Grimwin’s Forge – Grimwin’s Forge III [US, Dungeon Noise] (2020)

Standard

Self Released | 4-20-20

Dungeon noise was a foreseeable branch to come out of the great modern DS wave of the mid 10’s. When one has a group of bedroom producers, experimentation is a natural progression on any genre and noise/dark ambient/harsh experimentation in a genre whose roots go back to black metal was a logical step. Dungeon noise in the mid 10’s however was met with a polarized response which led to scene bickering and even a weird flirtation with NS themes. I hate to precede a review for Grimwin’s Forge with history but I feel it is important that the Dungeon noise scene, at its very core is a remarkable genre that just got assaulted with extra baggage. Grimwin’s Forge III, I feel is a suitable meeting point between the desire for experimentation and the need for accessibility. While noisy and full of atmosphere, the music on Grimwin’s Forge III is still narrative between the rough and burnt edges. This artist also seems to be behind Ancient Iron and both projects have a knack for extremely limited cassettes that are split between commercial products and art projects.

Continue reading

Ænigmatum – Adorned in Wrath [US, Black / Death] (2020)

Standard

Self Released | 5-22-20

There is something about the palette of grey, black and blue that makes a cover so enticing. Even before listening to the newest demo from Ænigmatum, one knows what they are in for. Rather than a blistering black-white-red palette of black/death, one is treated to the twisting catacombs of an alien landscapes where walls breathe and the floors arrest your movement. Adorned in Wrath manages to build a non euclidean temple on the border between accessibility and harshness with melody, hooks that dance in macabre circles with dissonant elements and angular songwriting.

Continue reading

Abduction – Cyclopean Thunderbolt [UK, Black] (2020)

Standard

Goatprayer Recordalbum s | 5-20-20

I remember being absolutely smitten with Abduction’s 2019 All Pain as All Pain as Penance a cathartic dive into noisy black metal. Now, without much preamble comes a blinding demo with perhaps the coolest name all year. Cyclopean Thunderbolt is a mess of ruminating atmosphere and a production that sounds like a witch loosely chained to the walls of a cellar. I say loosely as the bonds which bind her are breaking and the threat is becoming more of a reality. these are the things I think about when enveloped in throaty vocals and towering guitar lines. This is everything I need at the moment.

Continue reading

Sørgelig – Sørgelig [Greece, Black] (2020)

Standard

Self Released | 3-27-20

Phew, try to hold on. Sørgelig has been building up momentum for a few years with bleak looking demos and albums that look perfect for cassette tapes. the self titled EP comes quickly after a 2019 full length and by the time 12 minute EP begins, it feels like you are running to catch up with its fervor and forward momentum. With blistering black metal which is thrown at you like kitchen knives, Sørgelig rides the line between keeping their shit together and almost completely fucking losing it. there is little time for atmosphere when everything is collapsing around you.

Continue reading

Bespin Moons – A Binding Force [US, Dungeon Synth] (2020)

Standard

Self Released | 4-16-20

I passed over this release two or three times since I did not initially pick up on its entire vibe. From what I saw, I thought Bespin Moons was a synthwave record wrongly tagged as dungeon synth. To my surprise not only was it dungeon synth, and fantastic dungeon synth at that, but this was also dedicated to the Star Wars universe. Suddenly everything made sense including the cover which looks like the Kenner action figure from the late 70’s. I feel a little silly missing this as finally listening to A Binding Force has propelled this record from cast away to one of the best releases in recent memory for its effortless worship of a speculative universe that eschews traditional high fantasy. Everything works, from the soundclips to the song titles to the traditional dungeon synth that is now on far planets in a galaxy far far away.

Continue reading

Eternal Abyss – MMXX [Chile, Traditional Doom] (2020)

Standard

Self Released | 4-16-20

I enjoy traditional doom. I also enjoy rough and raw production. the combination of the two is not something that is usually seen including a release of a traditional doom demo but here we are in 2020. Eternal Abyss offers themselves to the council of bands like Trouble, Pagan Altar, Pentagram, and even Candlemass. The only difference is, Eternal Abyss is running their hearts and souls through the filter of bedroom production with a demo that has all of the energy distant and flat. This, surprisingly, works int he bands favor with a charming demo of potential and personality which reaches to the proverbial skies of projection. With a cover that looks like a black metal demo, Eternal Abyss rides the undercurrent of home production with a sound that is exciting and fresh.

Continue reading