I would like to spend the remaining days of 2020 reflecting on dungeon synth and how I fell back into the scene. If not for the fact the world turned upside down and things were put into flux, I do not think I would have time or desire to page through daily dungeon synth releases. I am thankful for dungeon synth continuing to be wonderful and providing me an outlet for writing and enjoyment. I think of this while listening to a fabulous release from a Spanish artist. Caverns Under the Wetland is a magical release with minimal synth yet the ability to paint its space with enchanted visions of forests and the spirits which reside deep in caves. O do hope this release sees more attention as it is a fantastic way to close out a year that has been strange to say the least and one that makes all of us hopeful for tomorrow.
I think I enjoy the overall texture of this record. That sounds weird but as a whole, Cilicis fragmenten el que queda d’unis a grinding experience powered by raw emotion and even more raw production. This project also comes with the tag of depressive black but in reality when you are this far into the tunnel of raw production, there is no distinguishing emotions as you grope in the dark for anything only to find bare walls. This is the first release from Armargor and if this act keeps things up like the draining presence of “Cars fantasmes naixent amb la set que m’agita,” which seethes industrial animosity, then I feel we are going to be strained lovers.
Even though the Bandcamp page is sort of a mess, these two releases constitute the 2020 output from Spain’s Antiquary. Both of them are short demos with a total running time of no more than 20 minutes. Within those 20 minutes however, the listener is treated to a whirlwind experience of black / death leaning towards melody and structure just with a hanging veil of raw production. I feel this band could exist in another production sphere and be even more striking as their ability to stretch their legs musically collides with a catastrophic production. Still, both demos (?) are well worth your time if you have nothing else but gravedigging to do.
There will come a time when my daily search of dungeon synth will either lead to suboptimal releases or things that came out during the period when I stopped looking at daily releases. There will come a time when things will slow down and I will not be mystified by a wonderful release from a new artist. Today is not that day. The Sleeping Wizard is the fourth release from this Spaniard and is so dynamic with its production, I am sort of taken aback at how immersive these soundscapes can be. From the regal quality of “Path of the Fae Knight” to the mysterious carnival of “Mystic Fungus Potion Fermentation,” The Sleep Wizard is a step beyond bedroom dungeon synth into something much more that I have yet to understand.
Lowfidelity or lo-fi is an interesting aesthetic to embrace since for the most part it is a concious desicsion one employs on their sound. My vierw on lo-fi has always been positive as I feel it can enhance an already raw record to the point of being sublime. OPther times it xould muddy the sound to the point where things are not as effective. I am still unsure where I stand on Morta and their debut demo.
The Descent of Innanna is a fantastic beginning with a sound that is well structured. From the atmosphere to the wailing shrieks for vocals, Morta has all of the right tools for a fair shot in the world of black metal. The only drawback for this demo is the lack of clarity with the energy stifled under a blanket of fog. This isn’t to say their music would be enhanced by better production rather the guitars and even drums could use a step up in the mix. At the end of the year, I find it humorous who I am giving bands advice on production when just being a reviewer on an internet blog. I have no sway when it comes to band’s future rather just predictions based on initial presentation. The Descent of Innanna is a fine first start and I wish the band luck on their descent in 2018. If Morta is the next Tomb Mold or any other underground hit, I will be pleasantly surprised and thrilled.
Listening to records is important .. obviously. I base my initial searches based on album art so I find the visual compenet to be just as important. Though the artwork for Pillars initially grabbed my attention, it wasn’t until after diving into this Spanish act’s music that I found my judgement wrong. Here I thought I was in store for some raw lo-fi black or death metal and what I got was decent production that holds court in the backwaters of black and death metal and doesn’t swear allegiance to anyone in particular.
Here comes the atmosphere — it rains down in torrents of dark water. Finding 13th Moon was part of my concentrated effort to try and gather all of the stray releases of this year before the end. I had heard rumors of an evil entity emanating from Spain, but I never believed it to be true. As the year draws into its autumn season, the looming shape of despair hangs heavy over the band’s debut full length..