Reviewed: January, 2021
Released: 2021, Infernus Profundus Records
Reviewer: Pete Mutant
Old Castles would never have crossed my path, I don’t think, if it wasn’t for receiving this album to review. This was first taste of ‘Dungeon Synth’ so forgive me for not being well versed enough to truly appreciate this style of music. For me, it wasn’t very musical and caught me rather off guard when I first played the album without researching beforehand. It was surprising and left me a bit dumbfounded as to what it was I was consuming.
It was far more of a structure that would be befitting of a horror movie score rather than an album I’d listen to whilst doing whatever. The vast majority of the music is this way but there are a couple of tracks that go into droning black metal territory, namely ‘Orgiastic Feast In Excrement’ and ‘Scepter of Translucent Virulence’. These two tracks really shake things up as they make things for more visceral and potent. The wailing vocals and low-fi production really enhances the tension of the music whilst the rest of the instruments drone furiously together.
It makes for an interesting piece of music overall but I’d recommend only listening in some derelict building or eerie forest as this is essentially what this music is designed to encapsulate. Once I read up on Old Castles, I understood it much more and found some sort of appreciation for it. It’s pretty outside the realms of what I listen to normally though it’s all quite familiar and has many recognisable qualities. Might be my love of horror that this resonates with or just the sense of dread that we all experience in life sometimes when wandering alone in dark places.
Old Castles have several releases and this is a culmination of their Old work from 2011 and 2012. As a standalone, I think it is really lacking as you need that context to get it. It would be better pairing with atmospheric visuals or as a film score during some tense and uneasy moments. Like I said, this was my first real exposure to dungeon synth and, fortunately for me, it was a piece by true custodians of the genre. I see great use for such music, however, it’s really a time and place sort of thing for consuming it again at all. Interesting nonetheless and an experience for sure, just not something that I’ll be appreciating again any time soon.