One of Dungeon Synth’s premiere acts, Guild Of Lore, has culminated quite the following of the past few years. Captivating listeners with tales that span the cold corners of Winterstead to the cultivated lands of Bohollow, Guild Of Lore has amassed an impressive catalog of memorable tunes that inspire, thrill and amaze audiences of multiple genres. Those intonations have now been taken to a new level as the galvanizing releases, ‘Portals Volume I’ and ‘Portals Volume II’, pull together a group of astounding artists to breath new life into some of these Guild Of Lore relics. In this review, I will take a closer look at the ‘Portals Volume I’ album and examine the works that were compiled for this musical adventure.
What better way to start off this journey than with Guild Of Lore, providing an astounding alternate take on “Covenant And Conquest (Paarthurnax Wisdom Mix)”. Impeccable drum beats, soothing ambience and endless melodies assimilate in excessive sound quality and quantity and the end results are tranquil to say the least. “Winter Riders” by Phranick develops into an alternative folk experience with haunting vocal melodies with a retrospective production quality. Never loosing sight of the Dungeon Synth origins of this track, they capture the essence of other genres with supreme transparency. “Pumpkin Pickers Festival” by Fen Walker is a groovy piece that gathers hints of Crypt Hop, whimsical instrumentation and alluring orchestrations. Setting a spectacular mid-paced vibe throughout this track, you’ll be nodding your head in amazement and fascination as multiple music styles continue to mesh together. “A Wondering Path” by Malfet commences with an intrusive drone and inaudible narrations, while a variety of soundscapes paint a vivid, winter scene. This track morphs from ghostly drones to somber melodies and continues to maintain a consoling balance for the duration. “Mouth Of The Murky Abyss” by Lurk is my favorite track of Volume I and embodies every single quality of an unparalleled Crypt Hop song. From catchy melodies, groovy synth patterns and insane drum beats, this one demands multiple replays and epitomizes the goal of this remix album in the first place. Next up is another Guild Of Lore outing in the way of “Peace Be With You (Mighty 8-Bit Hero Mix)”. Addictive, mellow and serene, this track has a calming effect but also has a few surprises to keep it especially interesting. The echoes of the guitar track works well with the 8-bit effects and together, provide a gentle atmosphere of Crossover Dungeon Synth. Next is multi-genre/instrumentalist Francis Roberts with the atmospheric rendition of “Descending Drifter Valley”. Showcasing an astounding ethereal feel, Francis makes this track his own with masterful production, stellar percussion integration and a knack for bringing every instrument and soundscapes to the forefront in a cinematic fashion. “The Long Lodge” by Gondar is a grim, theatrical affair with a soundtrack-like quality. A fascinating blend of ambient tones and Dungeon Synth arrangements, this track is laid back and meant for relaxation more than battle-ready warriors. “Voice Of The Mountain” by Cascadian Lightfall is an elegant composition that combines those wonderoud Guild Of Lore styled field recordings with upbeat percussion and synth leads, essentially turning this delicate track into a buoyant recording. The final track on this album is “Isle Of Mer” by Vandalorum. This track is simply amazing as it favorably modifies the astounding original into a Crypt Hop beast. With gracious synths and atmospherics, the perplexing drum beats play a pivotal role in spicing this one up. A perfect way to end this first volume of prodigious remix tracks.
For ‘Portals Volume I’, Guild Of Lore has done an an unbelievable job at choosing top-rate Dungeon Synth and Crypt Hop artists to participate in this project. The song arrangements and layout are perfect as the listener is made familiar with a wide array of genres and sounds. From upbeat to mellow and jazzy to cinematic, these tracks contain it all and there isn’t a single weakness contained within. If you’re a fan of Guild Of Lore, Dungeon Synth, Crypt Hop and anything in between, don’t miss out on this breathtaking album.
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