FOREST HERMIT – DEMO II: BIDDING SUMMER FAREWELL AT MINERS RUN [US, Dungeon Synth / Ambient] (2020)

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Luminous Relics | 9-22-20

“Another demo recorded in one take in the woods. Forest ambient bidding farewell to Summer, released on the Autumn Equinox.” When one talks about forest ambient, the usual connotation goes to sound rather than process. If forest ambient is going to be considered a way of making music, it will be wholly interesting and perhaps mystical. Forest Hermit is a US(?) based composer who has taken the dedication to nature one step future in making records as one perhaps solitary rituals to be preformed in remembrance of the seasons. Demo II is a hazy landscape of distant outlines marked only by passing stone structures which welcomes the coming autumn in wooden masks and heavy robes. Its raw nature is befitting its surroundings and the idea of this recording possibly including field noise and forest ambience is inciting even though it probably doesn’t. I am in support of more ritual ambient / field recording / dungeon synth hybrids that are actually made with enough tapes for the people who want them.

NECROTUM – May The Dead Rise [Romania, Death] (2020)

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Unholy Domain Records | 9-21-20

I am writing about the cassette release of Necrotum’s May The Dead Rise. It is limited to 100 tapes and can be purchased for 6 Euro plus whatever shipping. If you are not interested in picking up this tape, then you can travel over to the band’s page to pick up the digital for 4 euro. I make mention of this as Nectorum has 4 releases this year, two demos, one single, and a full length. All of this momentum seems to be have done through the veil of Covid and unaffected by whatever safety measures are in order. Nectrotum is unconcerned with the living world and is instead focused on the rotting version which is scrawled into a notebook at the back of the class. May the Dead Rise is a great entry point for the band who have laid at the foot of the altar of old school death and want nothing more to play riffs inside a tomb.

Villein – Splendor Solis [UK, Dungeon Synth] (2020)

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Self Released | 9-12-20

Villein’s debut was a surprise back in the halcyon days of June 2020. Not only was this a competent dungeon synth release swathed in lush layers but it was also somewhat overlooked by the larger community. This is funny since there was a 25 edition tape that accompanied the release which was sold out in minutes through Vicious Mockery. Still even with the tape release and the lush sound, I expected Villein to command more attention at least to the level of quality from these releases. This is okay since we still have time for Villein to enchant strangers with music that is intoxicating in its depth and majestic in its sound. Splendor Spoils is the second release in a few short months which if this final record for 2020, then it s a tremendous introduction to an artist that has come out of nowhere. Villeins music, as well as visual presence, is a wonderful gem for anyone who might have missed it and another chapter in a book I never thought I would enjoy reading so much.

Orcus – Altar of Necropolis [UK, Dungeon Synth] (2020)

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Realm and Ritual | 9-11-20

I am including the link to the Realm ad Ritual release for this album even though the edition of tapes sold out. Altar of Necropolis was self released in May of this year but has since been picked up by the wonderful Realm and Ritual label. Orcus is a UK based artist who seems to live in two different realms with one being the contemporary and the other traditional. While the sound of Altar of Necropolis is exploratory in its sound with a balanced production, there is an air of somber haze which unites the sound with a release which pays tribute to the traditional dungeon synth of yesterday. Altar of Necropolis, as well as its creator, is both joyous and melancholic with a release that transcends time and emotion.

Wistful Gardens – Hives Of The Hinterlands [Canada, Dungeon Synth] (2020)

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Realm of Sleep | 9-7-20

“Buy Digital Discography $7.25 CAD or more (75% OFF)”. I have mentioned many times when talking to freinds who couldn care less, that Realm of Sleeps visual direction is perhaps one of its strongest selling points. Let us not forget that Realm of Sleep offers amazing lofi fantasy synth which inhabits the space between sleeping and waking but it is the uniform covers which really give the entire catalog an appeal. No longer are these disparate releases rather a cabal of dream artificers and nocturnal alchemists which craft tinctures of pleasantness and quiet nightmares. Wistful Gardens is another entry into the chapter of slumber with a record dedicated to bees which is as playful and odd as the label which has released the record. May they never stop being weird. Please make Tapes.

Demon Goat – Messenger of Doom [US, Black] (2020)

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Self Released | 9-11-20

I want you to forget a few things. I want you to forget the tags on this Bandcamp page. I want you to forget the fact that this creator played in Khemmis for a spell. I want you to forget the fact that Demon Goat has a dizzying amount of releases since 2016. I want you to forget about the name Demon Goat. I urge you to forget all of these things and take Messenger of Doom for what it is minus everything that it is attached to. With that you are given an entry into a world of depressive black/doom which is a deluge of catharsis and maligned emotions. I do not want to discount past work or any connection with other bands rather I feel Demon Goat works the best when given a chance to speak and shriek its way into the fabric on your soul.

Mystiska Skogen – Den Förtrollade Gläntan [Sweden, Dungeon Synth] (2020)

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Self Released | 9-3-20

I feel it is a special time and an album can also make one fall in love with the artwork. Alessia Brusco (Skogens Rymd Art) provided the cover for Mystiska Skogen’s second release Den Förtrollade Gläntan and its mystic dreamscapes of woodlands is so fitting to the musical dreamscapes, it is almost as if the two were meant to be paired. Mystiska Skogen is still finding themselves as the second release has crested a new hill in their musical journey with a release that is not only more realized than their debut but stands before a new valley is traditional dungeon synth that is full of morning haze and pastoral serenity. This is something that has both taken my heart in terms of sound and sight.

Deathvoid – Terrace [Switzerland, Noise / Black] (2020)

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Xenoglossy Productions | 9-4-20

There are often times when the noise tag for an record comes as a cosmetic aesthetic. the addition of noise in production can add a certain raw edge to music that is already feral in sound. There are often times when the noise tag is apart of a genre and has surrendered its sound the the formless void of a style I might not fully understand. Deathvoid’s is something I understand though it is a record which I only have the most basic of grasp on with the threat of it dispersing into the void. Deathvoid appeared on a fantastically frightening split with Illuminated Manuscripts. That particular release was my first foray into a haunted world where ghosts did not linger in shadows rather cause bodily harm from the ceiling. Terrace continues the band’s descent into artsy formlessness with a landscape of horror, unease, and feral spirits.

Lone Adventurer – The Eternal Quest [UK, Dungeon Synth] (2020)

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Vicious Mockery | 9-4-20

This was one of the tapes I picked up from the UK based label Vicious Mockery. Aside from the intimate melancholy of the sparse electric piano, there were a few things which drew me to the tape which include the edition of 25 and the almost handmade quality of the tapes. I feel production in both physical formats and music can be a boon to dungeon synth as well as the lack of those elements can enhance a record. The Eternal Quest is a record that could be someone laying at a piano to no one in particular except for someone just peering into the room. It is charming and “comfy” but with an air of sadness and loss. It drives me to take a place on a couch beside the piano and never interrupt the composer from their somber melodies.

Deathevn – Deathevn [Poland, Black] (2020)

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Self Released | 9-20-20

This is a striking and exhilarating demo from a new Polish band that I most certainly shared to make a joke regarding the name. Deathevn is the work of Warped Blasphemer who also lends his talents to Dagorath, Nurt Ognia, and Xarzebaal. Detheven was said to be created in three days and the immediacy of it is apart of a network of standoffish atmosphere that makes me feel bad for mentioning their name and similarities to popular post black metal bands. Detheven doesn’t give a shit about my jokes and this 22 minute demo is a crawl against the fiery floors of damnation. It is unrelenting, without compromise, and above all else not in the mood for humor.