Thursday, August 9, 2018

Cernunnos Woods - Immrama

Well, it's certainly been a while, but I'm finally back to posting. I currently have about thirteen more releases to post, but I'm always searching for more. What I was previously using to rip tapes is giving me a good amount of feedback now and I can't seem to get it sounding right even with head cleaning, so I'm stuck with posting reader submissions or CD rips in the meantime. I'll try to get something working soon since I do have a backlog of tapes to rip. I also haven't checked this email account in quite some time and I've been alerted that a few of the upload links are dead. I'll be re-uploading whatever has died, so try downloading them again tonight or tomorrow. I also have a better rip of the Ashmadai tape I'll be uploading soon. The last track was cut off on my copy, so those files that have been spreading around aren't complete (though it's just the end of the track that's missing, it's mostly all there).

For my return, I'm posting a promo tape rip from one of my favorite dungeon synth artists, Cernunnos Woods. Big thanks to the guy who ripped this for me. Immrama was a promo tape featuring three tracks that were to be seen on the Awaken the Empire of Dark Wood full length released on CMI sub-label Cruel Moon International in 1996. These versions here should be considered demos, later being reworked a bit and properly mastered for the album.The first track here, "Enchantment to the Empire of Stone" would come to be named "Dark and Ancient Visions". It's the same length as the album track, though this one trails off with some ocean sounds, so a little less DS, a little more waves. The second track, "Loch Dirge", didn't make it onto the full length, but it's a great one, melancholic and triumphant. The third track, "Into Glory... We Ride", wasn't really changed in any noticeable way for the full-length, save for better mastering. While these promo tracks are technically featured on the Forest Anthology compilation that was released in 2016, the tracks on that release that were labeled as being from this tape aren't actually the same, save for the last track. The Immrama track on the FA comp is closer to the album version and features the same name. The second track labeled as "Cad Goddeu (The Battle of the Tress" on FA is actually not "Loch Dirge" at all, it's a rougher mix of the actual album track "Cad Goddeu". "Into Glory... We Ride" however remains the same across all three releases. If the tracks on the compilation were the same as the tracks on this tape, I wouldn't really have a reason to upload this, but luckily we get some nice demos here and the unheard "Loch Dirge" track. If anything, even if the tracks were the same, this was worth uploading for the cover art alone, made by Bard on one his high school's computers. Some classic DS clip art. A fun little promo from a great artist.

Definitely check out the Forest Anthology compilation and everything else on Bard's legendary Dark Age Productions label, one of the classics from the 90s now active again and releasing more classic dungeon music.

Cernunnos Woods
Dark Age Productions


Monday, October 9, 2017

Alviss - Dunkle Wälder

Sincere apologies for a delay in posts. This one will count as the August post. I'll post the one for September soon, and the October one should hopefully be coming soon as well. Also, many have informed me that a number of download links have died. All dead links have been reuploaded with nofile, which seems to be the most reliable service I've found so far.

I've been holding onto to this tape for a while so thought I'd throw in something new before uploading the last Arcana Liturgia tape. Here's the second demo from the German artist Alviss. You might know Alviss from his short first demo 'Fafnir' which Ascoven uploaded last year. Dunkle Wälder is a bit of a bump up in terms of dynamics and variety, but still sticks to a minimalist delivery, leveraging imagery with sparse, repetitive, and hypnotic sound. I think this demo is better than the first, and clearly shows the artists growth. No date here as with the previous demo, but I would peg this either some time in the same year, '96, but more likely '97 since there is a noticeable difference in compositional variety and sound. There's some static crackling a bit in the recording, namely in the first track, but I've checked with multiple tape players and this is part of the recording itself and not the player I used to rip the cassette (perhaps it's the cassette tape itself, but it seems to be in perfect condition).

Dunkle Wälder, like Fafnir, features three tracks, though these three differ much more than the single synth used previously. The first track is a rather odd and delay-laden minimal track that only serves to confuse you. I feel this track is more of your entry into the dark forests (the English translation of the title), the first steps into a path-less expanse of trees and leaves with no sense of direction. Next we come a upon a flowing stream. We lay down and begin dreaming as wind brushes over us. Traum (Dream in English) is much more recognizably DS compared to the first track, with drawn-out synths blanketing nature sounds. You can kind of hear the keys press down on the keyboard at times. Lastly, we come to the heart of the dark forest, to the Tor zur Unendlichkeit, the gate of infinity. Whether this is within us, brought out by the spirit of the forest, or if this gate is physically happened upon through our wandering is unknown, or perhaps we are unable to differentiate between the two; but we are here, led my drum rolls and melancholic yet uplifting ethereal synths into the gate.

Dark Forest Musik


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Arcana Liturgia - Ars Moriendi

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

Atropos - Amorte

Huge thanks to my Russian and Italian comrades for this rip. I've been meaning to purchase this tape for some time, but before I did I actually received the rip for this along with a great insert scan from the artist himself, passed along to me by a Russian friend who is always a big help with getting some obscure stuff. This is the first tape by the duo Atropos. Atropos was active in the later half of the nineties as a smaller project of Borys Catelani, founder of the Agipunk and Tetanus labels and front-man of the death doom band Forgotten Kadath and guitarist for the crust band Giuda, and Maurizio Guccini, instrumentalist for Forgotten Kadath. As far as I'm aware, Atropos released four tapes between 1995 and 1998, two being splits, one with Forgotten Kadath and another with Myricae, the other full length tape being posted here eventually! If anyone has either of the two splits, I'd love to hear them.

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

Cernunnos - Τα Ορχυχεία Των Νάνων

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

Arcana Liturgia - MCCXXXI

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

Bacchia Neraida - Ermis

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...