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

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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.

Disrupted – Pure Death [Sweden, Death] (2020)

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Self Released | 10-9-20

There is a long and detailed history of Swedish death as a sound as it has come to influence and sway the actions of many new bands. The atmosphere if ripping chainsaw guitars and the grinding d misery of mid tempo death is something that is retained in the hearts of devout followers. Disrupted loves Swedish death but also when it is mixed with d-beat which smells like kerosene. the result is something that can be heard, as the band puts it in the Bandcamp page, in the work of acts like Bastard Priest or Bombs of Hades. It is a specific variety of death metal which doesn’t like to wallow or loom rather to chase down its listener wielding power tools. Pure Death is the third record from the band who has yet to achieve sort of recognition their production is ready for. I wish them the best this year since this sound is gnarly.

Scenic Railway – Scenic Railway [UK, Dungeon Synth] (2020)

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Self Released | 8-19-20

Train Synth. Ha, I joke but seriously. I have been holding the entire comfy synth scene at bay until I had a chance to wrap my head around it but it was Scenic Railway and its embrace of everything lo fi that made me realize this genre is perhaps to nebulous for one genre. In this record one is given a kaleidoscope or dungeon synth, lo fi beats, and sleepy ambient wrapped around a vague idea of getting on a vintage railway and traveling the land. I can not think of the last time I was this confused and excited for an idea but Scenic Railways inclusiveness of genres and all passengers is certainly inviting. Scenic Railway fits the comfy synth genre though I feel comfy synth is more of a mindset as the theme for Scenic Railway is the yesteryear of rail travel and the subsequent falling sleeping in its plush chairs.

The World is Burning and I’m Just Sitting Here Making Grindcore Songs – The End of the World [US, Grind / Noise] (2020)

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Self Released | 8-15-20

At some points, I wonder where music stops and where weird art projects begin. The World is Burning and I’m Just Sitting Here Making Grindcore Songs is most certainly a bedroom art / music project with irreverence a weapon that is wielded around with abandon. The End of the World is a remix / re imagining / pastiche of the 1962 Skeeter Davis song inter fused with noise grind. The cover fits this motif with Davis’ cover super imposed with the horrifically crafted logo of the project. Though the end result is something maligned and aggressive, the idea and ultimate balance between melodic 60’s country pop and noise is something that I could see continuing in further exploration. One of strangest aspects about this whole affair is the reverence for the original song and its placement between the bits of noise and destruction. It is something that could have fallen into imbalance but for now it oddly works.

moss witch – spells from the ground and the dirt [US, Dungeon Synth] (2020)

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Self Released | 8-12-20

“hand-dubbed, low quality small run of 5 tapes. a portion of proceeds will be donated to mutual aid funds. includes a bonus track. only shipping within the united states for now. really sorry about that – if you order from somewhere else, I’ll refund the money.”

Everything about this is charming. Moss Witch most certainly sold out to the 5 people who were lucky enough to get it and perhaps this will be one of the legendary tapes that circulate the DS market. Even in digital form, the debut demo from Moss Witch is a charming lo-fi stroll through blurred gardens that has all of its rough edges on display for people to marvel. From the obvious hand made quality of its physical medium to the sound of the composer hitting stop on the recording, Spells From The Ground and the Dirt is a 7 and a half minute view into a hazy greenhouse tended by a crone or hermit who loves their plants. I humorously enjoy the times when DS has small batch tapes but the charm of Moss Witch transcends any jokes I can make about 5 hand dubbed cassettes since the music is so magical and comforting.

Sulfure – Neurotisme [Canada, Black] (2020)

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Self Released | 8-15-20

I am excited beyond belief for this demo. Not only is it blistering black metal from Canada but it is also the debut demo from a elf released entity. These are all things which this site strives to showcase and Neurotisme could be the embodiment of this mission as it gallops on spectral horses to trample its listeners. Rather than let a sound run itsway through 3 or four tracks, Sulfure continues to confound its listeners with multiple tracks of snaking black metal that slithers its way through a dynamic landscapes of rot and ruin. This is a release that will live in memory if for nothing else than it is sure to haunt its listeners.

Ascended Master – What Was .​.​. And What Shall Be Again [US, Death /Thrash] (2020)

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Self Released | 8-14-20

Fuck yes. Even though it took me a few seconds to decide where to jump, once falling inside this record became an absolute joy. Ascended Master is an Ohio based death/thrash act that worships at the altar of the old masters while making a blistering demo that is nothing short of fun and excitement. It might be odd to describe a death/thrash demo like that but for as fierce as What Was .​.​. And What Shall Be Again is, at the core of its existence, a desire to astound the listener with riffs and musical prowess. Ascended Master is up for this task with 25 minutes of a raucous party in the underworld that is here to shred and slash their way through listeners.