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


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.

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


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.

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


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)


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.

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


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)


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.

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


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.

Poodle Knight – Brave The Darkness [US, Dungeon Synth] (2020)


Self Released | 8-13-20

Stop it Crypt Hop. Stop trying being a thing. If you keep trying, you are going to end up making a decent release. I have been wary of a new tag that has been affixed to releases Crypt Hop is the purported marriage between hip hop beats and the morose atmosphere of dungeon synth. For any people who remember and currently come into contact with dungeon rap, this combination isn’t the most intuitive. This is why I was wary about Poodle Knight and why I am ultimately reserving judgement for the whole style until more decent releases, like Brave The Darkness, are recorded. Does this release work? Yes. Why? I don’t know. If I would to hazard a guess it is first and foremost the irreverent aesthetic that comes emblazoned on the cover. Somewhere between camp and immersive fantasy is the tale of Poodle Knight, Slayer of the Wicked, and Protector of the Realm of Lzar and their quest to rid the land of evil. Brave The Darkness works as a experiment of itself with its sounds opposed to each other yet keeping the structure in place. It is an odd sounds that shouldnt work but for right now the tales of Poodle Knight sing through the technicolor darkness.

Hole Dweller – flies the coop II [US, Dungeon Synth] (2020)


Self Released | 8-13-20

I was away for Hole Dweller’s debut and this fact still pains me to this day. Though I missed this stellar debut from the Us artist, I have been singing the praises of this year’s followup Returns to Roost as a striking continuation of progressive dungeon synth. Flies the coop II is the second installment to the first releases not only conceptually but atmopherically as it returns to the waist deep worn noise of the debut. If you are not bothered by the atmosphere, then flies the coop II, much like the debut, is a blissful journey into pastoral lands that is as wholesome and inviting as worn fantasy paperback novel. I am astounded that dungeon synth has reached a point that has brought traditional styling together with experimental sounds and embraces vintage atmospheres while continuing to explore the future of the sound. Hole Dweller has never ceased to amaze me at the journey they create. This is a fantastic release from an astounding artist.

Telluric Effluvium – Dissolution of the Threefold Self [US, Funeral Doom] (2020)


Self Released | 10-3-20

I could probably count the number of funeral doom records reviewed on this site in the entirely of its existence. To be short, funeral doom is not a popular style despite its robust history as an extreme metal genre. This is for various reasons but mainly one might struggle to find an audience that is into lengthy tracks combined with a dismal atmosphere. This hurdle however does not stop the genre and with the success of bands like Bell Witch, Funeral doom remains a niche but fertile genre to sow the seeds of despair. Dissolution of the Threefold Self is the debut full length from Denver based Telluric Effluvium. Over the course of three lengthy tracks, the band manages to weave a tapestry of gloomy dirges and condenses funeral doom’s most memorable aspects into a record that is only 30 minutes long. This might seem unorthodox for a genre that is famous for its glacial running time but Dissolution of the Threefold Self works in its expedited state and manages to be effective at a quicker pace. All hail eternal mourning.