Tantric Trance Tales: A Yogi's Journey Through 2020


Ask and you shall receive. Let's see if I manage to keep up with it this time.

This list follows in the vein of the previous ones I did for 2015, 16, and 18. Here I'm chronicling my discoveries of albums from this year that generate that mystical lulling, hypnotizing, and all around otherwordly feeling I so insatiably lust for. Inevitably drone, ambient, and psychedelic music will be the most featured here, but if anything considerably sends me "into the zone" as it were, it's up for inclusion.

Albums in order by release date. Full streams provided when available. Recs encouraged and appreciated.

Created by: Apothecary | 19.02.2020



1. Tortuga - Deities
When metal bands take a cue from HP Lovecraft for their thematic inspiration, more often than not they're playing black or death metal. Tortuga diverge from this general trend and offer up some tasty Lovecraftian stoner doom. Super groovy and packed to the brim with plenty of memorable odes to the Deep Ones. https://tinyurl.com/v4ts9x9
2. Dragged Into Sunlight - Terminal Aggressor II
DIS aren't strangers to more melodic, meditative territory (see Widowmaker). It shouldn't be surprising then that the second installation in their Terminal Aggressor series sees the band focusing on developing a hypnotizing dark ambient cloak that gradually climaxes into their more trademark sludge/death ferocity. Brilliantly paced and well written. https://tinyurl.com/ul38r2j
3. Staurophagia - Sidereal Sacraments
"Blackened ambient" or something similar? Seems at times to go more in one direction than the other, being more hazy and dark ambient oriented in some places and more up beat and black metal-ish at others. Who cares though, on the whole Staurophagia create a pretty interesting journey with this one. https://tinyurl.com/wda6pgo
4. Garganjua - Toward The Sun
Some kind of doom/sludge/post metal something or other. Heavy and hard hitting at points with the growls and riffs but also quite relaxing and enveloping for the majority of its run with its softer, more melodic undertones. https://tinyurl.com/rkkspbb
5. Grin - Translucent Blades
Wicked groovy stoner doom that says fuck you to the guitar and opts for a pronounced drum and bass approach. It's a lot better than you might think and fucking groovy as a lava lamp. https://tinyurl.com/u8fh7fz
6. Kay The Aquanaut & Maki - The Nautical Blue
Hip hop that makes you feel like you're underwater. Maybe it's just the giant squid and submarine on the cover. But aside from that, the beats have a pretty mellow, almost cloudy atmosphere about them too that reinforces the idea of being 20,000 leagues under the sea. https://tinyurl.com/s95oq3f
7. NGHTCRWLR - Let The Children Scream
Kristina Esfandiari is a pretty versatile composer. She's probably most known for fronting King Woman, but she also has the alternative/grunge solo project Miserable, and now NGHTCRWLR comes in as a third knot on her belt. Here she's at her most unhinged yet, grounding herself more in industrial/noise territory. Sometimes the songwriting is super raw and abrasive and almost reminiscent of something Pharmakon would do, and at other moments it's a bit more restrained and oddly hypnotizing. Wonderful release overall. https://tinyurl.com/sbqs296
8. Yuri Gagarin - The Outskirts Of Reality
Turn on tune in drop out stoner/psych rock that appears to have a particular fascination with the early Soviet space program. https://tinyurl.com/wwzyjmz
9. Zalmoxis - A Nocturnal Emanation
Continuing the trend established by DIS and NGHTCRWLR of 2020 being a year of kickass EPs, in comes the one manner Zalmoxis with a stern reminder of just what exactly makes German black metal so goddamn epic. Soaring instrumentation, an excellent sense of production that leaves nothing to the imagination, and absolutely excellent vocals. https://tinyurl.com/wbkgekt
10. Circle Of Ouroborus - Viimeinen Juoksu
I've never quite understood just what the fuck was going on with this band, and I still don't. They produced a really eerie brand of dark ambient music for a while, but this album sees them going back to the black metal they (I think?) started off with. It's still weird as shit though: midtempo, bass heavy, and with those strange clean vocals that sound as if they're being recorded under 6 feet of snow. https://tinyurl.com/rlxxysy
11. Goatchrist - Rituals
I discovered Goatchrist last year when they dropped Pythagoras, a pretty good cut of prog BM. After that though they radically shifted gears into more electro-ambient territory (because why the fuck not?). Rituals is a fun little vaporwave album that shows that these Greeks certainly aren't capable of solely crafting metal. https://tinyurl.com/y7hnk28j
12. Filmmaker - Eternal Return
Yes, the return of this prolific synthwave fiend. First hopped aboard the Filmmaker hype train with last year's The Love Market, and haven't gotten off since. Eternal Return is a bit less dark than TLM but it's still a fun, catchy as fuhhh journey through Synthville regardless. Sounds great on a nice pair of headphones. https://tinyurl.com/u4jgphv
13. This Is Past - Labyrinth
Avant-garde psychedelic something or other. Trippy, bass heavy, and guaranteed to plunge you straight into Jim Henson's 1986 film with David Bowie, Jennifer Connelly, and all the rest of the gang. https://tinyurl.com/wheuepq
14. Bríi - Entre Tudo Que É Visto E Oculto
In spite of the Bolsonaro administration (or perhaps because of it), some pretty interesting metal has been coming out of Brazil lately, and Brii is no exception. This debut of the one man project is a mesmerizing combination of tribal folk, black metal, and hypnotizing ambient music, seeming to tap in from the absolute best from all three areas. Underlooked gem for sure and one of the most well written albums of the year. https://tinyurl.com/ybgrbnlj
15. Sightless Pit - Grave Of A Dog
Dylan from Full Of Hell + Lee from The Body + Lingua Ignota = Sightless Pit. Those looking for aspects of the FOH sound may be disappointed here, as Sightless Pit is more of a fusion of Lingua and The Body than anything. Noisey, industrial, and all around experimental, Grave Of The Dog is a pretty stimulating, hallucinatory debut that's made me quite excited for what else may come from this trio in the future https://tinyurl.com/sjv5o5u
16. Wrekmeister Harmonies - We Love To Look At The Carnage
Surprisingly my first time around with these dronesters, but one that's left a good impression. Bluesy, psychedelic drone, not too far off from the stuff Earth have done, though a bit more atmospheric and with more instruments in the mix. https://tinyurl.com/r223ckc
17. Jacob Flood - White Tiger, Black Dragon
Nerdy hip hop oozing of fantasy influence and dropping a bunch of mythological references. I'm always down for more stuff in this area, and Jacob Flood delivers. It also helps that the production is on the dreamy ambient side of things as well https://tinyurl.com/y92p34f6
18. Lurker Of Chalice - Tellurian Slaked Furnace
A "new old" release of sorts, this compilation sees Wrest rebranding some LOC material in a new package, the large majority of which was previously unreleased. This collection showcases a different side of the project, being all around less inclined toward black metal and serving as more of an exposé of LOC's more hypnotizing, dark ambient personality. Not up to par with the legendary debut, necessarily, but still deliciously spine tingling regardless. https://tinyurl.com/t47ju8d
19. Borgne - Y
I first caught on to these guys with their previous, infinity symbol-titled album, which I remember being one of my favorites for black metal in 2018. Y doesn't see Borgne changing their sound much, but that's more of an "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" situation than anything. Here their ambient heavy, industrial laced black metal saga continues, to some pretty entrancing results. https://tinyurl.com/s69mevw
20. Chong Wizard - The Mind Stone
The Mind Stone marks the conclusion of the Canadian DJ Chong Wizard's series of Infinity Stone EPs, essentially an anthology of various rappers being paired with various producers throughout the international hip hop community, and all giving an homage to classic comic book culture. The Mind Stone is a fitting wrap of of the whole series, as it features some of the best rapping across the 6 EPs, and is reinforced by some funky, spacey beats to top off the package. https://tinyurl.com/ybg9qhsl
21. Cryptic Ruse - Unfertile
First time crossing paths with this guy, but the sound is quite pleasantly diverse. Alternates between psychedelic rock, doom, and droney ambient material, for a stimulating, hallucinatory vibe throughout. https://tinyurl.com/y8o2c567
22. Oranssi Pazuzu - Mestarin Kynsi
The Orange Sumerian Wind Demon has gradually been getting more psychedelic and jam-oriented with recent releases, so it's not too surprising that Mestarin Kynsi comes as perhaps their fullest embrace of this yet. Aside from the final track, there's little to be found here in the way of "traditional" black metal, and these Finns' fifth full offering comes off much more as some sort of Avant-garde, blackened space rock than anything. https://tinyurl.com/vgbakca
23. At The Altar Of The Horned God - Through Doors Of Moonlight
A lot of bands that merge folk and black metal tend to lean more toward the latter, so it's cool to see At The Altar Of The Horned God going in the opposite direction. An epic, Pagan folk sound dominates here, replete with odes to Pan, nymphs, and "horned ones," and undercut by tasty midtempo black metal and electronic influences. Strong debut that raises curiosity high for what else this guy may do. https://tinyurl.com/rlmt7r9
24. Forlesen - Hierophant Violent
Forlesen is a supergroup of sorts, featuring members from Botanist, Lotus Thief, and Palace Of Worms. Of those three, the Hierophant Violent debut is probably closest in sound to Lotus Thief, being very post rock oriented, quiet, and atmospheric. Things come to a crescendo occasionally, but for the most part this album is all about mood and ambiance. A tad boring, honestly, but it gets the job done if you're looking for relaxing, caressing jamz. https://tinyurl.com/y9keapwz
25. Vandal Moon - Black Kiss
Retro post punk / goth rock worship. This sound has honestly become ridiculously overdone and samey in recent years, but it can still be quite fun and catchy when you're in the mood for it. https://tinyurl.com/ybsn8ad3
26. Esoctrilihum - Eternity Of Shaog
The prolific Asthaghul returns for his fifth full length from this one man juggernaut in three years, and it's likely his best offering yet. Not that previous Esoctrilihum albums were necessarily unimpressive songwriting wise, but here the guy has seriously upped the ante, the melodies having a more grandiose, almost symphonic feel and also making use of a wide array of folk instrumentation. Currently the black metal album to beat for 2020. https://tinyurl.com/y9nzphv5
27. Tribes Of Medusa - Venus Enslaved
The latest from the UK's unusual Sombre Soniks Records, a fine dark ambient label. An enveloping journey just over the half hour mark that builds quite well and transitions through realms both formless and atmospheric as well as ones more structured and guided by rumbling noise and a drum machine. https://tinyurl.com/y8hqxstk
28. Árstíðir Lífsins - Saga Á Tveim Tungum II: Eigi Fjǫll Né Firðir
Norse history and folklore has been so beaten to death as a thematic source within metal that it actually IS funny. Somehow though, when bands like Árstíðir Lífsins make it feel as genuine as they do, it manages to feel quite fresh and relevant to the current times. This is probably the most authentic interpretation of Old Norse music I've heard since first getting into Wardruna. https://tinyurl.com/ya2lamvx
29. Almyrkvi - Almyrkvi / The Ruins Of Beverast [Split]
Two of the best bands the German Ván Records currently has on its roster team up for a whopping 41 minute split that feels a lot closer to a full length album than splits often do. On the Almyrkvi side it's more of the hazy, spacey ambient black metal, while the ROB tracks see Von Meilenwald somewhat continuing from the more psychedelic sound of Exuvia, with a pleasantly increased bass presence to boot. Tasty little teaser for where these two may be headed with their next full lengths. https://tinyurl.com/y95reerx
30. Bell Witch - Stygian Bough: Volume I [Collaboration]
After the widely acclaim of Mirror Reaper, Bell Witch now shift gears by collabing with neofolk artist Aerial Ruin. Basically take their colossal, slowly building brand of funeral doom and inject it with melancholic, acoustic guitar sections, and that's basically what you've got here with Stygian Bough. "Volume I" implies this may be a series of collaborations, so hopefully we will eventually get more out of this pairing. https://tinyurl.com/yd3s9nd7
31. Neptunian Maximalism - Éons
An absolutely massive experience that can really only be understood by taking the plunge on the full, 2 hour plus listen. With this mammoth, triple disc debut the Belgian Neptunian Maximalism offer up an imposing fusion of free jazz, drone doom, dark ambient, and percussion heavy folk music. At times feels akin to material from Swans, Sunn O))), Pylar, and KDJE, while still not sounding overly similar to either. Magnificent release with surprisngly no filler at all considering its whopping run time. https://tinyurl.com/yc7k9xe2
32. DDENT - Couvre​-​Sang
French industrial/doom/post duo. Instrumental, gradually building, airy, and wonderfully paced toward its various climaxes. https://tinyurl.com/y7783nxg
33. Executioner's Mask - Despair Anthems
Post punk/coldwave that's relaxing and dreamlike while also still carrying a bit of grit and punch to it. Jay Gambit of Crowhurst on vocals. https://tinyurl.com/y9nsq622



Disclaimer: All top lists are unofficial and do not represent the point of view of the MS Staff.
[ More lists by Apothecary ]



Comments

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Comments: 7   Visited by: 66 users
19.02.2020 - 09:03
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Where's Poppy
----
- I've dreamt of that for years.
- Dying?
- Running.




2020 goodies
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19.02.2020 - 15:06
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by RaduP on 19.02.2020 at 09:03

Where's Poppy

Come on bro shitposting aside, you know she doesn't really fit the theme of this list, as much as I love her.
----
Go tell that long tongue liar
Go and tell that midnight rider
Tell the rambler, the gambler, the back biter
You tell em that God's gonna cut em down
Loading...
19.02.2020 - 15:21
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by Apothecary on 19.02.2020 at 15:06

Written by RaduP on 19.02.2020 at 09:03

Where's Poppy

Come on bro shitposting aside, you know she doesn't really fit the theme of this list, as much as I love her.

Ok then, where's Staurophagia
----
- I've dreamt of that for years.
- Dying?
- Running.




2020 goodies
Loading...
19.02.2020 - 15:39
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by RaduP on 19.02.2020 at 15:21

Ok then, where's Staurophagia

Ace pick, I forgot all about him. I recall that album being a lot more black metal than it is ambient though, but I'll give it another spin and decide whether I'll put it on here.
----
Go tell that long tongue liar
Go and tell that midnight rider
Tell the rambler, the gambler, the back biter
You tell em that God's gonna cut em down
Loading...
06.07.2020 - 21:28
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Looks great finally seeing this picked up again, and there's actually some stuff I missed and I needed to get reminded of.
----
- I've dreamt of that for years.
- Dying?
- Running.




2020 goodies
Loading...
06.07.2020 - 21:41
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Compiling some recs here, so that they're easy to find:
- Convocation: death doom from Dark Buddha Rising and Desolate Shrine members
- Atavist: English sludge/doom that makes you feel like you lived through some exhausting traumatic event
- Elephant Tree: English stoner that feels fresh because of how it incorporates folk rock
- Vile Creature: the first half is pretty good groovy crushing slugde, but the grandiose second half takes the proverbial cake
- Mountaineer: this year's warmest post metal album
- Insect Ark: groovy drone that sounds like Swans
- The Funeral Orchestra: having the damn genre in the bandname is a mighty feat
- Mamaleek: applying black metal's ethos of despair on jazz/blues/electonica/post
- Odraza: black metal that reeks of a dark alley at night full of used syringes and broken bottles
- Malokarpatan: Slovak first-wave-ish black metal with a folk horror vibe, Remmirath members
- Psychonaut: a post-metal band with that name needs no more me selling it
- Golden Ashes: Mories is still the only person that makes music that sounds like this
- Midnight Odyssey: space ambient that sounds like 70s kosmiche musik
----
- I've dreamt of that for years.
- Dying?
- Running.




2020 goodies
Loading...
07.07.2020 - 03:08
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by RaduP on 06.07.2020 at 21:41

- Vile Creature: the first half is pretty good groovy crushing slugde, but the grandiose second half takes the proverbial cake

- Insect Ark: groovy drone that sounds like Swans

- Odraza: black metal that reeks of a dark alley at night full of used syringes and broken bottles

- Golden Ashes: Mories is still the only person that makes music that sounds like this

- Midnight Odyssey: space ambient that sounds like 70s kosmiche musik

> Vile Creature: Not too big a fan based on their past material, but still need to give this one a proper full listen

> Insect Ark: A bit too heavy for the mood I'm going for with this list

> Odraza: Also too heavy for the mood of the list.

> Golden Ashes: Haven't really checked this one out yet at all, ought to soon.

> Midnight Odyssey: This could definitely work, need to listen though.

Unfamiliar with the others you listed.
----
Go tell that long tongue liar
Go and tell that midnight rider
Tell the rambler, the gambler, the back biter
You tell em that God's gonna cut em down
Loading...

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