(In Part II of his 2017 year-end list for NCS, our friend Neill Jameson (Krieg, Poison Blood) devoted attention to reissues of music from the realms of dungeon synth, but here that genre is the sole focus of the following recommendations.)
I’m sure you’re tired of hearing about the various synth subgenres that have popped up all around metal the last few years because they don’t have guitars or whatever excuse you give when confronted with something outside of metal. I know that kept me out of checking a lot of this shit out and gave me a lot of preconceived notions (mostly true when it comes to synthwave). I’ve been a longtime devotee of early (now Era 1) Mortiis but around the time he decided to try different genre pastures I was burned out by overly symphonic and honestly overly fucking melodramatic dark ambient and really only revisited the more ambient side of things when I put on old Mortiis records or if some black metal band had a good instrumental track (i.e., Lugubrum’s earlier stuff — totally underrated and mandatory band). That was until I listened to Old Tower out of curiosity, which caused a twelve-month binge on dungeon synth. I tend to obsess over these kinds of things and dungeon synth is a genre that’s constantly expanding so I always have something to check out. Like most genres, I don’t like 75% of it but what I do like, I really dig into.
Anyway thanks for sticking around for that needless exposition. The cliff notes version for anyone wanting to skip ahead is here’s another list I’ve submitted, this time with some dungeon synth you might not be too aware of and might be interested in checking out. Unlike most times I make these lists I’d actually love for readers to post suggestions for me to check out.
The best resource I’ve found for the genre is The Dungeon Synth Archives on YouTube, which seems to update every day. I’ve also noticed that Tour De Garde, Hollow Myths, and Out of Season generally knock it out of the park with their releases in the genre, plus Tour De Garde constantly releases black metal of high quality, which is a bonus if you have money to burn on something you won’t hate.