The Nebula Breviary – A Voyage Through The Black Hole With Ithildin Tape Production

Welcome to The Nebula Breviary! For starters, I’m not sure if this will be a continuous column or just a one-off publishing. In either case, I wanted to create something where I could spotlight an artist that is involved in a variety of projects, with a steady amount of releases. I couldn’t think of a better entity than Ithildin Tape Production. The home of Dungeon Synth maestro Elminster, Ithildin Tape Production is the mainstay of many other activities that performs in the Dungeon Synth realm and beyond. Enjoy these summary reviews of some of the many projects from Ithildin Tape Production!

1. The Owl Knight – Chamber Of The Starplotter

One thing I love about this release, is that it covers a lot of ground although being very compositionally minimalistic. This assortment of flavors included winter synth, raw Dungeon Synth and nominal chip tune without the cheerful undertones. The constant tape hiss gives off a nostalgic vibe and the flow from track-to-track is well thought out. You’ll definitely be reminiscing through retrospective Medieval content and this truly sounds like something that could be played in a deep, dingy dungeon. This one is worth checking out and adding it to your collection is a must.

https://ithildintapeproduction.bandcamp.com/album/chamber-of-the-starplotter

2. Elminster – Caern Mist

Elminster, the flagship project of Ithildin Tape Production, sends a mesmerizing reminder as to why this is one of the best, traditional Dungeon Synth projects out right now. ‘Caern Mist’ is an exceptional release that features a range of dynamic orchestrations and light-hearted patterns that are enough to sooth the soul. These lengthy tunes drift in slow motion as if waiting for the seasons to change or the lapse in light as day fades to nocturnal bliss. Beautifully produced and elegantly composed, this album is a true testament of the mature path traveled for Elminster.

https://ithildintapeproduction.bandcamp.com/album/caern-mist

3. Muzgash – Hymn Of Hithlum

This is one of those recordings that you can turn on and then get lost in its vast atmospherics. A soothing ambience starts this twenty one minute long track and then it faintly reforms into a juggernaut of ritualistic beats and hypnotic loops that will keep you sedated for the duration on the track. Hints of Dungeon Synth effects are scattered throughout in a tasteful manner, as to not take away from the complete submersion of this audial spectacle. I would love to hear more from this project, especially if this is the material we have to look forward to.

https://ithildintapeproduction.bandcamp.com/album/hymns-of-hithlum

4. Mahomet Renatus – Ire Of The Crescent Reborn

‘Ire Of the Crescent Reborn’ is an interesting blend of lo-fi Black Metal and sparse Dungeon Synth undertones. Minimalistic in approach, these three tracks complete a 20 minute cycle of trance-inducing wall of noise that is more of a controlled chaos that an all out blitzkrieg. The drums shift between blast beats and industrial thumps that maintains a deafening cadence. Overall a good release but the faster parts definitely stand out and create a whirlwind of noise that’s addictive and refreshing.

https://ithildintapeproduction.bandcamp.com/album/ire-of-the-crescent-reborn

5. In Dusk’s Embrace – Earth End’s Pantheon

Atmospheric, primitive and seductive are a few words that come to mind while spinning ‘Earth End’s Panthron’. This thirty four minute opus is a single-track, tour de force of atmospheric black metal that is a melting pot of twisted & sinister riffs, ambient textures and grainy vocals that redirects the listener to early incantations of icy cold Black Metal. Other than a quaint acoustic intro and outro, this track procures a relentless pace and delivers top quality low fidelity music. I highly recommend this recording for those that love that old school necro sound.

https://ithildintapeproduction.bandcamp.com/album/earth-ends-pantheon

6. Moss Keep – The Curtain Of Time

‘The Curtain Of Time’ exhibits two long-players of primordial Dungeon Synth with the essence of Medieval yearnings. Complete with hisses, cracks & pops of ancient recordings, the music leans on the side of melancholic compositions with somber soundscapes and a passion for mellow, emotive terrain. With both tracks extending beyond the thirteen minute mark, these depressive dirges are best heard on a dark, dreary day where emptiness is of the essence. This is a very entertaining release and amongst my favorites by Moss Keep.

https://ithildintapeproduction.bandcamp.com/album/the-curtain-of-time

7. Howling Mire – Answering The Hidden Summons

‘Answering The Hidden Summons’ is like an album of distraught ellegies, assembled for those mournful souls lost in ancient battles. The keyboard work throughout this album is amazing and truly showcases a sophisticated effort from the Ithildin Tape Production camp. Complete with background hisses to supplement the overall dismal ambience, these four tracks are over before you know it, even though totaling almost thirty minutes worth of music. Save this one for a rainy day and it will fit right in.

https://ithildintapeproduction.bandcamp.com/album/answering-the-hidden-summons

8. Dyvyná – Within The Walls Of The Promised Kingdom

From the music to the art work, this has the Renaissance era written all over it. Crisp synth leads and dreamy effects solidifies a haunting atmosphere of bright, effervescent colors. There is a slight reverb on the instrumentation as well, emitting a powerfully thick sound that aligns perfectly with the production efforts. This Dyvyná project is definitely one to look out for and an extensive catalog of music is already building up.

https://ithildintapeproduction.bandcamp.com/album/within-the-walls-of-the-promised-kingdom

9. Whispers Of Umbar – Hail The Voidlord

Whispers Of Umbar is one of my favorite projects from Ithildin Tape Production. There is just something about that primitive sound that blurs the line between Dungeon Synth and Dark Ambient that brings joy to these ears. ‘Hail The Voidlord’ is a near twenty seven minute experience that is crafted in noise and brutal harmonics that produces visions of bleak landscapes and unfathomable bloodshed. By the time this insane track is over, you’ll need a nap and a chalice of spirits before your next listening experience.

https://ithildintapeproduction.bandcamp.com/album/hail-the-voidlord

10. Üvegszakadás – In The Ashes Of The Fallen Empire

‘In The Ashes Of The Fallen Empire’ is a mammoth of an album, especially in regards to previous releases in the Ithildin Tape Production catalog. Almost an hour and forty minutes of granular Dungeon Synth that feels like a massive compression chamber of ghastly intonations that are sequentially summoning Medieval spirits for an upcoming apparitional raid. Haunting melodies compounded by wobbly effects and battle-ready cadences, this is an imposing outing that is sure to become a fan favorite.

https://ithildintapeproduction.bandcamp.com/album/in-the-ashes-of-a-fallen-empire

11. Sorrow Of The Moon – Hávamál

‘Hávamál’ is one of six Sorrow Of The Moon demo’s released this year (thus far), each containing a single track ranging from twelve to twenty minutes of playing time. This project is a firm mashup of Elminster and Üvegszakadás, with its own production value that is gothic influenced and completely introspective. What I do love is the upbeat nature of this demo and how complete it sounds, with regards to the traditional Dungeon Synth sound. This is one that I can easily play over and over again without getting tired of it.

https://ithildintapeproduction.bandcamp.com/album/h-vam-l

12. Maeglin – Screams Of A Frozen Heart

Unlike the other Black Metal releases on Ithildin Tape Production, Maeglin infuses more distorted guitar chords and focuses on melody and song structure, instead of trance-like atmospherics. The results – at least for ‘Screams Of A Frozen Heart’ – is that it’s more focused, catchy and quite enjoyable. There are definitely some Dungeon Synth undertones, specifically in the intro and various spots throughout the release. However, they are used more of as a background discord than being the focal point of the music. This is another admirable release from ITP!

https://ithildintapeproduction.bandcamp.com/album/screams-of-a-frozen-heart

Cassettes Can Be Purchased Here:

https://ithildintapeproduction.bigcartel.com

Count Von Günter Creates A Medieval Eruption With The Multi-Genre Treasure, ‘A Tomb For Rebirth’

Since I started this blog – almost 3 years ago – I’ve experienced (and enjoyed) a vast array of music from various genres and it’s been the most fulfilling experience one could imagine. However, it’s even better to come across an album that’s simply fun to listen to, no matter the genre. One artist that provides such enjoyment is Count Von Günter and on his latest album, ‘A Tomb For Rebirth’, there is much to take in and the savoring experience is well worth the thirty eight minutes of your time. A splendid blend of Dungeon Synth and Black Metal, this album is like a retreat into ancient times while relishing in the glory of metal mayhem.

Right from first note of “Dawn Awaits Greater Violence”, we are reminded of heroic Black Metal intro’s and ancient Medieval battles, as a barrage of synth leads pummel through harmonious chords of melody and menace. About halfway through, volumes of distorted synths and Black Metal shrills instigate the start of violent beginnings and the dawn of something evil. This is as good of an album opener of any album I’ve heard. “Traversing The Ghostly Void” continues the destructive commotion with war-like percussion and valiant synths, layered with musical unity and vibrant tonal colors. The sound of horn effects catapults this track to grand scales with offerings of royalty and bloodshed. “Failed Pantheon” continues the frantic pace of the previous tracks but introduces lyrical hymns via the stylings of Black Metal vokills. With enough reverb to keep the music necro, it’s the fusing of light synth tones that makes this sound unique and addictive to listen to. “All Is For Naught” is more in the vein of traditional Dungeon Synth, as it’s reminiscent of a more peaceful period with a variety of instrumentation and production techniques. “Hymn Ov The Spectre” commences with a funeral dirge-like cadence before shifting into more of a doom-laden canticle that has a mesmerizing tone with airy synths and bombastic drum rhythms. The harsh vocals blend nicely, especially when the more strident aspects of the track come into play. This song yields a huge sound that could easily become an anthem for Dark Dungeon Music. “Visions Ov Valhalla” begins with a sultry synth chop that hammers away at a mesmerizing melody. Soon after the intro, Black Metal styled narrations reveal a near in-audible storyline but aligned with the solid and steady percussive beat, the realization is that this is a track of inevitable war and destiny. The sudden inclusion of horn effects are always welcomed and the end results is beyond amazing. “Dragging Bones” is a short piece that includes droning keys, modulated synth tones and eerie soundscapes that together, present the beginning of a dark demise. Old school Black Metal riffing are somewhat buried beneath the chaos but are loud enough to appreciate the ominous atmosphere that they bring to this track. The final offering is “A Tomb For Rebirth” and it’s the most grandiose oblation yet. Beginning with a soft, clashing noise and a ticking clamor, the title track runs through a gamut of maniacal changes that cycle through several genres of music. Soon after the introduction, Black Metal vocals and doom styled drumming change the pace, keeping this an interesting endeavor. As the verse finishes, the pounding of double bass drums and additional synth layers create a cinematic tone of blissful arrangements and beautiful atmospherics. Although the momentum shifts focus several times, this beautiful composition continues to find its way back to a creative spot before closing out in a short blast of chaotic noise.

Count Von Günter has created a masterpiece of Black Metal-fueled Dungeon Synth and the proportion of each genre is exquisitely represented. There are many occasions – with multi-genre albums – in which one genre is dominant, but that’s not the case here. Because of the exceptional blend of musical endeavors, this is a very fun album to listen to. Each track is different, exciting and certainly memorable. The cassette release sounds even better, as the classic tape hiss adds another layer of overwhelming power to enhance the listening experience. I highly recommend this album, as well as well as ‘Forced To Wander’, the jubilant debut album. Click on the link below to enjoy this magnum opus and please support this amazing artist.

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Links:

https://countvongunter.bandcamp.com/album/a-tomb-for-rebirth

Top 10 Dungeon Synth / Synth Releases Of 2021

The great thing about the Dungeon Synth community is that it’s growing at a staggering rate and it seems like multiple albums by an array of artists are getting released on a daily basis. The downside of that is picking just 10 releases to be featured on my Top 10 Dungeon Synth / Synth albums list of 2021. If I had the time to create and talk about my Top 50 releases, I’d certainly do so. However, since it would take me too long to get that done, you’re stuck with a list of my Top 10 favorites of this year. Please enjoy and show your support for these artists if you don’t already do so.

10. Lamp & Dagger (Various Artists) – This Tape Is Haunted

https://lampanddagger.bandcamp.com/album/this-tape-is-haunted

Although this may be considered by some “a seasonal album”, it’s much more than that. It’s like a soundtrack of dread and horror that provides a terrifying backdrop to your ghoulish nightmares. Lamp & Dagger assimilated an all-star cast of Dungeon Synth artists to step beyond their traditional undertakings for creating a spectacle of anguish and fear. The results are breathtakingly evil and definitely deserves more than a seasonal listen. I’ve not stopped listening to this since it’s release and it’s more than worthy of kicking off my Top 10 Dungeon Synth/Synth albums of 2021 list.

9. Baerdcyn – We Are But Somber Beings

https://baerdcyn.bandcamp.com/album/we-are-but-somber-beings

Baerdcyn is a multi-talented artists that finds his stride with a myriad of acoustic instruments and organic tones. Just off the beaten path of traditional Dungeon Synth, ‘We Are But Somber Beings’ is a masterclass in instrumental compositions with raw emotions as the driving force. These mournful tracks contain some of the most serene arrangements that I’ve heard in a while and it’s been one of my go-to albums when I relinquish myself to a period of relaxation and relief from day-to-day endeavors. Tune in to this peaceful, Medieval offering and enjoy its blissful mystery.

8. Elminster – Mountain Specters

https://elminster.bandcamp.com/album/mountain-specters

Elminster is one of my favorite Dungeon Synth artists that has turn it up a notch or two this year with releasing multiple stellar albums and expanding his arsenal amongst multiple project titles. Although just about everything has been amazing, it’s the ‘Mountain Specters’ album that has consumed the most plays from the ever-growing Elminster catalog. The tunes are very dreamy with an alluring charm that depicts a brief time of light during a rather dark period. If someone were to ask me a good starting point for discovering Elminster, I’d look no further than ‘Mountain Specters’.

7. Vandalorum – Maewyn

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

‘Maewyn’ came out earlier in the year but I still listen to it quite often. The conceptual album based on the legend of Saint Patrick maximizes the sound spectrum with massive layers of synth effects, odd noises and percussive patterns & drum fills that are out of this world. With a fusion of upbeat and gloomy arrangements, this is not only an interesting album to listen to, it’s also one of my favorites of 2021 and it rightfully deserves the space on this list.

6. Jenn Taiga – Lunar Nocturnes & Esoteric Incantations

https://jenntaiga.bandcamp.com/album/lunar-nocturnes-and-esoteric-incantations

Jenn Taiga has hit another home run with ‘Lunar Nocturnes & Esoteric Incantations’. Auspiciously fusing Berlin School, retro synthwave and the underlying elements of Dungeon Synth, Jenn Taiga has created a type of energy that is impressive, addictive to listen to, and at times leaves an anxious feeling of the unknowing with regards to song structure and limitless capability. For me, it’s hard to top 2020’s ‘Plight’, but ‘Lunar Nocturnes & Esoteric Incantations’ expands the horizons of the aforementioned with its awe-inspiring resilience and is just as impressive.

5. Uilos – I: Dark Night Of The Soul

https://socalledhell.bandcamp.com/album/i-dark-night-of-the-soul

Out of all the albums in my Top 10 list, this is the only one that caught me by surprise. This is a pensive recording that exposes a meditative value with each and every listen. The production effort is a predominant factor that maximizes the tranquility of this recording and it’s the wall of sound vibe that makes this such a grand offering. The music ranges from Medieval styled anthems to modern synth harmonies and everything just fits…perfectly! Uilos is an artist that I’ll be following really closely from now on.

4. Wampyric Solitude – The Splendor Of Loneliness

https://wampyricsolitude.bandcamp.com/album/the-splendor-of-loneliness

Wampyric Solitude is the only artist (at least for me), that has an album in both of my Top 10 year end lists (one here and another in my Dark Ambient list). In what I consider to be his defining moment in Dungeon Synth, we are graced with ‘The Splendor Of Loneliness’. This album emits almost ninety minutes worth of abrasive Dungeon Synth that is dark, ominous and portrays the hardship of Medieval confrontations. Every track is a near masterpiece but there are several that stand out. “Enthroned Amongst The Eldritch Shadows” and “A Putrid Stench From The Grave Of Hope” are without a doubt some of the best tracks I’ve heard this year. If caustic Dungeon Synth is your thing, then don’t go another minute without checking out this gem.

3. Landsraad – The Golden Path

https://landsraad.bandcamp.com/album/the-golden-path

Dungeon Synth constructed around the Dune Universe? Yes, absolutely and not only is the concept enthralling but the music is some of the best that was produced all year. Although comfortably seeded in the Dungeon Synth genre, it’s the synthwave aesthetics that propel this album to great heights. Providing a futuristic atmosphere with retrospective effects, this is a true audial translation of the Dune story. This spectacle is sure to stand the test of time and will remain one of my favorites for many years to come.

2. Erythrite Throne – Eternal Frost Of The Dark Ages

https://serpentsswordrecords.bandcamp.com/album/eternal-frost-of-the-dark-ages

Whether you’re new to the Dungeon Synth genre or not, Erythrite Throne is most likely one of those artists that will get referred to the most as the “go to” for consistent musical releases. After all, in this modest community of artists and fans, Erythrite Throne would be considered a household name. That being said, there are several amazing facets to his music including Vampyric Blackened Synth and Symphonic intonations. Although every bit is amazing, it’s the symphonic side that I tend to gravitate to the most. ‘Eternal Frost Of The Dark Ages’ is one of those albums and – in my opinion – may be the best album in the discography. Made up of four epic long players, these cinematic anthems deliver a gloomy but melodic style that is supremely written and produced. Every song stands out in this masterclass effort and this has been one of my most played albums of the year.

1. Leander – Sorrow Dwellings

https://leander33.bandcamp.com/album/sorrow-dwellings

There is something extremely special about Leander’s sophomore effort, ‘Sorrow Dwellings’. Not only is the music absolutely incredible, but as a whole, it just feels personal, as if it were exclusively written for me and/or my emotional state. This album was released in January and here in December, it has remained my favorite Synth album of the year. At times it has a traditional Dungeon Synth vibe, other times it has a 70’s prog rock feel to it and above all, these compositions were exquisitely written and are some of the best tunes I’ve ever heard – of any genre. Although only consisting of five tracks, they all stand out in their own way during this thirty seven minute journey. I can’t wait to hear what the future holds for this exciting artist.

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

Hello deep dungeon dwellers, I’m back with my last dose of Celestial Ephemerides for the year that covers the Dungeon Synth genre. These albums are simply amazing and I wish I could devote more time doing long form reviews but As a single-human operation, I seem to run out of time quite often. Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy this collection of summary reviews and please support the artists and this community!

1. Elven Sorrow – A Rise And Fall To Be Forgotten

Elven Sorrow brings us a mighty dose of Dungeon Synth in the form of a single, forty plus minute tracks. From impulsive elements of dark dungeons to retro synthwave tones, this track plays through a range of electronic goodness that succeeds in captivating the listeners attention, specially with the epic song length at play. With a dim production and minimalist dynamics, ‘A Rise And Fall To Be Forgotten’ is up close and personal rather than being grandiose in design. Impressive debut album from this artist.

https://elvensorrow.bandcamp.com/album/a-rise-and-fall-to-be-forgotten

2. A Compendium Of Curiosities – The Resting Place Of Dreams

‘The Resting Place Of Dreams’ is a sulky combination of synth wizardry and Renaissance-era atmospherics. These five tracks are a beautiful reminder at just how in depth the Dungeon Synth genre is, as it has a sound all of its own, yet plays right into the traditional Dungeon Synth aesthetics. Another mesmerizing album by A Compendium Of Curiosities and one that instills hope of continued growth in this loyal community of artists and fans.

https://acompendiumofcuriosities.bandcamp.com/album/the-resting-place-of-dreams

3. Borja – Antediluvian

Although a slight departure from Dungeon Synth in the traditional sense, ‘Antediluvian’ is a fresh take on theatric synth music. Soothing in nature, these tunes are memorable and will leave a lasting impression of the dreamy content that it portrays. Tracks such as “Where Dreams Fade To Ashes” and “Under The Eyes Of The Serpent” pack quite a punch with darkened arrangements and minimalistic vibes. This is an exquisite release with high entertainment value and impressive compositions that is sure to please all fans of electronic music.

https://borja375.bandcamp.com/album/antediluvian

4. Lóndrangar – Lóndrangar

Lóndrangar creates menacing Dungeon Synth for the warrior soul. These three expanded tracks produce nearly thirty three minutes of gritty synth tones with compounding melody throughout and a lasting impression for battle-like consequences. Mild orchestrations and gloomy production intensify the music while the epic arrangements set forth a dark path of Medieval influence. Find a cozy place and light a candle to enjoy this massively impressive effort.

https://londrangar.bandcamp.com/album/l-ndrangar

5. Calignosia – Páramos

With a grim assembly, Calignosia emits a musical pallet full of joyous rhythms, acoustic passages and a wondrous sense of melody that is sure to whisk the listener back to ancient times. With a slight reverberated sound and minimalistic approach to recording, the echoes of a Medieval past can be heard throughout this amazing recording. Each track presents a solitary stance that easily come together on an impactful audial journey. Highly recommended for those that welcome modern, world musical influences in their Dungeon Synth recordings.

https://calignosia.bandcamp.com/album/p-ramos

6. Goryō – Kaidan

Ancient Japanese instrumentation and traditional arrangements from the Samurai era prevail on this intense album of archaic tranquility. Deep drones and intensified soundscapes provide the landscape for these alluring compositions of a sinister output. I can imagined traveling in an unforgivable, wintry mountain terrain and being stalked by silent warriors of the night. This is one of the most unique recordings I’ve heard this year and it’s garnered plenty of playing time in my secluded domain. Highly recommended for fans of the orient and Japanese nostalgia.

https://goryokai.bandcamp.com/album/kaidan

7. Diego S. – Border Lands

Diego S. really knows how to set the mood with his brand of atmospheric Dungeon Synth. Beautifully produced, each track has a a crystal clear sense of direction and every instrument sounds exquisitely charming in the overall mix. Tracks such as “Beyond The Mist” and “Remnants Of A Hero” prove their worth with gloomy arrangements and mystifying synth effects that electrify with ethereal consistency. Defiantly an album worth checking out and an artist worth following to keep up with his musical endeavors.

https://diegosofficial.bandcamp.com/album/border-lands

8. Uilos – I: Dark Knight Of The Soul

Uilos presents ‘I: Dark Knight Of The Soul’ and it’s like listening to Dungeon Synth from the future and quite possibly an Album Of The Year contender. Songs like “Hermits Hideaway” has a touch of retro synthwave while “Strength Of Ten” and “The Last Stop” manipulates soothing guitar tones for a mystical adventure. This album has something for everyone and the journey – from start to finish – is absolutely amazing.

https://socalledhell.bandcamp.com/album/i-dark-night-of-the-soul

9. Shrouded Gate – Ravenlore

‘Ravenlore’ does the stronghold proud by stirring up an aggressive dose of Cinematic Dungeon Synth. The use of multiple synth layers are prominent throughout and the stellar songwriting broadens the scope of its fabled delivery. The dreamy production effort also enables this to cross multiple sub-genres such as comfy synth, forest synth and grandiose, dark Dungeon Synth. Standout tracks include “The Gentle Blossoms” and “Through The Dream Sky” – which has a mesmerizing percussion section. Don’t pass on this excellent album that has so much to offer to the listening ear.

https://shroudedgate.bandcamp.com/album/ravenlore

10. Inexistence – A Journey Through Ancient Times

Inexistence are the masters of variety as the tracks on ‘A Journey Through Ancient Times’ maneuver between sadistic synth intonations, chip tune endeavors and menacing symphonic black metal intro-style synth offerings. You never know what you’re going to be listening to from track to track but rest assure, these intonations are well constructed and hold their own either in a single track listening session or as a full album venture. From bombastic to minimalistic, expect the unexpected and enjoy the deep dive into this magnificent recording.

https://inexistence1.bandcamp.com/album/a-journey-through-ancient-times

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Controlled Discord Meets Hostile Variance On Fen Wraith’s ‘Forgotten Lore One/Two’ EP’s

The positive aspect of my ceaseless search for obscure music is there is plenty of it out there and not enough of it gets discovered at the rate that it should. One of my intentions with this blog is to help propel those artists/albums into a realm of clarity amongst the ambiguous. One such act that fits this description is Fen Wraith – an attentive new artist that creates a nucleus of sludgy metal tunes with the help of Dungeon Synth aesthetics and a love for loud, propulsive distortion. In March of this year, this solitary act released two EP’s of majestic music that should meet the needs of those with a love of tonal variety. ‘Forgotten Lore One: Black Waves Crashing’ and ‘Forgotten Lore Two: The Haunted Mire’ are two snippets of exciting songs that range from doom-laden dirges to acoustic haunts that build with anticipation.

Forgotten Lore One: Black Waves Crashing

https://fenwraith.bandcamp.com/album/forgotten-lore-one-black-waves-crashing

‘Forgotten Lore: Black Waves Crashing’ presents ten minutes of murky doom riffs with heavily distorted bass and a rugged mix of clean and harsh guitar riffs that trudge onward for the duration of this recording. “A Cursed Quest, A Miserable Existence” begins with the sound of clashing swords, as a Medieval battle seems to be well underway. After a short narrative sample, a barrage of thunderous bass tones promotes an assaulting sound while a slow drum beat provides a roomy cadence. Guitars strum faintly in the background but add a deep character to the track. “Black Waves Crashing On The Shore Of 1000 Hollowed Graves” continues on with the same groove but this time with a bit more melody. The fusion of clean guitar riffs and harsh bass tones work really well in this track and the end result is a short but effective trance-like dirge that ends quicker than it should. The final track on the EP is, “The Final Thoughts And Breaths, Of A Dying Man” and it features icy cold vokills, compounded by droning guitar riffs. Toward the middle of the track, the harsh riffs subside into a beautiful acoustic passage that brings us to the end of the album.


Forgotten Lore Two: The Haunted Mire

https://fenwraith.bandcamp.com/album/forgotten-lore-two-the-haunted-mire

‘Forgotten Lore Two: The Haunted Mire’, contains two tracks of hypnotic sounds that are slightly less aggressive than the tracks on the first EP, and are a little more epic with regards to the compositional side. Lead off track, “O’Keeper, O’Defiler” commences with a steady drum beat that is backed up with layers of looping guitar riffs that allow the listener to to drift off into an imaginative world of angst and ancient scenery. The last few minutes of the track contains a haunting narrative piece that combines with a clean guitar strums to produce a calming effect. Suddenly the track blasts off into a loud climactic ending that is reminiscent of early Blood Of The Black Owl releases. The second (and final) track is the ominous “Haunted And Hunted”. Chock full of soundscapes and samples, it’s as if battle-ready warriors are sharpening their weapons in preparation for a grueling bloodshed. Massive guitar drones add a sinister character to the track, as a plethora of additional instrumentation slowly build into a highly anticipated musical capstone. A muffled drum beat maintains a durable pace and all at once, the noise come to a screeching halt, minus an acoustic passage and random industrial-like effects.

If these two EP’s are a consistent introduction for albums to come, then we are safe with delivering accolades to the bright young path of Fen Wraith. Although these are brief outings, the production of unique and inspiring music has been achieved. For the sake of getting lost in the music, I wish these tracks were longer but I kindly accept them for what they are, which is an entertaining mix of noise, metal and Dungeon Synth undertones. Please support Fen Wraith and these albums by clicking on the link below.

Please Like/Follow my blog so that you’ll get first hand updates every time I post a review. Thanks for visiting the Dungeon!!

Links:

https://fenwraith.bandcamp.com

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