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.


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.