Self Released | 6-9-20
I feel I know who this is or atelast the universe from where this came. I saw this release yesterday but then on other social media outlets that I have it narrowed down to a few suspects. Investigations aside, the release of Ever So Long Ago marks the debut for the Cynfyd project which begins its journey with classic sounding dungeoon synth devoted to the heathen gods of old. In its short running time (~10 minutes), Cynfyd commands your attention and weaves spells in the air outlining worlds far away. In this short demo, you are compelled to follow this stranger who you think you know but cant be sure.
Mysttic Timbre | 9-1-20
I am going to give it to Mystic Timbre for always being there to interest me and incite me with some forest themed magic. I have talked before about Mystic Timbre as a dealer of arcane wonders with both Archana and Alloch Nathir. Boreal Worcs is a new (and upcoming) release set for Fall that waves to me months away with its devilish melodies. Rather than lay out a passive landscapes of with melodies, these sounds bounce through the tree lines festooned with colorful clothes and wild masks. For its short length, the experience of Boreal Worcs is memorable in its liveliness. This is active listening dungeon synth and something that stirs imagination.
Self Released | 5-29-20
Well, this is certainly bleak. I do not know if anyone was suppose to listen to this or if this is music made for ghosts. Haudh is a Us based artist who has tagged Grave Tales as “Funeral Synth.” While I do not think we are quite there for that tag to be relevant, searching through Bandcamp does return a handful of simular looking releases all with a gothic lo-fi aesthetic. Perhaps this will be a thing. Regardless, Grave Tales is a 30 minute fall into a world of morbid fascination complete with wandering synth and a grand feeling of lost splendor which is quite effective. Look at me go search through more funeral synth records.
Self Released | 5-20-20
Fen Walker was an artist that I missed during my sabbatical from dungeon synth. 2019’s The Totem Wilds Call Thy Name was an intense journey into the lands that lay beyond dungeon synth which was more like a psychedelic walkabout than a record. The sharp synths and progressive nature of Fen Walker’s music fits the motif of shamanistic visions and strange spirit quests. Sojourns in the Realm of the Undermoon continues this theme with another record poised with pulp adventure befitting of a faded paperback cover. This release concludes a loose trilogy of records that I may not have been around for the beginning but am sure glad was here for the end.
Self Released | 5-27-20
Here is a release that is actively trying to get you not to listen to it. I love the cult aesthetic on some of these releases. From having a tape only exclusive, to only releasing a title-less sample, to even pricing your sample at the mythical 666$, Black Candle Wax takes no qualms in saying you probably do not need this in your life. It is funny I am more intrigued to a release like this. For all of the fanfare that precedes this demo, Crematorium rips through the air like an angry ghost with 3 minutes of violent nightmares.
Self Released | 5-19-20
There really inst a good genre for this since this is not truly dungeon synth. If I would throw out a few genres I would have to put them with caveats. This is Video Game Music but its not from a video game. This is a soundtrack but it is not from a movie. This is dungeon synth only in spirit. This is music from a podcast that is about D&D adventures and it is absolutely wonderful. bomBARDed is a D&D podcast whose background music is composed by a Texas band called Lindby. I am not sure if the members are playing the game but the podcast is what you can expect from a D&D podcast. The music in the podcasts is situated in the background and would not be so remarkable if it were not showcased on this record. OST V is ostensibly the 5th release from this series and for all intents and purposes and for all of its caveats brings a sense of escapist wonder with tidbits of magic and wonder.
Self Released | 5-13-20
When the term winter synth first started to be used, I thought it was a needless exercise in dividing up an already niche genre. This coincided with the term forest synth or forest ambient. While I think the division of sound in a small genre is sort of micromanaging a sound, devoting oneself to the chilling sounds of winter is sort of fun. A Spire Enshrouded is a soft and delightful album that steps away from the cold and informal aesthetics of other winter synth. Here beyond the crisp night are glowing lights coming from small homes which are domed with fresh snow. This is a cozy record that is full of love and warmth and is something that I would like to live in forever.
Skventhrone | 5-11-20
Skaventhrone is a label that is presumably based in New Zeland ans also presumably the landing zone for a bunch of fringe dungeon synth, noise, and ambient musicians. Looking through past releases, I noticed a few familiar names and a bunch more I did not. Polar Keep is the debut release from one of the composers from Shrouded Gate. Where Shrouded Gate created lofi kingdoms on their releases, Polar Keep travels to barren ice wastes foe a chilling record of winter synth. I actually do not know if that is even a tag people use anymore but this is dungeon synth dedicated to empires of desolate ice and snow where the most oppressive thing is the synth which burns your face and fingers with cold.
Caligari Records | 6-19-20
I have said it before, and Ill say it again — If any record label could have a blind subscription where I would pay X amount of money to be sent new tapes monthly, I think Caligari would be the my first choice. Over the years, this label has consistently dredged up some of the grossest and sustainably death/black/? in recent memory. They have become so consistent that sharing Caligari links to friends sort of becomes expected as the hyperlink is usually a signpost to something vile and riffy. Ritual Mass is no different with a makeover of their 2019 EP in resdesigned tape artwork and presentation. I know this came out in 2019 but most of us are hearing it for the first time so we are just going to let that slide down some slimy catacomb where devils devour the dead.
Self Released | 4-20-20
Dungeon noise was a foreseeable branch to come out of the great modern DS wave of the mid 10’s. When one has a group of bedroom producers, experimentation is a natural progression on any genre and noise/dark ambient/harsh experimentation in a genre whose roots go back to black metal was a logical step. Dungeon noise in the mid 10’s however was met with a polarized response which led to scene bickering and even a weird flirtation with NS themes. I hate to precede a review for Grimwin’s Forge with history but I feel it is important that the Dungeon noise scene, at its very core is a remarkable genre that just got assaulted with extra baggage. Grimwin’s Forge III, I feel is a suitable meeting point between the desire for experimentation and the need for accessibility. While noisy and full of atmosphere, the music on Grimwin’s Forge III is still narrative between the rough and burnt edges. This artist also seems to be behind Ancient Iron and both projects have a knack for extremely limited cassettes that are split between commercial products and art projects.