Kasriel / Snawfuss

Album Title: 
Release Date: 
Tuesday, November 14, 2023
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The spiritual night-entity Kasriel continues his quest into / through the magical world of the mystic castle (and the spheres beyond). He gets summoned by the Melosina-spirits to escape the walls of the cold, dark stronghold he’s been held for so long, too long. Searching for answers, his adventure will be harsh and daring, yet Kasriel will be guided by the Snawfuss; hidden inner powers will be convoked; a guidance of alchemical strength will accompany the protagonist though a next chapter of both despair and hope…

Peregrinatio follows the first chapter of Kasriel’s quest, Inner Sanctum (review-link: see below). This split-EP actually consists of a first part by Argentinian outfit Kasriel and a shorter chapter provided by American act Snawfuss. The visual side (cf. the cover-impression) is as simplistic (and hey, this is meant is a mostly positive way) as it is intriguing, and it deeply expresses the adventurous yet arduous character of the album’s concept.

As mentioned, Peregrinatio opens with the part written and performed by Leandro Pendino. Actually, his ‘track’ can be considered a sonic adventure divided into seven strongly cohesive chapters. This is where those air-spirits convince this pilgrim, Kasriel, to try to get back what was once taken away from him. This first composition by Kasriel, called Melosinae (over eighteen minutes of length), starts with a grotesque and bombastic epos (The Call) as introduction. It’s a ‘full’ sonata of heroic Dungeon Synth, based on many epic layers of keyboard-wizardry. The melodies are both atmospheric as it is adventurous, slowly growing into a mighty symphony when darker synth-lines, as well as martial percussions join. With Cold Realm, things turn more obscure, ghostly, eerie. Down-tuned keyboards (and piano) crawl forth, slowly yet steadfastly, accompanied by gloomy whispers and well-balanced percussions. Suddenly, things evolve into purest orchestration, alternately with massive synths and somewhat melancholic yet determined piano harmonies, and injected with energetic drum-and-percussion patterns, spoken words and some sampling (do I hear whinnying horses?). And that’s exactly how this story continues. The better part indeed sounds energetic, unflinching, adventuresome, yet Melosinae is hugely diverse in execution and ambience. Sometimes things slow down, touching doomier spheres; then again a purest martial pride overwhelms (here’s where the small border with Martial Industrial at the one hand, and Dark Ambient at the other, get crossed; where both these genres penetrate the core of [Medieval] Dungeon Synth tragedy). The permanent yet ultimately varied use of drum (programming?) is an undiscussable surplus (like these rumbling sticks and semi-hidden, almost IDM-like beats in Towards Hope); Kasriel’s injection of field recorded sounds (such as aforementioned horse neighs or war-yells) is at least as important to convoy the listener - and the story’s hero - through this voyage; and the balance in between integrity and militant persuasion (I do adore, for example, those belligerent keyboard-disruptions in Battling The Incarnated, which do remind me of Glacier Light) is of undeniable beauty.

The second part on Peregrinatio is created and performed by the young Virginia-based project Snawfuss. Alchemical Guide has a total running time of six minutes and something, and narrates about guiding the (tragic) hero during his quest, challenging him to exceed his own existence, to transform into a spirit of might and bravery. Despite a ‘smaller’ length, this piece too has a lot to offer, both atmospherically as well as sonically. Alchemical Guide too stands for valiant Dungeon Synth, procreated by multiple melodious layers of keyboard and the use of programmed percussions. It starts somewhat melancholic and introvert (somewhat sad melodies with a bleak undertone and intriguing mesmerizing soundwaves), and after two minutes, things subtly turn into an almost fairylike, even delicate fairness. A dreamlike ambience floats forth before organically evolving into a fragment of solemn yet audacious pugnacity, heavily supported by those militant percussions. Towards the end, i.e. the outro-part of Alchemical Guide, Snawfuss sort of returns towards inner serenity and tranquillity, with a lush, even intimate harmony that effluxes in inner peace and admission.

Peregrinatio is a wonderful work by two extremely talented acts, lifting up the international Dungeon Synth scene towards heavenly proportions. This album is an aural adventure that captivates, intrigues, marvels and impresses. I impatiently wonder what the third episode will bring…