Wednesday, July 26, 2017
Back for the official July post (the previous counting as June's) with the second tape from Arcana Liturgia. Glad to be putting this artist into the canon because he really deserves the attention. Ars Moriendi follows the artist's first tape, MCCXXXI, a year after with a fuller sound and more complete concept. Simple j-card layout with a dedication to the great JRR Tolkien. The artist looks a lot like Neige.
As the insert will describe, Ars Moriendi tells the tale of a great warrior, meant to musically transport us back to a time of chivalry, swords, and all that good stuff. Each track represents a part in the story of the life and death of our subject. Every track fits extremely well with its intention; even without the guided insert, you can glean what is happening based off of atmosphere and composition, which a great feat for an artist to accomplish. In Act I, the soldiers line up on the field, militant and true, putting their life on the line for their cause. Act II depicts the praying warrior before battle, calling for strength and protection. For Act III we have some epic fight music as the war erupts. Pounding drums, driving leads, perfect concept synchronization. An ominous Act IV puts the warrior in the face of death to be taken from the Earth (or Middle Earth?). This track kind of reminds me of music late in a Doom game, kind of somber and hopeless but still tense. The second half of this track breaks from the bombast, softer melodies but still dreadful. Our warrior has perished. Act V serves as the mourning song, a piano elegy. You can picture the tears falling from the cheeks of the warrior's loved ones. Evocative stuff.
Ars Moriendi clocks in at around 25 minutes in total with 5 songs, which may seems short for some listeners, but I feel this tale is very complete. Kept my interest from start to finish and really drew up some imagery. Looking forward to posting the final Arcana Liturgia tape soon enough.
Tuesday, July 4, 2017
Amorte is Atropos first release from 1995 and to me is definitely the weaker of the main two releases, but that's not say this one isn't without its merits. The tape opens with Clotho, a fairly lighthearted short song with a deep synth bass pad, playful synthesized pan flute, and live recorder playing (off key at a few points). Reminds me a bit of Bacchia Neraida's or Zweilicht's flute playing. After this brief track, we have Lachesis, a multifaceted song that's almost set up in separate phases. The recorder continues on in a simple melody reminiscent of a campy fantasy movie opening. Eventually the song breaks down and gets darker and incorporates some raspy whispered vocals. Again the song mutates an turns to a church organ as the darkness increases before transforming back to a lighter tone recalling the beginning of the track. The contrast between the simplicity of the first and track and this near twelve minute fantasy journey is nice and the variation keeps you attentive. An odd percussion track follows that is rather sloppy in timing. Not too big on this track, almost seems like its a pallet cleanser after the evolving Lachesis. The A side finishes off with Imago, a rather short folk-ish transition song that brings in acoustic guitar, probably the prettiest song on the tape.
The B side picks up where Lachesis left off, cutting the lighter feel off and diving right back into a slow building darkness with many elements of the previous epic, church organs and whispers included. A tolling bell at the track's end leads us to the outro Giorni... which in my opinion is the creepiest song on the tape. A period of silence, and we're given a hidden black metal acoustic synth burst outro complete with some falsetto wail screams. A fun way to end everything.
Overall, Amorte is enjoyable but it feels like the duo is still kind of getting their ideas together to create something larger. I don't fully consider Amorte to be a dungeon synth tape, proper. It incorporates a number of dungeon-y synth elements that provide a lot to the dark lo-fi atmosphere, but there's just something to it that feels different than much other DS tapes. Maybe some would consider this more as dark ambient with folk elements? Perhaps experimental DS? Maybe you'll disagree, give it a listen.
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
As you may expect, I've gotten more requests to actually make a schedule again for periodic posting, so I'm going to try my best to do so. From this post forward, I'll put forth all effort to post at least once per month. I have quite the backlog built up of things to rip and post, including a number of submissions, so I won't be running dry for some time.
As promised in the last Cernunnos post, here is yet another unearthed demo of his that until very recently has had virtually no mention online save for a couple 'for sale/trade' forum inventory posts, one collection list on a blog, and an infoless mention on his Metal Archives page. In the last month, the info for this tape was posted to Discogs, which I am very thankful for. The tape is labeled as DP 08, yet Discogs states that this tape came out in 1997, DP 02 being released in 1998, so 1997 might be inaccurate.The track names on this demo are nearly impossible to read from the scan I have and I've confirmed with the few others I know who have this tape that their copies are no easier to read. Luckily, the Greek names of the tracks were made available thanks to the Discogs post. I nearly uploaded this demo last month with three track names just left 'Undeciphered', but thankfully we now have some proper track titles. The tape name translates to "The Bunnies of the Nannon". Not sure if this is accurate, but it's cute so I'm not questioning it.
Τα Ορχυχεία Των Νάνων is much more raw and bombastic sounding compared to the previously posted Δασος Των Τραγοποδαρων Δαιμονων. Here we have four tracks percussion-heavy medieval dungeon synth. On this tape we're actually left without Athalwulf's signature flute playing, but we do have his memorable blackened whispers on the second track. Something about this tape reminds me of Bacchia Neraida's Ermis, perhaps it's the brevity of it, but it has a similar 'short and sweet' takeaway like I got from Ermis. All four tracks carry differing moods, a short yet satisfying demo. If you're not one for repetition, you may be a bit bored with this release. Each track contains a melody or riff that is well repeated, but in my opinion is still interesting and enjoyable. The third track has something of an awkward pause in the middle, soon followed by what seems the exact first half of the song repeated again (not just the same composition, it sounds like the same recorded track was turned back on a second after it stopped). Fans of the other Cernunnos releases will undoubtedly enjoy this, and perhaps listeners who aren't very keen on Athalwulf's flute-work will enjoy this as well.
Thanks to my usual anonymous Greek tape affiliate for this rip.
(I've uploaded this as a 7z file in order to keep the proper Greek characters in the song file titles, unarchive with 7-zip, if you're not already using it.
Sunday, April 9, 2017
It's been just a few days short of four months since the last post, but finally here's a new tape for everyone. Not new exactly, but from 1997 and with very few mentions online as far as I can find. This is the first tape from Italian synth project Arcana Liturgia led by 'Azog the Minstrel'. This first tape of the three tape discography is probably the most primitive sounding out of the three, and despite all the black magic and demon-laden imagery, it's a rather pleasant listen. The synthesizers are kind of crude sounding and very reminiscent of old CRPG games. Four songs all between 6 and 7 minutes with a soft hiss in the background.
The first track is my favorite of the four, a very simple innocent melody carries the song along with square-wave bass drums accentuating a slower second half with quick synth riffs over-top. The second track takes a bit of a darker turn key-wise, showing off a few more instruments. Side B contains the other half of the tracks, with the next being much more atmospherically focused with organs making up the majority of the track. The last song sums the tape of with a bit of everything we've heard so far, ambience, synth leads, chimes, darkness and light together. All together this is a pretty decent first effort.
Aside from this blog posting I haven't seen mention of this tape anywhere other than a few collection sales on some forums and a info-less listing on Rate Your Music. I believe this was originally distributed by Elven Witchcraft, but not an actual release they put out on their label. I included a scan of the little slip that was in the case. Glad to have brought this out thanks to an anonymous trade. More to come.
(On the last post, I mentioned another coming post for the remaining Cernunnos demo. I have everything ripped and ready to go, but the track names are largely unreadable. I'm getting a bit of help trying to decipher these, but if it turns out we can't figure them out, I'll post the tape anyway and maybe some of you might know).
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Another few weeks late on the posts. At this point, I may as well redact my weekly posting policy since posting has become so sporadic. I'll still try to do my best to keep this updated, but no formal promises.
Here's the last unheard Bacchia Neraida tape, Ermis. I am not sure if this was the initial release or if it was Dionysos. Ermis has a catalog number while Dionysos does not. A shorter demo, only three songs, but probably some of my favorite BN tracks here. The tape starts of with 'Hermes', a rather haunting almost gothic track with a lot of black metal qualities interlaced with Athalwulf's narration and croaking. In the middle of the tape, we have Circe. Despite this track being pretty repetitive and vocal-less, it's probably one of my favorite BN tracks. Lots of strings, almost live sounding. Lastly, we have 'Kissoforos Vakcheios' (translated on the internet from the Greek titles, please correct me if I'm wrong. Mid-paced black metal feel that's driven by Athalwulf's flute playing. Weirdly melancholic. Thanks to my anonymous source, once again.
The last unreleased Athalwulf tape to come...
Saturday, November 19, 2016
After a near two month hiatus, I'm finally back to uploading. Gathered some good stuff in my respite. Not going to make up for the weeks away, I'll just start posting weekly again. Hopefully everything will have been worth the wait.
For my first post back, I'd like to share a rather elusive tape that many have sought after. I wouldn't say this tape is 'mythic' or anything (no pun intended), just very difficult to find. I'm very grateful to an anonymous comrade who has been a great help in unearthing long lost tapes. Here's the first: Dionysos by Bacchia Neraida. BN is another of Athalwolf's projects, the Greek black metal force behind Wolfnacht and Cernunnos. Bacchia Neraida is quite similar to Cernunnos, but I'd say borders more on black metal sans any real string instruments. You'll notice the infamous flute whistling like a hawk on many tracks which makes for great atmosphere and a original/memorable touch.
All tracks are named after Greek mythic figures, though I wouldn't say the the tape resembles any traditional Greek music in particular, much more in the vein of medieval music (not complaining). This is a full length tape with eleven tracks clocking in around 45 minutes. You'll hear the flute a lot, which I believe is an actual flute and not a synth instrument, but the songs vary quite nicely in speed, rhythm, complexity, and tone. The vocals vary between a teenage sounding monotone drone, to high croaking shrieks, and occasional the more orthodox black metal screaming. I wouldn't call this tape pure dungeon synth as it plays with black metal structure quite often (blast beat drums come in at one point), but the grittiness of the recording quality and the crude synth sounds fit right in with dungeon synth tradition. More Athalwolf rarities to come...
Sunday, September 25, 2016
I haven't seen this posted on youtube or any other blogs, so here it is from my mp3 collection: Δάσος Των Τραγοπόδαρων Δαιμόνων by Cernunnos. The Greek title translates to 'Forest of Goat-footed Demons'. Released in 1998 on the 'Dionysion' label, which I am assuming is the personal label of Athalwolf, who fronted this project along with Bacchia Neraida and Elfen who are also featured on the label's roster. Athalwolf would later form the infamous Wolfnacht NSBM project.
This demo differs a bit from Cernunno's later and more well known tape 'Trollfjord' from the Chanteloup label. 'Forest' is much more a traditional demo, tape hiss included. This one has hand drawn art, which I appreciate. Very similar to Dionysos by Bacchia Neraida. Trollfjord had a more put together sound and a bit more variation, but Forest is still an interesting tape in its own right. Side A of the tape is somewhat whimsical and not very percussive, melancholic at times. Archaic and minimal synth accompanied by reverberating flute (recorder? ocarina?) with Athalwolf telling us of ancient myth in his droning and obscured whispering voice. Side B brings more percussion, booming timpani for the heat of battle. The track 'Ta Bonna Ton Manron Etoiheion' is quite triumphant. The tape finishes off on a more melancholic note after the bombastics. Another fun tape from Cernunnos. If you enjoyed this tape and you're not familiar with his other project Bacchia Neraida, I'd give it a listen as well. (I'm currently on the hunt for the elusice Dionysos demo, hopefully I can get it to you soon!)
Also, if you have a better scan of this tape insert, please email me.