Showing posts with label Old Sorcery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Old Sorcery. Show all posts

Thursday, 31 December 2020

My Top 10 Music Discoverys In 2020

The one thing you can count on is music! Whatever is happening in the world there never seems to be a shortage of good records, new and old. Each year I aim to discover new artists and each year I seem to reflect that I should of done more. What is becoming more prevalent here on the blog is "rediscovering" old artists, going back over there catalogs and immersing myself in music enjoyed many moons ago, often finding songs that slipped between the cracks and getting a richer sense of the musicians behind it all. That will continue this year no doubt and I've included one in the list again!

(10) Bolt Thrower

I believe it was a cover of a Bolt Thrower song that lured me onto this British Death Metal outfit. I'd heard of them plenty over the years and checking them out I loved the mid-tempo crushing and subtle sense of groove. Straight forward songs that grab you with a mighty aesthetic that steamrolls its way forward. I will throw another record of theirs on the playlist for the coming year!
(9) Malcolm Home
Warm bright and jazzy, these Jazz Hop beats and there fusion with synth tones make for inviting music. Whats also interesting is finding him through a different medium livestreaming on Twitch. Its not the normal way I find new music but anyway Is a good way and I hear a lot of potential in the best songs on the debut record. One to keep an eye on for more music in the future!
(8) Clipping
Unfortunately I can't revel in the praise others have thrown on this unique group. Having enjoyed their catalog now, Ive got a good sense of what they are about. Its a different experience, one that doesn't quite click with me but undoubtedly I will follow them closely in the future, if not for intriguing music but hopefully something will snap into place and I can enjoy them on another level.

(7) The Crystal Method
Its only the one record so far but their debut Vegas instantly snapped into place with that 90s feel of Electronica and Big Beat. Its stuck with me as a record for a particular mood and can put on and fall into. Will throw another onto next years playlist.

(6) Backxwash
Already in My Top Albums Of 2020 list, Backxwash makes it to this one too for having a highly competent and interesting flow. Given how stylistically directed this project was, I can't help but feel their talents with rapping can go beyond it. As I often say, one to follow and keep an eye on for whats next.

(5) Cult Of The Damned
A random stumble on Youtube and I was immediately hooked! I must admit I'm not sure this Rap collective have the lasting power but their flavor is spicy and exciting. I've been binging them a lot and it looks like new material is on the horizon for 2021.

(4) Old Sorcery
If ever Dungeon Synth feels explored in and out, something comes along to shake things up. Not only does Old Sorcery infuse some fantastical old school synth ideas but in the process crafts some really wonderful songs. The latest turn into Black Metal doesn't yield the same excitement for me so I am hoping for a return to roots with the next project so to speak.

(3) Bathory

Of all the nostalgic dives into music from my youth, Bathory has been the best of them all. Not only did I get a fuller picture of what I already loved but found a bunch of new gems and got a real sense of the artist and their journey through some tepid times in the 90s. Although a career cut tragically short, it ended on a high with the Nordland records I had barely touched back when I discovered this massively influential artist in the world of dark and extreme music.

(2) Ocean Grove

They have my album of the year but were also a fun discovery to dive into their debut record an EPs. I actually found them right around the release of this sophomore record. Initially a rather run of the mill Metalcore outfit, their jumpy evolution seems to have blossomed into a beastly brew of sunny energy just fit for my tastes. I'm left itching for more.

(1) Grimes
 I'd heard of Grimes quite some time ago and only this year got around to her music. Art Angels sucked me in and I absolutely adore its vibes. Alongside Flip Phone Fantasy its been my must spun record of the year. Her voice is a wonder and the playful vibes are uplifting and warming. Her earlier catalog is more experimental, less charming but fun. With Miss Anthropocene she dipped toes into a darker tone in places. Not quite as killer but I hope she can hit her stride again in the future.

Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Old Sorcery "Sorrowcrown" (2020)


Concluding our journey for the time being we arrive at Old Sorcery's third album Sorrowcrown, a lengthy epic wading into Black Metal territory. Its unsurprising given the natural link between it and Dungeon Synth, however in my mind it comes a bold and unexpected move given how such a distinct style had been harnessed. This is no flirting affair but a full on plunge into bleak darkness, adopting many tropes of the genre and its modern flavors. Phantasm is the lone synth song, the shortest at thirteen minutes among three other gargantuan songs. Its opening half consists of brooding strings yearning for warmth, spelling a shadowy caution of unease felt under its majestic gleam. Its suddenly pivots with a minimal delayed synths echoing off the tense atmosphere over a quiet percussive pattern. Giving way to a rich, gleaming flood of suspended pan flutes, the ice thaws in a moment of beauty. True magic before descending into the esoteric unease of monk-like Gregorian chants, distant to the lurching whispers and lonely winds. That later part feeling somewhat stitched on.

Its other three songs are of the Metal persuasion, with only a couple of notable breaks into Dungeon Synth interludes. Leaning to the pale and narrow, its mostly of the Darkspace production style with a lack of high frequencies and clarity in scarcity as its bass, drums and shrill guitars become a muddy momentous force. Over its three songs the unending roar of blast beats and shrill howls finds a few notes of intrigue while mostly being reminiscent of artists who have walked thees paths before. Closer track Blades Of A Reflection manages to conjure a guitar and synth aesthetic almost mistakable for the classic Det Som En Gang Var, something I have strangely not encountered an emulation of before. Voidborn is a track toiling with maddening synths and mischievous melodies to encapsulate a devilish environment. After a meandering interlude it concludes with a beautifully slow and lunging riff playing out under glistening astral synths that swell brighter as the tempo drifts apart.

Fortress Of Molten Silver has perhaps the most interesting opening. A cryptic voice makes shadowy utterances as the guitar fuzz melds with synths. It feels short lived as the arrival of hazy lead guitars pluck sad, lonely melodies through the mud of sound, much like I Shalt Become, which tends to be the nitpick of this record. I don't think Sorrowcrown would have lured me in alone. Much of what it offers are ideas I've heard fleshed out well by other artists before. The chemistry Old Sorcery has didn't seem to apply to this project. Its a lengthy behemoth that slugs through tones of fantastic musical extremities toying with the black and beauty of night. In length it feels more like a meandering journey, fantastical but also a collection of ideas lumped together. With a lack of originality in the mix, its sudden pivots to new shades of intensity feel reminiscent of others. The mixing is also questionable, although low fidelity in nature, its blurry guitars and quiet drums always seem tough to get used to.

Rating: 6/10

Sunday, 6 December 2020

Old Sorcery "An Inkling Of Void" (2020)

As the second of two, one track EPs between the albums, An Inkling Of Void immediately identifies itself as soft, reverberated, smooth oscillating synths play out minimalist melodies of eerie calm. Its the melodies of limbo, caught between sadness and rest, glimmering in the moonlight. Although its design is gorgeous and the aesthetic timely, its all to reminiscent of Burzum's twenty five minute epic, the first to my ears to establish this niche. That shadow looms as the spell cast is not as potent, however the song grows into its own as spacious bass saw murmurings usher in yawning starlight synths to steer the opening portion of melody to a scenic route.

Its then, that richer arrays of synths arrive to create a curious atmosphere. Its faintly reminiscent of Steve Roach but with an uneasy underbelly typical of Dungeon Synth. In this stretch, the meditative mood takes over and time drifts slowly by. Past the midpoint a brief heavenly uplift is teased when new tones shift the temperament but it plateaus and we return to the normality again. Eventually the music steers back around to the opening melodies, embellished by all that came between. This plodding ending feels conclusive and satisfying as it fades. I was Initially put off by the opening construct, it took all but a few spins for any preconceived notions to be shattered. Inkling has got a soft, sweet, secluded magic of inanimate shadows and starlight glow. A fair treasure to behold if you value this ambient temperament and sequestered mood.

Rating: 5/10

Wednesday, 2 December 2020

Old Sorcery "Strange And Eternal" (2019)

Every once in a while a record gives me writers block. Its as if I can't pinpoint where the magic emanates. It is of course from the sum of its parts but on this outing the tranquil immersion into this enchanted realm is so indulging the whole record seems sequestered by itself. Of course sitting down to write, giving focus and attention more of its elements reveal themselves and yet its strange atmosphere still mesmerizes.

 Old Sorcery's staple-mark whirl of psychedelia synth tones is as ever present and more involved on this outing. They embed mystique into scenic passages of warm and airy beauty. Its slightly estranged, with a ghostly, ephemeral charm falling short of spooky or eerie. With a richer set of instruments and layers its ambience feels more direct and involved as playful, mischievous melodies dance frequently in focus.

At the middle track rolls around the clouds are overcast as mood and temperament shift. It brings out a cryptic voice of esoteric conjuring, lurching discernible words from the shadows. The song pivots to a magical moment of colorful madness as echoing pianos and trippy oscilating synths dance in a spiraling tandem. That crafty voice returns again here, and then on its final fifteen minute epic album closer.

After a lengthy brooding of classic Dungeon Synth styling, the voice arises with arcane reverberations, reciting in a tongue and tone fitting of an occult ritual. I believe it is simply Finnish, the title translating to "The Sleeping King On Fire". As a non-native listener, the ambiguity stokes majesty within this deeply mysterious music. Its the one new element that really stood out among the endlessly entrancing normality.

I still feel as if this record is alluding me but whats obvious is with more involved instrumentation and less of a focus on ambience and atmosphere, both these aspects are enriched by the boldness it strides with. It occupies a friendly space yet is still shrouded in mystery. One of its best aspects are the pivots, when sudden transitions arise they feel rather integral to the overall vision and momentum this time out. This is one record for me to return to often as its magic feels rather untarnished.

Rating: 7/10

Wednesday, 11 November 2020

Old Sorcery "The Path Lies Hidden" (2018)


Another journey has begun, Realms Of Magickal Sorrow lured me in and now I've become obsessed with Old Sorcery! This fantastical fusion of Dungeon Synth and enigmatic oldskool Electronica is a fascinating one. Fortunately, there is more to be unearthed! Between albums are two twenty minute, one song gems. The Path Lies Hidden is the first and firmly straddles the line between halves, for almost its entirety.

Kicking off win the bass region with buzz saws and sine wave synths, the music resonates and rumbles as a rhythmic melody forges a path through the foggy ambience, a low distant humming. As it repeats over and over a variety of instruments play along, awaiting there turn like destinations on a cosmic journey. Crystallized synths and sparkling sounds dazzle in little eruptions of magic along the path.

As the pallet grows the music sways between its halves with cosmic synths dancing and playful Fantasy melodies chiming in. It even deploys those classic "strikes" of synthetic sound among echoing percussive hits like the pioneers did. Its a mesmerizing ride that comes to transition in the mid point, an unnerving darkness sets in as the repetitive melody is textured to a sound design less astral and cosmic.

In its final phase, the playful Fantasy melody returns to stay as we arrive upon our destination. Its a peaceful, charming place with a cold, lonely touch to it. Like a serine garden that's frozen over, Its beautiful but chilling and empty. The Path Lies Hidden is a powerful song with an indulgent persuasion that has made every spin a pleasure. It is currently my favorite song from this most interesting of artists in the genre.

Rating: 6/10

Tuesday, 3 November 2020

Old Sorcery "Realms Of Magickal Sorrow" (2017)


Dungeon Synth can almost seem like a cliche of itself at times. With the similarly Old Tower fresh in ones memory, the haunting grayscale cover, a gloomy castle and cryptic band logo sparked my amusement, especially the name. It was as if a "starter pack" meme had been taken to heart. This is no fault of the Finnish musician but having consumed an abundance of this music, its tropes are often laid all to bare. I'm glad I didn't pass it over, Old Sorcery does indeed have a magic worthy of attention.

Opening with its decrepit lurching synth and lonely washes of airy ambience drifting from its piano chords, the slow paced drawl of decaying nostalgia unfolds without surprise. Its atmosphere holds majesty and wonder, a sense of lost grandeur, magic and might, buried by time and dust. Its at eight minutes that the artists flair comes to light and a new dimension is steadily pried open with a deepening sense of wonder.

Reminiscent of Tangerine Dream, Jean Michel Jarre and the likes of early electronic acts, the hypnotic whirl of a lopping oscillating synth seemingly rises from the ashes. Although standing at odds with its stereo panning, heightened pace and differing melodic intent, its steadily gains a foothold with the contrasting sound. At this point a psychedelic journey has begun. Realms Of Magickal Sorrow makes its distinction as a record with something different to offer the Dungeon Synth scene.

It would be quite straightforward to deploy this technique of swirling synths, wavering in pitch and volume, to induce an entrancing temperament. Old Sorcery however redeploys the power of oscillated synth tones with powerful subtlety that clings so frailly to this hallucinogenic vibration. One can envision secrets kept in keeps of cold stone as plants and herbs, guarded secrets of an esoteric cult.

The second track, Vaikerruksen Portti, uses a similar synth setup to the first track but with laser zaps and more electronic instrument design accompanying it. Both halves go strong, the Dungeon Synth side toys with mischievous melodies in the forefront, backed by dark organs and deep choral voicings. Its a loud and powerful outing to play up the unique union. A Lost Soul Amid The Listening Trees finds eruptions of gleam and glory, horns and glistening synths dazzle between the long and yearning stretches of shadowy ambience. It has a foreboding presence devoid of electronics.

In A Forest Trapped, those glistening synths return for a sleepy track of yawning pace with a dreamy persuasion. It builds to playful melodies before we arrive at the final track, possibly my favorite. Further Beyond The Melancholic Horizon opens like an Old Tower track, deep drones of devilish dreariness, lost in the distances. One can hear the deep gong strikes and an eerie fuzz of ambiguity. Suddenly it gives way to a different composition, then taking a few minutes to arrive at the final destination.

The next few minutes ponder the infinite, the synths ripple into the void, minimalism and subtlety slip into madness. Its a glorious moment in a song that goes through some vivid transitions that work masterfully. I did not expect to find such a rich experience within this genre I feel can so easily be overplayed. Old Sorcery has brought a sequence of deeply curious ideas that play into the dark, spiritual, meditative flows I just love. With another two albums, there is more to discover now.

Rating: 8/10