Celestial Ephemerides: A Collection Of Dungeon Synth Summary Reviews, Part II

I’m back with another round of Dungeon Synth summary reviews. As I continue to catch up on my review queue, I find it refreshing (and engaging) to release these more concise write-ups, as it enables me to dive deeper into these albums at a quicker pace without distraction. I hope you enjoy reading about these incredible albums and it’s my intent that you find them intriguing enough to download them and support these wonderful artists.

1. Unterland – Heimweg

Heimweg is a surprisingly good album and it differs from most other Dungeon Synth recordings, as it is primarily guitar based. This unique recording is heavily based in Medieval compositions but a wide array of instrumentation – including metal guitar riffs – adds an unforeseen twist that works out really well. If your ready for something a bit unorthodox but with impeccable songwriting, look no further than this gem.

https://unterland.bandcamp.com/album/heimweg

2. Vacarch – A Dance Around Ourselves

Vacarch, another genre-bending act, pulls no punches on the immaculate, ‘A Dance Around Ourselves’. Although planted in Various sub-genre’s of Dungeon Synth, there is no limit to the musical variety that is packed into this fifty two minutes album. From synthwave to metal, no genre is safe from being besieged by this incredible artist. The compositions are astonishing and the production is gloomy like on mid-90’s gothic metal album releases. Highly recommended for those that aren’t afraid to venture beyond the ordinary!

https://vacarch.bandcamp.com/album/a-dance-around-ourselves

3. Alkilith – Tales Of The Wandering Mage

Minimalistic Medieval Dungeon Synth with a significant mix of gloomy soundscapes and field recordings that easily succeeded in summoning the listener back to the Middle Ages. Don’t expect fancy compositions or pristine productions, as this was meant to be an unsettling adventure back in the times of dark unrest. This is masterful Dungeon Synth at its best and shouldn’t be overlooked by anyone.

https://alkilithmage.bandcamp.com/album/tales-of-the-wandering-mage

4. Erang – Imagination Never Fails

‘Imagination Never Fails’ was in my “Top 10” list for Dungeon Synth releases of 2020. Not only is Erang a legend in the Dungeon Synth community, he creates a fantasy world like no other and by the end of the album, you’ll have visited a fanatical realm beyond verbal description. A master at song composition and instrumental arrangements, this album is one of his best and it continues to expand beyond Dungeon Synth and explore other synth-based genres. Highly recommended for fans of synth music in general!

https://erang.bandcamp.com/album/imagination-never-fails

5. WizzardStorm – WizzardStorm Presents: ‘Excerpts From Beowulf’

This Medieval Folk-based album may be one of the most bizarre albums in this list. However, this guitar-heavy recording is an entertaining endeavor with a high production value and quality songwriting. The vocals are deep in the mix, adding a depth of character that is dark and brooding, while the music is bright, yet at times discordant. This reminds me of a mix between modern Xasthur and Devin Townsend’s Casualties Of Cool recording – very interesting and worth the listen.

https://wizzardstorm.bandcamp.com/album/wizzardstorm-presents-excerpts-from-beowulf

6. Spawn Of Incantation – Ancient Hordes Of Bochi

Not all sides of Medieval imagery has to be dark and majestic. Spawn Of Incantation play an alluring brand of Dungeon Synth that soothes the soul and meets the criteria for Middle Ages themed synth music. This music is a soundtrack for somber times amongst the darkest of days. It’s quite the change of pace from the typical Dungeon Synth music that is released, but it’s calming demeanor is great for me.

https://spawnofincantation.bandcamp.com/album/ancient-hordes-of-bochi

7. Leaves Of Lorien – Golden Wood

‘Golden Wood’ is forty six minutes of whimsical & cinematic synth injected with well-placed field recordings topped off with crystal clear production. This is a high-quality effort that musically expands the Medieval and Renaissance periods and the huge efforts of this artist shows, as this is a gripping album with definite replay value.

https://leavesoflorien.bandcamp.com/album/golden-wood

8. Wooded Memory – My Secret Horror

‘My Secret Horror’ is another album that made it to my “Top 10” Dungeon Synth albums of 2020 but definitely worth mentioning again in this publishing. More like music from the Renaissance era due to its condensed song structure and lightened sense of arrangement, the songs sway from alluring piano arrangements to gothic-infused synth piece with retrospective soundscapes and layering. This is just an excellent album to get lost in.

https://woodedmemory.bandcamp.com/album/my-secret-horror

9. Spectral Spire – Ruination Of Tehten-Hurz

Consisting of just two lengthy dirges of lo-fi Dungeon Synth music, this album will take the listener back to a Medieval landscape of desolation and melancholy. With an excellent blend of droning keys, bleak field recordings and haunting atmospherics, it’s hard not to be emotionally transported back to that daunting time when all things led to darkness. Fortunately, there are layers of beautiful melody throughout these two tracks that make this listening experience a completely enthralling one.

https://spectralspire.bandcamp.com/album/ruination-of-tehten-hurz

10. The Backwards Funeral – The Last Day: Part I

‘The Last Day: Part I’ is the complete package in terms of truly embracing the many sub-genres of Dungeon Synth. This release has tracks that range from Medieval intonations to Crypt Hop and Chiptune. Even if you’re not a fan of all of these sub-genres, this album is laid out so well that it’s bound to draw you in at some point, as this is a highly enjoyable release. I would recommend this album to anyone that is open to a variety of music and tones on a single album.

https://thebackwardsfuneral.bandcamp.com/album/the-last-day-part-i

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Askiburgion Mists Invades Dead Air Space With Lo-Fi Dark Ambient Monument, ‘Rübezahl’s Kingdom’

Sometimes DIY musical projects create the biggest impact due to the personal nature of the compositions and how they captivate their audience. Sure, we love over-the-top production quality – especially when it comes to Dark Ambient music – but the rawness of self-production seems to hit home when the music is on point. Askiburgion Mists is a prime example of this scenario and with ‘Rübezahl’s Kingdom’, gritty, minimalistic dark ambience paints a bleak picture of nature’s malevolent ways. Although consisting of only three short tracks (in terms of Dark Ambient songs), they could have easily come from a past dimension, where early-90’s Black Metal albums relied on haunting ambience to manifest terroristic visions.

“Morning” slowly fades in, just as a gloomy sunrise would try to appear through a thick fog at daybreak. Production hisses add a grim fidelity that’s not normally prevalent on Dark Ambient recordings. As this minimalistic rush rises and falls with ambiguity, a sense of esoteric desires complicates the mood but doesn’t distract from the trance-like patterns that remain intact. Before the track ends, there is actually a nice melodic arrangement that fits in rather well before it abruptly comes to a halt. Next up is the field recording heavy, “Kingdom”. Commencing with a dense rain sound, hypnotizing drones begin to materialize, creating a baseline for desolate refrain. Scarce embellishments of soundscapes are used throughout, creating a callous atmosphere of darkly arranged instrumentation that are thought provoking. The final track, “Dream Of Giants”, is the most exploratory composition on the album and it (hopefully) sets the stage for more exciting adventures from Askiburgion Mists. Utilizing an array of field recordings and soundscapes, they are masterfully fused with dismal drones setting an enchanting environment of dark times, where hopes of a peaceful future has fallen victim to dystopian accord. This is my favorite track on the album and I’m hoping that more music of this nature is released soon.

Askiburgion Mists is an astonishing up-and-coming Dark Ambient artist that demands to be heard. Although only an EP and a single has been released on the artists’ Bandcamp page, they are both excellent musical endeavors and would be a great addition to anyones Dark Ambient collection. The grungy, lo-fi production is a standout quality for this album and it also provides a unique spin on the typical Dark Ambient sound. Please click on the link below and support this amazing album and artist.

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Links:

https://askiburgionmists.bandcamp.com/album/r-bezahls-kingdom-demo

Taurwen Finds Solace In Haunting Romantic-Era Anthems On ‘A Wind Blows From The Mountain Of Death’

When it comes to themes and subject matter for Dungeon Synth releases, it’s obvious that historical references play a large influential role. Although mostly tied to Medieval and Renaissance periods, some artist choose a more gothic approach that is more aligned with romantic era topics. ‘A Wind Blows From The Mountain Of Death’ by Taurwen definitely fits into the latter, with elegant synth compositions that beam with both classical and haunting elements. Although not dark and foreboding like Medieval period music, these songs are still somber but in a more peaceful way.

The lead off song, simply titled “Intro”, is a wonderful preface to this album as it quickly establishes its foundation with romanticism and gothic undertones through symmetrical compositions. “Rites Of Spring” is a domineering performance as it showcases cinematic quality orchestrations with rhythmic drum beats. Although this is a sonically dismal piece, it has an alluring nature to it that captures the best of both worlds. “Waterspirit” begins with a soothing field recording of brisk waters hitting a shoreline. As that fades, a deep melodic tone gives way to layers of beautiful synth effects. The underlying drum beat adds a wonderful charm, as flowing synth leads create a massive sound that carries throughout the track. “The Last Farewell” is a memorable dirge-like track that boasts a captivating piano lead in addition to delicate stringed-instrument effect that compliments a melancholic arrangement. “Misty Path” is one of my favorite tracks on the album, as the unforgettable melody is one of the most serene arrangements I’ve heard in quite sometime. This song definitely belongs on a movie soundtrack and epitomizes how great this album really is. “In The Arms Of The Night” is another somber affair that shines with tranquility and emotions. The clarity of the stringed instrument effects are deeply engaging and as this track sways between layers of blissful harmonies and single toned interludes, it never looses focus on the romanticism era for which it magnificently represents. “Resurrection” sounds more like a Medieval piece but played in the Renaissance period, as it’s more uplifting and grandiose. The addition of bombastic beats makes for a more theatrical sound and the excitement of this track continues to grow until the very last note. “Pale Sun” presents a slight change of pace, as the synth effects are more whimsical than other tracks. However, the songwriting is on point and as the additional layers are introduced, scenes of lavish lands and peaceful times come to mind. “Dark Hills” has a very ominous sound and is wonderfully composed. Again, the classical elements continue to assemble into an enchanting barrage of melody. The calmness of the distant rainstorm at the end enhances the moment and slowly creates a sense of reality. “Hum Of The Forest (feat. Tir)” is one of the most ambitious tracks on the album and fuses magical synth arrangements and massive soundscapes, presenting an adventurous composition full of gothic mystery. The final track on this amazing journey is “The Calm Of The Mountains”. At just under two minutes, it wastes no time putting the listener in a placid state, as chirping birds give way to alluring keys and a regal backing synth that exudes an euphoric state of mind.

‘A Wind Blows From The Mountain Of Death’ is much more than a Dungeon Synth album. It’s a classical musical endeavor that uses gothic nuances to pay homage to the romantic period. Although there are a few Medieval elements, tranquil compositions are prevalent throughout and Taurwen excels at creating a musical adventure that sticks out amongst his peers. If you’ve not heard this amazing album yet, I highly recommend checking it out by clicking on the link below.

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Links:

https://taurwenofficial.bandcamp.com/album/a-wind-blows-from-the-mountain-of-death

Infinexhuma Amasses A Large-Scale Aural Attack With Intense Soundscapes On ‘Frontier’

When it comes to ominous soundscapes and adventurous Dark Ambient compositions that are filled with terror-induced tones and agonizing drones, Infinexhuma has to be one of the front runners that consistently supplies this huge undertaking. One thing you can always count on with an Infinexhuma album is a grim experience that clinches like a slowly tightening vice grip. On the latest deafening effort, ‘Frontier’, the tones are colder, soundscapes more chilling, and an overall dominating audial ordeal that is more dismal than ever. Also, enlisting the help of other Dark Ambient elite artists such as Blood Box, Neraterræ, and Common Eider, King Eider, together they catapult this deviant journey into multiple realms of chaos. At almost one hour and forty minutes long, this bleak expedition has enough creepy twists and turns to create and angst-filled environment.

The intoxicating album opener, “Converter”, is an all-out onslaught of malevolent sounds, designed to overwhelm the senses and bring forth nightmarish reactions. The haunting drones are propelled to a grueling depth with the help of industrialized soundscapes and a flock of crows, circling in agitation. This ten minutes endeavor does not let up and thoroughly prepares the listener for the next hour and a half. “Orbital (feat. Blood Box)” creeps along at a gradual pace, refining the audial invasion of the first track, and subduing the listener into a catatonic state. Terror-filled screeches and modulations grow louder as the weight of this track becomes even heavier. The next track, “Sword” summons ancient, dark vibes as the mildly distorted drone appends itself to the listeners subconscious. More like a malicious space ambient outing, there are intense ritualistic moments throughout that is reminiscent of a doomed celestial society. Fabricated screams elicit moments of terror as this haunting track beckons the darkest of times. “Sweeper” keeps the nightmare sequence alive with alluring drones and field recordings. As if surviving another dimension, grim manifestations are on full display in eerie fashion. “Heaven March (feat. Neraterræ)” displays signs of solitude and emptiness, as these superior drones have an echo effect, creating a wall of sound that embodies desolation. Sonic soundscapes present a trance-like significance that is addictive to listen too. This is probably one of my favorite tracks on the album. “Position In Flames” is a slow builder but well worth the wait. Light drones and incredulous synths seem far off and blurry at first, but slowly form into a dynamic track full of distorted frequencies and angst. As they start to fade into a warm drone sound, breathing becomes normal and an escape back to reality is in close focus. “Catharsis Of Goodbye is nearly thirteen minutes long and runs the gamut of emotional brain patterns. Beginning with a short, foreign narrative, it fuses into an assembly of sound that takes its time to decimate those that listen. From hollow drones and mechanized soundscapes to retro synthwave distortions, this track contains the elements and checks the blocks for a true dark ambient excursion. Next up is “Deep Runnel (feat. Common Eider, King Eider)” and it’s fascinating resistance of grueling, harsh moments make this one of the most effective tracks on the album. Maintaining a low compulsion for gradual effects, this one builds in anticipation without breaking its lethargic flow. “In The End” is a supernatural spectacle of sound and voice, as they fuse together in a dreamlike state. An interesting addition of EDM synths and monstrous backing tones are a welcomed surprise and I’m sure many listeners will appreciate this branching out to additional genres and will succumb to multiple listenings in one sitting. “Forged” begins as a minimalistic piece but grows into a fierce synthwave crossover song that features beautiful synth leads and darkened drones. There are other obscure sequences that add to this amazing sound, creating a monumental track that easily stands out amongst the others. “Every Door” is discordant offering that is full of twists and turns, including heavily distorted & sequenced vocalizations. Although it starts off semi-peaceful, it morphs into a noise-filled composition that becomes one of the harshest tracks on the album. The final track on the album is “Stormless”. Another stellar feat in space ambience, this enticing arrangement will have the listener drifting off to the far reaches of the bleak, uncharted universe. Although all is safe, you never know what’s lurking around every corner, as this song will have the listener calmly anticipating what the future holds. Such a captivating way to end this preeminent Dark Ambient experience.

I can always count on Infinexhuma to provide the ultimate Dark Ambient experience. Whether it’s cinematic soundscapes, ritualistic tones, harsh noise or space ambience, each album provides a unique platform for transparency with all of these musical forms. ‘Frontier’ is no different, as it challenges the listener to open the mind to fully embrace all of these magnificent compositions. If you’ve not heard this colossal recording yet, please visit the link below and experience one of the best Dark Ambient recordings out right now.

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Links:

https://infinexhuma.bandcamp.com/album/frontier

The Menagerie Of Madness Continues To Evolve On Guild Of Lore’s ‘Portals Volume II’

Just in case ‘Portals Volume I’ wasn’t enough to tide you over, the simultaneous release of ‘Portals Volume II’ will surely continue to overload the auditory senses with massive Dungeon Synth and Crypt Hop sounds. As with Volume I, this album sustains the mission of Guild Of Lore reworks in hypnotic fashion, and every track explores territories that are unique to the artists themselves, while maintaining the granite-like foundation set forth by Guild Of Lore. This review will concentrate on the wonderful sounds of ‘Portals Volume II’ and how it perfectly complements the first volume without seeming repetitious.

As with ‘Portals Volume I’, Guild Of Lore provides the lead off track with “Storm Haven (Rainy Night Jazz Mix)”. As the title suggests, it sounds like something you would hear in a late-night dark noir jazz club, many years into the apocalypse. The stand-up bass sound provides a very comforting tone as this decorous composition sets a very soothing yet grim mood. “The Sunless Sea” by Encloaked begins with an excellent piano composition while a storm-like field recording brews in the background. That soon fuses into an elegant guitar riff that is beautiful produced. Although a short track, this one has an addictive sound and will leave you wanting more when it’s over. “The Tipsy Waltz Inn” by FVRFVR is a whimsical piece with carnival-like theatrics and obscurely arranged instrumentation. The production value is effortless and the soundscapes & field recordings make this quite the entertaining track. “Snow Shielded Giants (Blackened Snow Swell Mix)” by Whispering Mirrors is another short track but probably one of my favorites as it contains a very melodic percussive element and and insurmountable mix of industrialized distortion in the middle section, before settling back into the opening melody for its closing. “Somewhere Beneath The Stars” by Orb Of The Moons is a spectacular display of soundscapes and modular frequency manipulation. Containing more of a Dark Ambient or Black Ambient vibe, this is a very welcomed edition to this collection and goes to show how versatile Guild Of Lore’s music can be when given to the right artist to exploit. Next up is “Night Of Harvest (Swirling Fog In The Walnut Grove Mix)” by Guild Of Lore. Putting another mellow, albeit jazzy spin on this amazing track from the ‘Autumn Macabre’ album, there is also a distinct Crypt Hop tone to it as well that will keep the listeners head nodding throughout. “Hills Of Hoarfrost” by Fogweaver is a lush, somber affair that is full of simplicity and emotion and arranged only in a way that Fogweaver can do. It effectively strikes a heartwarming chord and maintains that stance, especially with the consistency of the rainy field recordings. “Sojourn & Return I & II” by Shrouded Gate showcases an amazing arrangement with downtempo beats, a variety of soundscapes and beautiful, elongated keys that are cinematic in nature. Keeping a steady pace throughout, this is a mesmerizing piece that is easy to get lost in. “Winterstead” by Vaelastrasz is another one of my favorite tracks on Volume II. Keeping more in line with traditional Dungeon Synth, this is a doomy track that crescendo’s and build into a wall of distorted sound consisting of dark colors and bleak occurances. At almost seven minutes long, it’s also the longest track on the album as well. The final track on the album is “A Fireside Contemplation” by Garadrak. Featuring minimalistic Crypt Hop beats and 8-bit synth leads, this is a unique song for the album and a very organic way to close out this two volume compilation. The grooves are exhilarating and harmonious fusion of various keys and effects make this an inspiring piece as well.

What more is there to say about ‘Portals Volume II’ that hasn’t already been translated by the ten vibrant tracks presented within? Although there is a variance of influences between Volume I and II, they are both beautiful recordings and effective in their own rights. Even though ‘Portals Volume II’ has a more intimate approach than Volume I, I recommend this one equally and enjoy these tracks so much. Show your support for Guild Of Lore and all of these amazing contributing artist and download both of these albums for an amazing listening experience.

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Links:

https://guildoflore.bandcamp.com/album/portals-volume-ii

Guild Of Lore Summons Select Mercenaries Of Music To Remix Select Intonations For ‘Portals Volume I’

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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Links:

https://guildoflore.bandcamp.com/album/portals-volume-i

Eighth Tower Records unveils companion book for ‘The Black Stone – Music For Lovecraftian Summonings’

The Black Stone – Stories For Lovecraftian Summonings

In January of this year, Eighth Tower records released another groundbreaking album of Dark Ambient resonance that featured the best-of-the-best artist of the genre. Some of them are amongst my favorite and include Mombi Yuleman, Alphaxone, Ashtoreth, NEW RISEN THRONE and Moloch Conspiracy to name a few. All of these artist successfully constructed Lovecraftian-themed tracks of fascinating darkness and a sonic exploratory of unmatched mythical subject matter. Fast forward a few months and we find another innovative event for Eighth Tower Records in the form of their first-ever book release. A companion to ‘The Black Stone’ album, it is entitled, ‘The Black Stone – Stories For Lovecraftian Summonings’ and features twenty seven tales of horror inspired by H.P. Lovecraft and his Cthulhu Mythos.

Here is some additional information about the book and writers, as found on the Eighth Tower Records Bandcamp page:

Featuring: Ramsey Campbell, Brian M Sammons, Glynn Owen Barrass, Lucy A. Snyder, E.A. Black, Chris Kelso, Andrew Coulthard, Stephen Mark Rainey, Kevin Lewis, Richard A. Scott, Russell Smeaton, John Buja, Made in DNA, David Agranoff, Pete Rawlik, Brian C. Short, Michael Housel, John Chadwick, David Voyles, Konstantine Paradias, Edward Morris, Parry Milton, Phil Breach, Garrett Cook, Andrew Freudenberg, Love Kolle, Sarah Walker.

Curated by Raffaele Pezzella
Cover illustration by John Chadwick
Editing by Parry Milton

https://eighthtowerrecords.bandcamp.com/merch/the-black-stone-stories-for-lovecraftian-summonings-book-cd
https://eighthtowerrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-black-stone-music-for-lovecraftian-summonings

Grab a copy of this book before it’s sold out and if you’ve not heard the amazing album that was released back in January, do yourself a favor a download that one right away for a stunning audial experience.

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Links:

https://eighthtowerrecords.bandcamp.com/music

https://unexplainedsoundsgroup.bandcamp.com

Cryo Chamber Label’s Seventh Lovecraftian Collaboration, ‘Yig’, Is The Most Versatile Offering In The Series Yet

Since 2014, the Cryo Chamber label has embarked on an annual endeavor that epitomizes the meaning of artist collaboration. Paying tribute to world renowned author – and creator of the Cthulhu Mythos – H.P. Lovecraft, these musical ventures have proven time and time again to be epically daring and adventurous beyond the realm of typical artistry participation. Consisting of mainly album-length tracks, these Lovecraftian collaborations find the gathering of current Cryo Chamber artists, alumni of the label, and additional artists that are some of the best in the business. As each album culminates an evolution of sound and dynamics, they also improve with more sophistication and a variation of modular potency. The seventh (and latest) album in the series, ‘Yig’, consists of two songs that are around seventy minutes in length each and the transparency of these arrangements make it the most accessible and auditory one yet.

“Yig 1” wastes no time in creating a cinematic ambience, as mystifying soundscapes and fearless drones find a balance between sinister accord and Middle Eastern vibes. Percussive elements of a tribal nature begin to create a ritualistic groove that challenges the senses which results in being caught between darkness and a theatrical emotive state. As the percussion slowly fades, it gives way to deep, peaceful drones that succeed in delegating mental prowess to the subconscious. Various field recordings and effects paint an eerie scene, but this is just the beginning. At the twelve and a half minute mark, electronic beats add a rhythmic cadence that is downright sinister, but it is also a well designed section for this track as it adds an authentic layout to the ominous subject matter. One of my favorite sections of this track starts at around the twenty eight minute mark. Up to this point, the output has been mostly dark and malevolent in nature, but here there is a particular calmness that is a perfect inclusion. Layers of vibrant drones create a spacey vibe while keeping it melancholic at the same time. It’s so easy to get lost in this section as it’s so dreamy and introspective. If you’ve not done so up to this point, you’ll want to close your eyes and soak in the fantasy world that is being created. This section carries on for about seven minutes or so before traversing into darker territories again. At around the forty seven and a half minute mark, another important section of this track is introduced. Commencing with a good mix of field recordings, it is soon joined by West Asian instrumentation and some wicked vocalizations that are barely audible. After a few more very powerful sections of this track, we finally make it to the last few minutes, which ends in the same fashion as it started – unique field recordings and beautiful instrumentations that provide the cinematic finale to this grandiose piece. “Yig 2” is another impressive feat of legendary proportions. Starting with dark, desolate drones and apocalyptic soundscapes, the beginning sets a ravaging pace of systematic annihilation for the next seventy minutes. At around six and a half minutes, spacious drones meander in slow motion while a calming effect pierce through its dense layers. The looping effect creates an arcane sensation and the trance-like results are mind blowing. Another impressive section begins at around nineteen minutes in. As one section transparently fades into the next, this one has soaring guitar and piano leads with almost a dark noir sound. I could listen to a whole album of this stuff. Well played and just enough distortion on the percussive parts to change things up a bit, this is one of my favorite parts on the whole album. Starting at around the thirty two minute mark is probably one of the most essential sections on the album, as it really provides that nostalgic Lovecraftian vibe of horror and fascination for darkness. The bombastic drum beats combines with various drones and soundscapes create a menagerie of sound that is addictive and suggestive of the subject matter. Ominous and explosive black ambience is captured at around fifty two minutes in, as elements of industrialized drones begin to take over. The sound continues to grow darker and more perilous as a sense of anxiety begins to mount. However after a few minutes, that is counteracted by soft, soothing drones that successfully develop into an emotional journey for the final few minutes of this monumental album.

One of the most impressive aspects of the ‘Yig’ collaboration is how over twenty artists from all over the world, supply a version of their craft for this themed story with absolutely no opacity between parts. We’re talking two, seventy plus minutes tracks of some of the best arranged Dark Ambient material that has been produced recently. That extraordinary effort has made ‘Yig’ one of my favorites amongst the Cryo Chamber Lovecraft Collaboration series. If you’ve not heard this yet, I highly recommend checking it out by clicking on the link below.

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Links:

https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/yig

Fflewddur Emits Sonic Impulses Of Chiptune, Synthwave And Gracefully Crafted Dungeon Synth On ‘Farther Down We Go’

When the songwriting is spot on, I will listen to just about any genre of music, to include sub-genre outputs that may go against the grain of traditional boundaries. Even for Dungeon Synth, there are some sub-genres that I enjoy more than others but I will always give anything a chance regardless. That being said, if there is a definitive skill set in the composition department and arrangements are done in an appealing taste, I’m up for anything. That definitely holds true for Fflewddur and their riveting album, ‘Farther Down We Go’. Although some of the instrumentation is a bit more whimsical than my normal taste for Dungeon Synth, these songs are crafted with such meticulous detail and an irresistible amounts of melody that I can’t help but fall victim to the addictive style that shines on these seven light-hearted tracks.

Album opener, “There’s Nothing In This Cave Worth Dying For” is quite an impressive beginning to this adaptable album as it exposes several layers of genre-defying sounds that are intricately woven to produce an initial audial stimulating experience set to take place over the next twenty six minutes. “Caution To The Wind” begins with the guns a blazing as massive synth effects expose a grandiose scenery of Medieval savagery. However, not even twenty seconds in, a beautiful 8-but melody begins to play and changes the course of this track. As layers of synths and orchestrations begin to make their presence felt, it’s obvious how imposing this song intends to become and the wonderful melodies continue to impress until the end. Next up is the title track, “Farther Down We Go” and it’s as daring and adventurous as the previous tracks but in a different way. The effects are more subdued and haunting and the rhythmic beat in the background will have the listener nodding their head with awe and admiration for the songwriting skills on display. “A Fire For Warmth” begins with, well, a crackling fire field recording and it’s soon joined by several layers of compressed synth effects. The background melody and lead keys play off of each other so well, and the lingering drone in the near distance holds everything together perfectly. “A Discovery Of Gnomes” is a jubilant and whimsical piece that borders the realm of Comfy Synth. However, the bombastic drum beat provides a darker essence than usual for a melody of this nature. Ultimate, it all works together very well for a short but entertaining track. “The Elders Speak Of Treasure” contains inaudible vocal samples (or probably a distorted synth effect) that sets an eerie scene and then follows it up with grim keyboard harmonies and soothing synth leads that set a melancholic mood. The final track is the breathtaking, “Reaving The Gnomic Keep”. Featuring fast-paced percussive elements and quirky 8-bit leads, this eccentric track pretty much sums up the musical genius of the previous tracks in just under four minutes. This one will have you reminiscing fantasy movies of the 80’s or leave you wanting to play dungeon crawlers games from yesteryear. If that’s the case, then mission accomplished for Fflewddur.

‘Farther Down We Go’ is such a charming and enjoyable album. Delightful melodies and compelling songwriting are a predominant factor for the duration of this twenty six minute long amusing journey, which is full of twists and turns along the way. If you enjoy your Dungeon Synth with a sense of easement and calm demeanor, look no further than Fflewddur’s ‘Farther Down We Go’. Please support this fantastic artist and download the album from the link below.

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Links:

https://fflewddur.bandcamp.com/album/farther-down-we-go

Abstract Conveyances Demand Universal Reciprocity On Mauve Zone’s ‘Transmissions From Carcosa’

I want to take a minute to appreciate the hard work that these Dark Ambient artists do to establish a story (or theme, if you will) for the audial juggernaut that comes to fruition at the end result of their albums. Not only do they go “all out” to always provide high-quality music, but producing a noble storyline is equally as important in order to assist in delivering a valuable product to us fans. That especially holds true on Mauve Zone’s valiant ‘Transmissions From Carcosa’ album. Showing a major Lovecraftian influence, this album digs deep into mythological worlds and obscure subject matter to deliver a creative realm of dark ambience with trance-like impulses and mystical drones on seven massive tracks.

“The Calling From Hyades” begins with a long, drawn out crescendo of tonal modulations that turns into a sonic drone, and the foundation for the first part of this near ten minute long track. As the drone passes and slowly fades, the ringing of bells signifies an endless apprehension of foreboding soundscapes that will follow. Although a bit minimalistic – as far as composition goes – the effects run the gamut from deep sounds to higher pitched synth pad intonations. “The Shores Of Lake Hali” commences with ominous soundscapes, as if providing the audial imagery for a horror film. Although the feeling is rather calm, it’s more intense than soothing and the range of harrowing variety will leave you in anticipation for more dismal sounds that may follow. “Fungi From Yuggoth” starts with an oppressive, industrial beat with an echo effect and along with the drone that is contributed, sounds bleak and poignant. Although this sound remains constant throughout, minor adjustments are added and frequency distortions are thrown in to give it that futuristic and mechanized feel. “Cassilda’s Song” begins with an extremely cold vibe, complements of the dissonant sound effects and layered drones. Slight alterations are made to this otherwise track-long, steady composition and sound bits of vocal narrations are added as well. An overall very creepy augury, it’s exactly how I envision Dark Ambient to sound when representing Lovecratian subject matter. Next up is the industrious piece, “The Yellow Sign”. Massive, swaying drones assuage the subconscious while synth chops play a manufactured sound of cold, discordant harmonies. Distorted attunement adds a sense of unity to this complex score and its trance-like arrangement is mesmerizing. “Tatters Of The King” compiles the best features of darkwave and synthwave and fuses them with Dark Ambient soundscapes to produce one of the best tracks on the album. A mosaic of instrumentation is fine tuned and perfectly deconstructed on this song and as the listener gets lost in the conglomerate of modulations, the represented story starts to unfold. The final track on the album, “The Red Comet” is a soundtrack worthy composition and the songwriting translates amazingly well to the synth and pad arrangements. Exotic sound effects present a retrospective feeling as this massive album comes to a close. This track is a warm light that shines bright behind the dark, grim songs that proceeded it. An excellent way to end this album that will immediately make you want to give this a second spin.

Mauve Zone’s ‘Transmissions From Carcosa’ is a spectacular album that paints a dark, fascinating picture of a mythological world of Lovecraftian influence. There is a variety of music on this album that breaks the monotony of minimalistic droning and I love the industrial and synthwave influences on several of these tracks. If this is a sign of things to come, then Mauve Zone will soon be a favorites amongst Dark Ambient fans. I highly recommend this album so please click on the link below and support Mauve Zone.

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Links:

https://mauvezone.bandcamp.com/album/transmissions-from-carcosa