Mimico Constructs Mesmerizing & Somber Synth Melodies On Haunting Debut EP called, ‘It’s Dead’

The moment that initial sound effect blared through my headphones, I knew I was about to be treated with some inspirational Dungeon Synth music. Sometimes, it’s hard to tell – especially right away – if the quality of the music is desirable enough to grab the listeners attention and provide the platform needed to whisk them away into a fantasy world, where they can drift into the artists’ craft and forge their own story. That’s exactly the case for the debut EP by Mimico titles, ‘It’s Dead’. These four, though-provoking tracks of medieval themed Dungeon Synth greatness are filled with galloping arrangements, barbaric effects and all the sounds you’d expect to hear if you were worthy enough to experience life back in the Middle Ages.

The enthralling gray noise that start “Abyssal”, will leave the listener in a bleak, desolate pit of despair as it continues to play in the background while soothing, classic sounds distract from its horrific ramifications. String-like melodies form a beautiful tone around the darkness and soothing keyboard sounds drift into the mix as well. As heavy, thumping percussive beats make a bold statement, a gathering of harmonious instruments create a lavish sound with the effects of clashing swords in the background. There are many sides to this wondrous track and given the title’s deep, subjective meaning, it surprisingly light and atmospheric as well. “The Lost Sinner” is a percussion heavy track that has multiple layers of synths with varying instrumental noises. While the drums provide a vigorous pace, the synths illuminate a dulcet of ancient sounds that would eagerly motivate battle-hungry warriors as they prepare for an invasion on an enemy kingdom. “For The Throne” starts with simple, yet distorted keys, then a plethora of other tones are introduced in a fascinating arrangement. From clean sounding keys, bells, and classical instrument arrangements, this track runs through the gamut of prepared intonations to bring forth a masterful effort. The final track on this EP, “It’s Dead” rightfully begins with a cathedral-like organ arrangement and subtlety introduces distorted tones to add extra layer of grit to this hypnotic ending.

Mimico has release an excellent recording in the valiant debut EP, ‘It’s Dead’. Containing four spellbinding tracks of medieval themed Dungeon Synth with great use of percussions, sound effects and multi-layers of synths, these songs range from battle-laden hymns to soothing, theatrical arrangements and are sure to please fans of both Dungeon Synth and Classical music with a soundtrack quality. Please support this amazing artist and download ‘It’s Dead’ from the link below.

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Links:

https://mimicods.bandcamp.com

Scott Lawlor’s Conceptual Dark Ambient Thriller, ‘But Everybody’s Gone, So I Will Never Know’, Is Not Far From Becoming Reality

Space exploration has to be one of the most daunting and exhaustive tasks ever faced by humans. From working in zero gravity, claustrophobic-like conditions, astronauts face many physical and mental constraints that only a few percent of the population are privileged to encounter. Other than a couple of audio and video transmissions, astronauts are segregated from all of society and communications with friends and loved ones are atypical. ‘But Everybody’s Gone, So I Will Never Know’, is a conceptual, dark ambient odyssey about a lone astronaut finishing up his mission on an orbiting space station before heading back to Earth. However, garbled transmissions over the airwaves have indicated the rise of a global pandemic, in which the Earth’s population is suddenly succumbing to a deadly virus. Although it’s too late to turn back now, voices across the airwaves are telling the astronaut not to return to Earth. This story tells of his harrowing adventure as he returns to the unknown.

“Pandemic Unfolding” begins with space station communication transmissions accompanied by eccentric samples and effects. As this coalescence of interstellar sounds begins to fade, deep drones and various news transmissions paint a vivid picture of what’s to come. The seriousness of the situation is evident as “Departure From Space Station Omega” blasts off with more compelling drones that sound abysmal and gravely hollow. Final audio transmissions can be heard as the astronaut prepares to depart for Earth on a doomed trajectory that is not yet known. Back on Earth, the pandemic is in full eruption as “Shelter In Place” is the order given to everyone in a last ditch effort to stop the spread of the rapidly expanding virus. Containing more ominous drones and narrative samples, this track is a vivid reminder of a stark reality that is a part of real-world current events in 2020. The minimalist approach makes this seem even more disturbing than usual. The near sixteen and a half minute long “Quarantined In Space” is one of the highlights of the album as the massive drone tone sounds as if the astronaut is orbiting the Earth, waiting for that final transmission from Mission Control, verifying that it’s safe to pierce the atmosphere and navigate to the landing zone. However, that authorization doesn’t take place and the astronaut feels as if this wasted time is like being quarantined in a void. Eerie voice narrations haunt the protagonist has he anticipates his own arrival back on planet Earth. About halfway through the track, the drones change in pitch, as if circumnavigating the globe has brought the astronaut back to sun lit conditions. Peculiar sound effects add a sense of terror to this track as this doomed mission keeps getting worse. Back on Earth, panic mode has set in as “World Closing Down” sets the scene for the new normal through the globe. From teleworking, lack of supplies, social distancing, permanently closed businesses, home-schooling and a disparity of local governments, the pandemic has taken over society and has set new standards. Minimal drones with bleak yet soothing tones incite peace and calmness, but the narrative samples provoke a sense of anxiety and panic. “Approaching A Condemned World” is full of garbled transmissions and placid drones that provides a safe path for the astronaut to finally come back home – so we think. Unsure if the transmissions are giving the authorization to return to Earth, the astronaut makes a command decision – based on his low return provisions – and starts the trajectory toward home. The albums title track, “But Everybody’s Gone, So I Will Never Know” features some manic narrations with the help of a miniport speech synthesizer. In the background, a thumping bass symbolizes an erratic heartbeat as the horrors unfold before the returning astronauts eyes. The albums final track, “Empty World” combines the menacing sound of a deep space drone and the peacefulness of piano keys. Un-acknowledged upon his return from Space, the astronaut departs his spacecraft and finds a world much different from the one he left behind. The piano melody in this track symbolizes the beginning of a state of depression that he starts to feel as he soon realizes that he stands alone in completing his mission. A very dark, but excellent way to end this amazing album.

Scott Lawlor is a jack-of-all-trades musician that excels with themed ambient releases. Whether it’s light ambient, dark ambient, noise, experimental, or piano improvisations, Scott puts his imagination to work in order to release some of the best ambient music around. ‘But Everybody’s Gone, So I Will Never Know’ is no exception, as it’s one of Scott’s darkest and most ambitious releases to date. Fans of space themed dark ambient will love this album and I can not recommend this one enough. Please show your support and download this grimly amazing album from the link below – and check out Scott’s massive back catalog while your at it.

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Links:

https://scottlawlor.bandcamp.com/album/but-everybodys-gone-so-i-will-never-know

Criptadel Takes Us On A Mythical Adventure Into The Precarious Part Of The Village Known As ‘The Goblin Market’

Goblins are grotesque and fabled creatures that are known to do malicious harm to humans. Imagine a market place in a chimerical village completely dedicated to these diabolical beings. I can conceptualize a forlorn situation for any outsider as goblins would completely terrorize anyone that visited this sacred location. Filled with mischievous activity and crude actions that are borderline malevolent, but at the same time, there is a sense of whimsical solidarity in this close nit area. Criptadel supplies an amazing soundtrack to amplify the necessity of this heinous village district simply titled, ‘The Goblin Market’.

Album opener, “The Goblin Market”, sets an abhorrent scene as various soundscapes and inaudible narrations provide an unhinged welcoming to the market place. After a quick, harsh black metal-esque vocalization, the Market opens for business as glorious & melodic synths – along with compounding percussions – provide an addictive jingle to display a sort of pleasantry for those that wish to conduct business in the Market. “Trolls Atelier” begins with a bold synth tone and the builds upon layers of clean synth sounds. A drum beat soon kicks in, playing a fast-paced anthem that is both cheerful and anxious. At about the halfway mark, the music gives way to a drone sound with a grotesque narration before picking back up with a more discordant melody. “The Coal Shop” plays a galloping harmony that features a soothing combination of beats and buoyant synths. After a few minutes of cheery tones, the song takes a more cinematic approach and changes things up a bit. However, it soon gets back to the original melody and closes out the track this way. “Dragon Spa” starts with a beautiful, classical moment and then dives right into a traditional dungeon synth part, along with some inaudible narrations that sounds like a old goblin explaining the details of his store. The last half of this song has a real soothing vibe, complimented with some middle-eastern beats. “No Sales” is a delicate little piece that unifies deeper synth chords with blissful overtones. There are several solo synth moments that provides a musical consonance throughout the track. “Frog Store” properly begins with the sounds of multiple croaking frogs, as the music crescendos into a bright mix of clapping percussion and richly layered synth effects. Deep horn sound effects are featured on this track and fit in perfectly with the theme that this track is portraying. “The Mush Room” is a short interlude that features someone walking up to a door and then knocking on it. Afterwards, creepy and inaudible narrations take over with some hallucinogenic-type laughter at the very end. “The Trasgo Inn” ignites things with a fiery field recording that molds into a hypnotic synth tune that strides alone with a jubilant beat and robust keyboard sound in the background. The track picks up the pace toward the end and fades out on a dashing note. “Cirque Cadavre” begins with a quirky keyboard chop as if you’ve stepped foot in a bizarre circus tent and madness of sorts is happening all around you. However, intricate synth melodies are interwoven to make this an intriguing, yet outlandish listening adventure. The final track on the album, “Ghoul Funeral Service (feat. Uxor Mortis)” is an eight minute finale of what all can be expected once you step foot inside ‘The Goblin Market’. From the slightly twisted intro and grand cathedral organs to the slower theatrical parts, this epic track completes this unique album in the most fascinating way.

‘The Goblin Market’ is an intriguing, conceptual Dungeon Synth album that is sure to entertain die-hard fans of the genre from start to finish. Not only is the music astonishing, but the production is pristine and the additional field recordings and vocal narrations are all done in good taste. I highly recommend checking out this album as it’s definitely a contender for Dungeon Synth album of the year. Please support this unbelievable artist and recording by downloading it from the link below.

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Links:

https://criptadel.bandcamp.com/album/the-goblin-market

Common Eider, King Eider, And Cober Ord Collaborate On Mind-Blowing, Ritualistic Soundscape Called, ‘Palimpseste’

If you think that it doesn’t get any more desolate than the sounds of brooding drones and the menacing soundscapes of dark ambient, then think again. Add in the natural textures of ritualistic ambience and horrific field recordings and the nightmares that you can only imagine will come to life. This is the haunting sensation the listener will undergo while listening to the jolting collaboration between Common Eider, King Eider & Cober Ord called, ‘Palimpseste’. With these five tracks clocking in at around forty seven minutes long, the listener should be prepared for a darkened, ritualized experience filled with essential tones, frightening whispers and bleak drones that are not only mesmerizing but intensely thought-provoking as well.

“Tombs – Earth’s Sacred Womb” begins with a deep, rumbling drone with the sound of soft, dripping rain. There is a slight commotion going on in the foreground and as it stops, ritualistic tones commence. Distant screams can be heard in the background as Tibetan-like chanting start a ritualistic process. Solid instrumentation assists the ritual, like the rumblings of an older model propelled aircraft. Additional instruments are introduced as well, as malevolent sounding whispers signify that the ritual is well in progress. After some harsher tones, the final few minutes consists of a heavy rainfall field recording and the dissipating sounds of wretched vocals and various drones. “Reclamation Of Water” is another ceremonial process that features layered chanting and nightmarish whispers. The assorted tones and field recording heard in the background add to the viscous tone of this recording and it draws the listener in as if they are participating in the reverent events. “Offerings A Wound” contains more of a normal styled vocalization than the chanting heard on the previous tracks. The thumping bass track adds a layer of random assault sounds to the mix, creating a dark and tribal-like offering. The use of assorted ceremonial instruments maintains the integrity of the spiritual aspect of the overall recording. “Calling To The Feral Ones” uses acoustic instruments to create a liturgical vibe, as if ancient cultures were calling upon their deities for guidance. The use of hollow whispers makes this a really creepy track and I can honestly say there probably aren’t many other recordings quite like this out today. The final track on the album, “As The Spirits Watch Over Us, We Reciprocate”, is one final ceremonial experience that combines all of the strengths from the previous tracks. From the deafening whispers, emotional drones, diversified ritualistic instruments, and acoustic sounds, this track is the perfect grand finale for this spectacular recording.

‘Palimpseste’ is not your typical dark ambient recording, it’s a ceremonial experience that demands the listeners time and attention in order to fully appreciate the magnitude of what all is going on. It’s easy to tell that Common Eider, King Eider and Cober Ord dedicated a lot of time and effort to make this a solid listening experience. I highly recommend this for fans of ritualistic dark ambient and heavy use of field recordings. Please support this incredible release by downloading it from the link below.

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Links:

https://cycliclaw.bandcamp.com/album/palimpseste

Vää’s ‘Ur Sägen Och Hävd’ Is The Equivalence Of An Award-Winning Motion Picture Score

Like many other genres of music, Dungeon Synth has many facets when it comes to styles, production type and songwriting. Whether it’s a lo-fi synth track recorded straight to cassette tape or top-of-the-line equipment used for large-scale productions, I love it all. As long as the songwriting is good, I can get with any style and tolerate any production method. Vää is more like the later, with beautifully engineered music and crystal clear production quality, and the output on debut album ‘Ur Sägen Och Hävd’, is of cinematic quality and could easily be a soundtrack for a medieval fantasy-based movie.

The grandiose synth introduction on “Swarthnor” will immediately grab the listeners attention and as soon as the bass pads make their presence known, the real feast begins. Right from the beginning, the theatrical nature becomes a dominant fixture, not only in this track, but with the rest of the album as well. Swaying through adventurous parts, acoustic passages and bombastic percussive arrangements, this is an excellent lead off song. “Land Ur Havet” begins with an austere acoustical score before massive synths fill the air with such allure and clarity, that you’ll find yourself drifting off to a medieval time, where ancient kingdoms, forest folklore and dragons existed. The classical elements on this track really stick out and are very well written. “Vittradans” starts with a charming and melodic arrangement that slowly grows into a majestic adventure. The percussion elements really stick out in this tracks and are performed flawlessly with the rest of the music. “Vääflickan” is another melodic, yet adventurous piece that easily rivals any soundtrack score of this nature today! Probably my favorite song on the album, it has a slightly dark undertone but is arranged in a magnificent way, in that it ebb and flows like a montage scene from a fantasy film. The depths and layers of synths are magnificent and the clear production gives each of them the glory they deserve in this track. “Ur Hävd Och Sägen” is another large-scale arrangement with percussion and layered keys that sound extremely effervescent in the beginning before slowing down into a middle acoustic passage. The track finishes strong with flute sound, backed by strong keyboard arrangements and additional percussion. “Rå” begins with a delicate string arrangement that puts the listener right in the heart of the Middle Ages. The charming sounds promote peace and prosperity throughout the kingdom and happiness and friendship is at an all time high between the commonwealth and royalty. The string and flute duet in this track are amazing and really stick out as one of the albums finest moments. The final track on the album, “Drottning”, is an awe-inspiring score that signifies the glory of medieval times as well as the luxuries and success of a thriving kingdom. Peaceful synths and harmonious drum patterns play a key part in the tranquil sounds of this track and I can’t think of a better way to end this album.

Vää have produced one of the most exuberant albums I’ve ever heard from the Dungeon Synth genre. Although I love me some lo-fi, crusty dungeon synth, this album is absolutely amazing. ‘Ur Sägen Och Hävd’ is one of the cleanest sounding, top-quality produced albums I’ve heard from this genre. If you like Dungeon Synth with a cinematic quality to it, look no further than Vää. I can’t recommend this album enough so download it from the link below.

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Links:

https://vaamusiikki.bandcamp.com

Dark Ambient & Dungeon Synth Recordings To Enthrall You During The Global Pandemic Continuation

Back in March, I published a playlist of Dark Ambient & Dungeon Synth recordings to help tide you over during the shelter-in-place order. Well – here we are – almost two months later and not much has changed, with the exception of a lot of great music being released. So, whether or not you’re still stuck at home, or have the ability to venture out, please enjoy this personal playlist of Dark Ambient and Dungeon Synth recordings that have been keeping me entertained lately! This is all great stuff so please support these artist and download an album or two!

Dark Ambient Playlist:

https://melanohelios.bandcamp.com/album/the-psychonaut
https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/eternal-drift
https://blackweald.bandcamp.com/album/leonov-2
https://noctilucant.bandcamp.com/album/the-autumnal-end-2
https://roberteggplant.bandcamp.com/album/earth-sinking-into-water

Dungeon Synth Playlist:

https://varkana.bandcamp.com/album/cosmic-terror
https://lordorots.bandcamp.com/album/latzineko-erresumaren-itzulera
https://namelessking.bandcamp.com/album/downfall-of-drangleic
https://wyrmlodge.bandcamp.com/album/the-short-but-touching-tale-of-slime-golem
https://serpentsswordrecords.bandcamp.com/album/perpetual-cruelty

There Is A Dark World Order Evolving On New Risen Throne’s Latest Magnum Opus, ‘The Outside’

The unknowing of what the future holds is like an obsession. Whether we continue to advance in technology and expand physiological boundaries or descend into a foreseen doomed planet, the outcome is an exotic mystery. Given the current state of the world with the COVID-19 pandemic upon us, a futuristic apocalypse is not so far fetched. With millions of people becoming effected, hundreds of thousands of people dying, supplies running low, economies crumbling before our very eyes, we are in the early stages of a possible apocalypse. This is the perfect environment for Dark Ambient music, as this is the setting that is conceptualized the most. Imagine a full-on decimation of the world with no means of viable recovery and after several centuries, a group of survivors begin to investigate the cause of this total annihilation. That is the concept behind the latest cinematic Dark Ambient adventure by New Risen Throne called, ‘The Outside’. Containing seven monumental tracks of bleak and gloomy Dark Ambient, New Risen Throne sets the bar for theatrical and atmospheric music. As a bonus, there are an additional eight tracks of older New Risen Throne material that has been deconstructed by some of the most reputable artists in the Dark Ambient genre.

“The Outside (I)” sets the grisly scene many centuries in the future as profound and despotic drones create a slow, dark grind of unknown discovery. As the tone increases, narrative samples of someone appearing to be in distress adds a horrific texture to the track. Multi-layers of synths and pads resonate evil intonations as malevolent discoveries are imminent. “What We Have Seen” is like a nightmare all in itself, starting calm and increasingly adding soundscapes that will agitate the dead. The background, hollow drones play a key role in this track as they are not overly aggressive, but make their presence felt in a frightening way. About halfway through, a discordant riff can be heard, boasting the despondency of the emotional landscape that is being portrayed. Additional guitar tones and vocalizations add layers of empathy and dread which sends this blistering track into realms of the unknown. “The Outside (II)” begins with alluring drones that slowly increase with the introduction of industrial soundscapes. As the protagonists in this story rummage through the wastelands in search of the answer that ended the world centuries before, one has to wonder if they are fearful for what may be found. As thunderous percussions hammer out a distorted beat in a rhythmic pattern with manufactured sounds, the intensity grows, creating an anxious feeling. This combination comes to an abrupt halt as bizarre and inhuman vocalizations are heard explaining a possible truth of the past. “Corrosion Of Pillars” wastes no time sounding the alarm as abysmal siren-like tones emit a harsh warning. Creepy drones are brought forth along with booming percussive beats, making it obvious that the answer may soon be found and an unsettling reveal is about to be told. “The Outside (III)” continues with the industrial influenced Dark Ambience with mechanized soundscapes and eerie atmospherics layered with haunting drones. “The Outside (IV)” begins with various field recordings and echoed effects, as the climactic ending to the story begins to unfold. The sinister vibe on this track is what nightmares are made of and may also result in a negative ending while the search for answers comes to a close. “Birth Of A New Disciple (II)” is the malevolent conclusion to ‘The Outside’ and a multitude of profound sounds and textures are brought together as a new world order is in formation. From tribal drum sounds, choir-like chants to hollow drones and ritualistic undertones, this track has all of the key elements to become a soundtrack for the post-apocalyptic dawn of a new civilization.

It doesn’t stop here though. Although ‘The Outside’ is the complete package for a Dark Ambient masterpiece, the bonus material is equally as mesmerizing. These eight additional tracks are previously recorded material that have been remixed by some of the top Dark Ambient Artists in the genre to include: Sysselmann, Visions, Taphephobia, Phantom Ship, Vestigial, Apocryphos, TeHÔM, as well as New Risen Throne. If I had to pick a few stand out tracks amongst these, they would be, “A Vision Of The Hidden (Sysselmann Remix)”, “Sigh Of The Soul (Apocryphos Remix)” and “Withered Regions (TeHÔM Remix)”.

Without a doubt, New Risen Throne is one of the leading Dark Ambient artists in the world. By adding a relevant, theatrical story line to his cinematic brand of music, the creativity of his craft sets him miles apart from most others in the genre. ‘The Outside’ is a visionary album and one of the best Dark Ambient recordings of this year so far. I highly recommend checking out this extremely addictive album, so show your support by downloading it from the link below.

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Links:

https://cycliclaw.bandcamp.com/album/the-outside

Vociferous Soundscapes Reach New Heights on Avant-Garde Gem, ‘Ab Antiquo’ By Paolo Rocchi

Over the past few years, Dungeon Synth has taken off and sprouted into many wondrous directions. I stay amazed at the amount of influence it has created across so many platforms, and although it may branch off into regions that are far-fetched from the original idea, one can always tell it’s influence by the harrowing compositions that remain dark and uncanny. That definitely holds true for the masterful works of Paolo Rocchi, as he uses the Dungeon Synth foundation to create leading-edge experimental music. By combining eerie synthesizer tones and electric guitar manipulations, Paolo Rocchi conceives a sound of his own on debut recording, ‘Ab Antiquo’.

Self-titled lead off track, “Ab Antiquo”, submerges the listener in an endless dry desert with the blistering sun glaring down on a battered and dehydrated soul. As the high-pitched shrills of a synth fades in, layered electric guitar riffs soon take command and set the scene with a sense of glimmering light and emotional hope. There are touches of melody throughout that you just don’t want to end, and the fast picking toward the end of the track is the perfect climactic conclusion. “Etiam Periere Ruinae” begins with a distant rainstorm field recording, followed by a beautiful piano melody. A haunting synth tone peacefully drifts in to set a somber and atmospheric outlook. The music and the rain seem to get louder simultaneously, creating an emotional setting that may have a captivating outcome, but they both slowly fade off into the distance, leaving the notes of a piano to fill the impassioned void. “Lupus” is a short track filled with guitar manipulations and effects. Although, it seems as a simple interlude, it’s a relative track for this album and fits in perfectly. “In Fabula” is a creative synth wave piece with random sound bits that dart in and out of the main music pattern like a space ship dodging meteors in deep space. At times, the music gains and eases volume control as if someone is loosing consciousness during a violent cosmic flight. The overall sound has a classic science fiction feel to it, creating a nostalgic vibe throughout. “Ex Novo” begins with random high-pitched keyboard sounds that resembles an old style dial-up modem or fax line connection. In the background, theatrical intonations can be heard from time to time, adding a whole new dimension to this peculiar track. The final song on the album is “Codex Temporis” and it fades in just how the previous track ended. With added effects and demented reverberations, this is one disturbing effort. Modular frequencies bend at any given moment, as the persistent keys continue to provide frightening sounds.

Although ‘Ab Antiquo’ is just a short, sixteen minute outing, it’s much larger than it seems. The musical output is very obscure, yet grandiose and unpredictable, and because of that the listener will be enthralled during the entire listening experience. Although loosely based in the post-Dungeon Synth realm, this is full on experimentation full of bizarre twist and calming melodies. I’m very impressed by this album and highly recommend this for anyone that has no genre boundaries. Please show your support for this amazing new talent by downloading ‘Ab Antiquo’ from the link below.

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Links:

https://paolorocchi.bandcamp.com/album/ab-antiquo-2

Akashic Envoy Records Assembles An Immense Compilation For A Charitable Cause Called, ‘Apostils Against Hegemony, Vol. I: Transitive Properties’

I love compilation albums for several reasons. For one, they are usually extremely long and provide near endless amounts of entertainments. Secondly, it gives us listeners an opportunity to check out artists that we’ve never heard of before. Especially in this incessant sea of Bandcamp artists, it’s nearly impossible to catch every amazing artist that’s out there. Akashic Envoy Records recently summoned LBGTQAI+ artist from multiple genres to lend their amazing talents not only for this behemoth of a compilation, but also for a great cause. Akashic Envoy Records has decided to donate 100% of the sales of ‘Apostils Against Hegemony, Vol. I: Transitive Properties’ to The Trevor Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to the prevention of suicide amongst LBGTQAI+ youths. The fantastic music on this compilation range from dark pop, synth wave, death metal, black metal, dungeon synth & dark ambient. For my reviews, I typically provide a breakdown of each song on an album. However, due to the sheer size of this compilation, I’ve decided to pick ten of my favorite tracks and talk a little about those. That’s not to say the rest of this album isn’t worthy, because that’s not the case. This is one of the most interesting and entertaining compilations I’ve heard in a really long time. However, If I were to write about each track, it would take you an hour to get through this review. That being said, let’s get started!

“Dew Tipped Grass Along The River Banks” by Bowels Of Eternity is a theatrical adventure with massive dungeon synth undertones. Dark ambient like drones and atmospherics, complimented by eerie soundscapes and textures puts this track in a class all of its own. “Ghost” by Forbihavet is an unforgettable post-metal affair that will insert the listener into a fantastic, dark world where somber melodies slowly build like overflowing volcanic lava. The ethereal acoustic ambience floats endlessly like objects in the vast universe. However, as the instruments become louder, the mood becomes more dense. The elongated buildup leads to an emotional and climactic ending that is heavy and energetic. “Her Stillborn Body” by Putrescine is a brutal, death metal affair with old-school 90’s style production. The high-pitched screechy vocals take turns decimating the ear drums with low end gutteral growls. The music is ferocious without being over the top and the amazing guitar solo is a welcoming sound – especially since a lot of bands turn a blind eye on solos anymore. “Ancestral Magick” by Mutable Body is a really cool synth track that builds slowly, layer by layer, until a full on melodic assault takes the listener into a dark world of fantasy and fiction. There are plenty of otherworldly effects and smooth droning to boast a huge sound, but the real treat here is the keyboard arrangement that remains constant throughout most of the track. I could listen to this stuff all day long and never get tired of it. “Evocation I” by Guan Yin, is an eerie track full of samples, soundscapes and gruesome vocal effects that will keep you on the edge of your seat. I sense a ritualistic theme to this track and as it proceeds, the listener is subjected to cultural beauties and horrors that may not be fathomable by some. Listening to this track is a very rewarding experience, as it’s so different, yet fits right in. “The Void, Transmuted” by Blood And Dust is one of my favorite tracks on this compilation as it mixes the aggression of synth wave and the deep droning sounds of dark ambient music. It slowly builds out of a simple drone, layered soundscapes and simple narrations, then mutates into a multi-layered synth wave track as if the climactic ending of an 80’s horror movie is coming to an end. “His Words Are A Void” by Vulgarite is a blackened doom metal track with a great main riff that is layered to have a slight echo sound. Although the vocals are typical of a harsh black metal style, the music has a bit of a post-metal influence, so all of this combined makes for a stunning track that will embed the listener into a trance-like state. “Six Of Swords” by Jenn Taiga is a progressive synth masterpiece. This track is a mix of something you would hear from the Stranger Things soundtrack, 70’s style fusion progressive rock, as well as the instrumentation from the Swedish band Anekdoten. Jenn Taiga is something special, as it takes an extraordinary ear for music to write a track like this, with such passion and restraint. “The Worm/The Wretch” by Age Decay is one of the most unique tracks that I’ve ever heard. It has a good mix of singer/songwriter, metal, clean & harsh vocals and masterful songwriting. If I had to sum up Age Decay in a few words, I would say it’s a metal version of The Swans – which is a huge compliment. This eleven and a half minute track flows between soft acoustic parts and bombastic metal parts, with all around great vocals. Finally, “Wealth Beyond Measure” by Mausoleum Wanderer is a dungeon synth track that tells a voiceless narrative in the most legendary way. Pulling no punches, Mausoleum Wanderer brings his “A” games in a cinematic score-like anthem that soars high above many tracks of this nature. Beautifully produced and with a clear and crisp sound, this track is a very mature step for Mausoleum Wanderer and I’m looking forward to many more tracks like this from him.

Aside from the ten tracks that I just wrote about, this is an overall extremely impressive album and Akashic Envoy Records couldn’t have done a better job assembling a group of top-notch artists with great talent in a wide-array of genres. It’s not often that you get to hear a compilation of this nature that contains all of your favorite genres of music. At just over three hours of playing time, there is plenty of music to explore on here and I’m sure there are some artists on here waiting for you to discover their awesome music. Since this all for a good cause – supporting The Trevor Project – I highly recommend you clicking on the link and supporting this magnificent compilation album!

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Links:

https://akashicenvoy.bandcamp.com/album/apostils-against-hegemony-vol-i-transitive-properties

‘Cosmic Terror’, Varkâna’s Lovecraftian Themed Third Album Is A Mind-Blowing Dungeon Synth Magnum Opus!

H.P. Lovecraft – the legendary author that wrote some of the most transcendent stories in the genres of weird fiction, cosmic horror, horror fiction, and science fiction – has inspired generations of entertainers and artists with his Cthulhu mythos (among others), that has allowed his name to live on for quite the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, Lovecraft’s legacy wasn’t cemented until after his death, as his writing craft and vision was virtually unknown and unchallenged and he died in hardship, unable to support himself by his penmanship along. That being said, his writing was well ahead of its time and influenced movies, music, games, fictional characters as well as occultism. Of the Lovecrafian musical output there has been throughout the years, one of the most impressive recordings is the latest album by Varkâna called ‘Cosmic Terror’. An hour long Lovecraft-themed masterpiece, ‘Cosmic Terror’ builds upon the grimness of dungeon synth and appends ritualistic undertones and synth wave elements to produce what may very well be one of the greatest albums of the year.

“From Beyond” wastes no time as the opening sounds are a conglomerate of haunting synth notes straight from the grave. As the eerie melodies prowl the audio waves, incandescent synths radiate a sense of dire oppression. Soon, blazing synth wave tones fill the atmosphere that radiate with pure madness. At around the three and a half minute mark, trance-like droning keyboard sway like the waves of a Dead Sea under a full moon. One final solo synth arrangement plays on to end this stellar track. Next up is “Space Lord”, my absolute favorite song on the album and possibly one of the best despondent sounding synth tracks ever written. Dismal keys play saddened notes while spacious synth leads create a dynamic atmosphere that is more gray than black. Multiple percussion sounds and retro synths begin to crowd the airwaves as the abundance of textures come together to form the perfect mix of dark tones and harmony. A little over halfway through the song, the music fades into a warm ambient composition that drones slowly with the same melody as the beginning of the track. “The Dream-Quest” has the sound of a dark anthem being played in a dimly lit room that is used for seances to conjure unruly spirits. Tribal-like drums set a deathly pace while the long winded keys continue their heinous ways. Toward the end, more traditional drums are introduced, as well as synth wave patterns that add a bit of light to the grimness. “Nyarlathotep” is my second favorite track on the album as it combines memorable synth melodies with extended keyboard notes that establish a baseline for this epic composition. This nine minute requiem is packed with moments of sheer bliss, specifically the final two minutes as the beautifully toned keyboard arrangement plays so well against the rhythm and drums. “Devourer Of Stars” continues the powerful combination of synth rhythms and leads with alluring drums and retro synth wave sounds. “Devourer Of Dreams” is another nine minute anthem that is full of somber annotations and dreamy textures, especially when the percussion kicks in. The standout part in the track starts at around the four minute mark, when an elegant piano arrangement is introduced and layered with the soothing, yet slightly sinister synth melody. “Ex Oblivione” is another elongated track that features baritone-sounding keys and abstract synth effects. Again, simple but elegant drums provide the perfect balance of synth and avant-garde music. The final track on the album is the title track, “Cosmic Terror”. After a short, stark intro, introspective melodies take over and lead right into a progressive drum beat. The part that ensues has a 70’s progressive/fusion sound to it and it fits in perfectly with the rest of the album.

Varkâna is turning out to be one of the most consistent artists in the dungeon synth genre. Last year, the very impressive ‘Ahrimanic Chambers’, made my list for Top 10 dungeon synth albums of 2019. As of this writing, there is a strong possibility that ‘Cosmic Terror’ will be my top pick for dungeon synth album of 2020. The songwriting is spectacular, the arrangements are unbelievable, and each and every track is extremely memorable and soon you’ll find yourself addicted and playing them over and over again. To have music of this high level paying tribute to the great H.P. Lovecraft, I would say that he would be extremely honored. I can not recommend ‘Cosmic Terror’ enough, so please show your support for this exhilarating artist and download this as soon as possible!

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Links:

https://varkana.bandcamp.com/album/cosmic-terror