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...


Saturday, November 19, 2016

Bacchia Neraida - Dionysos

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

Cernunnos - Δάσος Των Τραγοπόδαρων Δαιμόνων

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.


Sunday, September 18, 2016

Askhem - Bjarki

Big thanks to Eugene and Andrew for the files for this one. Much appreciated!

This album was listed in the famous 'Dungeon Synth List' from Andrews blog some years ago. Although now deleted, it lives on here and here. Bjarki is the sole album from the Italian artist Askhem, initially released in 2003 on CD. What stands out initially in this release is it's influence directly from the greats, Burzum and Mortiis. In fact, the second track 'Hvit' starts off identically to 'Han Some Reiste' from Burzum's Det Some Engang Var, and carries the original spirit of that track in a new way (an re-interpretation, if you will, of the original). The album also brings out influence from the brass selections of Mortiis, triumphant trumpets to carry us into the night. However, though you can hear Askhem's influences, Bjarki still stands on its own.

The best part about this album, in my opinion, is its dabbling in neoclassical melodies and orchestral composure. Tracks like 'Fading in Moonlight of Velvet' and 'Tune of Doom' are exquisitely well written and add a refreshing classical voice to the album. The songs are quite varied and don't repeat themselves, going from Burzum-worship, to neoclassical, to medieval, and 'Symphony of Northern Skies, Part 2' actually reminds me of RPG music.

A very well rounded release from Askhem. Gone but not forgotten. If anyone has a physical copy of this release, scans would be lovely!


Monday, September 12, 2016


As some readers may know, a number of second wave black metal acts who dabbled in electronic territory were greatly influenced by Tangerine Dream (Varg, in particular). If you're not familiar with the music of Tangerine Dream, they composed the soundtrack to the movie Legend, this may give you an idea of their sound. Ethereal synths, slow reverb-laden drumming, the occasional guitar, pretty spacey sounds. TD is a vital component of what would be the 'Berlin School' of electronic music. The two tapes I've uploaded here are arguably part of this sound, though more fantasy driven.

Kirkwood, later using his full name Jim Kirkwood, was a very prolific artist composing fantasy themed Berlin School/dark ambient/drone/dungeon synth/etc who has put out somewhere around 70+ albums between 1991 and 2011. I've chosen two of his earliest tape releases to feature on here today, Master of Dragons  and Nightshade in Eden from 1991.

(Apologies for the low quality cover art. I've included some better pictures of Master of Dragons in the download but this cover is all I can find from Nightshade in Eden.)

These are both rips from the original tapes, not the the reworked ones that were released much later on in the 2000s on CD. Pretty interesting stuff. Master of Dragons is the more conventional release of the two. Heavy astral pads envelop you in darkness, spacey synthesizers soon come in to lead you into caves unknown for a perilous adventure. This tape reminds a lot of old sword and sorcery movies. It's not exactly the Conan soundtrack but it certainly has that campy 80s fantasy feel, sci-fi-ish at times. Nightshade in Eden is the more sinister tape. You've ventured further into the cave, to the point of pitch darkness. You can feel odd flora brush by as you stumble ahead. Venture further to see a dull glow. The flora begin to illuminate your path, but only to your dismay. Strange creatures hang from the ceiling and latch to the walls, watching you as you trudge on, following you with their bright pale yellow eyes. Eventually you make your way out, but there is no time to rest, desolate and forbidden lands await you ahead.

Again, these aren't pure dungeon synth, Kirkwood may not have even been aware of Mortiis or the electronic Burzum tracks (or maybe even black metal at all, who can say) but DS fans will certainly enjoy these tapes.


Saturday, September 10, 2016

Den - Eternally Traveling the Landscapes

Old material here but only released last May. Withering Crypt has put out some pretty rare stuff from the Burning Northshore odalist scene in the 90s. This tape collects some material from Den, a project of Lesiu, who apparently fronted a few other Burning Northshore bands. Some of these tracks been put out on previous releases, some of the material is was unreleased, I'm assuming the Untitled tracks never got put out. I believe this tape is sold out everywhere at this point, not sure how many were printed. Withering Crypt will continue to reissue BN releases, check the label out, good stuff. Thanks to Wood Path for the tracklisting on this tape. Another personal tape rip. High quality files as always. I didn't scan the back of the insert. It's just black.

Some very classic lo-fi dungeon sounds. Archaic keys, timpani, pan flute, and strings evoke the Odalist tradition. Everything is played analog, no computers here. Well composed and interesting. Guitar carries one track along really well, might be my favorite on the release. Only six songs total on this tape, I'd say there are about 10 more Den tracks out of print. Hope to see more arise soon.

Velkaarn over at Asmodian Coven somewhat recently posted a Burning Northshore zine that's worth checking out. Short, but insightful.