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.


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,


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.


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


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.