Void Column – The Chasmic Death [Canada, Death / Doom] (2021)

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Self Released | 8-2-21

All hail death and grime. Void Column is from Canada and from the very stark design and name of this release, The Chasmic Death is a frank and heavy opening statement for the band’s vision for the future. Blending the best aspects of death and doom adorned with a cover that could be of any grim genre, Void Column falls in line with all of the cool aesthetics but also manages to present music that is just as satisfying. this is of course if you do not mind subterranean riffs and vocals buried under pounds of grave soil. Void Column is new and this first demo has yet to receive physicals copies which are planned in the near future. We are all here early and the band is just getting started but this feels like a great place to stand for the show.

Perilaxe Occlusion – Raytraces of Death [US, Death] (2021)

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Self Released | 6-25-21

This is one of those releases I can’t believe exists. Perilaxe Occlusion is a death metal band out of Canada that’s centered around 3D rendering techniques, computer modeling, and optics. The “Raytraces of Death” demo appears soon to blow up (so long as it’s not my disk drive, ha ha !), getting multiple physical releases through Epidemia, Blood Harvest, and Rotted Life. These three tracks are sweet HM-2-ish death with some doom influences and slightly dissonant. There’s a strong flavor of Swedeath as well, throwing harsh wrenches in the gears of the computing machine. Ah, these puns are terrible. Anyway – lots of mid-tempo grooves and breakdowns to be found, potentially agreeing with fans of Caustic Vomit and similar demos from the last few years. When this band blows up on their next demo (or LP), remember your buds at Tape Wyrm.

Oublieth – Mornelance [Canada, Dungeon Synth] (2020)

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Out of Season | 1-25-21

Another Cusp Record! Mornelance was released independently in the twilight hours of 2020 which would then be picked up by the very great and very reliable Out of Seaosn for tape release. January was the first time many people got to hear the work of Oublieth and their solemn worship of classic dungeon synth. Mornelance is for fans of Depressive Silence to the point where some of the synth sounds match the tones of the veteran German act. This is not to say that Mornelance is derivative rather, Oublieth continues the work of Depressive Silence and other classic era dungeon synth with a record that is both reverent to the style yet creating its own grim castles cloaked in fog. Mornelance is a dark fairy tale where wild fey live in spires among the darkness. It is magical and enchanting in its hypnosis.

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.

Lamerak – Lamerak [Canada, Dungeon Synth] (2020)

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Self Released | 12-29-20

this is once again a Cups release meaning it was released in the twilight hours of 2020 which I am now considering mentioning in 2021. Lamerak comes from the very new and capable Voices of Anuir which was originally a podcast that expanded to a tape label. Lamerak is actually the first tape release for the label followed by Reliquum in January of 2021. For an opening statement, Lamerk is a fantastic record for a label with a lot of promise. From the sweet medieval sounds which drift over taverns in the woods to abandoned ruins of long forgotten kingdoms, Lamerak is an adventure in under 15 minutes with a release that is structured as a narrative arc. There is many styles here displayed as an overture to a bright future for a label that seems to just be getting started.

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.

Arthel – Ancient Magic of the Forest [Canada, Dungeon Synth] (2020)

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Serpent Swords Records | 11-21-20

This is wonderful. I have always enjoyed the nature of comfy synth even though the niche genre in the larger dungeon synth scene feels like boom that already has passed. Arthel is not a comfy synth artist though the music retains the same brightness and aesthetics just with a few key differences. First and perhaps most important is the embrace of fantasy aesthetics rather than non traditional imagery. While trains, pets, and cookie recipes have all made for fun albums, Ancient Magic of the Forest is just that; a record dedicated to the magic of the woods just cast in noble bright hues and very fitting to the fairy tale tone. It is getting late in the year and dungeon synth continues to put out wonderful records without a care for the calendar year.

Hammer Crime – MMXX [Canada, Black / Thrash / Punk] (2020)

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Self Released | 10-16-20

Hammer Crime is strange and wonderful all at once. Resting at a confluence of black, thrash, punk, and groove metal, this Canadian band makes a demo that really just is an ugly brick thrown into your window. Now will I say all of this is refined and perfect? Absolutely not. Is it effective in its window smashing and ability to command attention? Yes. Look at all of this glass. From name, to sound, to just general vibe, Hammer Crime is delinquent in its behavior and probably shouldn’t be trusted around sharp objects or flammable materials.

DIM – Compendium III [Canada, Dungeon Synth / Medieval] (2020)

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Self Released | 10-5-20

I can remember in 2017 when the first Compendium was released and I was flabbergasted at the quality of the work. DIM was truly monumental in its craft for medieval folk and fantasy ambient. I almost feel silly forgetting about this artist until someone told me about the third compendium and the addition of tapes for all three volumes. What I expected was another romp in the meadows of dungeon synth that was no more challenging than a light breeze carrying the smell of lilacs. What I got instead was a journey under the mountains with a release that is akin to quests in the underdark encountering strange nd mystical sounds of genres which lay dormant. If one would like to experience the journey in its full scope, the passage between the three compendiums is astounding with the third volume the most grand in its scope. Folk beats, new age tendencies, and electronic fetishes roil from dark caverns allows Compendium III to be a declarative statement on the future of medieval synth. I have no idea where this sound is going and I am keeping close to the composer as they lead me through the passages under the mountain.

Wistful Gardens – Hives Of The Hinterlands [Canada, Dungeon Synth] (2020)

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Realm of Sleep | 9-7-20

“Buy Digital Discography $7.25 CAD or more (75% OFF)”. I have mentioned many times when talking to freinds who couldn care less, that Realm of Sleeps visual direction is perhaps one of its strongest selling points. Let us not forget that Realm of Sleep offers amazing lofi fantasy synth which inhabits the space between sleeping and waking but it is the uniform covers which really give the entire catalog an appeal. No longer are these disparate releases rather a cabal of dream artificers and nocturnal alchemists which craft tinctures of pleasantness and quiet nightmares. Wistful Gardens is another entry into the chapter of slumber with a record dedicated to bees which is as playful and odd as the label which has released the record. May they never stop being weird. Please make Tapes.