How To Make Dark Ambient Music – A Guide

Posted by Mike Schumacher

This article will discuss how to make dark ambient music. Some people wonder how to make their music sound “dark”.

Maybe they don’t know how to get the sound of “dark ambient” or want to tone down the atmospheric impact so they can do it themselves.

If that is the case, they will either search the Internet for inspiration or will probably ask a musician friend who knows how to make it.

In this case, there are many options available to them. The really good ones often get noticed and appreciated by musicians and the crowd.

Some examples are:

  • Shadow Demon – Fastidious II
  • Slipknot – Clown

The band may be considered metal or doom or both. They definitely are not the dark ambient type of band. They made dark ambient music…or rather they tried to make it.

In any case, the album did get “recognized” by a few listeners and the fans.

Gagstafest – Demons

a man playing guitar

“Gagstafest” might not be labeled as “dark ambient”, but it is dark and atmospheric and they did what they wanted to do.

So these are some ways to make a dark ambient music.

But how do you actually make it?

First of all, we can’t simply go to your local music store and buy a bunch of popular and famous albums that fit the characteristics.

For one thing, those songs have been produced by different people. For example, Slipknot had a backing band that created what you hear on the album.

Other bands didn’t. Some other bands are labeled as dark ambient, but the background music was produced by someone else.

There is no way to “know” what a person wrote and produced the background music, it just doesn’t work like that.

This is how we might go about creating a dark ambient music.

The main elements that make a good background music

There are a few elements that make a good background music that will eventually make you realize that you are listening to dark ambient music.

Most of these will be covered in detail below. The main ones are the drums, bass and guitar.

A good example of a very popular dark ambient band is Faith No More. They had a lot of classic songs that were truly inspired. I even wrote a music test for you based on their awesome song “We Care A Lot”.

Some good examples of Dark Ambient music

using an app to learn acoustic guitar

I am sure there are many people who might disagree with me, but I like these songs.

If you want to learn more, check out the songs below.

You are not here for a recommendation though, we want you to listen to Dark Ambient music.

In fact, most of the samples below are free on YouTube.

I would recommend trying to find more free music. Most of the music on this list is very good for one reason or another. But to find out which one is for you, I suggest searching Youtube for some songs from this list.

If you are new to the genre, here is a list of songs that may help you when listening to music and picking a good dark ambient style:

  • Cradle of Filth – Sounds of A Forest
  • Bring Me The Horizon – The Bluenosed Reaper
  • Bring Me The Horizon – Til The Casket Drops
  • Sigh – Dearly Beloved
  • Arch Enemy – Children of The Night
  • The Demon’s Covenant – Sever The Hands Of Ravens
  • Darkane – Portrait of Death
  • Avantasia – The Empyrean and of Frost (Concerto Nocturno)
  • Darkane – In Flames

To me, this list covers more than just dark ambient. I know some people would find some of these to be “the weirdest and most random”, but I recommend that you listen to them all before picking the one that you want to learn about.

Why listen to dark ambient music?

wireless headphones on shoulder bag

There are many different reasons that you might choose to listen to dark ambient music. Maybe you just want to see what you are missing. Or maybe you are trying to experience something new.

If you have an opportunity, or you get invited to listen to it, I recommend you listen to it.

My suggestion, is that you start with the first one on the list: Cradle of Filth

They are great at what they do and they don’t try to reinvent the wheel, they simply do what they are good at.

If you haven’t heard of Cradle of Filth yet, check out their songs.

If you like them, check out Dimmu Borgir, In Flames, and Darkane.

There is no limit to the different types of music that you can listen to. Just listen to a song.

You won’t regret it.

If you want to play music that you like and you want to play it loud, I have put together a library of 22+ songs to help you out: Indie Rock Phrases Music Library.

This is available on iTunes, Spotify and several other music download sites.

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