In just about every music genre, there is a specific type of celebratory sound for every occasion. Depending on the type of situation it is, it could also mean a sub-genre classification, or an just an album that generates a cult following. The same holds true for dungeon synth. Whereas a lot of the musical themes tend to be geared toward battle hymns or dig into the realm of ancient medieval synth, with a focus on more serious and theatrical instrumentation, there is a lighter side as well. Forest synth and fantasy synth tend to have softer musical elements and the arrangements evoke an imagination of peaceful times in ancient kingdoms and mythical villages hidden away deep in mountainous forests. Those are the exact feelings that I get while listening to the latest Mantle Of Dust release called, ‘Through Paths Well Remembered’. Although there is a melancholic feel to this album, the acoustic guitar riffs combined with the beautiful synth arrangements ensures that the overall sound borders between classic, symphonic black metal-esque interludes and cinematic fantasy score.
The soothing guitar melody of “The Path Well Remembered I” creates a lavish atmosphere of warm emotions and when the flute arrangement begins, the song puts us right in the heart of the forest, where there is peace and gathering amongst villagers. “Lake Of Tears” starts with a haunting flute and synth combination. Soon, the sounds of battle-like drums kick in and the pace of the song increases, as if a peculiar alertness is in the air. “The Three-Sided Coin Inn” is one of my favorite tracks on the album and has more of a medieval sound. The mix of live and synth instruments along with the occasional vocals, provide many layers of great sounds as this song represents love & spirit throughout the village, as well as a place for everyone to come together in harmony. “The Wise Tree” is a very uplifting song that represents celebration and I can see everyone dancing gleefully and drinking large mugs of ale while listening to this track. From the fast pace drum beats, flute arrangements and multiple keyboard and synth sounds, this track is sure to stand out. As “The Wise Tree” suddenly ends, “Madness Beckons (Medley For The King)” begins, as if the king has suddenly appeared at the front gate of the small mythical village deep in the forest to pay a random visit. The synth melodies in the beginning are slight somber but about halfway through take a turn to a much darker tone, as if the visit from the king isn’t going as well as expected. “Paradise Found” features grandiose keyboard arrangements and the main sound is extremely catchy and I guarantee you’ll be humming it after the song is over. This would be a great song to be used as an into for a symphonic black metal album. However, it perfectly stands on it own as a dungeon synth piece. “…Of Noblest Steel” is another strong synth-based track with a great melody featuring several layers to give a very cinematic sound. I could imagine this track being used in a fantasy-based film score. “Through Paths Well Remembered II” is quite different from the first track as the approach seems more animate and action packed. The solo keyboard notes work well with the backing melody and this song flows smoothly right from the opening note. “The Seventh Castle” is another one of my favorite tracks on the album as it successfully combines elements of medieval, dungeon & forest synth in a single track without being over bearing. There are several spots of grand cinematic score as well, as this track just has it all. “The Dwarven Realm” starts with a rhythmic drum beat, memorable keyboard melody and a steady ambient tone in the background. Suddenly, a beautiful violin riff joins in the mix to expand the horizon of the song. The overall tone of this track is mesmerizing and the violin sound in several spots give it that extra push toward greatness. The albums final track, “Victory Or Death” is the perfect way to end the album. With an excellent blend of dungeon synth style keyboards, ambient synths, cinematic score and spoken word, this song provides a final dirge for the villagers of the mythical village in the forest to look up to.
Mantle Of Dust has created an excellent dungeon synth album with their fifth effort, ‘Through Paths Well Remembered’. On this album I hear many influences such as medieval synth, forest synth, ambient, and cinematic movie score. Additionally, with the use of live instruments and vocals/spoken word in several spots, they’ve added elements not normally used on your typical dungeon synth album. This is a superb album and one that is definitely worth checking out. Please click on the link below to download this album and support this amazing artist!
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