach out of the dark, drawing near our campfire to bludgeon us with one primal crash across the head. This is a portent of what is to come: a series of other grinding, pounding horrors that seem to approach from the burning horizon ahead of us, and disappear into the dark behind us.

This album is a vast collection of sounds that seem to encompass any and all cultures and esoteric traditions. In a time when every buffoon with a microphone and a modulator pedal is releasing albums of “occult ambient” and “ritual noise” material through bandcamp, daily, a work with real intent and focus behind it such as this one is a deft and commanding display of potency. This stuff makes you feel, and quite often not subtly so. This is real magick.

Sonically, Svartmyrkr feels like a truly timeless work.

Tribal drums, growling vocals, and the crackling of a fire…one is given the impression of impending doom, of an approaching threat beyond comprehension, a destructive force that is uncompromising and totalitarian in the scale of the ruin it implies.

Thunderous sounds of war, replete with booming horns, cryptic chanting and the screeching of hawks…here now is the sound of the end of the civilized world, an horrific and violent razing of the walls of our false safety. The end is not sightly, no. And as such, it is a blessing that Svartmyrkr is an album, and not a film (although your humble writer would certainly pay to see such an apocalyptic and hypnotic piece of cinema) …

Erosion…chopped and sliced samples, awash in icy, grim, synthesizer tones and echoing bells…like a cold and cavernous death knell for all of mankind, horrific and jarring …

An intimate and immediate feeling acoustic section that draws you in and gives you brief respite from the horror, like wandering away from a corpse-strewn and blasted battle ground and right up to a campfire with a friendly stranger and their guitar. There is peace here, and solace, but not for long …

The grinding sound of the end of absolutely everything is accompanied by tribal drums and coarse shouting, and an unmistakable reverence. This is the sound of a people meeting their end with strength, humility, and awe …

Your humble writer has not spent a single moment looking up any information on this release (purposefully), and as such, is left with only the music as reference point for the ideas behind the work. With that in mind, these are my ultimate impressions of the work and its focus:

The listener is placed on the wild, elemental fringes of the world, and made witness to the fall of Empire. There is fear, horror, revelry, triumph, and finality. The shiny, brittle world we have built around us is ground into dust by the gnawing of world eating machinery and all is made wild again. The final sound heard is a rattling croak, a death cry. It is a reverent sound. It is with reverence that those of us still standing meet the end.

Then again, the story is only over if we assume it was about us.

Svartmyrkr was released into the wild by COLD SPRING RECORDS on CD and LP formats. It is the first MZ.412 studio album in 13 years. 



AORATOS appear sinistrally arcane & pastoral through “Gods Without Name”

Aoratos is the latest endeavor of Naas Alcameth, the blackened mastermind that gave us Akhlys and Nightbringer, and is described by their label as a “reflection of the eidola and egregore arisen from the liminal thresholds”. Indeed, Gods Without Name feels like a logical transcendence from these previous endeavors, exhibiting the same chaotic darkness we have grown to expect from Naas but newly inculcated with increased emotion and primal rage, amounting to a new breed of wretchedness that can best be described as malefic black metal.

When I first heard Akhlys I remember being taken aback by the atmosphere of raw emotion, their ability to present their music as a force capable of transcending conventional black metal tropes, a craft Naas has refined to perfection with Aoratos. Gods Without Name feels more like a crepuscular descent into the darkest of minds than a metal album, a work of art that lingers in the shadowy corners of the subconscious long after conclusion.

The album starts with “Parallax I”, a dark ambient track that sets the tone for the rest of the album with haunting melodies that will reappear in variation across the entire album. From here the album moves into “Holy Mother of Terror”, an aptly named introduction into the chaotic horror that resides within and a crushing display of malevolent black metal in its own right. At this point the album goes on to further obscure the lines between the genres of dark ambient and chaotic black metal, ultimately amounting in a some manifestation of beautiful, formless chaos. Tracks such as “The Watcher on The Threshold” and “Of Harvest, Scythe and Sickle Moon” combine strong influences from Naas’s previous projects with less traditional pieces like “Thresher” and the aforementioned “Holy Mother of Terror” to ultimately result in a brand new breed of wretched malevolence.

This new beast truly rears its head for the first time in the title track “Gods Without Name” before returning for one final moment of horror with the doomy “Dread Spirit of the Place”, my two personal favorites. Lastly, the album closes out with “Parallax II” an atmospheric conclusion to a flawless, blackened monument.

At the end of the day Gods Without Name is a thing of beauty, a primal foray into the darkest depths of sound, a haunting masterpiece that raises the bar for the entire genre and an album that will be in my heavy rotation for a very long time.

On March 22nd Aoratos will release their first full length Gods Without Name via DEBEMUR MORTI PRODUCTIONS, available for pre-order on CD and Vinyl at both label’s website and digitally on Bandcamp.



Fall Into Long Nights & Madness: CAMP.30 full album stream

Having risen to notoriety as the producer behind the dark and futuristic r&b/ambient act PLAZA, CAMP.30 quickly gained recognition for his lush and immersive pieces. Songs from their first EP, ‘One’, already had listeners intrigued, but when ‘Shadow’ was released, it became just how clear the level of detail and technicality put in to CAMP.30’s work is.

With PLAZA’s unique and nocturnal aesthetic already feeling distant and impenetrable, CAMP.30 seemed even further hidden; a faceless, nameless director somehow harnessing this ability to effortlessly distill and perfect these lecherous and depraved slabs of r&b. As he has slowly trickled out more presentation of who CAMP.30 is, it has only gotten more intriguing.

Rich with a bizarre aura created largely through outre photographs and grainy footage, filled with covered faces, abandoned houses, and desperate drives through the night, the imagery released wouldn’t seem out of place in a David Lynch film.

Given his known role as one half of the long-running ambient project, North Atlantic Drift, neither the careful and meticulous procedure behind his droning blanket of sound, nor the slow pace at which he was revealing what he had in store came as a surprise.

Slowly, but surely, more and more material surfaced- a photo here, a song-snippet there, an uneasy video- and little by little it became clear that he was gearing up to release his own solo album. The prospect of hearing the same eerie, but satin smooth r&b with no consideration having to be taken over where the vocals would socket in was immediately tempting.

The album is nothing short of a masterclass in detailed production of electronic music. Shifting, warping passages spew out an endless barrage of evocative vignettes, painting pictures of lust and loss, insanity and secrecy. Where we are used to hearing PLAZA’s crystalline voice over CAMP.30’s bouncing snare, this time it’s whirling and incomprehensible voices to come off like lost memories of failure and faint hopes of renewal.

The pace of the album builds perfectly from the catchy but worry inducing ‘Madness’, which sets the correct tone instantly, across simultaneously pitch black but effervescent middle tracks like ‘Heaven So Blue’ and album highlight ‘The Mental Assassin’, the latter of which featuring some unforgettable Spanish guitar which returns as a theme later on. The close of the album delineates the utter feeling of harsh winter and loneliness, distinctly ditching all shreds of hope after the radio-worthy ‘Split’, and plummeting headlong in to the doom-ridden and gloomy closing trifecta of ‘Long Night’, ‘Winter Baby’, and ‘Final Act’. Here we see the aesthetic that CAMP.30 has worked so hard to cultivate best represented. Mesmerizing, long pans of booming synths, inescapable reverb, and subdued drums paint grand vistas of despair. You realize that all hope of conquering and forgetting past shame is gone, and the long night has set in.

It comes as no shock that musically the album picks up where PLAZA’s ‘Shadow’ left off, but now the paths fork. Whereas his material with ‘PLAZA’ is the city; sleepless night and haggered days, licentious indiscretions, and all the strange games we play; and his material with North Atlantic Drift is some lost passage of time; total weightlessness and abandonment of all sense of being; his material here is a a flawless, if incidental, blend of the two sounds: isolation, internal reflection, and a clear hope to forget the past. Crushing, droning, instrumental r&b, with no chance of redemption in sight.


AOS SI unveils “Oratio Draconis”, an unheard offering of Other-Worldly Music

After whirling whispers, swirling rumours, and teased samples, it is the pleasure of the Covenant to share a first glance at the premier offering from Aos Si: a video for “Oratio Draconis” from the upcoming new album titled “Otherworldly Invocations: Vol. 1”, out soon on DUMAH Records.

Sayeth Aos Sí vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Cú of the song and its vision:

“The Dragon is one of the most ubiquitous mystical creatures. Archatypically a coincidentia oppositorum; the Destroyer and Creator of man. The Dragon has woven itself into the navel of our ancestors minds and has presented itself to me in trance as Quetzalcoatl, playfully wayward in a torus Taijitu. We honor and revere.”

This video is the manifestation of yet another conspiracy between a Covenant circle band, and long-time collaborator, Mexican visionary mastermind, Cold Poison.

Let your prayers rise and fall into the Dragon’s trance!

Aos Si is the mysterious and self-described Ætheral Otherworldly Music emanating from the inner Covenant – Equally ancient yet free from the bounds of time and place.