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.

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.

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.