The Dungeon Synth genre has become an invaluable platform for many artists to harvest various styles of synth music. Most artists are able to maintain a strong foothold with typical genre topics, while venturing out to the far reaches of other subject matters, such as time & space, emotions, and horror. Whereas the majority of the brand resides around Medieval content and RPG-influenced arrangements, some artists extend for endless endeavors in order to orchestrate a different approach to the genre. In some cases, the outcome is a bit obtuse but in other situations, the outcome is magnificent. Case in point, the self-titled debut offering from Mystica Visio is a grim journey down an endless, morbid path that is more psychological thriller than horror. The music is deep, emotional, beautifully desolate and of course, Dungeon Synth! The six tracks contained within this thirty eight minute recording are fascinating and memorable, yet you’ll be watching over your shoulder in frightful anxiety as the tracks move from one to the next.
The maniacal terror begins with “Mystical Visions Of A Dead Past”. With deep, crushing synth effects that paint a vivid scene of solitude and anguish, this is the perfect opening for this sojourn of emptiness. Once the layered, high-pitched keys commit to the mix, the haunting melodies pave the way for an exemplary listening experience like no other. “The Glowing Figure” commences with a peaceful synth arrangement and slowly introduces layers of harrowing effects that take this track down a dark and daunting path. The low-end tone in the background create an ominous drone that extends a symphonic effect, while maintaining a discordant keyboard arrangement throughout. This is a somberly flowing song that maximizes the intent of a dreadful feeling or experience and it certainly succeeds like no other. “The Prophecy Was A Lie” is the closest this album comes to producing a tradition Dungeon Synth sound. The harmony on display in the layered keyboard chops is wondrous and without a doubt, you’ll be humming this restrained melody even after the song is over. Another key element is the beautiful drawn-out synths in the background that tell a story all on its own. Although it fuses perfectly with the synth leads, it would also sound amazing as a stand-alone track of a subdued nature. “Journey Across The Lake Of Lost Souls” contains a bewildering retro synthwave vibe that would be perfect to listen to on a late night (or pre-dawn early morning) drive. Although it doesn’t quite get into full on Berlin School synth mode, there are definitely hints of that style and this seven and a half minute long track seems just too short for the amazing music that is on display here. Up next is the absolutely stunning, “Spell Of Entrapment”. This song has everything that I love in a synth track; it’s dark, full of emotion, tells a wordless story, has a huge retro vibe and is almost eleven and a half minutes long. Genre’s aside, this is possible one of my favorite synth songs of the year (from any genre). There is nothing I can say in this review that will give this song it’s due justice other than, every time I listen to it, I’m mentally removed from my current state of being and taken somewhere that I never remember visiting. What a huge effect from such an amazing song. The final track, “Within These Damp Walls I Found My Home”, end the album on a brooding, yet sincere note. There is depth and pain in the intonations that are played, yet I also hear a lighter side of Mystica Visio at times. It’s obvious this arrangement tells of agony and foreboding of the unknown, yet there is a certain peace with knowing the gruesome outcome. Droning synths pace the musical scales while illustrious keyboard effects take center stage with a lead arrangement that is almost deafening, but necessary for the narrative. This is the perfect track for ending this album as it sums up everything that Mystica Visio is all about.
With one foot firmly planted in Dungeon Synth and the other floating around in various other synth genres, Mystica Visio is one of those special artists that has what it takes to create something unique and special. ‘Mystica Visio’ transcends the genre spectrum and delivers a synth masterpiece and I also consider it one of my Album Of The Year contenders – yes, it’s that good. Don’t let the fact of this being a debut album fool you, as Mystica Visio creator – Gustavo Jobim – is a seasoned, synth veteran and an award winning composer (for his Original Soundtrack for the ‘Os Principiles’ movie soundtrack). If you’ve not had the opportunity to dive into ‘Mystica Visio’ yet, now would be a good time. Please support this astounding album by downloading it from the link below. I’ve also included a link to Gustavo Jobim’s solo works as well, so please give those a listen.
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Solo Works Of Gustavo Jobim: