Randal T. Collier-Ford has been creating dark ambient music since 2012. He has participated in projects including Black Sun, Chernobyl Ghosts, Mors Universa, The Temple of Algolagnia, Non, The Seven-Crowned and Grey Light Shade. The first time I heard his material was when I discovered Dark Corners in 2012 released via Kalpamantra and knew that here was a dark ambient artist worth keeping an eye on. His style varies according to project but there is no doubt that Randal T. Collier-Ford makes great dark ambient.

His latest release is The Architects via Cryo Chamber, the dark ambient label established by Atrium Carceri’s Simon Heath. Cryo Chamber has been making a name itself because of the high quality dark ambient albums it has released so far and The Architects is going to maintain the high regard with which it is held. Overall, The Architects is without a doubt an excellent dark ambient album. I enjoy music that fills my mind’s eye with images and The Architects cries out for a video accompaniment.  Very dark, very deep, it is more of a statement of what might have been in the dim and distant past and what could be in the future. The tracks are amazing – they are structured as opposed to long droney landscapes and take you places, they create a world populated with beings of immense physical and mental power.

A symphony of behemoths introduces the album and heralds the beginning of the New Age. They bellow their triumph after passing successfully from one Eon to the next. You have the impression of gargantuan creatures celebrating through a deep bass ritual, the soil beneath your feet is shaking and there is no doubt who rules now.

Weaving etheric materials into physical, solid form and welding them using massive currents of electricity, the second track leads the mind’s eye through the creation of a demon. The creature is taught how to communicate verbally and by tapping out sounds. Wings flap rapidly as it tries out its body. A steampunk construct designed to serve those who now rule here.

The Return is a long climactic piece – ominous in the extreme. Hinting at irrepressible power/force. I will not bias you by describing what pops into my imagination when I listen to the rest of this album. All I can say is that this is what I regard as true dark ambient. It isn’t ‘darkly’ primal or primitive, it goes way beyond that. This is what darkness evolved might sound like. It is what an established darkly etheric culture would sound like. If the norm was a shadow world populated by a highly evolved and unforgiving race whose entire cultural origins were developed from and based around a ruthless need for survival, this is what it would sound like.

I asked Randal if he would like to share some thoughts about the creation of The Architects – what drove it, what it is about. He was kind enough to respond with the following:

The Architects was an endeavor I undertook while I worked on Our Gods Never Sleep with the ideas and pre-production of the album. It was meant to be the album that I wanted to push forward as far as production, theme, design, and technique, and the previously mentioned album would serve as my drawing board. I’d like to say that Our Gods Never Sleep wasn’t just a random album to make and get over with, it was it’s own entity of a raw and uncompromising nature, and it served it’s purpose on it’s own.

So this sets the timeline for this album beginning around summer and fall of 2014.

I chose the name, The Architects, to keep with a momentum of Our Gods Never Sleep, because in their own way, they are connected. Much like looking at an object from different angles, this angle is one of wonder, awe, and ferocity. But the name itself, is meant to convey old and recent theories of otherworld, or inhuman, entities of a larger nature. Beings tied into religion, spirituality, metaphysical speculations and out of body vision. Theories to to try an makes sense of multiple plains of existence layered onto our physical plain, and how in their own right, are just as physical and feed into our own (and have through out time). What has come of this is the concepts of Gods, deities, Devils, and messengers of Heaven. Beings layered through out our realm of existence, capable of formulating and manipulating our realm, beings that have walked among us, ruled us, lead us, and ruined us. From stories of Chariots of Fire from the Heavens to the stories of monsters formed from the very Nothingness, and how their existence is intertwined to these things all at once in their own individual ways, The Architects is a collection of these theories as contemplative visions. Because these stories are as old as we are, they have stimulated the greatest of minds through our known and unknown history, from artists to prophets, emperors to dictators, these stories have shaped us on many levels. So I wanted this album to return to the roots of this, instead of picking up where we all left off, where we are now with these theories in the hopes that maybe in can stimulate minds once again from the ground up. Some of the most passionate forms of art have come from forms of spirituality and philosophy, and I hope that the passion I put into my work falls under this as well. But I hope just as much that my art can impress on others to do the same as so many others before us have done with art, and what I hope I am doing as well through awe, wonder, and fear.

I think Randal succeeded!

Seriously, this is one of the best ‘dark’ dark ambient albums I have heard in quite a while. You can stream the album for free using the link near the start of the article. If you are interested in discovering more about Randal T. Collier-Ford and his music check out the following:

Soundcloud, Mixcloud, Facebook, Bandcamp