Please forgive me as I try to bumble through this review as it’s a topic I’m not really that well versed in. So…
Ambient Darkwave? Synth Wave? Dungeon Synth? These labels have been getting thrown around a lot recently and I don’t really know what they mean. Dungeon synth I kind of have an idea about and dark wave, I think is all popular now thanks to that crappy Stranger Things show and accompanying soundtrack (which is just ripping of John Carpenter) but in 1994, when Mortiis released Fodt Til A Herse, I’m not sure any of those were genres, at least not as widely known. Again, I know little of what is happening here.
What I do know, and have some knowledge on, is that Mortiis used to provide bass and lyric duty for Emperor during their early demo and EP years. Disillusioned with black metal he struck out on his own, fashioned himself into some sort of weird goblin looking thing straight off the set of the movie Legend and started making this synthesizer based ambient music.
Now if you’re wondering what this darkwave, ambient music is that Mortiis plays, picture Summoning, now strip out all the vocals and metal parts and what you’re left with is a medieval styled soundscape. It’s odd that it should be referred to as “medieval” when all the instruments are played on a synthesizer but you can clearly hear horns, piano, and classical stringed instruments, all elements you’d typically hear and relate to “medieval” music. Yeah, it’s kind of in the Renaissance Fair vein of medieval but it definitely is going for a more archaic or ancient feel. Maybe otherworldly at times.
Mortiis would go to change his style to more darkwave and later industrial but this is the only offering of his I’ve listened too, and for what it is, is pretty good. I don’t see myself reaching for this very often and I imagine this style of music could get very redundant but combined with the imagery of Mortiis and the music, there’s a certain charm to the whole thing.