Bergtrollets Gravferd – Bergtrollets Gravferd [Sweden, Experimental] (2020)

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Self Released | 6-18-20

I would like everyone to be aware before entering into this record that looks like raw black that you are stepping into a world of dark ambient, post punk, blackwave, and noisy goth. Things are about to get weird and spooky in the realm of abstract bats and conceptual castles. Welcome Bergtrollets Gravferd, a new outfit that has just released this tape today and I feel I am staring at a non euclidean building and its giving me anxiety. I will be honest in saying I do not know what this demo is trying to be but I believe it is operating on a parallel time frame from a intrademension.

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Maim – From the Womb to the Tomb [Sweden, Death] (2020)

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Self Released | 2-20-20

Oh man. Here comes the ruckus. Maim is a Swedish band that perhaps goes straight for one of the most obivous worships and that is the deep history of nasty death metal From the Womb to the Tomb may lack points in album titles but makes up extra credit with a release full of ripping riffs. This is what death metal is all about just ominously posing on top of tombstones pointing menacingly at strangers. Also note this album technically came in 2009 but since I’m so hypnotized by the riffs, i sort of forget where I was.

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Ethereal Kingdom – Oath of Battle [Sweden, Dungeon Synth] (2020)

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Self Released | 5-26-20

I am currently writing a dungeon synth digest with all of my current favorites. Since I keep reviewing a new one each day, I keep finding wonderful releases this delaying the article. Ethereal Kingdom will have to be the one that starts my next digest. This is wonderful. This is sweet. This is a record that is just as foundational as other classics in the genres for its production and scope into fantastic landscapes. Situated on the lighter and orchestral side of the genre, Ethereal Kingdom, however, carries and air of grief and sadness through its cheerful melodies. As if gazing upon a lonely cliff, Oath of Battle is filled with the sounds of closure and contemplation which resounds thorough the centuries.

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Tusen Vindar Kallar – Norrvindarna kallar | [Sweden, Dungeon Synth] (2020)

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Self Released | 5-20-20

I believe I found this searching for black metal Bandcamp releases. What a nice surprise. Tusen Vindar Kallar (no idea what it means) is a Swedish composer who throws their sound back to the cold mornings of the 1990’s with a release which bows to the icy altars of bands like Depressive Silence and Lamentation. With a cover that could be from the same era, Norrvindarna kallar | travels down frostbitten paths tying the binds of both dungeon synth and dark ambient.

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Octobeast – Voyage of Doom [Sweden, Dungeon Synth] (2020)

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Self Released | 5-19-20

This is wonderful and something that comes as a surprise. Octobeast has already released a fairly well received record in April and now returns with another record of epic sea faring synth. There has been a small wave of creature based synth or should I say dinosaur themed synth that I thought this was going to be more of the same. While we could probably lump sea monsters and dinosaurs in relatively the same universe, Octobeast presents a record of mid-fi synth that outside of its visual elements, possess all of the qualities of magical ambient that it as agnostic in theme as anything. Ill take any sort of music that is high of quality and they can throw any sort of monster them on top and we can all be happy.

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Treasure Seeker – Quest for the Secrets Beyond Time [Sweden, Dungeon Synth] (2020)

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Self Released | 5-12-20

This release is good. This release is real good. This release is also visually unremarkable compared to the sea of other dungeon synth records. Classical painting, medieval font, centered on a flat frame is something that is almost part and parcel for this genre. I do not mean to disparage the formula as I feel it plays into the genre rather I hope that this release does not get lost in the sea of other dungeon synth due to its brilliance and effective landscapes that are filled with adventure tinged with melancholy. Treasure Seeker’s music calls back to the sounds and feelings captured by modern artists such as Hedge Wizard which take lo fi soundscapes and make kingdoms out it. As I write this, I think this might be one of the best releases this year and here I am talking about its cover.

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Werendia – Folkvandringen [Sweden, Atmospheric Black / Dungeon Synth] (2020)

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Self Released | 4-10-20

Well, here it is. Years of searching through dungeon synth I am starting to stumble on the mixture between it and its parent genre of black metal. This is not the first black metal / dungeon synth combination ever made nor even one in recent memory. There has been a dizzying array of experimentation either with dungeon synth being used as mood intros or even as distant atmosphere. Werendia pays tribute dungeon synth’s history with a record worshiping the structure of bands like Summoning and Caladan Brood. With the black metal vocals pushed to the past and the synth march up front, the music constructs a stage for a deeply folkloric record concerned with Scandinavian tales and history. This commitment to the theme makes up for the album’s shortcomings which include long meandering songs that nail an aesthetic but doesn’t travel much out of their own kingdom. For all its faults, Folkvandringen is a stellar record which pleases both black metal fans and dungeon synth dabblers with marching music across strange lands.

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Mylingar – Döda Drömmar [Sweden, Death / Black] (2018)

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Self Released | 06-09-18

Sure, the entire album could be terrible. It is a possibility. Döda Drömmar actually releases in a few days and all we are hearing from this debut full length is one horrid sounding track. While it is entirely possible that the rest of the album could be boring and uninspired the raw filth which exudes from the preview track is enough to cover a couple of album’s worth of releases. If I were going to put my money on anything it would be on the music that has mucus hacking and throat choking as ambience.

” ‘Mylingar’ is the plural of ‘myling’. In Scandinavian folklore the word “myling” indicates a wandering ghost of an unbaptized child.” This is the factoid on the band’s Metal Archives page and it is mildly humorous in how far it goes into its own aesthetic. Little is known from this band outside of a 2016 EP so the band’s first full length, being self released, does not come with much attention of hype. Perhaps this is what underscores the raw sound which makes up the first track. From a style which sounds like OSDM drug through sewage to the raspy witch like vocals which actually make up the song, the release of Döda Drömmar is going to be interesting even if only to figure out just what the hell is going on inside of this world. Sure, this entire album could be terrible but I am a good judge of character and right now I am scared for my safety.

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Gestank – Rathymns [Sweden, Black] (2018)

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Cirsium Kollektivet | 3-28-18

“”Gestank returns with even darker atmosphere and a thinner production than on the previous recordings.
Enjoy or don’t !” — I have been laughing about this for the past few weeks as it is clear this is not meant for enjoyment. I mean, I enjoy it but it is nice to know no one cares. Also from the Metal Archives, “Gestank” is the German word for stench. Fantastic.

The description of this EP is correct as the band’s previous demo “Hail Intoxication” was more involved in the production. Rathymns is closer to the band’s almost meta demo “Anti​-​Aesthetic Warfare,” though this current release is much more focused in a productive direction. There is so much to do when you point your gaze towards hate and destruction and explore the endless misery of human existence. We are going to go with the genre of black to start but really Gestank can be thought of a lumbering wretch of music which oscillates between lurching misery and rabid violence.

Gestank comes to us on the leathery wings of Cirsium Kollektivet, a Swedish tape label who already brought us things like Kwestia Kwasu and Vomit Kult. Gestank fits into the this weird collective which seems to be centered on unearthing some of the weirdest ways to cry out in anguish. I am sure that I will enjoy this and it is good to know no one cares if I do or don’t.

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Hexagon – I [Sweden, Death] (2017)

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Living Temple Records | 12-21-17

The landscape of death metal is being changed or at least has always been changing. What once was old school went into cavernous and now is moving into slimy grime. Tagging this as death is sometimes confusing for anyone following the developments of the genre so saying the phrase Swedish old school maybe a little it more telling.

The debut demo from Hexagon is perhaps as it should be — a demonstration of potential. In the release, one can hear a band unhappy with the the production with music that sounds bigger than what is being presented. This is not muddy death metal which drips grease rather a dynamic sound which could excel given a boost. It is not like this demo isn’t fun as songs like “Chambers of Torment” are so nostalgic in their riffs and energy that one could imagine a second, third or fourth renaissance in the direction of death metal. At this point I am still undecided on Hexagon and their direction. For a demo that is being released at the end of the year, I think it is safe to say this is the first step to something else. Be it a more fleshed out EP / Full Length or maybe even a continuation of old school Swedish death on bare bones production is something we will see in 2018. For now I will be cautiously entertained.

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