Tuesday 6 October 2020

Dark Ambient Review: Shadows of Forgotten Legends

Dark Ambient Review: Shadows of Forgotten Legends

Review by Casey Douglass

Shadows of Forgotten Legends

At the beginning of 2020, Shadows of Forgotten Legends released, a dark ambient album that takes the colossal Kraken as its muse, weaving a collection of watery soundscapes around the creature’s mythology. The album is the work of three dark ambient artists: Alphaxone, ProtoU and Onasander, and belatedly, this is my review.

As you might imagine of an album based around a sea creature, there is a very nautical flavour to most of the tracks it contains. When you aren’t treated to the sounds of lapping waves, you might hear the clanking of bells, or snippets of voices distorted by radio interference. There are also many tones that seem to embody certain briny atmospheres, some might take on the mantle of a radar ping, others the hissing of a steam-powered boiler.

The first two tracks, Beneath the Dark Night and Below the Thunders of the Deep, are probably my favourites. This is mainly due to the strong imagery they created in my mind. The first opens with the sound of the sea lapping against something. To me, this suggested some kind of metal submersible, floating on the surface, all potholes and rivets. The low drone and electronic radar-like plinking tone made it feel like night had fallen. As the track progresses, a feeling of submergence takes place, the lights of the thing shinning down into the shifting darkness of the abyss below.

The second track seemed to carry on where the first ended, but with a short time shift to where things had gone horribly wrong. A deep warbly drone, complete with crackles and a sigh of air create an atmosphere of isolation. The atmosphere feels like being trapped and at a high pressure. A high, metallic tone made me feel like strange, ghostly things might be afoot. For me, this track created a metal room, bathed in the red of emergency lighting. It made me think that the submersible hinted at above, was stranded at the bottom of a deep trench, all the other rooms and compartments flooding except this one. Tense, but very nice too, in a dark way.

The other track that really stood out to me was Scourge of the Seas. This track opens with the aforementioned clanking of bells, making me think of a buoy being jostled on the undulating sea. A buffeting wind and a deep bassy impact soon appear, with plucked notes and an uneasy tension in the air. A metallic clinking impact sounds as the soundscape gives the impression of things stilling. I felt the sea was calming rather than getting choppier. It crossed my mind that maybe, just as birds might fall silent when a certain predator is about, maybe the sea waves vanish to avoid a Kraken? This track, for me, was of a Kraken passing by, not really being seen or felt, but just setting nature into a state of breathless fear.

Shadows of Forgotten Legends gives the listener a relaxing trip into the dark realms of the sea. The hints of the Kraken are subtle and by insinuation, which creates a peaceful, yet tension-filled listening experience. The field-recorded sounds and crackling, sometimes echoing spaces, are a great place to escape to when you need a break from the idiocy in the world today.

If you are interested in some more sea-themed dark ambient, you might like to check out my reviews of Cthulhu, Hydromancy and Abysmal.

Visit the Shadows of Forgotten Legends page on Bandcamp for more information. Check out Beneath the Dark Night below:

I was given a review copy of this album.

Album Title: Shadows of Forgotten Legends

Album Artists: Alphaxone, ProtoU, Onasander

Label: Cryo Chamber

Released: 28 January, 2020