A Review of Nathanael Larochette’s album “Earth and Sky”


Nathanael Larochette’s new masterpiece “Earth and Sky” will be released soon and I had the pleasure to hear the album early, and I am utterly blown away by the sheer beauty that encompasses the soundscapes. There is an honestly found in the music, and the music evokes incredible images when you carefully listen. There is a poetry found in the tones and chords of the guitar and ambiance. The artwork is stark, open and beautiful and fits the music incredibly well. I have heard his work in Musk Ox and I feel this is a natural progression to his art. The album will be released on July 29, 2016. Below are my own feelings and images I get when I hear each piece of music on “Earth and Sky”…


Awaken to the soft sounds of ocean at your door, listen to its music as it permeates the walls of your home. The softness is enduring, it brings calm to the stresses of life. Let it lift you from your slumber so you can experience the day in its splendor. Let the quiet moments in your mind flow with the music. Let it awaken you to the light of the day and the music of the sea.

Monuments of hill and cliff hang over the pastoral landscape. The blue of the sky meets the green of earth. The sun shines and glows over the shimmering waters. The sun blinds your eyes as it shines over the crystalline peaks. Pensively you look out to the vastness of the sea and the land. They seem to go on and on…infinite. You know in your mind’s eye that the time is coming to an end. You know the longing will become apparent, the longing for quiet and serenity. You dream away the monuments born from the embrace of the ocean, and the whipping winds of eternity.

Farewell to the voice of Nature, it dissipates into the finest grain. The feeling in your mind as you leave is one of utter sadness. For many years you lived among the natural surroundings, it beckoned you into feelings of creativity and emotion. The music spun in your head as birdsong, and as the echo of the waves. You remember the memories of that peace you found, you know you will leave that peace behind to return to the realms of chaos. You want to keep that peace of mind, forever, in your thoughts and dreams. Farewell to the ocean as the tides disperse away.


Photo by Jamie Kronick

Oceanic the emotions are as you depart the wild lands of old. There is a sense of sadness in the voice of the waves, and the gulls that fly high and alone. A land of unspoiled beauty an imprint of the DNA of Mother Nature. The calming motions of the sea as they hit rock, bring a cadence of serenity in the wind. The memories are vivid and real as you drive away with the ocean at your back. You can smell and see the mist as it hits your windshield. You remember sharing the vision of the ocean with the loved ones who departed to the next plane. Oceanic the memories were, a sadness in the firmament that doused your soul in grief. You remember plainly the images and yearn to experience that memory again.

Invocation of dreaded feelings engulf your senses as you drive away from that place of introspective silence. All the bad memories come flooding in, as you drive back to the places and people that wronged you. Your inner mind begs you to stay, yet you know the din of city life and the people await. Understand that those images and feelings you had by the sea will always remain. Close your eyes and envision it, and the stress will dissipate. Invoke the stillness in yourself let it takeover,block out the noise and anger. Let the sound of Nature keep you afloat.

Slumber the night away, dream of the places that bring you peace. Understand the night sky is always there looking down on you, let yourself transport to the closest star in sky, so you can see the ocean below. You will always be there, an imprint of thought, emotion and memory. Slumber with the sound of the ocean in your mind, take in the imagery, sounds and tastes. Brings yourself back on the ride of dreams.

Sky… infinite and vast, blue and serene. It envelops everything like a caretaker of a wonderful garden, that is the Earth. Every thought, emotion, memory and image is secured in the embrace of the wind and clouds. It stays there with everyone else, a library of shared memories and visions. It is unyielding and never-ending, and is outside the realm of humanity. The sky doesn’t judge, it likes everyone the same. It is the breath of Mother Nature as well as the tears. It is the voice of gods and the touch of peace. Sky will always be there, the sky is forever.

Rating: 10/10

Website: http://www.nathanaellarochette.bandcamp.com


6/17/2016 Aerial Ruin, Nathanael Larochette and Apibus Live Review

Show Flyer 2016

On June 17. 2016 I had the pleasure to put on a show with some incredible acts (Dwell in Moonblood participated as fans): Aerial Ruin, Nathanael Larochette, and Apibus. It was a beautiful summer night with the temps in the 70s. The sky was as blue as can be and the forest glowed green under the sun’s rays. The music was fitting for this day and it had become a new memory in my life that I hold dear. There was something special about that night of music and revelry. It was one of those moments where art and life go hand-in-hand. The music I heard put me into a state of mind that was filled with nostalgia, hope and love. I got to meet some incredibly talented and humble people who I can call my friends. Their music drives them day in and day out. The music helps them cope with the trials and tribulations of life. In turn they helped me cope with these trials I experience all throughout my life. Everything was laid bare and my emotions grew and grew. It was one of those moments I didn’t want to end. But alas the dream had to end, and the images remained.

The show happened in a small venue in Peterborough, NH (my hometown). The lights were aglow in washes of red, and blue. The musicians with instruments in hand performed in front of a small crowd, but a crowd that appreciated every note and lyric. There was a haze of peace and introspection within the venue. People had their eyes closed as the music flowed through them.



Photo by: Erik Moggridge

Hailing from the concrete jungles of Brooklyn Apibus started the show with a delightful duet between Renee Heitman and Albo Sudekum. They sang about a folktale in old Norwegian, their voices were incredibly ethereal but full of passion. The notes rose and fell like an ocean wave. After the duet ended Apibus played a bombastic, catchy and stunning set. The vocals of Stuart Sudekum were raw and real, he uttered longing for the times and legends of old, and played with a natural energy that kept the crowd engaged. There were many different songs filled with the notes of flute, violin, bass E-Bow and voice. It was as natural and real as can be and they will only get better and better as they learn more and more. This is one band to be on the lookout for in the future, they are a fresh and new element to the growing neo-folk scene in the United States.

Website: https://apibus.bandcamp.com/releases

Aerial Ruin


Photo by: Mike Smith

With red lights washing the stage Erik Moggridge of Aerial Ruin began to play a set that was absolutely wonderful. Erik is really able to give off a stage presence that is entirely humble without a lick of pomposity and overblown ego. He masterfully engaged the crowd with his despondently beautiful crooning and hopelessly deep guitaring. There was complete sense of uncomfortable comfort in the venue when he played. Aerial Ruin’s music took you to a world of night and phantasms, a place between the living and dead. The music was so visual that all you could picture in your head were these images being evoked in the music. It was a journey into the farthest reaches of the subconscious a complete transparency between the soul and the human shell. Aerial Ruin closed his set with an acapella of his vocals through a looper all I can say is this effect sent chills up and down my back and made the hairs on my arms stand on end. That wonderfully beautiful voice of his grew and grew until there was no escape. At the end of his set the crowd was stunned in silence.

Website: https://aerialruin.bandcamp.com

Nathanael Larochette


Photo by: Erik Moggridge

Nathanael Larochette of Musk Ox fame headlined the show, and he played his entire acoustic album of his new release “Earth and Sky”. He also treated the fans to two of his brilliant acoustic passages in Agalloch’s album “The Serpent and the Sphere”. He opened with “(serpens caput)” and closed with “Core Serpentis (the sphere)”. As for the set itself he immediately drew in the crowd with utterly spellbinding classical guitar. He showed eternal focus and didn’t miss a beat in the music. The crowd was incredibly engaged in every note, finger pluck and strum. The room was filled with a quiet comfort as he played his set in a wash of sky blue lights. Every stress or negative emotion one was having in the crowd disappeared in a halo of wonderfully comforting guitar-work. The room felt healed and whole when the music played on. Nathanael’s set put myself into a journey of self-reflection and clarity. I saw images good and bad from my life and saw them dissipate into the ether. I felt a catharsis I haven’t felt in a long time when he played. As the final notes completed the crowd clapped long and loud and then the show ended with a sense of quiet peace.

Website: https://nathanaellarochette.bandcamp.com/


This show was something I needed. New friendships developed, the love for my family grew and grew. And I felt a chapter in my life ended after this show. There were feelings that resurfaced and thoughts rethought and it was a day in my life I wish I could experience again and again. I will always remember the jokes, the drinks and the natural landscape that surrounded us as the night waned and morning returned anew. Until next year!


Photo by: Nathanael Larochette

Shape of Despair’s “Monotony Fields”


Monotony Fields

“Staring through… The blank, dispassionate fire…”

A year to this day Shape of Despair came out with their newest masterpiece “Monotony Fields”. This album stands out to me as one of the best funeral doom albums to come out in some time. The emotions and feelings that tumble out of the music is enough to shiver the very depths of my bones. I have never heard such an album with such a thick, oppressive yet depressingly beautiful atmosphere. Through the utter blackness there are pinpoints of light that seem to filter through. This album has been getting repeated listens since it came out in 2015 and will always have a staunch place in my playlists in the foreseeable future.


“Monotony Fields” is one of those albums that regardless of the day or hour still weighs heavily like an anchor in my heart. The music puts me into a state of mind that would be described as empty, introspective, and hopeless. Sometimes I need to feel these emotions to keep my sanity in check, it allows me to find the positive out of the incredibly negative. I believe funeral doom metal has this particular hold on me as well as others. Some do not understand why something so ugly and grim could be an instrument of solace. When you really dive deep into the dreamlike keyboards, the defeated growls and the angelic sopranos in the music then you will immediately understand why “Monotony Fields” is a must listen. Sometimes people do not have an outlet to the rage or sadness they feel inside, bands like Shape of Despair are needed to help others through these dark emotions, to find balance and eventually, hope. When music as good as this grips you it doesn’t let go because the music is telling you that you need to get through this journey and that you are not alone.


I could break down this review song by song but I feel “Monotony Fields” needs to be heard as a whole. You need to take in the crushing depression in the music to understand it is actually helping you navigate the confusion and sadness that you may feel. It helps you get a better understanding of the internal struggles within. Shape of Despair is catharsis incarnate. It is poetry, music, images and intangibles that are sometimes hard to fathom and rationalize about. But it brilliantly puts that puzzle together in all its dark, despondent glory. The music is not just music, it is the psyche of every human being, regardless of background and upbringing…

“ Your name is written, with the language of longing…”

Rating: 10/10



A Conversation with Aerial Ruin



photo by Photic Photographic

Aerial Ruin is a beautiful, solo, dark acoustic project by Erik Moggridge. His music is immediately recognizable by his soft, remarkable voice and his down-trodden, melancholic guitar strums. He has done guest vocal work with the funeral doom titans Bell Witch and in my opinion sings some of the greatest songs they have written, “Rows (of Endless Waves)”, and “Suffocation, A Drowning: II- Somniloquy (The Distance Forever)”. He epitomizes that singer-songwriter archetype, a man with his thoughts, emotions and feelings out there for the world to see. When you hear his music it takes you to a place that is so incredibly unique that it needs to be heard. He is a great down-to-earth guy who is immensely talented and has some incredible insights to his craft and life in general. He took time out of his busy US tour schedule to conduct an interview with me. He will be taking Aerial Ruin to Peterborough, New Hampshire on 6/17/2016 with Canadian classical guitar sensation Nathanael Larochette…

What was your motivation in putting together the Aerial Ruin project?

“In the late nineties and early 2000s I was playing in a San Francisco metal band called Old Grandad. All three of us did vocals and mine ranged from screaming to more psychedelic melodic vocals. The melodic stuff was more of a challenge live because we were so loud. It was natural for me to express my psychedelic mental wanderings and growing spirituality through a quiet introspective solo project that naturally suited my quiet melodic voice. At the time this was a perfect complement to the collaborative extrovert metal expression of Old Grandad. For years Aerial Ruin was just a slow moving recording project that I did not contemplate performing live.”

What were the themes and ideas your were going for with both the single “Igen” as well as “Ash of Your Cares”?

“All Aerial Ruin lyrics on all albums are a spiritual, sub-personal expression of sorts. An attempt to express, reflect and channel spiritual energy without the filter of the human ego. So in a sense the lyrics and music are very personal but also sub-personal, the fine line where expressing something very private and introvert gives way to something below or above an individual perspective. At least this is what it means to me, if it resonates meaningfully to others in a different way then that’s great too. There are a few songs that vary a little from this theme and express a more specific narrative or expression that reflects my human experience but this the exception not the rule. This description is also kind of after the fact. When creating Aerial Ruin songs it is a natural stream of consciousness, not a deliberate attempt to do anything. I also think music in general strives to be an art form that often expands and eclipses any intellectual ideas that the words within the songs may contain.”

What made you decide to go with your specific vocal style? What are some of your influences to both the music and the vocals?

“Its just the natural evolution of my voice based on what feels right and my influences etc.”

Do you feel literature or cinema played a part in the vision of Aerial Ruin?

“No but I do love to read and appreciate cinema especially in its more artsy surreal form. I suppose I do see images in my head when I write songs and imagine chord changes, melodies and arrangements in a visual form, this may have been influenced by cinema and literature.”

Being a singer and songwriter what were some of your obstacles as well as achievements to spread the message of Aerial Ruin?

“It is often hard getting a lot of attention doing something so quiet and subtle that is not genre specific and therefore does not have a specific target audience. But that’s fine, I enjoy the slow climb that is my experience getting this music out there and the music lends itself to more intimate gatherings. As far as achievements it’s been great doing all this touring since 2014, being on the road this much would have been much harder to coordinate with multiple bandmates. That freedom also extends to the creative side of things, being able to write and record whenever I’m inspired.”

Some people describe your style as dark folk music, do you think this is a fair comparison?

“I suppose so. I’m usually confused by genre terms but dark folk is not a misleading term when describing Aerial Ruin. The term dark makes sense and the term folk implies acoustic which also makes sense but folk also implies tradition and I do not think Aerial Ruin is traditional at all as is perhaps an attempt to look beyond the human filter. I suppose lots of other musicians have also been inspired by psychedelia or a personal spirituality so in that sense you could say I’m influenced by tradition. That’s quite different than bands like Lynched or my friends Horse Cult who actually re-work traditional songs and whose originals are influenced quite directly by traditional music and other traditions in culture.”

Could expand on what you mean by the human filter?

“We as humans usually perceive everything through the filter of our minds and senses which dramatically colours our perception of the universe although we are simply a part of the universe that is able to observe itself. Psychedelia and spirituality – which have so profoundly influenced elements of our culture and are the primary inspirations for Aerial Ruin allow us to perhaps begin to strip away this human filter and “see” or “experience” the universe more directly.”

In your own words how would you describe Aerial Ruin to people who may not know your project?

“I often say “some people describe it as dark folk” or “mostly acoustic guitar with melodic vocals with a residual metal vibe from my past playing in metal bands”. I usually site Syd Barrett and Mark Lanegan as influences to give some frame of reference but point out my music does not really sound like them.”

You have done numerous solo tours in both Europe and the US, do you have any interesting stories about your time on the road?

“It has been so great meeting so many cool people and musicians in the DIY community. I think it is the utter diversity of shows and experience that stand out. Touring with Sangre de Muerdago in Europe and playing totally un-mic’d acoustic shows in everything from squats to museums to living rooms. This was amazing as was returning to Europe a year later and doing a similar tour by myself largely on public transportation allowing me to gaze out the window at epic views of the Alps from the train. This was in stark contrast to say opening a handful of east coast shows for Agalloch and Worm Ouroboros in 2011 at pro venues to a larger audience which itself was an interesting contrast to the variety of DIY settings I normally play.

I really like touring with bands like Horse Cult, Solace, Divine Circles or Knives of Spain – other acousticy acts that one would expect me to gig with but it’s also fun being the odd man out like I was when I opened for Capitalist Casualties and lots of other punk bands in Phoenix and Vegas or the countless metal shows I have played. And of course it is wonderful to be able to meet new people and experience new places. I had never been to New Orleans till last year and was utterly captivated by the music and vibe of the city and have played two really fun shows there with Bosques de Fragmentos, My Graveyard Jaw and Meschiya Lake. However it was Prague that stands out as the most beautiful city though, I stumbled around for hours in the rain in utter awe of the beauty and architecture.”

You will be playing a show in my home state New Hampshire, what was your experience like, and do you think more bands/musicians should tour the state?

“I really enjoyed the New Hampshire show last year. It was a small crowd but the people were attentive and interested in the music and almost everyone in attendance bought t-shirts, records and CDs which is always nice so I definitely recommend playing New Hampshire and enjoying the nature and history there.”

Outside of music what are some of your other interests?

“I have been enjoying reading a lot Sci-Fi and fantasy novels in recent years and am fairly fascinated with space and astronomy and watch a lot sciency stuff on YouTube etc. I enjoy getting lost in my own mind about the “meaning” of this whole physical universe and being alive thing. I also enjoy live music and go to lots of shows when I’m home in Portland, OR, there is such an extensive music scene in the Pacific Northwest. Lots of good coffee and beer too, two other things I enjoy. I go hiking a lot too, you don’t have to drive very far out of town to be among towering waterfalls or epic views in the Columbia River Gorge or the myriad of other beautiful places close to Portland. Within Portland itself there is a lot of natural beauty too.”

Are you currently working on new material for your next album?

“Yes, I have quite a lot of new songs already and am performing some of them on this tour. I hope to have the next album out by spring 2017 but we’ll see…”

You have partnered up with numerous musicians for some songs, how did you develop that relationship with Bell Witch and Stevie Floyd specifically?

“I first met Dylan Desmond from Bell Witch on tour in 2009 in Seattle but I think it was at a Samothrace show about a year later in Portland that I gave him a unmastered copy of the Aerial Ruin “valleys of the earth” album which was not yet released. We were big fans of each others music from that point on so when he mentioned he had a new two piece band I offered to do a guest vocal. I met original Bell Witch drummer Adrian Guerra soon after that when he played in Portland with his other band Sod Hauler and Adrian had soon hooked up a Bell Witch/Aerial Ruin show Seattle, the first of a handful in Seattle and Portland around that time. We jammed on the Bell Witch song “Rows(of endless waves)” and I pretty much came up with my vocal melody you hear on the album instantaneously and Dylan and Adrian loved it. We performed it live quite a few times before recording it for their “Longing” album so I had a long time to finalize my lyrics. “Somniloquy” from Four Phantoms developed much quicker, they sent me a rehearsal tape right before going into the studio so I wrote and demoed my parts for that very quick right before the final session. We are all very stunned and saddened by the recent passing of Adrian Guerra but he leaves behind an impressive musical legacy and fond memories from his many friends and family. Jesse Shreibman is bringing his own unique power to the Bell Witch sound now.

I had seen Dark Castle play in Portland in 2011 I and was blown away by their unique style. Stevie Floyd’s vocals struck me as so haunting and unique. Soon after,  I did a couple of shows with her other band Taurus and I asked her to do a guest vocal on what I originally planned to be a self-released 7”. While in the process of recording and working on that Stevie suggested we expand the idea and do a full-length split with collaborative elements. The album ended up being 2 separate solo recordings with us each doing guest vocals on two of each other’s songs plus Wrest doing vocals on Stevie’s side. It was a really cool experience.”

Do you have any parting thoughts for the fans?

“Thanks to everyone that’s come to shows, bought merch or offered a couch to crash on or an  interesting conversation and thanks Ryan for the interview, look forward to seeing you in New Hampshire…”

Website: http://www.aerialruin.bandcamp.com

Five Reasons Why Big Metal Bands Should Tour New Hampshire


New Hampshire is one of those states that is typically looked over for bigger heavy metal acts. The last time any major band played live in New Hampshire was many moons ago in Bedford, NH where Enslaved, Immortal and Rotting Christ actually played live. There are many local metal shows to be found but what about the big acts? Why do they not include New Hampshire as a destination for planning tours? I argue that New Hampshire would be a great spot to stop in if you are in a death, black, doom, or any other kind of underground metal band. Here are my top five reasons why bigger metal bands should consider New Hampshire over Massachusetts (typical destination spot).

The population is growing…

New Hampshire used to be small New England state, many years ago not many people moved here. The typical population at the time were families and older people. As of late there is a younger population congregating towards the Granite State. There are many colleges/universities to be found throughout the state and as of late the population seems to be getting younger. Manchester, New Hampshire is now considered one of the fastest growing cities in New England. I think if more metal bands knew this the more apt they would be to tour here.

There are staunch metalheads who live here…

From the local shows I have been to in New Hampshire there is always a fervent fan base that appreciates heavy metal in all ways, shapes and forms. There are many well regarded local acts who live in and around New Hampshire two of the bigger names is Malacath and Cold Northern Vengeance. These acts have incredible talent and have a real good grasp of the black metal genre. When I am driving far away to go to shows the bulk of the people who I run into or drive down with are from New Hampshire. The unfortunate thing is metalheads in New Hampshire don’t really go out much (I don’t see a lot of shirts), but when the good metal shows happen they come out in droves.

There are a lot of great venues to experience shows at…

New Hampshire is filled with great music venues but the issue is these venues typically play incredibly horrible music that you would more likely find in a Hot Topic store.There is so much untapped potential that true metal bands could find a home in New Hampshire. Though there are a few venues that appreciate metal and of those is The Wreck Room in Peterborough, NH.The owner of this venue has a great sense of good music and is a breath of fresh air to the other venues that are filled with bad jam bands, and emo music. Also there are some venues up north in the White Mountains as well as by the Seacoast that would give some great natural imagery to live bands who want to play in those locales.

The history of New Hampshire is old and haunting…

New Hampshire is one of the original 13 colonies and by and large it has an incredible haunted history to be experienced and even written about. There are scores of old, Victorian homes built in the 1700s and there are many old and worn graveyards with some of the most ancient of stones to be looked at. There are numerous back, dirt roads that lead to thick and dark woods where ghosts would live. The spirit of Halloween is very much alive in New Hampshire and the numerous cobblestone walkways throughout the old towns harken back to a time of old. The history alone could draw any metal band to New Hampshire it just has that type of effect..

The Nature alone is a draw…

New Hampshire is one of those states with amazing natural beauty all around. There are hundreds of mountains, hills, forests, lakes through the entirety of the state. The Autumns are astoundingly beautiful, the Winters are long but have a haunting, introspective feeling, Spring and Summer are filled with colors and are incredibly green and verdant. The one thing about New Hampshire that makes me not want to leave is that the Nature surrounds me all the time, and I can find a way to escape the craziness of life to find peace in myself again. With the stunning natural beauty all around I am surprised that metal bands haven’t thought about New Hampshire as a stop to play a show on tour. To me the nature here is like its own entity and it breathes, grows and sings all the time.


I think I was able to argue that New Hampshire should be a destination spot for big metal bands, I know the state would enjoy it and I know the bands would love their stay in return. As you booking agents plan your band’s tours, consider New Hampshire as a place to visit. I know they would have a warm welcome and there is no sales tax to worry about. Live Free or Die!