Pafund Expand Upon Minimalist Arrangements For A Theatrical Adventure In ‘Til Rigets Ende’

As the decline of sunlight fades over ancient ruins in a mythical kingdom deep in the woods, the bleak atmosphere of estranged malevolency absorbs the commonwealth. The murky encounters between civilization and the landscape become supernatural and post-twilight harmony ceases to exist. Shaken and anxious, the kingdoms people hide, and wait for dawn; for that it brings peace and tranquility. Pafund’s Dungeon Synth debut effort, ‘Til Rigets Ende’ is the musical direction that synchronizes with these dark and perilous evenings, providing a comfort for where there is discomfort. Consisting of a single track, clocking in at nearly thirty minutes, it’s broken down into two parts to accommodate for a cassette release as well.

“Side A” is a tranquil and brooding track that creates a doleful sound with its layered droning synths and harmonious keyboard melodies that drift amicably as if there isn’t a care in the world. With almost a stringent reverb effect, the keys seem to override each other at times, but the serene arrangement can still be fully heard. At around the five minute twenty second mark, the droning synths disappear and the keys play a catchy, somber melody before fading into a brisk, windy field recording. At this time, theatrical elements become presents and the song takes a darker turn. Spots of dark ambience provide a menacing background as the cinematic keys continue to crystallize into subharmonic patterns. “Side B” begins with an old school dungeon synth vibe as the dense sound commits to a melodic opening section that once again features a low-end background drone. At around the four minute mark, elements of fantasy synth take over as the musical patterns careen throughout the majority of the arrangement from this point. At around the ten minute mark, distorted percussions can be heard, providing a sparse atmospheric tone. The last minute or so is filled with nature-like field recordings that represent the dawn of a new day in the ancient, mythical kingdom.

Pafund’s debut dungeon synth recording is quite an impressive one. With elements of traditional dungeon synth mixed with modern cinematic sounds, ‘Til Rigets End’ easily sparks imaginative tales of fantasy and folklore. I only wish that the sound was mixed a little louder, as I had to listen with my volume all the way up and – at times – it was still hard to hear the music. However, that being said, this is an awesome album and I recommend this for fans of old-school dungeon synth and fantasy synth. Please support Pafund by downloading this album from the link below.

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Links:

https://pafund.bandcamp.com/album/til-rigets-ende

Shelter-In-Place Dark Ambient & Dungeon Synth Playlist

We are living in dark times and whether we like it or not, we are witnessing a historical occasion that is effecting the whole world. Although many people still have to work, legions of the worlds population are under a strict shelter-in-place order. Not to make light of the situation, but what better time is there to check out some awesome artists that you may have never heard of before, or to revisit some newer albums that stand out amongst the others. These are some of my (current) favorite albums to listen to and I’m sharing them with you as a recommendation. Check out and support these amazing artists (and labels).

Recommended in Dark Ambient:

https://hiemalambient.bandcamp.com/album/vacant
https://scottlawlor.bandcamp.com/album/badseed
https://cycliclaw.bandcamp.com/album/the-outside
https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/shortwave-ruins
https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/dystopian-gate
https://cycliclaw.bandcamp.com/album/scenes-from-the-sublime

Recommended In Dungeon Synth (and beyond):

https://borg.bandcamp.com/album/woodland
https://serpentsswordrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-woods-of-galdura
https://crypthopcompilations.bandcamp.com/releases
https://jenntaiga.bandcamp.com/album/plight
https://coniferousmyst.bandcamp.com/album/queen-of-the-timberline-realms
https://criptadel.bandcamp.com/album/the-goblin-market

Eternalkeys Forge Classical Piano And Neo-Medieval Inspired Songs On The Precise Release, ‘Eternal Rose’

Classical piano compositions are among the most fascinating sounds around. In modern music, beautiful piano arrangements can fit in with just about any genre there is, giving it that clean sense of melody and diversity. One genre where it really stands out though, is medieval synth music, as it provides a particular grace and elegance to a typically dark and gothic sound. One artist that has taken on this musical venture with renewed passion is Eternalkeys, and with his latest EP ‘Eternal Rose’, the cacophonous sounds display a noble balance between classic piano tones and brooding synth music.

The first song, “Eternal Rose”, begins with a somber yet polished piano arrangement that is complimented by sorrowful string effects and an elusive atmosphere. This track makes me imagine a scene back in the Medieval period, where a couple is tragically separated by death, and the survivor is having a hard time coping with heartbreak and loneliness. This song perfectly captures that essence and provides a sense of despair when dealing with tragedy of this nature. The second (and final) track on this EP is “Dragon’s Gate”. This piece has more dark and lamenting elements that are in line with Medieval synth music. Electric piano tones and heavy synth sounds mesh together to create an accent that alludes to a dungeon-esque vibe during nebulous times. This track takes my imagination in a totally different direction, as I envision a domineering kingdom successfully winning battles and standing strong and victorious throughout the land.

Although the music on ‘Eternal Rose’ is a few years old, it has stood the test of time and easily has the stability of maintaining a presence in modern synth music. The two tracks presented on this EP are versatile in that they sound completely different, yet still they represent the same time period for which the imagination holds the story. I hope this is just the beginning for more music of this nature, as Eternalkeys is a very talented artist that needs to provide us with more Medieval listening pleasure. The ‘Eternal Rose’ EP can be streamed from the link below.

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Links:

https://archive.org/details/Eternalkeys_EternalroseHCR2016

Execration Chamber Blend Cinematic Quality Score With Lo-Fi Dungeon Synth On The Intrepid ‘Cathedral Of Unbeing’

Is there a more perfect time to listen to Dungeon Synth than now? As we’re faced with the global pandemic known at COVID-19, many people are confined to their own homes in order to prevent the spread of the deadly virus – basically being imprisoned in their dungeon until it’s safe to – once again – interact with society. The mood just seems right to consume some lo-fi Dungeon Synth, to take you back to those Medieval days of malicious captivity. One artist that is an absolute fit during this trying time is Execration Chamber, and on ‘Cathedral Of Unbeing’ the infusion of cinematic composition and lo-fi Dungeon Synth is just what the doctor ordered to cure the ailments of solitude.

Monumental album opener, “The Lesser Felled” begins with the soaked sounds of a heavy rain field recording, followed by dense layers of keys that harmonize in a symphonic way. The sound is gloomy and mournful but played with a sense of hope and reason. As the song comes to a close, the sounds of heavy rainfall can be heard for one final time. “Gaunt, The Night” introduces bombastic percussive elements as if an anticipated Medieval battle is on the dawn of existence. The solo keys really standout as they are crisp and have the perfect tone to augment the background rhythm. “Buried In Time” has a bleak feeling to it, as it’s galloping cadence matches the simple beat that accompanies it throughout. At times, the keys become discordant as the sound becomes more harrowing. “The Great Purging Of Memories” sounds as if it could have been an intro to an early 90’s lo-fi black metal recording with its eerie tone and divergent arrangement. “A Hallowed End Of Passage” would be the perfect track to lead a garrison of warriors into battle. With its fast-paced, rhythmic patterns, this is just the motivation needed to carry out an assault on an enemy invasion. “Imminent Warfare” is a battle-ready anthem that features wondrous organ sounds and precision drum pulses that emit a culture of feudal decadence. “Crawling Tombs” is a dismal track that has components of lush textures and emphatic keys. The continuous pounding of the drum sounds as if the surviving warriors of a brutal battle are in sync, heading back to their kingdom to recover from their wounds. “Wept In Blood” is a dismal canticle with massively layered keyboard tones that are a vivid reminder of the tragedies that preceded times of peace. The final song on the album, “Dimly” is a sorrowful dirge filled with depressive sounding keyboards that perfectly compliment the emotional journey that this album has taken us.

‘Cathedral Of Unbeing’ is an incredible album that has that old-school Dungeon Synth vibe but with and an updated cinematic quality to it. It’s fantastic to see such a broad spectrum of musical sounds collide in an epic adventure with such a prosperous outcome. These tracks flow together so well and just like many other amazing Dungeon Synth recordings, they tell a valiant Medieval story of both victory and tragedy. I’m very much looking forward to hearing more adventurous tales from Execration Chamber, but in the meantime, please support this improbable artist by downloading ‘Cathedral Of Unbeing’ from the link below.

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Links:

https://execrationchamber.bandcamp.com/album/cathedral-of-unbeing

Gladden Fields Deliver The Sounds Of Forlorn With ‘Menace Of Despair’

I’m sure that if you’re reading this review – and being a fan of Dungeon Synth – you must be familiar with the Battle Of The Gladden Fields in the third age of the Lord Of The Rings universe. This was a very prominent battle, as Isildur and his escorts were ambushed by a group of Orcs and the Ring of Power was subsequently lost in the river Anduin. Gladden Fields is also the name of a UK-based Dungeon Synth artists that paints a harrowing picture of this great battle with his eerily composed music. The five tracks offered up on his latest effort, ‘Menace Of Despair’ uncannily resembles what the scene must have been like just minutes before that viscous attack by the Orcs, as the calm and soothing arrangements are topped with apprehensive orchestrations and somber melodies. Like the silent attack of the Orcs, these tunes are a mere decoy of an evil presence lurking behind the unknown.

Right from the opening looming soundscapes, the lead off the track, “Menace Of Despair” sets the stage for enemies lurking in vast terrain, as the tranquilizing synths crescendo ever so slightly while crossing into enemy territory is eminent. The slight use of percussion adds a frightening aspect as well. “Winter Sun” has a melancholic tone played throughout, with spots of despondent yet harmonic keys to add the slightest twist of darkness to the mix. “Through Poisoned Waters” has a deep, manic sound and shows restraint in its delivery. As the superbly timed percussive elements play in the background, I imagine an aphotic scene, just before the chaos occurs. The orchestrations in this track are simple, yet written amazingly well. “Helcaraxë” has a very old school, organic dungeon synth feel to it. The key arrangements are layered well and continue to build as the song progresses to the end. The albums final track, “Wall Of Night” begins with a very impending, dark ambient vibe and adds malevolent soundscapes throughout as this is the finale leading to up to the attack of the Orcs. This track represents full-on chaotic darkness with no chance of turning back.

Gladden Field is an extremely impressive Dungeon Synth artist that meticulously tells a story with his music. Although named after one of the great battles in one of the best and most famous stories ever written, Gladden Fields does the name justice by creating a soundtrack-like atmosphere with ‘Menace Of Despair’. If this album doesn’t put you in the mood for a great middle earth adventure, then I don’t know what will. Please support this fascinating artist and downing ‘Menace Of Despair’ from the link below.

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Links:

https://gladdenfields.bandcamp.com/album/menace-of-despair

The Gloomy Intonations On ‘Archana’s Tales’ By Archana, Forges An Ominous Feudal Presence

Imagine an endless journey where the spectacles of nature inhabit the majority of your adrenaline-filled stimulation. As you cross boundless and threatening topography, your preparedness for battle is like no other, but fortunately the paths of the unknown have brought little to no campaign, limiting the possibility for senseless bloodshed. However, along the way, the dim and gloomy passage has brought on a variety of other undiscovered aspects. Welcome to ‘Archana’s Tales’, the somber yet soothing soundtrack for an unknown expedition filled with the unexpected and unexplained.

Like a pack of travelers hiking gallantly through a field of dreams, “Archana’s Tales” bold keyboard arrangements are the perfect opening sounds to this album. As if the morning dawn has signaled for the time to press forward with this harrowing journey, the lush key tones play a Medieval pattern that remain promising and victorious. Although the overall vibe is calming, there are a lot of layers and elements to give it a broad, ethereal sound. “Decorated Blade” is a great forest synth track that is very dreamy and distant. However, don’t let that fool you from the plethora of synth activity that is happening, as there is a lot of melodies combining to make this a great track. “Wayward In The Brume” is a mournful piece, as the main keyboard arrangement sounds like a dirge played at an ancient funeral. “Fray” begins like an anthem played at a kingdoms’ gate upon the arrival of the king after being away for battle. Not straying from the main cords, it’s meant to signal the return of the ruler, and this short piece succeeds in fulfilling that objective. “Mother Moon” is full of harmony and melody right from the start and provides a sense of warmth while envisioning a journey that crosses over into darkness, slowly fading from dusk as the sun sets off in the distance. “Boreal Kingdom” is one of my favorite tracks on the album due to the discordant key arrangement and the droning synth tones in the background. The final track on the album, is the near fourteen minute long “The Hyetal Shore”. Starting with some simple keyboard tones and rain field recordings, this is just a simple precursor to this well-rounded and excellent track. At around the six minute mark, the pace picks up a bit and more key arrangements are added to give a symphonic sound. There is still that Medieval element to the overall feel to this recording but this track is wonderfully composed in several sections to give it that grandiose appeal. The final few minutes of the song closes out with the continuance of the rain and occasional thunder sound, with a nice keyboard texture that signifies that the end is near.

Archana has composed and produced a rather unique dungeon synth offering with ‘Archana’s Tales’. This is somber forest synth at its best. There is nothing fancy or extravagant on this release, as it’s not needed. Simple keyboard arrangements and minimal use of field recordings are all it takes to draw the listener in and keep them captivated for the duration of the recording. When the songwriting is that powerful, that is all that is needed. Show your support for this amazing artist and download ‘Archana’s Tales’ from the link below.

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Links:

https://archana.bandcamp.com/album/archanas-tales-3

Obsidian Towers Takes Us Back To Dark, Medieval Times On ‘The Call Of Black Majesty’

Although the gallant ways of Medieval times are behind us, we can thank the profusion of dungeon synth artists – that keep that spirit alive – by serenading us with the symphonic tones that are reminiscent of those valiant days. Even though there are many artists that step out and add modern innovations and twists to their craft, some tend to keep the vibe old school and that’s ok by me. One of those artists is Obsidian Towers. Gracing us with their debut EP of dark dungeon music, ‘The Call Of Black Majesty’ is an enigmatic offering of raw dungeon synth that is a compelling listen.

“The Call Of Black Majesty (Part I)” begins with a grand keyboard intro that sees heavy use of multiple notes played with a distorted element to give it that retro feel. This twelve plus minute track add layers of solo style keys that illuminate a glorious harmony that can be heard throughout. Irresistible as it is relentless, this track doesn’t let up from start to finish and would serve as a proper welcome home anthem for wounded warriors and knights returning to their kingdom after honoring their king in battle. The second and final track on this EP, “The Call Of Black Majesty (Part II)”, is an almost nine minute magnum opus that has the sound of victory. With much of the same premise of the first track – heavy lower keys combined with higher pitched keys playing a solo like canticle – the overall tone for this one is not as dark and doesn’t represent demise. Instead, it’s a call to order after a victory for the kingdom.

If ‘The Call Of Black Majesty’ is a proper introduction of the direction of Obsidian Towers, then they will be a force to be reckoned with in the dungeon synth community. Although, I fully support and love the innovation of expanding the dungeon synth sound, there is nothing better than that good ole Medieval vibe when listening to dungeon synth in the raw. Sometimes stepping out means stepping back and that’s exactly what Obsidian Towers has done on this EP. I highly recommend checking out this album and supporting this superb artist.

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Links:

https://obsidiantowers.bandcamp.com/releases