Sepulchral Cult – Immurement, Spirits and Graveyard Chants [Poland, Death] (2021)

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Putrid Cult | 2-8-21

Yes. This is where I want to be today. I do not car how many times the riff rotten death metal with illegible logo and monochrome cover is done, I will probably listen to it. This is not to take away from the weight of Sepulchral Cult’s debut rather to put up front I will listen to this album and others like it until the end of eternity. Immurement, Spirits and Graveyard Chants is the debut from this Polish outfit which follows a 2020 demo which is surprising I missed given I was doing nothing else last year aside from listening to death metal demos. My surprise and pleasure at Immurement, Spirits and Graveyard Chants’ and its plunge into the crypt which is filled with ghouls that bear you ill will. Prepare thyself to be torn asunder.

Tütsen – The Safety of Prosperity [US, Dungeon Synth] (2021)

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Self Released | 1-1-21

The tape release from v was one of the most darling packages I have every received. “Magical tufts of pink and blue fluff (not edible), Three crown jewels. One commemorative miniature crown.” Obviously these things are no magical nor jewels rather very budget knick knacks but the idea and even execution is enough to provide a warm tactical experience for a release filled with cozy memories. The Safety of Prosperity is a comfy synth record that intends to harm no one and leave no trace with its wistful melodies and delicate approach to the world. Through six songs, one is treated to a dream court of medieval ambience with an arc of journey and exploration. I love my small little crown as I appreciate the gifts of dungeon synth and the objects which people cherish.

Bestial Putrefaction – Gore Drenched Barbarism [Canada, Black / Death] (2021)

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Self Released | 2-3-21

HOLY SHIT. End of review. Most of my reviews are done in the morning with my morning coffee which is why I feel I gravitate to some of the more repellent sounds perhaps as a way to jumpstart my day. Bestial Putrefaction is a new entity with a 2021 demo and now another release which is 17 minutes of fluid leaking chaos. From artwork to sound to general presence, Bestial Putrefaction has found a way to be fucking disgusting without sacrificing on sound. For as much of an avalanche as this release is, Gore Drenched Barbarism is precise in its ability to grab the listener by the throat and never let go with its skeletal hands. Get wild. Get sick. Get your mind ripped open by malevolent ghosts.

Vaelastrasz – Shadows Of The Eastern Kingdoms [US, Dungeon Synth] (2020)

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Gondolin Records | 12-29-20

Another Cusp record which was released on the 29th of December in 2020. Shadows of the Eastern Kingdoms was apart of the final 2020 drop from Gondolin Records, a label I have praised many times before. Vaelastrasz has been a name in dungeon synth before 2018 but the release of The Plagueland Chronicles solidified the artist’s status as a dealer in hypnotic dungeon synth that could lull a listener to dreams or incubate future nightmares. Shadows Of The Eastern Kingdoms is another tentpole release both for the artist as well as Gondolin as the dreary mists inhabit every mile of this record which feels less like an album and more a landscape of dread and despondency. I am thankful for labels like Gondolin and also artists like Vaelastrasz who continue to craft worlds where the middle grey is a cast of characters embroiled in a tragic play.

Black Mass Pervertor – Sodomiittien seura [Black / Punk] (2021)

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Self Released | 3-21-21

Writting about this review is a reminder to myself to finish my black/punk — punk/black primer. I love this sound and the more I explore in the rotted afterparty of the fusion between black and punk, the more I find the sound as varied as something like death metal. Black Mass Pervertor leans towards a thrash driven speed style of black metal with an aura of perverted partying rather than occult rituals. With tags like “sodomite rock,” and themes such as blasphemous revelry both in the flesh and in spirit, Black Mass Pervertor continues to hold the soiled flag of black/punk as it chucks liquor bottles at the ones who are cheering them on.

The Orb Weaver – The Orb Weaver [Germany, Dungeon Synth] (2021)

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Neverwood Records | 1-1-21

Yes. A 2021 record I can safely assume is apart of this year. I have talked before about Neverwood Records being a fine merchant of a wide variety of Dungeon Synth. the Orb Weaver is but another chapter in the continuing story of Neverwood with a record of forest based drone that is a near 40 minutes spent in the nebula of grey mist. the Orb Weaver is a project from a German artist by the name of Willow Tea. Similar to past projects, The Orb Weaver explores ambient drone in varying levels of texture and mood. Fans of Neptune Towers will be happy to know the debut from The Orb Weaver is nothing less than a cosmic burial in neutral shades of grey. the artist’s off hand story surrounding the album,, and creation myth, is understand compared to the glacial sounds of its debut

when I was 12, I spent a week at my grandparents’ house. when I got out of their car, there was an orbweaver that had constructed its web in such a way I had to bend backwards to avoid ruining it. it became a familiar companion. the day I left, the web was gone, and the orbweaver too. probably on some adventure.

This small story contrasted with the cerebral sounds of the music is quite a journey as the hypnosis of The Orb Weaver comes with not being prepared for the experience one is about to undertake. There will be joy and narcotic haze undercut by an ever-present sense of anxiety that comes with knowledge of the unknowable. Enjoy this new year and the endless space that exists after awareness recedes.

Chanterelle – Earthly Delights [US, Dungeon Synth] (2021)

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Neverwood Records | 1-29-21

I recently received another tape from Neverwood Records and I paused to think that this tape label was one of the more recent outfits to take over my life. With an exceptional catalog, Neverwood Records seems to offer an endless supply of intriguing DS which a range of sounds. Chanterelle’s Earthly Delights embraces the quiet lo-fi spectrum of the sound but without a need to fall into a comfy designation. Earthly Delights is a compilation (?) of previous and unreleased music which serves as an introduction to one of the more hidden gems of dungeon synth. Magical and mysterious this music is vibrant and offers a sense of adventure for anyone who follows the wisps of light through the thickets of woods. I have always been pleased with Neverwood Records and Chanterelle is just another reason why I blindly eat mushrooms that I find on the forest floor.

Spear of Tetua – Scorn [Croatia, Black / Post Punk] (2021)

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Self Released | 1-18-20

Even though I have a problem with artists calling a two song 11 minute release an EP, it is their prerogative so I can not complain. Scorn, as a release, is fleshed out enough to be considered an EP despite a demo being a better fit. Also the act’s 2020 demo was 18 minutes. All of this audited of time is only superficial criticism on a sound that is widely exciting and is thrown in the wheelhouse of anyone who enjoys grim dark post punk and doesn’t mind the vocals with a little bit more gravel. Through two tracks, Spear of Tetua wrestles with darkness in both a aesthetic fashion but also in the raw shambles of visceral reaction.

Siegecraft – Noble Infantry [US, Dungeon Synth] (2020)

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Moonworshipper Records | 12-25-20

I am currently going through my holiday purchases and trying to catalog all of the dungeon synth that was released in the waning hours of 2020. though it is 2021 and most of this material lies on the cusp of years, I am going to make a special designation for material released in December of a year and make considerations when discussing the end of the year. This has been something that I have wanted to do for a while and Noble Infantry is one of those records which I want to include in discussions of 2021. From the band of weirdo misfits at Moonworshipper comes a surprisingly tame record whose strangeness comes in blurred edges emanating from a core of classic sounding dungeon synth. There are dungeons and dark shapes which moves through shows. At points, it sounds calm and at other times, it looms over you as a proper ghoul should. This is Mortiis worship but only in the spirt as Noble Infantry attempts to being medieval grimness back into the cusp of 2021.