Hasufel Spreads Anguish Into The Halls Of Madness With Synth-Spectacular, ‘Exaltation’

‘Exaltation’ has been a highly anticipated release ever since the advertisements and promo packages have been putting out exciting information on the music contained within for the past few months. For me, it provoked a sense of enthusiasm for really wanting to dive in and examine the power of each track. With just four songs and about twenty minutes of playing time, I expected this one to hit hard right from the opening note until the final one. So after have experiencing this album at least five or six times now, do I think it lives up to the hype? Absolutely…and then some! ‘Exaltation’ is a seamless blend of Dungeon Synth, Winter Synth and Dark Ambient with superb vocal narrations and effects, as well as ominous soundscapes and field recordings. This is quite the unique listening experience and definitely a rewarding one.

“School Of The Prophets” begins with eerie drones and sinister, lo-fi soundscapes, depicting a true scenery of dungeon vibes and heinous Medieval existence. Winter synth tones come into the equation and are quite melodic, but as an addition to the darkened tones, it’s presents a grim listening experience. Pastoral narrations add a maniacal and dreadful emotion that may seem overwhelming, but fits in perfectly to maintain the gloomy ambiance. The song closes out with a single – high-pitched – tones that leads right in to, “White Mildew”, another bleak affair that showcases what it would have been like to be committed to a lifetime of Dungeon-dwelling existence. The slight echo on the voice narrations is reminiscent of early 90’s Black Metal ambient sections – desolate and ominous at best. Although keyboards are used in a minimalistic setting, they fuse perfectly with the atmosphere of this track. “Salvación” is a slow builder, almost tribal-like, with more outstanding narrative parts. This time there is a vocal variant that is added, expanding the density of the soundscapes and field recordings. This track is almost in the realm of ritualistic black ambient, and is one of my favorite recordings on the album. However, amongst the chaos, it ends on an austere, but peaceful note. The final song on the album is the title track, “Exaltation”. From the very beginning, it emits very creepy vibes with heavily reverberated piano tracks and almost circus-like anthems, as if a great show was coming to a close. This is a grand meshing of the senses, as it is part whimsical and part malevolent. It’s like chaos with paralysis and a perfect way to end this short but amazing album.

Hasufel fuses the best of both worlds – speaking specifically of Dungeon Synth and Dark Ambient. Although ‘Exaltation’ doesn’t fit firmly in either of these genres, the prodigious tracks contained within takes the best of both genres and expands them to a realm of unimaginable terror and viscous imagery. I’m completely fascinated by this recording and it reminds me of 90’s Black Metal as well, especially with the dissonant ambient interludes that create the horrific scenes between the tracks of hateful riffing. I highly recommend checking out ‘Exaltation’ if any of the above-mentioned descriptives appeal to you. I guarantee that you won’t be disappointed, so click on the link below and download this spectacular album.

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Links:

https://pacificthrenodies.bandcamp.com/album/exaltation

Vandalorum Surpasses All Expectations On The Extremely Diverse ‘Maewyn’

Vandalorum is an artist that needs no introduction, especially if you’ve followed the Dungeon Synth genre for the past couple of years. Quickly establishing himself as one of the premier acts in the community, Vandalorum has persistently released a number of exceptional albums, garnering a huge following amongst musicians and fans alike. Vandalorum is also no stranger to The Dungeon In Deep Space either, as I reviewed the 2019 album, ‘Flagellum Dei’. That album erupted with enormous Medieval anthems and made me an instant supporter. Although I didn’t get the chance to review the massive follow-up release, ‘Mesopotamian Death Cult’, it was also a work of art that surpassed its predecessor. That leads us to the latest release called ‘Maewyn’, the gallant story of the life of St. Patrick; from the trials and tribulations of his actions with bringing Christianity to Ireland to his lasting impression on history and story telling throughout the ages.

Jubilant album opener, “A Saint Lays Claim To The Souls Of The Irish” is light and vibrant and immediately presents colorful layers of energetic electronic music that transcends Dungeon Synth. The warm drum patterns and vigorous synth leads catapult this track down a genre-less path and exposes it to boundless sources of musical universal acclaim. From the very first note of “Rise Of The Fomorians”, I realized that this album was going to be special and once again eclipse its predecessors. After a short keyboard intro, a drum beat fuses with expansive synths and showcases a groove that is completely mesmerizing. Traditional Dungeon Synth keyboard effects have a few spots that are commendable and gives it a bit of flare and variety, but the real winner is the choir-like vocals and the bombastic drum fills. I can’t get enough of this track and it may be my favorite one on the album. Next up is the short, symphonic piece,“Moraltach”. Although at just under a minute and a half long, it plays an important role by continuing this voiceless story and shows just how powerful good music really is. “Children Of Lir” continues the passion set forth in the previous tracks and offers even more melody as layers of synth effects meld together to form a memorable composition. However, once the drum beats are engaged, this Crypt Hop track soars to chilling new heights. Retro synthwave vibes with a touch of reverb keeps it old-school while maintaining a modern appeal. “Enslaved By Celtic Raiders” takes us back to a more traditional Dungeon Synth style, but powerful percussive parts and soaring guitar leads makes this one of the most ambitious compositions yet. The synth break in the middle – complimented with natural sounding field recordings – is beyond extraordinary and it completely exudes tons of emotions. “Exodus Of The Tuatha De Danann” commences with an immaculate piano lead that builds up to a serene duet with a soaring synth. As other instruments are betrothed, you can sense a maniacal presence taking over as this early-dawn, synthwave track soars beyond the stratosphere. “Cu Chullain” is another musically diverse piece, as it begins with a peaceful and somber intonation. As various instruments assemble to form a harmonious arrangement, the track ascends to new heights as black metal vocals are introduced at the same time the drum beats come in to play. “The Nymph Of The Forest Of Neri” is an elegant cantata that has some of the best melodic moments on the album and the brisk drum beats are a welcomed treat. “The Cave Where He Saw Hell” takes us back to a more traditional Dungeon Synth sound, specifically in the layered synth effects. However, this one would easily classify as a Crypt Hop track as well, especially when the smooth beats start up at various times. There is a velvety shine throughout this emotional song and it serves as a spiritual uplifting guide, as this magnificent album comes to a close. The final track on the album is the near ten minute long, “A Prayer In The Fields, and God Answered”. Not rushing a single thing, it begins with a simplistic synth drone, with layered leads filling in with some lush details that sound very emotional. This structure remains throughout the track, although the synth effects change style a few times to maintain a curious introspective. This song is so mellow & beautiful and provides the perfect ending to this amazing album that has provided so much variety.

This is one of those albums that can be listened to from start to finish without ever skipping over any tracks. I can’t think of a single song on ‘Maewyn’ that I would skip during a play through. Since it contains so much diversity on every track, I wouldn’t want to miss any of the intricate details contained within because at any given time, any of these tracks could easily become my favorite song on the album. The vast improvements in musicianship and songwriting over the past three albums or so is just unreal and Vandalorum should be proud of such an amazing accomplishment. Please show your support for one of the genre’s best and download ‘Maewyn’ from the link below.

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Links:

https://vandalorum.bandcamp.com/album/maewyn

Top 10 Dungeon Synth / Synth Releases Of 2020

What an amazing year for Dungeon Synth (and other underground synth-based genres). This year has exploded with some of the most absorbing musical ventures my ears have been privileged to hearing. Whether it’s the grimness of Vampyric Dungeon Synth, the obscurity of Comfy Synth or the enlightenment of Berlin School dark synthwave, I embrace all of these sub-genres with the hopes of finding the most amazing music possible. Although there were hundred (possibly thousands) of Synth-based releases over the past twelve months, this is a list of my 10 favorite albums of the aforementioned sub-genres. I hope you enjoy…what I’ve been enjoying!

10. Moss Golem – Of Witches Blood And Angel Tears

https://serpentsswordrecords.bandcamp.com/album/of-witches-blood-and-angel-tears

What better way to get things started than with a dose of Uncomfy Synth! Moss Golem may be categorized by some as Comfy Synth but this is light years from it. It’s more like a menagerie of darkened dungeon synth arrangements with colossal black metal screams and I absolutely love it. Of the small handful of releases by Moss Golem this year, ‘Of Witches Blood And Angel Tears’ is my favorite.

9. Wooded Memory – My Secret Horror

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

‘My Secret Horror’ caught me by surprise this year, as I wasn’t expecting it to be so amazing. Don’t get me wrong, 2019’s ‘The Lost Stories’ was great, but this one is so much better. From the illustrious arrangements to the phenomenal production, I’ve really enjoyed this album and it, accordingly, deserves a spot on my Top 10 list.

8. Erang – Imagination Never Fails

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

Erang takes us on a mythical journey like no other! From brooding musical-like tracks and symphonic marvels, to traditional dungeon synth and synthwave, Erang leaves no stone unturned and is one of the most ingenious synth artists out today. ‘Imagination Never Fails’ is an addictive listen and I revisit this one quite often.

7. Borg – Woodland

https://borg.bandcamp.com/album/woodland

Borg is as quirky as they are talented and this modern day Medieval-style music with analog instruments (and numerous unconventional undertones) is to be taken seriously. ‘Woodland’ is a fantastic album and showcases their capability for idiosyncratic arrangements, as well as more serious sounding tunes that may have well fit in on some cult spaghetti western films. Absolutely amazing!

6. Guild Of Lore – Autumn Bohollow

https://guildoflore.bandcamp.com/album/autumn-bohollow

Guild Of Lore is the real deal! The hybrid combination of cinematic elements and dungeon synth makes this one of the most unique albums of the year. The production and arrangements are perfect and the writing will leave listeners (and possibly other artists) in awe of the amazing talents that spew from within. If you’ve not heard this album, you’re definitely missing out!

5. Abholos – Whispers From The Dark Sea

https://serpentsswordrecords.bandcamp.com/album/whispers-from-the-dark-sea

Abholos is one of my favorite Dungeon Synth projects and I look forward to these release than perhaps most other artists. The fusion of retro-style synth arrangements and maritime soundscapes is exactly what I love to listen to and not many others excel at it more than Abholos. ‘Whispers From The Dark Sea” is my most listened to Abholos album and one of my favorite releases of 2020.

4. Lurk – From The Depths Of Y’ha-nthlei

https://lurkmusick.bandcamp.com/album/from-the-depths-of-yha-nthlei

I knew after being just two minutes in to this album that it was going to end up on my Dungeon Synth AOTY Top 10. The crystal clear production makes it possible to enjoy the outstanding music, soundscapes and samples that grace this behemoth of an album. From start to finish, this album rips and I cannot wait for the next dose of Lurk to come about!

3. Jenn Taiga – Plight

https://jenntaiga.bandcamp.com/album/plight

I listen to this album at least once a week. I mean it’s that good and just puts me in a zone that almost no other album can do. Consisting of two tracks that are nearly forty three minutes long, there is definitely enough time to drift off into another world that depicts a scene of sonic beauty. Heavily influenced by Berlin School and progressive space rock, this enchantment of a recording should be on everyone’s playlist by now!

2. Mystica Visio – Mystica Visio

https://mysticavisio.bandcamp.com/album/mystica-visio

‘Mystica Visio’ is probably one of the best albums (of any genre) that I’ve heard this year. Gustavo Jobim is an award-winning musician that decided to try his hand at Dungeon Synth this year and I couldn’t be happier about that decision. Not only is this an amazing album, but the track “Spell Of Entrapment” is probably my song of the year for this genre. This album is an absolute must for your collection!

1. Varkâna – Cosmic Terror

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

Varkâna’s ‘Cosmic Terror’ was released in May of this year and its still one of my most played albums. This Lovecraftian-themed endeavor features some of the most meaningful tracks I’ve ever heard, and the emotional output is only topped by the amazing musicianship, pristine song arrangements and writing. All of these elements combined have made this my Dungeon Synth / Synth album of the year for 2020.

Interstellar Space – Special Halloween Review #1: Erythrite Throne – ‘Witch Tales’

If you’ve been listening to Dungeon Synth longer than five seconds, then you should be familiar with one of the most consistently active artist in the genre, Erythrite Throne. Delivering a unique brand of vampyric Dungeon Synth that is not only unmatched, but irrefutably the work of one of the most talented synth musicians in the business. Here with another dose of Hallows Eve inspired tunes called ‘Witch Tales’, Erythrite Throne continues to stay at the pinnacle of the genre with another persistent release.

“Blood Of The Black Goat” is a beautiful album opener, with somber synth melodies, radiant background tones that help stabilize the sincerity of the track, and retro-synth leads that are as luminous as they are gloomy. “Consumed By Eternal Night” continues the magical synth arrangements that we’ve come to love from Erythrite Throne, and every layer wondrously fuses together to produce an amazing moment. “Essence Of The Pale Moon” commences with a single, opaque keyboard intro and then tiers of ambience begin to build around it and eventually take over as the main melody. “Carved Upon Holy Skin” begins with distant, high-pitched keyboard modulations and from there, the song slowly builds into a masterpiece, adding layers of keyboards with various effects, fusing them all together in a ghoulish arrangement. At about the halfway mark, a cleaver drum beat is introduced to take this track to all new evil heights. “Bathing In The Blood Of Innocence” creeps in like a mythical fairy tale and even includes a whimsical keyboard chop that is fascinating and memorable. In perfect Erythrite Throne fashion, layers of keyboards build, creating a dynamic wall-of-sound, and then it fades out as if it were just a prelude to something greater to come. The final track on the album is the epic, “Into The Ritualistic Chambers Of Night”. This song epitomizes the vampyric Dungeon Synth sound and include haunting keyboard melodies, massive drum beats and malevolent, blackened vocals. What a perfect track to represent this season and to also close out this amazing album.

It’s no secret that Erythrite Throne is one of my favorite Dungeon Synth artist and I’ll admit that I am probably a little biased, but it’s hard not to be, especially when these albums are absolute gems and are consistently being released when you least expect it. ‘Witch Tales’ is no exception, as it contains all of the elements that make Erythrite Throne the artist that we’ve all come to love. Although this is a shorter, twenty minute long release, the material is still amazing and will be on my playlist rotation for quite sometime. Please continue the support for Erythrite Throne and download this amazing album at the link below.

Please Like/Follow my blog so that you’ll get first hand updates every time I post a review. While your at it, please check out my friends podcast called “The Opinionated Optimist” at the other link below, where he reviews anything and everything. He will be releasing a set of special Halloween Podcasts as well. Thanks for visiting the Dungeon!!

Links:

https://erythritethrone.bandcamp.com/album/witch-tales

The Opinionated Optimist:

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-opinionated-optimist-podcast/id1485260250?i=1000494541339

Mocking The Overuse Of Sub-genres, Moss Golem Defies Style Classification With The Perverse ‘The Woods Of Galdura’ Release

Dungeon Synth sure has come a long way, especially over the last few years. Not only has it grown immensely in popularity but it has garnered a slew of new sub-genres in which artists can hone their craft to a setting more suitable for them. After all, the harsh tones of Medieval-themed synth music – typically meant to motivate and inspire bloodshed and battle as war rages on between ancient kingdoms or mythical creatures – is quite different from the tranquility of music that makes you feel all warm and snuggly inside. Now enter Moss Golem, the insidious new-ish project by Davey Sasahara created to be the antipode to one of Dungeon Synth’s most popular (and ever growing) sub-genre’s, Comfy Synth. Although releasing a debut EP in February called ‘The House That Granda Built’, the March release of ‘The Woods Of Galdura’ sees a full release of idiosyncratic Dungeon Synth tunes with menacing black metal vocals that are sure to turn heads and provide plenty of discomfort. Well, if that’s the case, then mission accomplished!

The perfect example of all of the aforementioned, is the lead off track, “I”. Beginning with the soothing textures of layered synths in an intimate setting to provide the feeling of relaxation and comfort, Moss Golem reels the listener in to a false world. After a few minutes, this cushy setting fades out into a moment of silence. Slowly, bizarre and jovial synths emerge with harsh, black metal vocals, defying the cozy setting depicted in the first half of the track. “II” continues the menacing escapade as a brief ambient moment is met with evil vocals and turbulent horn effects. Pounding bass pulses contribute to the heinous intonations as Moss Golem continue to push the boundaries of synth music. On “III”, grim synths pave the way to enlightenment, just to be decimated once again by bitter vocals. This time, the music is almost dirge-like, while the vocals are like a cry out of pain and suffering. The fantasy synth sounds of “IV” are abruptly cut short, as the bewildering vocals once again shine a darkening light and prove the mordancy of Moss Golem’s existence. The grandiose elements of “V” are persistent with the classic aspects of a cinematic black metal interlude that has stood the test of time. However, instead of leading into a blazing black metal riff, Moss Golem leads the listener down a path of mortifying Dungeon Synth like no other. The melodic keys on “VI” are memorable and picturesque of a harmonious time, however when the vocals start, oblivion sets in and a dark reality is soon realized. “VII” begins with a retro, synth wave vibe and is soon joined with elements of forest synth effects and of course, the harsh vocals. Rich piano textures and rigid cries begin the contingent track, “VIII”. Beautiful orchestrations are added about halfway through for a more euphonious effect. Track “IX” has to be my favorite on this album for several reason. First, I appreciate the industrial soundscapes in the beginning to show a different side of the Moss Golem sound. The synths are arranged in a canorous pattern that also makes this an enjoyable listen. Lastly, the Crypt Hop elements toward the end are insane! Not just in the beats, but also with the fact that the heavily distorted black metal rap, just feels so right. “X” is an excellent track as well, as it’s ironically fitting. It closes the album just as it started, calm and soothing, even after listening to nine tracks of exasperating Dungeon Synth.

Moss Golem have released two outstanding albums this year and both have succeeded in confronting the culture of desiring to have a title to fit into a certain category. ‘The Woods Of Galdura’ kills any trends previous built upon the Dungeon Synth genre and dares to be categorized in a single style. If you’re a fan of Dungeon Synth and Black Metal and are curious about the meshing of genres, then look no further than Moss Golem and the latest effort, ‘The Woods Of Galdura’. Click on the link below and download this exceptional album and support this innovative artist!

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Links:

https://serpentsswordrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-woods-of-galdura

Eyre Transmissions V: Interview With Dungeon Synth Mainstay, Erythrite Throne

If you’re a fan of Dungeon Synth, then you are well aware of the many talented artists that contribute a steady amount of music for our listening pleasure. One artist that I consider a linchpin of the community is none other than Erythrite Throne. Releasing some of the most consistent blackened Dungeon Synth there is, Erythrite Throne continues to challenge the listener in diving into a medieval world of dark imagery, vampires, and lust for malevolence. With a distinctive sound and style that is unmatched by any other artist, Erythrite Throne is constantly progressing and improving with each release. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Erythrite Throne main man, Davey Sasahara, to talk about his Dungeon Synth endeavors, Serpents Sword Records and anything in between.

1. First of all, thanks for taking the time to respond to this interview. I have to ask, where do you find the time to write the massive amounts of music that you do? 

It’s pretty much the only thing I do with my free time haha. It’s something that I enjoy doing a lot so I write music as often as I can, I also have pretty bad ADHD, so this is something that helps me sit down and work on my concentration.

2. How many projects have you released music under?

Right now, I have 16 active projects, but I have a lot of projects I’ve stopped working on completely and there’s not much of a trace of them on the web. All together I’ve released music under maybe 30 or projects of varying musical styles.

3. When you are writing new music, do you go into it with a specific project in mind or do you improvise and let the music guide your path? 

I usually improvise everything and just feel it but there a few times that I sit down with the intention of making music for a specific project.

4. Take us back to before you started releasing Dungeon Synth. We’re you involved with music from other genres? 

I was! I was in a hardcore band as well as doing a few projects by myself. I was making some gothic electronic stuff, some vapourware, some trap. I like to experiment with music a lot. 

5. What influenced you to start writing Dungeon Synth? 

I’ve actually been making this type of music since around 2014, I just had no idea it was called Dungeon Synth, so I was just calling it gothic music haha. Actually, the first Voslaarum album Forgotten Vale is a compilation of stuff I made around 2014-2016, some of it is actually still on YouTube under a different name. 

6. I know this year you were slated to play live at the Northeast Dungeon Siege and due to the COVID-19 outbreak it was modified as an online festival (via Twitch). How was it preparing to play live online? 

It was good, it was my first time streaming so it took me a bit to figure it out, but I had a lot of help from my friends in the community and I think it turned out great. All those people put a lot into making NEDS happen and I appreciate them so much, it was a great time and I was honoured to play! 

7. I highly anticipated seeing your set and thoroughly enjoyed it. Did that inspire you to want to play more live gigs in the future? 

100%! I would like to play many more live shows in the future. 

8. It seems like Erythrite Throne is the “mothership” of all your projects. Is that the case? 

It absolutely is. I played around with a lot of other projects and musical styles before I landed here, it has a very special place in my heart.

9. Some of your earlier Erythrite Throne works contains a good bit of Black Metal (Instrumentation & vocals) whereas the more current material is mostly synth based. Was there a plan to make Erythrite Throne a more metal based project at some point? 

Erythrite Throne was always made to infuse Dungeon Synth and Black Metal, I never want to choose between the two because I love them both so much. Which direction I take an album really just depends on how I’m feeling in that moment.

10. One of my favorite projects of yours is Abholos. Although I can hear traces of Erythrite Throne in Abholos, the sound is more ethereal, and the texture is of a primitive nature. What influenced you to start this project? 

The first Abholos demo was actually supposed to be an Erythrite Throne album based on the work of Lovecraft, but it just felt different from Erythrite Throne, so I created Abholos which still has my kind of sound, but I try to make it it’s own entity.

11. Do you have more Abholos albums planned for this year? 

I absolutely do!

12. Another newer project that I absolutely love is Moss Golem. Initially “mislabeled” a Comfy Synth album, it’s actually like a synth-based black metal project. Did you create this project to defy the sub-genre stereotypes that seem to exist these days? 

I did. It was pretty much a fuck you to what you think something is or has to be called. MOSS GOLEM is a really important project to me..

13. One of your less talked about projects is Vokaron – which I think is an amazing project that leans toward the Crypt Hop genre. How did this project come about and do you plan to continue it? 

I actually made this album for my partner when he was recovering from surgery. He likes to sing so I made him this album to sing with well he was at home getting better with nothing else really to do. I do plan to drop at least one more Vokaron album!

14. Other than the projects that I’ve mentioned, what are some of the other ones that are near and dear to you, and why? 

I can’t really choose one honestly. All of them are important to me in one way or another and I try to put a lot into each one.

15. Tell us a little about Serpents Sword Records? 

I created Serpent’s Sword so I could have one spot for all my projects and tapes under one banner. I figured it was better than having 20 different Bandcamp pages.

16. Other than physical cassette releases, are there any plans to expand the merchandise (t-shirts, patches, stickers, hats, etc.) store for Serpents Swords Records? 

Absolutely. I’ve already had patches done for Erythrite Throne, but I’d love to get shirts and stickers done for that and a few of the other projects on Serpent’s Sword.

17. Have you toyed with the idea of releasing other artists material on Serpents Sword Records?

I have and I actually will be releasing some other artists music in the near future starting with a very special release for a good friend of mine! More info will come soon for that.

18. I really appreciate you taking the time to answer these questions, as well all of your contributions to the Dungeon Synth community. Do you have any final thought you’d like to share with anyone reading this? 

I appreciate you taking the time to interview me and listen to my music; it really means a lot to me! I want to thank all the amazing friends I’ve made in the Dungeon Synth community and all the people who listen to and support my music, it really means more to me than I can describe. I’m excited to continue working on music for you all!

Links:

https://serpentsswordrecords.bandcamp.com

https://erythritethrone.bandcamp.com/music

https://www.facebook.com/serpentssword/

Moon And Azure Shadow Instill The Sounds Of Dungeon & Medieval Synth On Masterful Black Metal Overture.

Synthesized orchestrations have been infused with black metal for decades now, creating a sub-genre of technical and theatrical metal known as symphonic black metal. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that with the exception of a few bands, this sub-genre hasn’t really been my thing. However, after a renewed interest in dungeon synth and winter synth, I’ve come to appreciate the genre more than ever. That brings me to Moon And Azure Shadow, a one-man Black Metal project that mightily imbues the dungeon, winter, and medieval synth style into his unique brand of gothic infused black metal. The result is an incredible album of epic song lengths and robust symphonic pleasure known as ‘Age Of Darkness And Frost’. Consisting of three lengthy tracks that contain a hefty dose of black metal with a wide variety of other sounds, and four tracks of classical synth-style compositions, ‘Age Of Darkness And Frost’ is a surprisingly exceptional album that is sure to make a few “Top 10” list for 2019.

The breathtaking album opener, “Across Dark Landscapes” makes it grand entrance with an enormous symphonic auditory effect. There are so many imposing sounds on this track, it almost as if it could be used for an expeditious sequence in a movie. The cinematic quality is incredible and hearing this, I imagine a group of nomadic travelers, traversing a snowy mountain summit in search of a new place to secure as their home. As the climax of the music winds down, a beautiful piano melody can be heard, taking us to the end of this triumphant song. The next track – and first long track on the album – is the title track, “Age Of Darkness And Frost”. At almost nine minutes long, this wondrous endeavor features elements of medieval synth, gothic sounds, and very impressive symphonic black metal. Starting with another cinematic opening, it soon embraces the sound of a slow-tempo gothic anthem. The black metal-style vocals kick in and take this track to new heights. After a short melodic interlude, heavier & faster black metal rhythms take center stage and even include a section of blast beats over a canorous guitar and keyboard riff. The following track, “Black Winged Gates Of Destiny Descend” is another short respite between longer tracks but it’s no filler by any means. Theatrically, this song is monstrous and contains some chilling keyboard tones that are equally catchy. “Abyssic Lunar Tower” is the longest track on the album at seventeen and a half minutes long. The opening keyboard riff is like an addictive dirge that has a considerable sound and is soon joined by a sequenced drum beat that really sounds incredible. After a few minutes, an acoustic guitar plays a simple riff before an early-era Emperor-style Black metal riff unloads in the audial senses and makes this track even more pummeling. The riff at the six minute and twenty second mark is one of the best I’ve heard in many years and is one of the most brutal sounds on the album. At around the eleven minute mark, the song winds down to an eerie winter synth sound with a thunderstorm soundscape augmenting the ambient space in the background. A slower black metal riff soon takes over and plays out to the end of this majestic track. Next is “Through The Channelling Of Souls”, and with its medieval synth sound, provides a powerful statement with regards to the elements of nature and the darkness that conceives it. At almost eleven minutes long, “Unholy Vanquishing” begins with a ceremonious keyboard track, as if a group of warriors are preparing for a long battle in the icy cold north. Soon after, a gothic-like Black metal riff takes over and has a wonderful – but sorrowful – sound, like early Hecate Enthroned songs. This track also features some mighty voice narrations, adding yet another great element to this album. The last couple of minutes of this song is a great mix of slow-tempo black metal and dungeon synth and the vocals once again shine throughout. The final track, “Passage Through Time And Cold” features an excellent piano arrangement with some symphonic keys to add additional layers. The tone throughout this track is very melancholic and ghostly and is the perfect way to end such an amazing album. The last couple of minutes turns into an ambient soundscape with a scene of a snowy ridge and a traveler making his way to a nearby destination.

Listening to ‘Age Of Darkness And Frost’ has turned out to be such a pleasurable experience. Within a few months, I’ve gone from never hearing of Moon And Azure Shadow to including this album on my Top 10 metal albums of 2019. Even though this is a black metal album, there is enough medieval and dungeon/winter synth elements on it to be featured on The Dungeon In Deep Space site. Beside, there is a high possibility that if you’re even reading this, you’re a fan of both genres anyway. That being said, I highly recommend checking out ‘Age Of Darkness And Frost’ by clicking on the link below.

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Links:

https://moonandazureshadow.bandcamp.com/album/age-of-darkness-and-frost