Interstellar Space – Special Halloween Review #1: Rhäzüns – Halloween Manifesto

The time is upon us in which we annually celebrate Allhallowtide – the remembrance of the dead – otherwise known as Halloween. In the modern day, Halloween is celebrated by trick-or-treating, carving pumpkins, visiting haunted houses or attending costume parties. However, some of us prefer to press play on some of the recently released dungeon synth and/or dark ambient releases that pay tribute to this dull and chilling festive day. If you’re seeking something hair raising to listen to that will satisfy your taste of both the DS and DA genre’s, look no further than ‘Halloween Manifesto’ by Rhäzüns. A collection of two previously released EP’s, the first half is more in the dark ambient realm, whereas the second half dives into dungeon synth – the perfect combination for the types of music my website was designed for.

Album opener, “Brume” quickly manifests into a haunting soundscape as if you are floating seamlessly in the vacuum of space and then are suddenly thrusted through a dark nebula and sucked in a voracious black hole. The grim echoes of the keyboards ring from ear to ear as background noises cause a panic throughout the track. “Mire” contains classic instrument sounds as if they were peeled from an Alfred Hitchcock movie soundtrack. the ambient tones provide the perfect backdrop to combine all of the arrangements happening in this track and it makes for one creepy dirge. “Gale” contains more of an industrial ambient sound as harsh textural undertones contribute to the eerie expression of multiple droning sounds, which results in a terrifying elegy. “I” is the first dungeon synth track on the album and has both grim and upbeat parts, as well as constant drum rolls to make for a very entertaining piece. “II” contains some bizarre voice-like sounds, mixed with some off-kilter keyboard arrangements to provide more of a variety of tunes on the second half of the album. “III” is a simple keyboard arrangement played over and over again with various soundscapes and drum beats playing in the background. However, this is very affective, as it’s one of the most melodic and accessible tracks on the album. “IV” has an awesome cathedral-style keyboard part in the beginning that is complimented by a dungeon synth keyboard melody. Although it’s one of the shorter songs on the album, it’s one of my favorites and I find myself playing this one over and over again. “V” is very well written and could easily be used in a fantasy or science fiction movie soundtrack. From the steady drum beats to the various keyboard arrangements and the low-end bass pattern, there is a lot happening in this song and may take multiple listens for the listener to comprehend what all is going on. “VI” is another masterfully written piece as it contains a flute-like sound and a simple drum beat with a soft sounding guitar melody that can barely be heard. This is another stand-out track for me, as groove and riff in this song make it seem like something being played at a war dance or a festival before a great battle is about to take place.

Rhäzüns have released something very special in ‘Halloween Manifesto’ as it covers several genres of music that I love and is dedicated to on of my favorite holidays of the year. Wether you’re a fan of dark ambient or dungeon synth, I’m pretty sure that you’ll love this album as it meshes the two genres near perfectly. Show your support for this excellent artist and album and download it from the link below.

I would also like to give a special shout out to Waclaw Traier and Droned Artworks for designing and painting this wonderful album artwork. He is also the mastermind behind the artwork of The Dungeon In Deep Space and I cannot recommend his art enough. Not only are his paintings fantastic, but he is a true professional to deal with and I’m also happy to call him my friend! Check out his work at 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. While your at it, please check out my friends podcast called “The Opinionated Optimist” at one of the links below, where he reviews anything and everything. He will be releasing a special Halloween Podcast as well.


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Mausoleum Wanderer Shows No Restraint On Battle Fantasy Heavy ‘Kabal of the Ashuvrahqt’Aild: A Rasataalian Adventure’

In terms of great battles that are held in ancient fantasy lands from far, far away, there is nothing better than a good dungeon synth release to provide the soundtrack for its ethereal existence. For our protagonist in this story, a wild adventure awaits and music provided by Mausoleum Wanderer is just what is needed to motivate him for suitable action. On debut album, ‘Kabal of the Ashuvrahqt’Aild: A Rasataalian Adventure’, the listener is treated not only with the sounds of traditional dungeon synth tunes, but also battle hymns that span more than just the DS genre that are worthy of multiple listens. Although the beautiful album cover depicts a lone warrior on a hilltop in a mystical land, standing his ground in the face of adversity, he is prepared for battle, and Mausoleum Wanderer is leading the way.

On the album opener, “On A Certain Day, Under A Certain Sign”, an incoming rain shower drifts over the land as haunting – but subtle – keyboard melodies provide a light in the darkness and crash into an introduction filled with battle-like drum patterns and fantastic thematics. “Peer Through The Sage’s Eyeless Sockets” begins with an Egyptian- like keyboard arrangement and then morphs into an upbeat, island-like tune due to the use of the conga drum sounds. This works rather well with the dungeon synth sounds that compliment them. At about the halfway mark, the song goes into more of an ambient (and cinematic) feel, and then soon winds down with just a single keyboard track playing. On “Glades Betwixt Sleep And Wake”, the sounds of supernatural keys come to the forefront and paint a vivid picture of what’s to come once the battle commences. At this time, there is peace, but it’s only temporary, as the protagonist prepares his garrison for war. Up next is “Halls Scarred By Defiled Magicka” and if the album has its climactic battle-track, this is it. Soaring synthesized drums are in sequence with the rest of the arrangement as the adventure of infiltration has occurred. “Hymn’s Of Eaba’a, The Unsatiated Corruption” is a superb mix of dungeon synth tones but played in an ambient-style setting. Although this is a minimalistic track, it depicts the devastating outcome of the battle that has taken place. Next up is “A Debate Of Spell And Blade” and with its heavy cinematic overtones, sounds like a harsh victory song, yet with more battle left to play out. This is one of my favorite tracks on the album and could easily be used as a black metal intro/outro track. The final track, “Wealth Beyond Measure”, features a lovely acoustic guitar sound accompanied by lush keyboard soundscapes. More than an outro, this song signifies a new beginning to a new adventure.

Mausoleum Wanderer’s debut is a brilliant dungeon synth album full of cinematic elements, a touch of ambient, and multiple instrument sounds from around the world. The element of story telling, from the album art, song titles, and music in general are incredible and I can see many more adventures for the protagonist in this story coming soon. I highly recommend this if you’re into fantasy synth or cinematic score, so please click on the link below and support this outstanding artist.

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Chaos And Torture Prevail On Industrial-Heavy ‘Døds-Hymner’ By Destruktionsanstalt

The feeling of being trapped in an industrial wasteland brings the sense of claustrophobia, terror, and chaos and surround your every intention. It’s hard to separate reality from a vicious nightmare in the ghastly ordeal that you’ve been forced to deal with. All around are the agonizing voices of those who weren’t fortunate enough to escape the brutality of this living hell. This is the scene painted by the latest effort by Destruktionsanstalt called ‘Døds-Hymner’. Pairing hate filled death-industrial with dreadful dark ambient has culminated into a release that will give you horrific nightmares and send chills down your spine.

Album opener “Morbidus Atractio”, waste no time originating the onset of inner destruction with its deafening noise inclusion and barely-audible voice samples. It’s almost as if a demon is reeking havoc on a small community and we’re all forced to listen to the barbarous outcome. “Contangiosis” continues down the same destructive path and gives the listener a sense of confinement and dread. News samples about a deadly, contagious virus can be heard in the background, adding an extra layer of fright, as the listening pleasure becomes more intense. “Infectio” changes the pace of the album but in sound only. Although this track is more in lines of a dark ambient piece with eerie field recordings, it still provides a gruesome picture of chaos & torture that is happening all around. “Pax En Morte” is another dark ambient track that yields some heinous monotone soundscapes that can easily describe the aftermath of a diabolical killing spree. Following in the footsteps of this savage event comes the ominous track, “Psychopomp”. More cruel intentions are at play here, as ghastly voices can barely be heard throughout this calm, but gloomy track. “Nigrum Caelum” is another solid ambient track with bleak undertones and field recordings throughout. This signifies there are no survivors in the aftermath of the torturous events that have brought us to this point and a full-on apocalyptic outcome is imminent. The final track on the album, “Vale Patri Meo”, brings back the industrial edge as if the vicious cycle is starting all over again. The low-end reverberating tone is counterbalanced by a futuristic keyboard arrangement – which fits perfectly in the song – and signifies the start of somber times. As the track winds down to an end, more voice samples can be heard. It almost sounds like an end-of-days sermon but is barely audible, fitting perfectly in the mix.

Destruktionsanstalt have found a happy medium between death-industrial and dark ambient. Even though these two genres have similarities and intertwine quite often, rarely are they done in a fashion where it stands the test of time and remains relevant to both genres. ‘Døds-Hymner’ is the album that breaks those barriers and remains entertaining throughout. As a listener, I really enjoy an album when I can sit back and play the whole thing through, and visualize a story based on the music alone. This album easily contributes to all of those senses and then some. Please support this incredible artist and download this album from the link below!

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Count Shirintsu Deliver Two Powerful Mixes of Ancient Orient Inspired Dungeon Synth on ‘Welcome Home, Count Shirintsu’

Imagine being a noble king, in charge of a great kingdom where everyone prospers and respects your loyalty and commitment to the common people. Well, almost everyone. A small group of rebellious outcasts decided to thwart the king of his throne and forced him into complete exile. After a very ceremonious – but fabricated – funeral, the kingdom fell under new rule. However, a loyalist of the king realized the betrayal and set out to find the exiled king to help him exact vengeance and regain the kingdom that was wrongfully taken from him. Welcome to the world of Count Shirintsu and prepare to be bedazzled on the debut album, ‘Welcome Home, Count Shirintsu’, that tells the tale of his courageous, yet vengeful homecoming. To provide multiple musical perspectives of this wondrous adventure, a Dark Mix was released in June and then a Light Mix was released in August. I will examine both of these releases and prepare a viewpoint on how they relate to Count Shirintsu’s monumental homecoming.

The first of the two mix albums that were released was the Dark Mix, and the album opener, “Welcome Home, Count Shirintsu” starts with a ceremonious ambient tone with howling winds in the background. As additional keys crescendo in the mix, oriental style patterns are revealed before a short video game audio sequence is brought into the mix, adding an extra touch of creativity. Samples of samurai-like battle cries can be heard throughout, as Count Shirintsu himself, prepares for battle to reclaim his kingdom. “Fire Of Thinking” starts with a fiery field recording, layered with a haunting keyboard melody that signifies the dawn of battle. As this calm-before-the-storm piece reaches a close, Count Shirintsu is ready and motivated to finally lead his people once again. “Kyoden” is a track named after the loyal friend that learned of the evil wrong doings of Count Shirintsu, tracked him down and helped him on his quest for retribution. Although a short track, it serves as an introduction to this essential character to the story and contains some evening time field recordings with a short keyboard piece blended in. “Akashiga Castle” is a more traditional Dungeon Synth style recording with some excellent, stand-out arrangements embedded in the middle. I imagine it’s night time and Count Shirintsu and Kyoden have now entered the kingdom and have plans to overtake the castle and the cruel occupants that inhabit it. “Exile” begins with a grim ambient tone and is soon followed by an eerie keyboard provision, where the tone fades in and out with the pre-adjusted volume. Count Shirintsu is now recollecting the past where he was wrongfully exiled and it provides much motivation to continue his mission of restoring newfound peace throughout the kingdom, one again being under his rule. The final track on the album, “Restoration” can be summed up as the soundtrack for the impending battle to oust the wrongdoers of the kingdom. A simple drum track provides a smooth pace for this picturesque traditional Dungeon Synth track as Count Shirintsu once again takes the throne of his kingdom. The final few minutes of the track provide a beautiful ambient soundscape that resembles peace throughout the commonwealth.

For the Light Mix of the album, we have the same great story and the same excellent songs but some of the keyboard parts throughout the album have been brought to the light (sort of speak), by enriching the sound and providing an extra layer of energy to enhance the sound quality. This is most noticeable on songs such as “Fire Of Thinking”, “Kyoden” and “Akashiga Castle”. That’s not to say that every track hasn’t benefitted from the updated sound edit, but these are the most distinct as far as the value of production is concerned.

‘Welcome Home, Count Shirintsu’ (both mixes) is a grandiose album full of audio surprises that range from tradition and modern dungeon synth to ambient soundscapes, enriched with a plethora of sounds – including 8-bit video game jingles. This album also has a wonderful storyline that I hope will continue on proceeding albums. Show your support for Count Shirintsu and download one of these (or both) amazing albums at the link below.

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Harrogat Prepare Cold And Confined Works Through The Besieged Portal Known As ‘Sigillum’

In the world of Dark Ambient music, listeners are taken on a whirlwind of imaginative journeys through the mind, where most of the action takes place in post-apocalyptic worlds, where humans are living off of the land and fighting for survival. The long droning soundscapes match the harrowing travels across desolate lands, looking for other survivors in order to make peaceful communities that will flourish in numbers. Although not always meant to have a positive outcome, Dark Ambient music gives the listener a means to cope with these situations in a seemingly virtual environment. However, for Harrogat’s latest release, ‘Sigillum’, I find myself drifting to a futuristic world, once ran by rabid machines, but suddenly abandoned, yet feared for an imminent return for a final invasion. Humans now seek shelter anywhere they can find before this total devastation occurs. The world is a cold, dark and quiet place. A small group of survivors stumble upon a cathedral with a mesmerizing seal (Sigillum) on the door and enter with the hopes to find solace. However, once they enter, they sense a demise of another kind.

‘Sigillum’ is quite short for a Dark Ambient album, clocking in at just thirty three minutes over six parts. However, these parts flow as a single track and provide a complete soundtrack for any chilling story the imagination can come up with. “I” begins with haunting keyboards that flow between deep sounds and lush drones, as if the worlds horizon is constantly colliding between daybreak and darkness. However, it’s apparent that darkness wins this encounter, as by the end of the track, the lush tones give way to destructive soundscapes. “II” is a short track, filled with beautiful keyboard tones that find the protagonist, peacefully walking the halls of the seemingly abandoned cathedral, in search of life, or at least a place to call home temporarily. However, as “II” fades into “III”, it is apparent that something is wrong and the group of survivors are not alone. There is another entity inside the cathedral, stalking them, without making the slightest sound. The music drones quietly and deeply at first and then adds layers of deep sounds, giving it an evil tone. As the sound thickens and grows deeper, the group of survivors come to a door with the same seal as on the outer door of the cathedral. As they inspect the seal, they realize, it’s an ancient artifact of calamity that represents malicious intent. “IV” has an eerie vibe and the drones dissolve in bizarre fashion as high-pitched soundscapes counteract the deep bass tones. As the group continues to inspect the seal, the door suddenly opens. It’s pitch black on the other side. Do they dare enter? As the distant drones of “V” make their way to the forefront, the group of survivors enter the dark room slowly and quietly. This ghostly track provides a path of sheer terror, as it contains a supernatural vibe and a horrific structure for the consistent flow of ethereal keyboard patterns. The door shuts behind the group of survivors and the room becomes pitch black. They crowd close together in agonizing terror as their final doom awaits them. The final track on the album, “VI” bestows a bleak, radiant sound that resonates from side to side, as the group of survivors suddenly sees a quick flash of light and then they all fall to the floor. The rabid machine had stalked and preyed upon them, and annihilated them all with a single shot. The time for the machines to reclaim their land is now.

Harrogat has provided a wonderful platform for the listener to let loose with their imagination. “Sigillum’ not only excels as a masterful Dark Ambient album, it does so while relying more on minimalism than including a lot of external soundscapes and field recordings. Albums like this make listening to Dark Ambient music such an enjoyable experience. If you want to lose your mind and soul in another world and be rewarded with an excellent musical journey, then download Sigillum from the link below and support this inspiring artist!

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Blue-Ghost Reminisce The Atrocities Of WWII Naval Conflicts With ‘Coral Sea’ Debut

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word dungeon as “a dark usually underground prison or vault.” In essence, Dungeon Synth is music that we’ve portrayed (or imagined) to be played in these catacombs of evil, that have have become the eternal holding pits for the many adversaries of the kings court. In the modern age of Dungeon Synth, subject matter has transcended the depths of the ancient medieval kingdom and have taken on many contemporary forms. From drifting in endless space, to modern history atrocities, the ever expanding means to tell a story with this wonderful music style continues to amaze and grow with renewed excitement with each release. That brings us to Blue-Ghost, a modern spin on classic DS that tackles the unique subject matter of WWII Naval conflicts. ‘Coral Sea’ is a particular collection of short, depressive hymns that take over the imagination and puts the listener at the helm of these doomed WWII vessels, where the sailors roam the decks and prepare for battle. In a way, not knowing their impending fate, these war vessels could be considered modern day dungeons – a fitting description for the music that portrays the action that lay ahead.

The opening track, “Prologue – Before Battle Of The Coral Sea” is a melancholic introduction that takes us back to 1942 with its scratchy undertone and dual layer keyboard sound. The perfect introduction as the fleet prepares for battle. “5th Carrier Division” has some very sea worthy sound recordings, depicting live rounds being fired, and single-engine planes flying overhead. The spooky keys are very dungeon synth worthy and equally portray devastation on this oceanic battlefield. “Auspicious Phoenix” is a chilling piece that sets a grim tone as if all has been lost and man-overboard has been called out by the ships captain in order to save lives before the imminent sinking of the ship. This is my favorite track on the album and truly defines what this project is all about in the short span of just over two minutes. The next track, “Auspicious Crane” is a harsher track that starts with an alarm sound – a warning of sorts – depicting another inevitable attack. Destruction is all around and there is no escaping the enemy. Suddenly the warning sound stops, but does the battle continue? “Lady Lex” is another short track, written to pay homage to the USS Lexington, which was damaged heavily in battle by a Japanese carrier attack. The keys in this track are beautifully harmonized and tasteful without being overbearing. “The Fighting Lady” again features some seaworthy field recordings and portray an image of the Lady Lex standing her ground and fighting off the enemy to the best of her ability. I love how the keys are mixed loud, giving an echoing affect, providing a damaging sound just as in the battle scene that it’s portraying. The albums final track, “Epilogue – Coral Sea”, exquisitely sums up the five day battle known as the Battle of the Coral Sea, in which both sides lay claim to victory. Although another short track, it powerfully suggests peace and harmony through destruction.

Although ‘Coral Sea’ has only seven tracks, and about eleven minutes of music, this is an excellent debut release from Blue-Ghost. With the admiral music and astonishingly matching field recordings, this is a well thought out conceptual release that is perfect in many ways. I hope that Blue-Ghost continues with these types of releases, concentrating on historical subject matter, as it is very unique and affective. Please show your support for this artist by downloading ‘Coral Sea’ at the link below.

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Hiemis Contributes To The Worlds Ominous Demise with Bold ‘Hyperborea’ Requiems

We can easily associate Dark Ambient with post-apocalyptic times. Seeing that the cold, stale future of an industrial wasteland and the anarchical takeover of society can parallel the droning soundscapes that many DA artist portray them to be, it’s easy to make that comparison. Although not all dark ambient is notorious for this theme, it has become a staple thought process of the listeners imagination when zoning out to a good album, especially when the music is enhanced by a superb album cover and long tracks to set and maintain a certain mood. However, on the latest recording by Hiemis called, ‘Hyperborea’, a dismal picture of the horrors of war, personal torment, and post-traumatic anxiety is smeared across six monumental tracks. From eerie soundscapes and choir-like chants, to winter cold field recordings, these and other evil sounds augment the minimalistic low-end drones to create a recipe for an integrated and depressive audio assault.

“Yikilith” commences the attack right away with a bizarre opening keyboard section, followed by some quiet yet monstrous tones just as the droning begins. Choir-like singing – although inaudible – can be heard in the background, adding an additional frightening layer to the mix. The next track, “Urbo-Sathla” contains beautiful female chanting vocals in a few spots, giving this track a really creepy vibe. I can imagine a troop of soldiers finding solace in an abandoned cathedral, right after a hard fought battle, and unsure of their potential rescue from the situation at hand. This is probably my favorite track on the album and it could easily be on the soundtrack of a top-budget horror movie. “Tsathoggua” is a shorter track but has a consistent, droning sound throughout with added gloomy keys that provide a sense of urgency. The following track, “Voormithadreth” is a twelve and a half minute long polar ambient hymn that gives the listener the feeling of solitude, or even anxiety from the lack of knowledge of not knowing what is to become. Throughout the track, random noises emerge, making the listener more anxious of the unknown. “Polarion” has almost a dark jazz feel to it, as if chamber music meets chilling lounge music with added warm drones in the background. The trance-like sounds almost give this song a depressive feel, making it one of the darker songs on the album. The albums final track, “Yhoundeh”, is another short track containing a simple, yet affective dark drone, with some looping atmospherics layered over the top. The message that this track conveys to the listener is that although the battle is over, there is no winner. The damaging affects of war has affected both sides and recovery for all is now necessary.

The Noctivigant Collective label out of New Mexico is home to some of the worlds most innovative artists when it comes to dark ambient and experimental music. Releasing “Hyperborea” on their label is a collaborative effort that I hope will continue for many more albums to come. Hiemis is a very talented artist that has managed to keep the ideas fresh and the overall theme of “Hyperborea” in a league of its own. Show your support by downloading the album from the link below.

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