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...

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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...

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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.

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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!

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Monday, September 12, 2016

Kirkwood

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.

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...Further

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.

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Blutaxt - Weltenbrand


Apologies for the lapse in posts. I've been rather busy with life and the label I have recently launched. But, I am making up for the past weeks and posting two personal tape rips today and two tapes Monday night (unfortunately the files of the last two are on my work computer).

This tape arrived just in time for today's posts, only just received it from Germany yesterday. I was actually unsure if this would be dungeon synth or not, it was purchased purely on the front image. But I was in luck, DS it is and a great release at that! I cannot find much information at all on the artist, this seems to be their only release (please email with information if you have it, as per usual).

Twelve tracks of medieval dungeon synth here. The whole tape is under thirty minutes, quite a few songs are under two minutes, but none fail to satisfy. What I like most about this tape is the variation in sounds. All tracks are distinct, ranging from medieval folk with synthesized acoustics and flute, some Mortiis-y stuff with big booming drums, one track features Gregorian chanting (safe to assume the chanting was sampled, but Blutaxt frames the synths around the original chant so everything flows very well), and one track even gets into Berlin School territory. A little something for every kind of DS fan. A solid tape now seeing the light.

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Saturday, August 13, 2016

Snørte - Mort Lente


This rarity finally came in from Russia. Discovered this a while ago but hadn't had a chance to purchase until it briefly appeared on Discogs. Such a good cover! High quality tape rip as always.

Snørte is the eponymous side project of the Snørte Skoggath of the French and Swiss black metal bands Helslakt and Profond Barathre (a few of these tracks are actually redone by Snørte for PB's first demo), this self-titled tape from 2007 being his only solo release. The project falls more into the 'dungeon-esque' category. It's not full dungeon synth but it has many of the elements. Snørte is more of a Lamentation-Aakon Keetreh-Lebenessenz hybrid. There's definite influence here from the LLN dark ambient side projects. Slow melancholic piano reverberates with soft synths with some tracks featuring glacial DSBM drumming. All of the tracks are rather depressive, some have a bit more of a horror tinge to them evocative of Lamentation or the eerier passages of Xasthur. I can't exactly tell if the music is programmed in a sequencer or recorded live, but there's a coldness to it. The human element is very feint, a hopeless soun.

Visitors who come here for dungeon synth may be disappointed with the lack of fantasy synth here, but give it a listen. The chorus-voice synth, slow grand piano, and drum machine may sit well with DSBM fans and dungeon fans alike (but not too well, of course, this is certainly a dark tape). There is one track from this posted on Youtube that happens to be the best from this release, if you want a preview.

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Sunday, August 7, 2016

Arthur - Pagan Sun's Fire


A new week and I've decided to do another tape rip from my personal collection. Pagan's Sun's Fire is the only release from Arthur, an eponymous project of Arthur Schkolnick. Pagan Sun's Fire came out in 2005, released with the help of Roman Saenko of Drudkh and Hate Forest (Arthur played bass on Hate Forest's 'The Curse') with no info on the insert other than the track name.

This is quite a full length tape. Nine songs with most hitting the mid-to-late five minute mark. All of the tracks definitely have their own feel and not many instruments are reused albeit the full on Guitar Pro midi drum set (don't get me wrong, I love it). The composure is quite fleshed out, the songs Witch, Song of Rainy Forest, and the melancholic yet triumphant Hate Is My Love being my favorite examples. Most tracks feature a full drum set, which may throw you off when they first come in but they're warmly welcomed once you've grown accustomed. Some might argue that this isn't 'dungeon synth' per se, maybe 'dark medieval synth rock' or something. True, it doesn't have some of the archaic sounds of dungeon synth keys and the full drum setup may liken it more toward conventional 'rock' music, but I would say this is surely in the spirit of dungeon synth if not dungeon synth itself.

A very solid and satisfying release, a shame that it isn't more well known.

EDIT: A special CD re-release of Pagan Sun's Fire has made it way to Hollow Myths. Please descend into their domain for acquisition of this great release.

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Saturday, July 30, 2016

Лихо - Есть Лихо


I'd like to thank Alexandr for submitting a couple rarities for the blog, it is very appreciated. I've been looking for this one for a while, physical and digital, but to no avail. I'm not sure how many copies exist exactly other than Discogs claiming there only exist an 'extremely limited amount'. I'd bet ten or less, so even a digital copy of this is a rare gem to have. Be sure to take a look at the want list on the side of the blog. Submissions allow posts like this to happen!

Here we have Есть Лихо, the only demo from the Ukrainian artist Лихо. This was realeased in 2000 as the first tape on the Aryan Sturm label. Лихо seems to mean 'evil' in Ukrainian. Online translators tell me the title of the tape means 'there is evil', or 'there is disaster'. I think it may mean 'evil exists', or something along those lines. If you know Ukrainian, please translate.

'Evil' is quite apt for how this tape sounds. Only three songs for this demo, all rather unsettling. The tape begins with a two minute prologue track which is admitedly somewhat run of the mill for lo-fi Russian and Ukranian DS, warping synths with some muffled drums near the end, but somehow still odd. The second track is where the evil really kicks in. A looping six second synth clip extends for nearly ten minutes, a wind sounding pad with some very lo-fi and far off almost orchestral synths. Garbled and distorted forest animals scream, dozens of frogs endlessly croak, and beasts grunt as the synth loop repeats in the background, eventually fading out. This is definitely an anxiety inducing track. Though not as long as Mortiis dirges by any means, the track doesn't seem to end. Once it does, it feels that you shouldn't have listened to it. The demo closes out with a very haunting and melancholic six minute outro, with some brief vocals near the end.

A very creepy release. The obscurity of this tape adds to it's unsettling sound and allure. The Blair Witch Project of dungeon synth. Tread lightly.

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Sunday, July 24, 2016

Ashmadai - Symphonies for the Kings


For the second post of the night, we have a short release from an artist called Ashmadai. Ashmadai seems to be the side project of Laldaboath from of Celtic Dance and Arkenstone, both from Satanachia and Hades productions in Portugal.

This is a rather odd tape. Each song is titled as a Myth, which suggests that there might be a concept to this tape. Very minimal pianos and synths for four tracks. Somewhat slow paced with some reoccurring melodies throughout. The melodies are kind of upbeat and rather pleasant, and paired with the green insert the songs evoke images of a verdant medieval pasture.You can hear the synths bend at times as if they were beginning to die, or the recording equipment may have been finicky. The fourth track cuts off before the minute mark, I'm not sure if this is deliberate or if my tape happens to be messed up (please get in touch if you have a copy). A short and obscure tape but enjoyable nonetheless.

Until next week,

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Avox - Desolate Land


Apologies for the absence last week. Life has been busy. To make it up, I'm posting two personal tapes rips tonight (thanks for the trades, Cameron).

This is an incredible tape. Seven tracks make for a good sized tape clocking in at almost half an hour. Some gamey sounds that remind me of Moaning Shadows.The synths are very clear and bright, a lot of high tones. The composition isn't very repetitive, which is refreshing. The songs jump around and change in tone and each song stands out from the others. It's a shame that this appears to be Avox's only release.

The ominous castle on the cover greatly sums up the gothic atmosphere of this tape. Best listened to on a rainy thundering night.

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Sunday, July 10, 2016

Secret Stairways

Sorry for the late post, but I assure you it's worth the wait. This weekend we have two ultra lost and obscure albums from Secret Stairways, a project of the rather prolific Matthew Davis who was involved in Twelth of Never, a rather heavy goth rock band, Faces of Bayon, a doom project, and Tears ov Blood, a goth solo project of his. Tragically, Matthew Davis passed in 2011, a victim of suicide. I contacted his friend David who was gracious enough to send me scans of both Secret Stairways releases and full high quality rips (endless thanks).



Enchantment of the Ring is the first release from Secret Stairways on cassette from 1997. I will go ahead and say it: this is Depressive Silence level classic. I do not doubt for a second that this will become a dungeon synth classic. Beautiful, well composed synths and dynamic instrumentation for a fully fleshed release, with Tolkien themes to make it even better. This is ripped from the original cassette, so the slight tape hiss adds great classic atmosphere. Absolutely a must listen.


Two years later, in 1999, Secret Stairways puts out Turning Point, the debut full length on CDr. I think that instrumentation-wise this is an improvement from Enchantment. The production is more clear and professional and I feel that Matthew spent more time on the composition. Another incredible album. Included in the download are full scans of the CD case inlays and scans of the insert. Both of these releases have been virtually impossible to obtain until now, thanks again to David for providing these.

RIP Matthew Davis
July 6th 1973 - January 23rd 2011

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...Further

Friday, July 1, 2016

Mordraaneth - The Taverns in the Land of Ashes


New week, new post. This week we have the The Taverns in the Land of Ashes by Mordraaneth. Mordraaneth was a project of James Baker (aka Belegur from Trollmann Av Ildtoppberg). Taverns came out as a double CD in 2007 on Skulls of Heaven, which seems late to me. This album seems more like something he would have put out before starting his other main projects.

Unlike the doom-bass-laden Trollmann, Mordraaneth is pure synth and lots of it (with a background of noise on one track). This is a hefty eight track double album, with three tracks over twenty minutes, one of which approaches forty. Really varied sounds on this album, crushingly heavy and depressive at times while wistful and light at others. Cheesy dungeon keys, strings, flutes, thundering booms, it's all here and incredibly well composed. Recommended for anyone who is a fan of Trollmann or Ungl'Unl'Rrlh'Chchch. Hopefully two hours of Mordraaneth will keep you satiated until next week.

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Saturday, June 25, 2016

Eternal Fear - Ancient Woods


First music post for DE will be a pure dungeon synth tape from 1995. Polish based project. Tape spine says Warhagan records but a metal archives roster says Moonshine Productions. This seems to be the only project the solo musician Nerthon had, other than an appearance in 2003 to play some keyboards on a Carnal track.

Really classic dungeon synth sounds here. Fans of the dark 90s stuff will love this. Dark, brooding, and hypnotic. Definitely black metal intro/interlude/outro kind of material. Seven tracks on side A titled 'Ancient Hymns', maybe following after Nattens Madrigal. Side B is only two tracks, titled 'Atmosphere of Sorrow'. Kind of a strange melancholic end to the tape with 'The Celtic History'.

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Friday, June 24, 2016

Introduction

Welcome to Dungeon Excavation. Most of what you'll need to know is available via the 'about' side bar. I'll try to post something every week.

Enjoy