Apoxupon – Nameless and Formless [US, Dark Ambient / Dungeon Synth] (2021)

Standard

Realm and Ritual | 2-8-21

This one is a special release since it connects many dots for me. Apoxupon is the work of an artist who is also the creator of of Mystic Timbre Records which was home to some fantastic dungeon synth of 2020 as well as a catalog of left field synth projects. Nameless and Formless is the new release from Apoxupon which is seeing support from another wonderful label Realm and Ritual. While this new release falls under the tag of dungeon synth, Nameless and Formless includes satellite styles such as dark ambient and Berlin school style synthscapes. This release splits the difference between the last few Apoxupon albums with a record that is mysterious and surreal which lay at the edge of dream and waking. This hypnagogic kingdom lay in caverns and passage ways which are carved out of obsidian which often time reflect luminescence in otherwise pitch darkness. Nameless and Formless is a dive into the void but also the realization that there is something alive in the darkness. Apoxupon has created something wonderful here and it is through the cooperation of a few entities this release might see a greater audience.

Sulmata – Jad, Otrov i Tuga [Croatia, Black] (2021)

Standard

Self Released | 2-17-21

This has everything I could possibly love in a 20 minute offering. Self released raw black debut demo which has all of its tracks on one side. There is little I can offer in the way of translation for the bandname but the demo name translates, quite nicely, to “Misery, Poison and Sorrow.” It is under the auspices of disease and suffering that Sulmata makes its greatest case for being the perfect harbinger of pestilence. Through its 20 minutes, Jad, Otrov i Tuga looms as a storm of finality over an already bleak landscape at many points in its demo, the vocals and music blur into a hypnotic specter which takes the listener in a dizzying embrace. This is a wonderful demo and one I am proud to keep locked away in a closet for fear of it haunting the world.

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

Standard

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.

Sprites Of The Wood – Old Souls [Canada, Dungeon Synth] (2020)

Standard

Neverwood Records | 1-21-21

This is a Tape Release of a 2020 album by Canadian artist Sprites of the Wood. This tape release came with the latest batch of Neverwood Records releases which is making the early part of 2021 something special. 2020 was a busy time for Sprites of the Wood. From January to December of 2020, Sprites of the Wood released 5 (?) albums (?) all dedicated to the wonder and magic of various fantasy media. While there are a handful of releases dedicated to Tolkien, Old Souls is dedicated to the lands of Myst which I am assuming is the puzzle computer game released in 1993. I could be wrong but even if I am, the music presented by Sprites of the Wood is a magical journey into enigmatic dungeons with solutions that are hidden among its contents. The minimalistic world of the music offers many chances for the melodies to soar high into the sky with a landscape of craft and care.

Thorgnyr – Elven Rites [Iceland, Dungeon Synth] (2021)

Standard

Realm and Ritual | 2-26-21

Yes! This review comes with no Bandcamp, yet, since the artist was kind enough to send me the record before its release in a few weeks. This, of course, is the smallest brag but I do appreciate being given access to a magical world from an artist I had missed in the past few years. In 2020, this Icelandic artist released two well received albums. Elven Rites is the third releases from Thorgnyr and continues the journey into melodic and understated dungeon synth. More so than Cycles or Depths, Elven Rites captures the quiet beauty of dungeon synth with a record that is delicate and enchanting. With a story surrounding a a political struggle following the death of an elven queen, Thorgnyr casts high drama with wisps of melodies which resemble paintings soon dispersed by a light breeze.

In the time before the actual release, one can get acquainted with he previous work from the artist which is a glacial landscape of classic dungeon synth.

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

Standard

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)

Standard

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.

An Old Sad Ghost – Der Letzte Koenig | Der Erste Koenig [Austria, Dungeon Synth] (2019)

Standard

Gondolin Records | 12-29-20

This is a 2021 review of a 2020 tape release of a 2019 release by the Austrian artist An Old Sad Ghost. It is without a proper year which is why it feels so at home drifting in the passages of time and space. I remember An Old Sad Ghost’s contributions to the Dungeon Synth Compilation project in 2017 and how amazed I was at their attentiveness to atmosphere. Looking at the discography from the artist , one is cast into a world of gothic gloom with monochrome releases which reach out of darkness like tombstones. Der Letzte Koenig | Der Erste Koenig is a set of releases from 2019 which has been enshrined as a tape release from Gondolin Records. Initially popular upon its release, An Old Sad Ghost is adorned with another round of attention to this amazing release which has not lost any of its grim luster as it still conjures images if tall spires in mist and outlines of skeletal trees. This is dungeon synth for fans of classic depressive atmospheres that is enhanced by its attention to detail. This is neoclassical dungeon synth which plays melodies from pipe organs in the distance.

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

Standard

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.