Review Summary: Some merry carols in Nightmare Before Christmas’ style.
The Krampus, the composer behind Krampusnacht, fills a rather niche gap within dungeon synth’s thematic scope: “dungeonizing” Christmas songs. In every year since 2017, Krampus has delivered the spookiest takes on well-known holiday melodies. After an arguably less successful series of EPs, the third full-length Krampusnacht album, Krampusferatu
is now here, to make this season feel more spooky.
Many artists tried (and failed) to reimagine famous Christmas songs to something totally different, like covering songs in metal or pop styles, but personally I never really enjoyed them. From this aspect, Krampusnacht is a really special artist. Interestingly, the artist’s goal wasn’t just making covers - more like turning them into new compositions, but working from a very specific material. But everyone has to start somewhere. Krampusnacht’s debut exclusively focused on re-tuning and performing traditional Christmas carols by a really spooky instrumentation, but the subsequent releases contained more and more own compositions, perfectly recreating that specific soundscape with the same vibe. On the spookiness, the most obvious example for comparison is Danny Elfman’s famous soundtrack for Nightmare Before Christmas
, as Krampusnacht evokes that uniquely eerie yet charming atmosphere. It is important to note the role of a similar instrumentation here, as Krampusnacht also relies on classical instruments, like strings, bells, drums etc. but of course, synths cannot be missed either.
is a mixture of the Krampus’ own works and pieces of melodies which will sound familiar to the listener. For example, melodies from timeless classics like O Come All Ye Faithful
can be heard in "The Curse of Krampusferatu", or What Child Is This
in “Invasion of the Snotgoblins From Outer Space”, or even Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
in “бабушка мертва”. Moreover, other melodies from different sources make an appearance in the album, like John Williams’ iconic composition from Home Alone. (Precisely: Carol Of The Bells
was used to bring “Sølvklokker Ringer Din Død” to life.) The album’s guest, the fellow dungeon synth artist: Upyr, also made an appearance in the album for example in “Upyr’s Theme” - a noteworthy contribution, the least.
Krampusnacht masterfully blends together eeriness and merriness in a rather specific way. Some people like it, while some others certainly don’t, but in my honest opinion, Krampusnacht’s music feels really refreshing, as it has a truly original concept accompanied by interesting and creative musicianship. May Krampus save your holiday playlists.