In a fabled land, back in ancient times, a small group of battle-stricken warriors traverse the mountainous countryside in search for a new, safe place to call home. As they pass through foliage of trees and overgrown wild shrubs, the forest’s thick canopy has no mercy for the traveled path laid before them. However, in the distance, they see a small opening that may bestow hope and opportunity. As the small group of wounded warriors make their way to the opening, they come upon a gate to a small village, oddly situated in the middle of nowhere. Before they make their presence known, the gate opens and they are greeted, welcomed with open arms into a new mythical community hidden away from plain sight. The first large structure in sight is a wooded domicile, large in nature and well maintained. The sign in the front reads, “Welcome To Whitewood Inn”. This is the exact scenery that comes to mind when listening to the debut album by Whitewood Inn. It provides the necessary spectacle to drift back in medieval times and fantasize about a folkloric place full of seclusion and positive spirits. The eight tracks contained on this recording conceptualize a story of whimsical adventure and absolute somber vibes.
“Over The Mountains To Whitewood” starts with a lush, dreamy synth arrangement and sets a bleak atmosphere in this beautiful story where triumph ultimately reigns over tragedy. As depicted in my imagination, the wounded warriors have auspiciously made it to Whitewood and are greeted with open arms. However, does all appear as it seems? Is this mythical setting in the middle of nowhere too good to be true? Alluring orchestral parts complete this lead off track and will leave the listener craving more. Never fear, because “A Stranger In Whitewood” is an absolute companion piece to the first track! The haunting tone in the opening riff is amazing and is amplified by a simple (but effective) drum beat, audio voice samples and some all-around creepy vibes throughout. “Tales By The Hearth” opens with a crackling fire and a forest synth arrangement and features spots of ambient tones to add a layer of dismal texture. More audio voice samples can be heard but they are barely audible, adding to the mystique of the recording. Next up is “The Apothecary” and it’s a more uplifting tune, as if the warriors are traveling throughout the village and seeing all of the amenities that are available. The “Welcome To My Store…” narration is most suitable for the story of Whitewood and is my favorite part of this track. The synth arrangements in this song are more inline with traditional dungeon synth and makes for a very entertaining endeavor. “The Necromancer” has a very dark and dreary sound and contains more various styles of voice narrations. This song would fit right in on a fantasy-based movie soundtrack. “Sanctum Of The Fallen” commences with what sounds like the narration of a village priest or spiritual leader, as he provides some some sort of divine guidance over the members of the Whitewood village. The base of this track has an ambient structure with some ariose keyboard arrangements. “The Emerald” has a very mellow, yet ominous sound as the acoustic guitar cords creates a peaceful atmosphere. However, the backing keyboards forge an uneasy adjustment and provide a more desolate counteracting sound. This works out quite well and the song turns out to be one of the most eerie recordings on the album. The final track, “Villagers Gather In The Square” is another uplifting track that again features some well though out voice narrations, and excellent orchestral arrangements to intensify the dungeon synth parts. What an excellent way to end such a wondrous album, as our wanderers have finally found a trustworthy place to call home at the Whitewood Inn.
For a debut dungeon synth album, this is such an astonishing effort! From the songwriting, musical arrangements, and the amazing untold story that builds in the imagination, ‘Whitewood Inn’ checks all the blocks for a stellar album. I hope that we’ll be able to hear more from this artist in the very near future. Although I would love to hear a continuation of the mythical village and the ghost stories contained within, I’m sure branching out in other directions would be magnificent as well. Please support this brilliant up and coming dungeon synth artist and download ‘Whitewood Inn’ from the link below.
Please Like/Follow my blog so that you’ll get first hand updates every time I post a review. Thanks for visiting the Dungeon!!