Written by: The Administrator
There is nothing, methinks, like a journey into unfamiliar genre tags to kick off the new year. Onfang's bandcamp page lists "comfy synth, faery synth, fantasy synth, and forest synth," and while I have dabbled in synth-y waters, these particular microgenres represent a whole new world. The appropriately entitled Sugar Jar--digitally released in August of 2022, and pending a January 20th release on cassette via Fiadh Productions--serves as the perfect introduction.
Sugar Jar is, simply put, an absolute delight. It contains a brief five tracks; the listening experience is more akin to enjoying a well-portioned confectionary rather than conducting a Bruce Bogtrotter-esque exercise in gluttony. Although certainly sitting in an arena that overlaps comfortably with more traditional dungeon synth, Onfang demonstrates a uniquely intrinsic sweetness that feels homey and familiar rather than overtly saccharine or sappy. The atmosphere might very well suit rose-cheeked cherubs, but when closing my eyes, I can imagine a Hansel and Gretel styled gingerbread house, albeit inhabited by a kindly and supportive faery godmother rather than, y'know, a murderous witch.
Guest Post by: Ria Wigley
1. Old Nick
If there’s one thing that defines the microgenre of Vampyric Black Metal other than lyrics and imagery about vampires, it is flamboyant, dare I say CAMP riffs, a big focus on atmospheric synths, and absurd song titles. No band exemplifies this better than Old Nick. In fact, the 16-bit inspired keyboard sounds were almost too silly for me to really enjoy this band upon first listen, but after giving it more time I quickly grew to love it. There is an inherent silliness to the obsessive adherence to a particular aesthetic that most vampire media portray, even when it still manages to be coldly sinister and atmospheric at the same time, and Old Nick is the perfect musical representation of that. If you were hoping for second wave worship with some more gothic elements...well this isn’t that, it’s much better. Plus, who doesn’t love song titles like "Blood, Blood, Blood, Blood, Blood" or "Spooky Wicker Basket 1994 (Yes, a witch!)"
Recommended album: A New Generation of Vampiric Conspiracies
Almost a year ago, Desolation Plains' fantastic Sword of Hailstorm was drafted into service as the focal point for our inaugural INTO THE DUNGEON column. Due exclusively to, well, my own laziness, this proved to be the only entry in said series. In retrospect, that's a damn shame, considering how many stellar exemplars of the genre I checked out exclusively on the basis of really fuckin' enjoying Sword of Hailstorm. I listen to it frequently to this day.
Needless to say, I'm pleased and honored to present here today a new track from Desolation Plains' forthcoming Kingdomfall. Check it out below! As always, we'll meet ye on the other side.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that wakes us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry.