Månskensdvärgar – :I: [?, Dungeon Synth / Ambient] (2020)

Standard

Self Released | 10-1-20

I have my guesses where this composer is from but I could be wrong. It is not like it matters as a location is sometimes omitted by an artist if it is not relevant. Månskensdvärgar is “an acoustic journey through the moonlit root kingdoms and fog-covered moss fields of the northern dwarves of old folklore.” Perhaps that is all that is needed to frame a record that is quiet, contemplative and above all else immersive in its magic. Månskensdvärgar is dedicated to escapism and with a devotion to painter John Bauer, :I: is an esoteric journey into the underworlds of rocks and roots. At this moment there are a few remaining tapes available but I do not expect it to last as this sound is coveted by listeners who crave dreamlike landscapes and twilight atmopheres.

Töxik Death – Sepulchral Demons [Norway, Thrash / Death / Punk] (2020)

Standard

Self Released | 8-22-20

The tags for this record are black / thrash / death / punk and to what percentage is anyone’s guess. Töxik Death care little for being balanced or even correct as the band’s second full length does more for their thesis of destruction than any previous release. Reviewing a band with a larger history is unique on this site as most bands are new or have a few releases before the one being reviewed. Töxik Death is approaching nearly 20 years of being formed and Sepulchral Demons feels like a fiery debut that is setting the stage for a whole career of madness. Sepulchral Demons sharpness the band’s focus from their earlier work and presents a future of old school heavy underground metal worship in a sound that doesn’t feel costumed rather galvanized by the the decades old quest for disorder. Come on and come all for the festival of the ruined.

Xard – Dreams of the Strange Tower [US, Dungeon Synth / Dark Ambient] (2020)

Standard

Self Released | 8-28-20

Somewhere between the realm of waking and sleep likes Xard and their dreams of the strange tower. Somewhere between the sound of dungeon synth and the haunting of dark ambient is Xard and their dreams of the strange tower. Xard is an odd entity as it the debut for the composer who goes by the name of the main human antagonist on the 1957 film Night of the Demon.” Dreams of the Strnage Tower is also dedicated to the memory of recently decreased Power Trip member Riley Gale. With a traditional DS sound combined with a hip low brow visual aesthetic, Xard exists in many realms at the same time and Dreams of the Strange Tower is a dungeon synth record that exists on the edge of many different scenes. For all of its transitive properties, the sound of Xard is fitting as it floats in the aether of emissions with its spectral sound and haze of ambiance.

Veriluola – Demo [Finland, Black] (2020)

Standard

Self Released | 8-28-20

Yes. Yes. Yes. The stars align and we are given a rough black metal record from a band that has yet to have a Metal Archives page or a second supporter on Bandcamp. These are the moments where I feel I have found something that will be of interest to a lot of people and I am excited to see its journey. Veriluola is a Finnish black metal act which worships the noisy and chaotic beginnings of its genre with a demo that is spilling with attitude and atmosphere with a demo that sounds like Possessed, Celtic Frost, and Venom all are locked inside of a closet and told to punch their way out. I will be the first to admit the band has a lot of things to work out of their sound as Demo feels like a scouting mission to survey the terrain of first wave worship. I have a strong feeling they will find their way and set up a new town on the edge of the frontier between life and death.

Village of Dorlech – Seeds of Change [UK, Dungeon Synth] (2020)

Standard

Self Released | 8-25-20

“Plant based Dungeon Synth.” I love these types of descriptions. I love these types of descriptions as selling points rather than invented genres. Actually, who knows, maybe horticulture inspired dungeon synth will be a thing in a few years. Seeds of Change is dedicated to the quiet ambiance of plants growing which is nurtured by the waves of old school dungeon synth but without the oppressive ruminations of dark corridors. There is certainly a level of melancholy which hangs in the air yet the lamentations feel like the decaying of fallen trees as it beings its cycle of rejuvenation. This is a release which sounds as the way loam smells as its pungent qualities fills your senses but ultimately is neither noxious nor sweet.

Affliction Vector – Death Comes Supreme [Netherlands, Black] (2020)

Standard

ARGENTO RECORDS | 9-25-20

There is something about artwork depicting Jesus getting run through by demons. This description and accompanying artwork might be ostentatious but it is fitting to Death Comes Supreme, a grand declaration of bestial noise. The Bandcamp page sports names like Mayhem, Voivod, and Bolt Thrower which are three different styles but all fall under one focus of ruinous chaos. While the page only has one song, which cuts off at the end, Affliction Vector comes shambling to the forefront like some stuttering specter with claws and a terrifying presence. Affliction Vector reminds us of the dangerous quality of black metal only in the fact that its rough edges have a chance of carrying disease. This is a haunted releases and the fraying of ones minds under intense spiritual stress.

Ontrothon, Saga of the Ancient Glass – Ontrothon, Saga of the Ancient Glass [Greece, Dungeon Synth] (2020)

Standard

Self Released | 9-2-20

It is interesting and delightful to run across a dungeon synth project from a prominent metal musician. Ontrothon, Saga of the Ancient Glass is the side project for Spectral Lore, the almost renown Grecian atmospheric black metal project whose last few releases have been met with praise. Spectral Lore is not unfamiliar with the concept of atmosphere though Ontrothon, Saga of the Ancient Glass is a new adventure in the realm of dungeon synth and specifically cRPG style soundtracks. Ontrothon, Saga of the Ancient Glass is a passion project and much like the other extension of Spectral Lore (Mystras), it has been created to explore of focus. This focus is the near nostalgic escapism of hombrewed campaigns and the fantasy soundtracks to old and new RPG games. Ontrothon, Saga of the Ancient Glass sets its scope whide drawing in many elements of many styles and influences into a record that impresses as much as it surprises. The record covers almost every style imagined by previous DS artists in what seems to be an overview of sound and styles. This is interesting and delightful and I am glad Spectral Lore has decided to created a character for all of our campaigns.

Snuggle Oscar – Sunday Snoozin’ [US, Dungeon Synth] (2020)

Standard

Self Released | 8-22-20

I feel the more I listen to comfy synth, the less critical I am of its presence. This helps when the music being released is of decent quality and elicits a certain aesthetic. The aesthetic of comforting and warm synth music that is inviting to all listeners. Snuggle Oscar is perhaps one of the most sugary synth records I have heard even considering the Grandma’s Cottage record that came with recipes in its download. Sunday Snoozing is dedicated and inspired to cuddling with your dog specifically a 5lb yorkie. When one looks at the grand scope of DS and its origins and resurgence and typical themes, the existence of comfy synth feels antagonistic to its serious fantasy aesthetic though also apart of the same quest for escapism. Whether or not it s a dark wood, a castle far off into the distant or on the couch with your 5lb yorkie, ambient synth can be for everyone and I am glad in 2020, e are getting releases like this since they are both hilarious and endearing.

Charnel Ascension – Spectral Dances Towards The Coffin [US, Raw Black] (2020)

Standard

Old Spire Records | 8-22-20

“Charnel Ascension is a member of The GraveLight Order along with Mortevexis, Slaves To The Enchanted Fog, Vampyric Bvrial and others.” With this being kinda local to me, I often wonder if I pass the basement or abandoned church that houses these record labels. Spectral Dances Towards The Coffin is the debut demo for the Charnel Ascension project though its sole member is most likely apart of other other bands maybe even on the same label. The Gravelight Order is an esoteric name for the roster of Old Spire Records and much like other musical scenes, all bands fall under the same stylistic banner. This banner just happens to be raw and mutilated black metal. Spectral Dances Towards The Coffin is for a certain listeners who is wanting black metal before it goes into the refinery. The caustic dissonance both from its music and its cover allows the release to fall back onn an aesthetic that is theatrics but ultimately enjoyable to be apart of.

Villein – Kreis [UK, Dungeon Synth] (2020)

Standard

Self Released | 7-1-20

Even though the 30 copies of this July release have already been sold out, I feel am stumbling into a gem of a record that has yet to be hared with the amount of people it deserves. Villein is a UK artist who balances traditional dungeon synth with neoclassical new age with something that sounds like a cross between a Renaissance fair and dozing outside in the afternoon. Kries is a brief magical journey through woodlands and fairy villages which intends nothing more than to delight and comfort. Linked above is the artists page which has a NYP fee for the digital record. If you were to get any low price dungeon synth record of the last few months, make it this one. The physical release of this record comes from another UK based label called Vicious Mockery which aside from being a spell in D&D is a dark abient / DS label that does small runs of tapes. Maybe I will be lucky enough to grab the next dungeon synth tape which eludes me like pixies.