Tir – Urd, Skuld & Verdandi
Given its recent surge in popularity, one could be forgiven for believing that dungeon synth is a relatively new genre. However, its roots actually stretch back to the mid-90s and the Norwegian second wave. There’s been a lot of development in the style over the ensuing 25 or so years, and Istanbul, Turkey’s Tir draws on elements from throughout the genre’s history on the masterful second full-length Urd, Skuld & Verdandi.
Heavily influenced by the arcane soundscapes of Era I Mortiis, multi-instrumentalist Oytun Bektas also incorporates melancholic strains of dark folk and eldritch dark ambient atmospheres for nearly an hour’s worth of music that’s both classical and timeless. Epic in every sense of the word, Urd, Skuld & Verdandialso features guest vocals from Empyrium’s Thomas Helm on “Song of the Rain” and “Memories of the Shadow.”
Peasant / Somalgia – Within, Without
Within, Without features a pair of relative newcomers to the UK black metal scene, each of whom contribute one heavy and one mellower track to the release. Peasant, a duo comprised of multi-instrumentalists Plague and Orakul, specialize in a melodically chaotic brand of black metal that sounds equally influenced by the Swedish masters and the denser, more adventurous practitioners of the black arts like Nightbringer and Acherontas. Their mellower contribution “The Trees Find Light To Hold Earth’s Grasp” is a neofolk track with an almost ritualistic feel to it – darkly pastoral and chillingly beautiful.
The mysterious Somalgia are much more raw in their keyboard-drenched execution, bordering on some of the same sonic territory as some of the US vampyric black metal bands. However, there’s also a surprisingly dreamlike 70s progressive rock influence at play on “Veil of Perceptual Illusion,” especially in the keyboards and clean vocals during the song’s lengthy middle section, which foreshadows the shimmering ambient of the project’s second track. Within, Without proves to be an outstanding showcase for the breadth of both bands’ talents, and the perfect way to whet one’s appetite for a proper full-length from each.