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the fossil dungeon

v/a * The Fossil Dungeon (cd 2000 memento mori)

Dark Age Productions (DAP) was ‘founded’ to make the Cernunnos’ Woods demos look more “official”. This man now runs the Battle Helm heavy metal magazine for which I do the alternative pages When three demos had seen the light of day (94/95/96) “Bard Algol Eriboas” decided to release the demo of another band “Under Crushing Wings” (usa 96) which was more or less the start of DAP growing into a label. Then a folkrock band caught Bard’s ear and he urged the band to go for a more medieval approach and two …The Soil Bleeds Black demos were released. Two of the three members of this band (the Riddick twins) proved to be active music makers who also ran a tape label of their own called “7th Key Creations” that for example released the early Equitant demos (known for playing in the metalband Absu). Later the Riddicks and Bard decided to work together and more later sir Prosciptor MacGovern (also of Absu) joined the ranks and DAP from then on consisted of three “Towers”.
The three towers more of less independantly released their material under the DAP banner and still all releases were limited to about 100 copies in most cases. Of the 20 releases before the split of the towers, I only miss two items. The full discography is (with all other information) in the booklet of The Fossil Dungeon.
Somewhere in 1996 Cernunnos’ Woods was asked by the Swedish cultlabel for a cd on a to be founded sublabel “Cruel Moon International”. Roger Karmanik also showed interest in …The Soil Bleeds Black (in my ears always the best DAP act). Things didn’t exacly go as planned.
In 1996 DAP released a red double 12” of Prosciptor called “The Venus Bellona”. This would be released on cd by Cruel Moon being the third DAP act on CMI. CMI not only released the cd, but also a vinyl version that more or less made the DAP vinyl superfluous. Other problems caused the third act (Prosciptor) being the first Cruel Moon release, the second act (TSBB) the second and Cernunnos’ Woods was released after two long years. Plans for an Equitant on CMI were never carried out.
Profane Grace also became quite well-known, but more in the dark industrial scene, releasing cds on the same label who made this compilation possible (and for who Michael Riddick does the artwork).
As you probably know …The Soil Bleeds Black was the fastest rising star of the DAP firmanent. After the cd on CMI, they released two cds on Draenor Productions (a sublabel of Napalm Records from Austria) and now they are on the notorious World Serpent label.
The tracks on “The Fossil Dungeon” as mostly taken directly from the mastertapes for the demos. 4 Tracks are exclusive, Cernunnos’ Woods, Profane Grace, Prosciptor and …The Soil Bleeds Black. The music ranges from medieval, to atmospheric and extremely dark ritual industrial.
Because of the ‘strange’ and mostly pretty good music, DAP was called the “American CMI”. After several years of activity, changing interests, quarrels and maybe a lack of things to be released, caused the demise of DAP. The second Prosciptor cd “The Serpentine Has Risen” was released after the break-up by Prosciptor himself. “The Fossil Dungeon” may be regarded as DAP 022, the final release of the label.
The Riddicks have plans to continue DAP as a new sublabel of CMI under the name… The Fossil Dungeon.

The Soil Bleeds Black * Mirror Of The Middle Ages (cd 2003 the fossil dungeon)

It has been almost two years (may 2002) that I reviewed the LP version of the album. The cd version was to follow in the summer of that year on World Serpent, but apparently things didn’t go as planned. A year after the lp (april 02 and 03) the cd was released by the Riddick twins’ own Fossil Dungeon label. Because I (like others?) expected that the cd would be the same as the lp, I never got it. Well, this isn’t really true! The cd not only has slightly different artwork, but also some tracks have been replaced. Therefor after all this time I can recommand this cd to anyone who like the neo-medieval music of this American band afterall. Read the other review in the archive for more info.

The Soil Bleeds Black * Mirror Of The Middle Ages (lp 2002 the fossil dungeon)

The sixth album of TSBB is first released on this heavy lp limited to 500 copies by the twins themselves and in the summer there will be a cd-version through World Serpent. If you regularly check the mp3-page of the band, you already have five of the ten tracks of this lp. You may have already noticed that this is the first time that TSBB didn’t write all the tracks themselves, but that they actually used existing melodies or lyrics. Therefor they call it their “most medieval album-to-date”. “Mirror Of The Middle Ages” is not as sad in sound as the previous album “Alchemie”, but also not as joyous as the older works, but pretty cheerfull at times.
Besides the mp3-tracks “Ring Around The Rosey”, “The Wife Of Bathe”, “Pasttime With Good Company”, “Epitaph Of Elizabeth” and “Jubilation Of Earthly Delights”, you will hear the songs “Kyrie Eleison”, “Tempus Est Iocundum” (that we already know in Ataraxia’s version “Mundus Est Judundum (Carmina Burana)” from the 1998 cd “Historiae”), “Veni, Veni, Emmanuel”, “In Taberna Quando Sumus”. “Palastinalied” (which the German Corvus Corax have on several cds) and “Daughter Of Leondegrance”.
All in all another nice album from the American neo-medievalists.

Hexentanz * Nekrocrafte (cd 2004 fossil dungeon)

“The Soil Bleeds black & Psychonaut 75 present: Hexentanz”. Yes yes, a cd of this coproject of the two named bands. In may 2002 I reviewed their wonderfull 7″ and here we have a fulllength cd. Ehm, fullength? 35 Minutes is a little short. Anyway, back to the times in which dark and occult alternative projects appeared in the black metal scene. Hexentanz makes dark industrial/ritual music, while other tracks are slighly more bombastic or medievalish. Sometimes the music reminds me of Akhkharu who you may know from the same label (“The Fossil Dungeon” compilation), the opening track maybe a bit TMLHBAC? This project is inspired by medieval and modern witchery and the sound is dark, occult and yet there are medieval sounds played on medieval instruments. Really a wonderfull release. Much better than the Equimanthorn cd that was made available several months ago which more or less sounds the same as their 1994 picture lp. Hexentanz sounds more mature and modern than that. Just one thing: too short!

Hexentanz * The Sabbat Comes Softly (7″ 2002 the fossil dungeon)

Well well, the debut of a new American project. “A collaborative project between members of The Soil Bleeds Black and Psychonaut 75” and this is exactly what you get. It seems like they put the sound of the two bands in a mixer and the result is a mix between “dark ambient and medieval sentimentalities”. Ritualistic and dark ambient sounds of Michael Ford, Dana Dark and Davcina and the double flutes of the brothers Riddick. However ‘just’ a rude mix between the styles, the outcome actually sounds very nice! I think this should appeal to both the people who like TSBB and those who enjoy the sounds of Psychonaut.
The 7″ comes on heavy vinyl, with two 33rpm tracks on both sides and is limited to 500 copies. In Europe Fossil Dungeon products are available from Dark Vinyl/Going Underground and in the USA from the label itself of Middle Pilar.

Funerary Call * Beckoning At The Black (mcdr 2004 fossil dungeon)

A Canadian project that I have known since the very beginning. Demos in 94/95, a few 7″s and for a long time there has been talk about a mcd. After many years Funerary Call has alligned with the Riddick twins (of the Fossil Dungeon label, *The Soil Bleeds Black, etc., etc., etc.) who have the same background of electronic music in the early black metal scene. The result is a 22 minute mcd with dark industrial/ambient tracks with a sound that was almost lost. Six tracks of which some are more industrial, others more soundscapish, but all with a nice dark tone. After a contribution to the “On The Brink Of Infinity” compilation (1999) FC is finally again available for the masses.

Dawn Desiree’ * s/t (mcdr 2001 the fossil dungeon)

The Fossil Dungeon is the continuation of the American experimental tape label Dark Age Productions. The people behind TFD are the Riddick twins, best known for their neo-medieval folk band The Soil Bleeds Black, therefor TFD seems a bit more like a continuation of their early tape label 7th Key Creations that was gone up in Dark Age Productions years ago. Anyway, this new label was anouced with the compilation cd “The Fossil Dungeon – A Dark Age Anthology” which was released by Dark Vinyl last year (see review elsewhere). A compilation that contained material that was (mostly) earlier released on Dark Age tapes.
The first Fossil Dungeon is a limited (250 copies) mcd that is recorded on a black cdr and which comes in a very nice 5×7″ plastic sleeve with a threefold cover. All is professionally printed in colour. The artist is the American beauty Dawn Desiree’ who is better known for being involved in the (for me unknown) gothic doom metal band Rain Fell Within. The cd lasts 20 minutes and has 5 songs in which Dawn displays moody piano music with her nice opera-like soprano voice in the first tracks and the same vocals but with keyboard music in the last songs. The music is not particularly depressive, but the lyrics are. It seems some bloke was stupid enough to sack Dawn, making her sing about the pangs of love. All in all pretty beautiful and I wonder what the future has in stake for Dawn.
This mcd should not be too difficult to get, since The Fossil Dungeon is distributed by Dark Vinyl in Europe and Middle Pillar in the US.

Darkness Enshroud * Totentanz (mcdr 2001 the fossil dungeon)

The second release of The Fossil Dungeon is of an old acquaintance. I have the 1993 demo “Winter Of Sorrow” in my collection and I used to order obscure material from Michael Ford’s “Abyss Productions” around that time. Since then Darkness Enshroud has released two cds which I don’t have, but I have heard at least one of them. On this cd the line-up of DE is not the same as on the demo. Beside Michael Ford (who appears to be the one lasting person in this project), we see Shanna LeJeun who also makes music under the name “Nythra” (one of the few Dark Age releases that I don’t have…). According to the bio, this duo has also split and the recordings here are a little older. Also DE has been dorment for a while.
The music that you can expect is black ambient, with industrial, atmospheric and ritualistic touches. The music was mastered by Barry Galvin (Mephisto Walz / Christian Death) and now that I am naming names anyway, I might just as well add a few other music projects of Michael Ford that may ring a bell for some of you: Black Funeral (black metal), Valefor (black industrial on Cold Meat Industry) and Psychonaut (I have never heard it, but Dark Vinyl released a few things I believe).
Also here an 5×7″ plastic sleeve with professionally printed colour covers. Musically I think this 30 minute mcd is alright.
Keep an eye open for upcoming Fossil Dungeons, there are plans for an Arcana Art cdr, Dark Muse cdr, Hexentanz 7″ and a 2lp compilation “As She Was Crowned, So Crowned Were They” with Ataraxia, GOR, In Gowan Ring, The Soil Bleeds Black and many more.

15 Delights Of Dionysus * The Nightmare Muzeum (cdr 2002 the fossil dungeon)

15 Delights is one of the many musical incarnations of the Riddick twins who are best known for The Soil Bleeds Black and who also run The Fossil Dungeon. This last is a young label that started with a compilation with the same name on Dark Vinyl and which included material from bands on the deleted Dark Age Productions label from the USA. The Fossil Dungeon has released a few cdr’s are recently two ‘normal’ cds. This one is another black cdr. It comes in a wonderfull half-transparrent silver ‘bag’ of larger size than a normal cd-case. The twins are supported by a Mike Bull for this project.
In the past, 15 Delights could be heard from the “Baited Breath” compilation 2mc (1999 Live Bait Recording Foundation) and the “On The Brink Of Infinity” compilation cd (1999 chthonic streams) and they released 4 (split) cdrs that I never heard. “The Nightmare Muzeum” contains industrial sounds and not only soundscapes. “Minimalistic” is the word for the whole cd. The industrial tracks are very soft and fairly orchestral and the other tracks are really strange soundscapes. The industrial tracks are nice, the soundscapes a bit too minimalistic for my ears.
It seems -by the way- that the Discovery Channel uses music from this cd in an alien abduction documentary.