Hailing from the US, Strixskog brings us their latest demo release titled Dark Age Funeral Dreams. Much like the previous release, combining black metal fundamentals with epic dungeon synth that takes you to the lands of yore, this release however takes a much darker approach, sporting a much more raw and compact approach that gives you a peak into the inner darkness that this band holds.
While this is a short release, with only three tracks, it certainly packs a heavy and memorable punch. Raw guitars, a stomping drum beat, and harsh vocals that itch at the back of your mind, certainly a departure from the previous release. Though, there are still touches of synth thrown in there, giving it a unique touch of color to the overall grim sound. The intro is certainly a great little dark dungeon synth track that sets the mood just right. Sparking images of old, dilapidated castles and ancient ruins with horrid creatures ready for the slaying, it sets the perfect mood for the following two tracks of mid-paced but certainly toe tapping black metal.
Both of the tracks are just a little over 5 minutes a piece, giving you just enough of a taste of what they have to offer, but certainly leaving you wanting more. The raw simplistic approach is a nice touch and is executed well here along side the droning synths that, again, help push along the atmosphere being built up here. The riffs are straight forward and digestible, nothing incredibly flashy, but its the overall package that really brings it together. The mixture of clean, droning synths along side the heavy distorted guitars create for a jarring experience, that personally, I think can be refined better in following releases. But what we have here is a fun release that certainly left an impact much like their previous work. Personally, with these heavy on the atmosphere kind of releases, I like to create a story along side it. Where the previous release, Land of the Cursed Spells, has this epic dark-fantasy approach, this release certainly emphasizes the ‘dark’ side of the fantasy. And when listened together, its almost like a dark turn in your fantasy adventure.
This is certainly a step in new direction for the band, but as its only their third release in total, really makes you wonder what else they could conjure up. But, as short as this release is, it certainly left a great impression on me. Just enough to keep you satisfied until the next release. Certainly give this a listen for fans of old school black metal with emphasis on the synths.