Marsyas Zskin Produces An Explosive Combination Of Tranquillity And Nostalgia On ‘Flight Of Icarus’

Now this is a release that I’ve been very excited about reviewing for a while now. Combining Dungeon Synth with a theatrical sense of delivery, ‘Flight Of Icarus’ is a special album for electronic music in general. Marsyas Zskin knows no boundaries as musical thresholds are pushed to the limits in this spectacular collection of musical tales that exudes a soundtrack-like quality. From aggressive impulses to comfy intonations, this album uses a diversified range of sounds to portray a story that is only limited to the listeners imagination.

Opening track, “Visions Of Bright Aether”, exudes layers of ominous modulations creating a bleak atmosphere while droning synths provide a foundation of unimaginable depth. Throughout this seven and a half minute track, an array of effects are manipulated to create a commotion that is as accessible as it is enthralling. Pounding drums find a place to embed amongst the keys, adding a tasty rhythmic tone. Toward the end of the track, symphonic keys pay homage to early renditions of progressive synth wave. Skipping over a few tracks, we find “Memories Of Minoan Winters” where haunting atmospherics meet sinister and discordant synth chops. There is a beautiful underlying melody that screams in anxious disarray, but retro synth tones keep everything in synchronized perfection in the most bizarre of ways. Next is the beautiful dirge, “Dreams Of Foreign Skies”. The keyboard work is simply amazing here as the wizardry of the music continues to impress. However, the last portion of this track turns into a dreamy soundscape that fades out like a soothing, endless drone. A few tracks later, we hear the whimsical, “As A Boy, He Stared At The Sun”. Nearly nine and a half minutes of epic sounds and textures that take the listener on an audacious adventure filled with twists and turns. From the drum-laden intro to the subtle breaks of various instrumental solos, this song hauls a major influence for Medieval journeys of good verses evil. A few tracks later we find “Rise Of A Mysterious Dawn”. Although this is one of the shorter tracks on the album, the fantastic details present an early morning dawn, where all the creatures begin their days’ adventure while evil crawls back to the depths of Middle Earth, awaiting the next heinous encounter with the evening eclipse. The fourteenth track, “Carried By Light, Back To The Sea” is a serene Ambient piece with semi distorted pads and modular loops, that bridges the various sounds found in this recording. Skipping over to the eighteenth and final song on the album, “Weeping Apollo”, we find a more daring intro with harsh drum pulses and doomy synth tones. At almost eight minutes in length, this song covers a lot of ground musically and sees several transitions from engaging Dungeon Synth to Ambient sounds and hints of industrialized noise. Additionally, the overall sound sways between eccentric keys and maniacal impulses, ultimately representing a mischievous excursion of days long forgotten.

Marsyas Zskin has created an amazing album that has no boundaries and isn’t afraid to explore territories normally out of reach in the Dungeon Synth genre. Also, this is a mammoth of a release with eighteen tracks totaling about ninety minutes of playing time. Even with an album that long, there are enough wreathes to keep the listener engaged from start to finish. That’s a huge accomplishment, especially for a genre that sees a ton of releases. If you’ve not checked out ‘Flight Of Icarus’, I highly recommend doing so. Please click on the link below and download this mesmerizing release.

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://realmandritual.bandcamp.com/album/flight-of-icarus

Interstellar Space – All Hallows’ Eve Extravaganza

It’s time for everyone’s favorite celebration day, Halloween! Although believed to be rooted in Medieval Christian beliefs, Halloween – Also known as All Hallows’ Eve – is the beginning (or vigil) of Allhallowstide, which is followed by All Hallows’ Day on November 1st and All Souls’ Day on November 2nd. This celebration was once used to honor Saints of the Church, both known and unknown. However, in modern times, Halloween has been heavily influenced by Gaelic folklore and traditions with Pagan roots to hold it together. This has ultimately lead to guising, trick o’ treating, haunted houses, movies that pay homage and more importantly, music that is influenced by the aforementioned festivities. No matter the genre, there are a slew of artists that use this heavily celebrated day to create haunted-infused dirges. For this article, I have conjured ten artists that have summoned ghoulish vibes to create excellent albums that are perfect for this morbid season.

Let the festivities begin…

1. Erythrite Throne – Vampyric Fables

https://serpentsswordrecords.bandcamp.com/album/vampyric-fables

What better way to start Allhallowtide than with a festive dose of Erythrite Throne. Here with an annual creation of dark enchantments, ‘Vampyric Fables’ presents six tracks of ominous dungeon synth that showcases all aspects of the Erythrite Throne sound. From the mournful melodies of “The Cruelty Of Immortality” to the blackened intonation, “A Great Castle Just Beyond The Forest”, these tracks epitomize the Erythrite Throne standard and set a precedent for dark dungeon music. “Somber Incantations From The Blood Soaked Scrolls” is a eerie concoction of haunting synths, scathing sound effects and a cadence that conjures the dead for a sinister manifestation. ‘Vampyric Fables’ is another spectacular release and makes for a perfect listen during All Hallows’ Eve!

2. Sanctum Umbra – Through The Last Known Veil

https://sanctumumbra.bandcamp.com/releases

Robes Of Snow creator shifts focus on new project, Sanctum Umbra, replacing the usual Post Black Metal mayhem with an ultra-focused dark ambient experience laced with retrospective effects and sonic disturbances. The albums title track, “Through The Last Known Veil” is the perfect example of harrowing drones that are fused with nostalgic keyboard chops and the cracks & hisses of tape loops. “Banished Empyrean” commences with infused modulations that find a melodic hum while soft keys are structured malevolently in the background. These five tracks create a stellar ambience that is most fitting for the night of the dead. This Halloween, light a green candles and embrace the power of this stunning release.



3. Lamp & Dagger – This Tape Is Haunted

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

Lamp & Dagger has put together one of the most unique collaboration efforts that I’ve experienced. Tailored specifically for the Halloween season, these artists have assimilated to present a ghoulishly haunting encounter that is sure to frighten the faint of heart. These eight grisly tracks portray scenes of darkness and death with macabre ambience and synth effects that will send chills down your spine. Over an hour of terrorizing, sonic adventures, this recording will make for a perfect soundtrack while handing out treats to the ghouls in disguise – if they dare come close enough to ring the door bell. Production wise, this is an extremely well put together effort with every track seamlessly flowing into the next. There is also a ton of morbid detail in each track to ensure that this spooky album will provide an ultimate dark adventure for all of your lurid needs. Don’t pass up on this masterclass in horror sounds!



4. Pvmkyn Mage – Fvn Sixe Bits

https://highmage.bandcamp.com/album/fvn-size-bits

Pvkmyn Mage brings the Dungeon Noise in this terrifying blast of eerie soundscapes that are meant as an all-out audial assault. At only nineteen minutes of playing time, these five tracks present a barrage of lo-fi modulations that are equally creepy as they are alluring. There are enough bits of charred sound effects to keep one in suspense as these tracks will easily grown on the listener with intense pleasure. There are plenty of frequency fabrications and reverb to set this album sonically apart from others of its kind. In addition, playing this in the dark at increased volumes are sure to give the Trick ‘O Treaters a bout of hesitation before approaching the abyssal door of doom (and candy). Highly recommended if creepy intensity is your thing.

5. Andeddomeiji – Biohazard 2

https://highmage.bandcamp.com/album/biohazard-2

This Biohazard-themed treat is perfect for the Halloween season and offers a different flare than some of the other recordings in this article. Adding a touch of comfy synth as well as 8-bit effects, ‘Biohazard 2’ generates quite a buzz when it comes to the grim interpretations of All Hallows’ Eve. Providing a soothing and structured soundscape across eight tracks, there are subtle hints of malevolence and dark creativity while maintaining an ethereal stance throughout. Several tracks contain the harsh vibes of Dungeon Noise, while others are saturated in serene benevolence. This is a very unique album but at the same time, intriguing enough even for the moderate listener.



6. Born From Pain – Night Of The Living Dead

https://bornfrompainbm.bandcamp.com/album/night-of-the-living-dead-rescore

‘Night Of The Living Dead’ is a reinterpretation of the film score for one of the movies that started it all. Born From Pain provides a solid translation of the zombie-infested film with droning guitars, subtle keys and luminous improvisations, thus yielding an alternate audial perspective. Listening to these tracks individually may not offer the clarity needed for visualizing a common theme, however a complete listen through – while imagining the original film of the same name – will offer a grim aesthetic for this nightmarish excursion. A bold mix of Dungeon Synth, Ambient and various guitar tones, this album portrays a stark foundation for a lo-fi, bleak experience.



7. Marishiten – Scott Creek Communion EP

https://hiakukumizu.bandcamp.com/album/marishiten-scott-creek-communion-ep

‘Scott Creek Communion’ is a minimalistic drone ordeal that falls somewhere between industrialized madness and harsh noise exploitations. Deafening modulations provide a haunting, atmospheric setting that is sinister enough to frighten the souls of those that dare to listen while producing a menacing backdrop for evil incantations. Although only three tracks with a seventeen minute playing time, the angst one will feel while listening is enough to engage the dreadful displeasures of the emotional state of mind. The chilling sound effects fused with the endless reverberations are quite unsettling but is the perfect soundtrack for the season of the dead and haunted spirits – especially if trapped in a haunted building or remote location. Listen at your own risk!



8. Vaeyen – Liminality

https://vaeyen88.bandcamp.com/album/liminality

‘Liminality’ is an obscure little recording that uses a plethora of soundscapes and samples to maximize the depth of dread that is imposed on the psyche. The conglomerate of effects are systematically fused to create a suspenseful state, allowing the listener to harvest whatever self condition is vulnerable. Although there are thirteen individual tracks, this twenty six minute minute outing is meant to be listened to in a continuous state. As your mind drifts off from the opening sounds of elevator music, you will quickly be subjected to a sinister realm of maniacal proportions. The more I listen, the more I can identify with the terrifying sounds that are appropriated from every day life. This is the perfect recording to meet all of your spooky endeavors.

9. Moonrise Of Dead Masses – 10/31/1978

https://deadmasses.bandcamp.com/album/10-31-1978

This album is a chilling homage to one of the greatest horror movie franchises of all-time, Halloween. How more appropriate than to release this tribute than during the season of All Saints’ Eve. This album has it all, spine-tingling keyboard chops, retro soundscapes, drum pad beats from the 70’s & 80’s, as well as haunting atmospherics that will thrust the listener back to the greatest time period of horror cinema. The layers of keyboard madness create a culture of sonic malevolence that is completely addictive to listen to and frightening enough to to make you want to sleep with a nightlight on. This is another excellent album to get you in the mood for Allhallowtide and should be played at loud volumes to cause apprehension in the kiddies that want to solicit for a tasty treat!



10. Wrought Records Presents – Reliquary Of Terror Vol. 2

https://wroughtrecords.bandcamp.com/album/reliquary-of-terror-vol-2

Leave it up to Wrought Records to come through with the goods – especially for the Halloween season. ‘Reliquary Of Terror Vol. 2’ is a superb compilation of spooky intonations, compliments of some of the most distinguished artist in the Dungeon Synth genre. Featuring over an hours worth of frightening endeavors, this anthology of awe makes for a perfect companion while celebrating the dark festivities. Featuring menacing soundscapes, seasonal field recordings, and a deluge of synths and effects, each artist brings their own special “It Factor” to these recordings, showing their unique individuality, while jamming in unity in the spirit of long forgotten Saints! Finally, that album cover is nothing short of amazing and sets a bleak but festive mood for the audial invasion that will soon occur.


Dolum Vel Tractare!!!

Special Thanks To Droned Artworks!!

Huge shoutout to Droned Artworks for being so kind to let me use some of their artwork for this article. Waclaw Traier does an amazing job at creating some of the most obscure and unique paintings around. Even the artwork for my site was commissioned by him and it sets the perfect tone for what I’m trying to convey in my publishing’s. His artwork has also been commissioned by numerous bands and artists across multiple genres to create some of the most unmistakable album covers ever. Please find his amazing artwork at the site below:

http://www.droned.eu

If you’re into ominous, single player card games, look no further than Warclaw Games. Still an up-and-coming game developer, there are already several fascinating games available for digital release. Check out the website for more details:

https://www.warclawgames.com

Metempsychosis Physical Release:

https://www.thegamecrafter.com/games/metempsychosis:-abyss-of-horrors


The Opinionated Optimist Podcast Halloween Reviews!!

Episode 49 The Movie Malignant Is Quite Benign

https://pod.fo/e/e8293

Episode 50 – Halloween Horror Nights 30: The Good, The Bad, The Plexiglass

https://pod.fo/e/eb416

Episode 51 – Howl-O-Scream Orlando

https://pod.fo/e/edfd0


Additional cemetery photos courtesy of Carlton Whittle Photography. Please follow him on IG:

https://instagram.com/a_window_with_a_view?utm_medium=copy_link

Until next Halloween…

Mahr G’Didj Composes Dungeon Synth With Unfathomable Twists And Turns On ‘Crane & Crescent Pt. 3: Fate’s Bottomless Well, E’er Churn Her Waters’

Since last year, Mahr G’Didj has been on a roll with the ‘Crane & Crescent’ series of recordings. Divergence seems to be the driving factor that makes these albums stand out amongst the genres’ elite. That particularly holds true on the third outing, ‘Crane & Crescent Pt. 3: Fates Bottomless Well, E’er Churn Her Waters’. From comfy synth and carnival-like anthems to progressive key chops, traditional dungeon synth sounds and obscure black metal intonations, this album branches out like no other. There is a lot to talk about on this effervescent gem, so let’s discuss these contrasting (yet homogeneous) tracks.

The albums lead off track, “Elegy Reprise”, is a cozy little piece that would make anyone feel right at home, snuggled up in front of a warm winter fire. However, the intimate setting doesn’t last long as ”Infiltration, Ruined Arkell” takes this album in a completely different direction. The coziness is replaced with a symphony of keys, synth effects and looming drum pads that hammer away at a fast pace. There is a sense of hurried aggression to this piece as it suddenly comes to a halt and immediately leads into “Three Altars (Kminthi, Lilliah, Piellen Gi)”. An odd sequence begins the track and then a diabolical melody provides another twist in this album of a menagerie of sounds. This track almost sounds like a looping house soundtrack that you would hear while playing winless games at a carnival. However there are enough bizarre sequences to keep the experience fun and refreshing. “Russo’s Ambition” commences with a clean – almost jazz-like – approach with mild percussion keeping a solid cadence in the background. The composition is less whimsical than on previous tracks and contains progressive elements that makes it one of the most engaging efforts on the album. The next song, “Bombs Over Argin” starts with a flashy keyboard loop that is soon backed by a haunting synth effect and bombastic drum pads. The drums are more enlightening than on previous tracks and are hopefully a good indication of broader elements to come. “Embraced By Shadow, Kissed By Venom (Lutecia’s Theme)” is my favorite track on the album and it’s also the point where the dynamics shift yet again. This time, massive guitars (with tremolo picking) and blast beats become the primary focus. There is a synthwave style bridge in the middle of the track that is equally compelling but the song finishes the same way it started – with seismic guitars and rushing drum sequences. “Grado’s Rest (Fate’s Bottomless Well)” is another fantastic track of variables. There are several layers of key effects, progressive drum beats and guitar strums that fuse together in majestic harmony. “The Defiled (Miranda’s Theme)” takes us back to the whimsical side but with a sense of apprehension, as climactic elements are on full display. The drum track also stands out in several spots and are programmed in perfect fashion. Toward the middle of the song, doomed guitar riffs add a touch of heaviness and nostalgic vision. “Elicia Ascendant” begins with barely audible narrations and then melds into a delightful comfy synth arrangement. This is a light-hearted tracks with melancholic undertones and serene layers of synth bliss. The final track on the album is simply titled “Epilogue”. Beginning with a fantasy synth style, it soon breaks into a Disney-esque composition that could be used as a jingle for one of the theme park’s attractions. Such a tranquil and pliable way to end this remarkable album.

Mahr G’Didj has made quite an impression on me with his unique way of composing unconventional songs while remaining true to the Dungeon Synth genre. From Comfy Synth to Carnival-themed songs and Black Metal blasts, this album is totally entertaining from start to finish and will ultimately please fans that love a variety of nuances on a single album. Be sure to download this album – as well as the previous albums in the ‘Crane & Crescent’ series – from 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://oedsvyrtstower.bandcamp.com/album/crane-crescent-pt-3-fates-bottomless-well-eer-churn-her-waters

‘Music For Mental Health’ Brings Much Needed Awareness For World Mental Health Day

Today, October 10th, is the observation of World Mental Health Day. First celebrated in 1994, this International Day has grown into a global event that expands beyond 150 countries. On this day, supporters celebrate the education, knowledge and advancement against social stigma. What makes this day even more special is when artist across multiple genres of obscure music come together in a collaborative effort and release an album dedicated to this cause. ‘Music For Mental Health’ is that album and Hreám Recordings did a fascinating job curating this collection of fantastic tunes, especially since they have a deeper meaning for many of the artists that contributed. The outcome is over three hours of raw, honest, emotion-filled songs that excel at raising awareness for this special day. In addition, all proceeds from this album will go to Mind UK (link below). Please show your support for this cause and head over to the bandcamp link below and download this amazing album.

From the curator of this project:

The artists involved in this project are all more or less of the No Audience Underground:
8 Track Dogma, A Beautiful Idea, Audio Obscura, Bolivian Fireships, boycalledcrow, D^mselfly, Distant Animals, DJ盲目, Dogs Versus Shadows, Drew Mulholland, EXPOSE YOUR EYES, fencepost, Henrik Meierkord, Lednik Frontier, Malady of Knots, Quiet Clapping, Rauppwar, relay station, Sound Effects Of Death And Horror, The Creeping Man, The New Emphatic, The Owl, The Wyndham Research Institute, there are no birds here, Vanessa Pettendorfer, V’Gernull, Wonderful Beasts and Xqui.

The compilation covers genres as: experimental, drone, ambient, soundscape, electronic and improv. There are 27 tracks all in all and over 3 hours of music waiting for the listener. Most of the tracks are specially written for this project, with a few handpicked. Many pieces reflect over the creators own struggles with mental health issues and there are even some that chosen to leave a written message to read while listening to their creation. We have all worked very hard for this and are very proud of the result. It will be a true joy to be able to share this one with the world.


All proceeds will go to Mind UK:

https://www.mind.org.uk/

Hreám Recordings:

https://hream.bandcamp.com

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

Get Ready For A Psychedelic Trip Through Whimsical Dungeons On Temple Of The Fractured Light’s ‘The Groovopolis’

Talk about intriguing, Temple Of Fractured Light’s latest album, ‘The Groovopolis’ is a mesmerizing blend of genres, sounds, emotions, and fanatical experiences all wrapped up in one. This twenty eight minute long exploit is a deep dive into the psyche with psychedelic and tranquility overtones that are reinforced with bold but minimalistic compositions set to take the listener into a brave new world.

This kaleidoscopic journey begins with the audacious “Discard Your Earthly Body To Enter The Kingdom Of Light”. Commencing with an organ-like drone, we are soon greeting with tolling of the bells and an abrupt, distorted keyboard chop. Synth leads are introduced as a synchronous melody slowly comes together. As an introductory piece, this track sets a jubilant tone for the overall theme of the album. “Welcome To The Groovopolis” is a short track that continues the momentum and vibrantly adds a steady percussive beat, as if marching into unknown territories is inevitable. Discordant keys expand the boundaries, creating an uneasy atmosphere for those that dare to partake in the festivities. “Shamans Of The Great Prism Forest” is one of the most melodic achievements on the album, as multiple keyboard effects fuse together to establish a memorable audial encounter. The droning organ-like keys in the background really hold all of these sounds together, allowing for harmonized perfection. Battle-rhythm beats play an effective role as well, building an intricate song full of elaborate detail. “Fractal manner Of The Deep Forest” is a psychedelic dirge that assembles on simplicity and calming effects. The tones are soothing and otherworldly, and succeed at achieving a dreamy environment for an alternate state of mind. “Princess Of The Hallucinogenic Mushroom Dunes” brings out the whimsical effects and is one of the most upbeat tracks on the album. Combining steady percussive elements and layers of eccentric synths & keys, this song forges on a buoyant path while maintaining an incongruous arrangement. “Gargoyles Flying Free” is the shortest track amongst these gems, but bridges the gap between ethereal intonations and cinematic clarity. This brief experience is moody and provides a refreshing outlook on the estranged sound manipulations of the previous tracks. “Past The Vision Fields” is another amusing offering that is light and sincere. The piercing synth leads exhibits the most melodically structured stanza’s on the whole album and combined with the rhythmic synths and sporadic percussion section, this is definitely a standout track. The final track is the outlandish “Coronation At The Rainbow Temple”. This is surely the strangest endeavor but fits in perfectly with the rest of the album. The consistent use of barraging synth effects works well with this composition as it’s more of a dreamy piece with a somber appeal. As this album comes to a close, so does the psychedelic vibe, as this track brings us back to reality, more refreshed than ever.

Throughout its short history, Temple Of Fractured Light has made a valiant effort to include a nifty blend of synth groove, psychedelic flavor and unconventional themes to create an essence that stands out amongst its peers. ‘The Groovopolis’ is a stellar achievement that will stand the test of time and garner multiple listens in order to embrace its awesomeness. Even though this album came out at the first of the year, it’s never too late to embrace the culture of all things groovy and psychedelic. Please show your support by downloading this one-of -a-kind album!

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://templeofthefracturedlight.bandcamp.com/album/the-groovopolis

Eyre Transmissions XIII: Interview with Synth Extraordinaire, Elminster

With just over a year of active involvement in the Dungeon Synth scene, Elminster has managed to rack up quite an assortment of excellent albums. Whether released under his flagship moniker – Elminster – or other incredible crafts such as Anadûnê, The Owl Knight or DCCCVIII, it’s apparent that Elminster is in it for the long haul and is quickly becoming a “go to” artist for all of your Dungeon Synth needs. I recently had the opportunity to chat with Colin Bacon – the maestro behind all of these amazing projects – to find out what the driving force is behind all this talent, how he got into this genre of music, and what the future hold. Please enjoy this very detailed account for all things Elminster!

1. Thank you so much for this interview opportunity. Elminster hit the Dungeon Synth scene just over a year ago with the ‘Making Of A Mage’ series. Since then, you’ve been on a relentless spree of new album releases, other projects and splits. How did you get started in the genre and where are all of the fresh ideas coming from?

As much as I wish that I could say that my introduction to the genre was by finding a cassette hidden in the middle of a stone circle or castle, I actually found the genre via Youtube’s recommended function. I had checked out a few before, but the first handful to grab me were the Blood Tower/Apothecarium split, Barbaric Frost’s Against The Darkness, Coniferous Myst/Owlbear/Scrag/The Herbalists split (which Isaac was kind enough to sell me their artist copy of), and the Druadan Forest/Uruk Hai/Bannwald Split. All of these albums are magical to me and, even though I now know the basics of songwriting, I still am not entirely sure how each was made. Pivoting to the second part, I get a bit restless with my hobbies and often feel like I am climbing the walls if I am not able to indulge them, in a rather compulsive sense. As for the variety, I read a lot growing up, especially fantasy novels. Each of my projects is an attempt to capture a specific feeling within a wide and varied genre.

2. I want to go back to the ‘Making Of A Mage’ series of releases. Can you talk more about the inspiration for these EP’s and do you have a plan for anymore “Mage” albums?

The inspiration for TMOAM was a novel of the same name by Ed Greenwood, never has a book captivated me with such ease. My brain created a picture of every scene and ran wild with how I would make a movie for it, how it would be scored, etc. etc. (It would be animated similarly to the 1970s LOTR movies, if I had my way). When searching for what the alias of my project would be, Elminster just felt right and I decided in that same moment that my favorite novel required a soundtrack. Each of the EPs is named after a part of the book (part 1 was brigand, part 2 burglar, etc. etc.) and each of the song titles are referential to plot points. Seeing as I created a product that accomplished what I wished it to, there likely won’t be any more albums of that name, but I would certainly consider doing soundtrack albums for the other books in the Elminster series.

https://elminster.bandcamp.com/album/the-making-of-a-mage-2

3. Earlier this year, you released the Crypt Hop EP, ‘Beats To Dungeon Crawl To’. This was definitely a seamless transition to another one of the fascinating Dungeon Synth sub-genres but was this something that had been planned all along or just an experimental effort?

When first creating the Elminster project, I did not know of Crypt Hop, it was only through the Vandalorum episode of Midnight Ambience and murmurings on facebook that I learned about it. I had been into the concept of beatmaking ever since discovering the grime artist JME during early lockdown. Through him, I got into UK Drill artists such as Digga D, Kwengface, Teezandos, Abra Cadabra, and Pop Smoke (an american who laid down NY Drill vocals over UK beats, rest in peace Bashar). I saved up my money and got FL Studio and began to learn how to make those types of instrumentals. While getting into each of the aforementioned genres, I began to realize that I enjoyed the fact that they borrowed from carribean dance rhythms and blended said rhythms with darker instrumentals. A practiced ear will likely notice that most trap artists put the snare on beats 3 and 7 while using a steady rhythm hi hat pattern, but these genres (drill especially) like to put the snare on beats 3 and 8 while using a nonlinear hit hat pattern, which gives the beat both bounce and swing. From there, my selfish desire to marry crypt hop and drill produced the EP in question.

https://elminster.bandcamp.com/album/beats-to-dungeon-crawl-to

4. I have to talk about ‘Antipaladin’ as it’s one of my favorite efforts by you. How does your albums evolve from one epic story to another and what do you think makes this one stick out amongst your ever growing discography?

My albums usually get named near the beginning. I am usually on a nature walk and think “It would be awesome for an album of X name to exist. Alright, Colin, what would it sound like? What would the songs be called?”. The reason it stands out could vary from listener to listener, but the reason it feels different to me is that it was the first time I had had a mythological topic in mind and that I really pushed myself to learn a new songwriting style, which I’ve heard get called Berlin school (I’m a bit of a genre tourist with that genre, so I won’t claim to have a great understanding of its hallmarks).

5. You also did a very unique thing with this release by giving download codes for those that donated to the Shelter House Domestic and Sexual Violence Center in Fort Walton Beach, Fl. What was your decision to release this on a “give back” like scenario?

I’ve been slowly coming to the realization that I want to be involved in activism. I naturally lean a bit more introverted so I figured that leveraging my music would be the most effective and most comfortable way for me to do some good. On top of that, I figured that a DV shelter is something that pretty much anyone could get behind, so people would be willing to give more freely. I’d like to thank High Mage for being so willing to help me make this a reality and I’d like to thank the community for raising a combined $250 for those charities from that run, it really warmed my heart. I would also like to mention here that the split I have with Maiden Hair and coming out through Weregnome this October will also be giving its proceeds to (I believe 2 seperate) wildlife charities, please consider donating if you have the means to. I would like to make this type of release happen a few times a year.

6. In July of this year – almost a year after releasing albums under the Elminster moniker – you started a new project called, Anadûnê. Other than the music being a tad more cinematic than Elminster, what influenced the creation of this project?

This project was created because I was lucky enough to land a spot on the dev team of the Medieval II Total War Silmarillion Mod as the in-house musician. I felt like a project of that theme should be separate and approached with a different writing process.

https://elminster.bandcamp.com/album/the-rise-of-gondolin-2

7. ‘The Rise Of Gondolin’ (by Anadûnê) is probably one of your coldest albums to date, but there is so much dreamy melody happening at the same time. How do you manage to incorporate these distant facets in order to create something so amazing?

Thank you! I’ll be honest, I don’t know. With that album, I didn’t let myself think too hard about it and just let myself write. I often find that it is pretty obvious when I overproduce a release and usually find that I enjoy trusting my instincts. Gun to my head, the patches I used were not as in your face and I leaned into them.

8. The Owl Knight is another fascinating project that draws upon chip tune, retro experiences and classic RPG theme songs. How are you able to make this sound so refreshing without being as whimsical as other chip tune recordings?

If I had to guess, the reason it doesn’t share a lot of the tropes with other chip tune recordings is a combination of hardware (I use toy keyboards as opposed to synthesizers/console sound cards), growing up after the era of 8 bit music being the de facto game soundtrack, and by being primarily inspired by the album Sunken Dungeon by Longsword. I also have listened only to a little bit of chiptune DS. It’s definitely good music, but there’s only so much time in my day.

https://elminster.bandcamp.com/album/i

9. You have another Crypt Hop project out called DCCCVIII. First of all, what is the meaning behind the name and secondly please tell me that this is a long term project because it’s freaking amazing!

DCCCVIII is a nod to my love of using crazy 808 patterns in my beats, it is the roman numeral spelling of 808. I have no plans to stop that project, it has been both incredibly fun to write for and has been extremely good for me to have a new challenge, genre-wise.

https://elminster.bandcamp.com/album/in-days-past

10. In August alone, you’ve released 5 albums including two splits. Where do you find the time to stay this busy and what’s behind all of the musical motivation?

I get incredibly restless and I don’t sleep a whole lot haha. On top of that, music has been a very rewarding hobby to get into. I love the dopamine hit I get when I hit the publish button or when I see people receiving their copies of my tapes.

11. The split release with Baerdcyn is so tantalizing that it’s quickly becoming one of my most listened to albums at the moment. Do you record music specifically for split releases or are they leftover tracks from previous efforts?

Thank you! I usually create them specifically for splits, I generally don’t keep a lot of “overhead”. When I finish something, I release it in most cases.

https://elminster.bandcamp.com/album/mystical-manifestations

12. I think split releases are very important as they show artist solidarity and help promote from within. What are your thoughts on this and do you have any more split releases in the works?

That is absolutely how I view them! I love the work of so many artists and selfishly want to have an opportunity to work with them and splits allow me to do that in a less invasive way. I also got into the genre through several splits and from doing so gained an immense appreciation for them. I have 2 more in the pipeline that are finished, 1 that I was doing the vocals for before I blew out my voice from screaming, and handshake agreements with a few artists for more in the future.

13. Do you have any plans to share your craft in a live setting, specifically during one of the Siege events?

I am certainly interested in playing live, but would probably only do so if reached out to. I would really want to do something fun for it if so.

14. What do you have in store for the rest of 2021 and what are your musical goals/dreams for 2022?

For 2021, I am planning on continuing to have fun writing different types of music. I have plans to try my hand at black metal and might give black ambient (think gonfanon but without being a fascist) once my 4 track arrives. In December, High Mage and I have agreed to do an event called Magemas, where they will be doing an entire month of my releases, so keep your eyes peeled for that (I hope they don’t mind me mentioning it here haha). For 2022, I plan to release an Elminster box set through them as well.

15. I really appreciate your time and thanks for all the great music! Do you have any final words or thoughts for those that may be reading this interview?

Thank you so much for having me! This has truly been an honor. My parting shot would be to ask the community to keep their eyes open for releases of mine with the charity element involved as their donations will be able to impact the wider world and allow our beautiful genre to do good for others. Stay safe and love each other. – E

Links:

BC: https://elminster.bandcamp.com/music

Psyclopean, Visions Of Ulnahar & Noctilucant Congregate For A Cinematic Lovecraftian Offering With ‘Libris Arcanum’

What happens when three idealistic artists come together on a collaborative effort with a single theme in mind? An absolutely brilliant album is born and an unparalleled blend of Dark Ambient and Dungeon Synth intonations tell a Lovecraftian story of horror and lore. ‘Libris Arcanum’ presents six epic tracks of sonic adventure with Psyclopean, Noctilucant and Visions Of Ulnahar contributing two fanatical adventures each. These dark compositions combine droning ambience with the essential sounds of riveting Dungeon Synth, providing an eerie exploration into the world of One of our favorite fantasy authors.

Psyclopean caters the albums lead off track with “De Vermis Mysteriis”. This majestic undertaking begins with soaring synth leads and subtle soundscapes that set a captivating scene of somber foreboding. The cinematic approach to the first section is a beautiful introduction to this extremely diverse album. However, gloomy elements start to merge in a horrific fashion with moments of layered keys fused with a grim ambience. Elegant keys bring this song to a close, properly preparing the lister for the remaining intonations. The next track is “The Dhol Chants” by Visions Of Ulnahar, setting an aggressive pace with jolting soundscapes and loud, distorted keys. As these tones drone on at full capacity, evidence of evil luring in the background is apparent, as subtle instances of abhorrent effects make their presence known. This one will definitely get the heart racing as the unknown prevails. Next up is “Cthäat Aquadingen” by Noctilucant. The sound of crashing waves start this eight plus minute journey into oblivion and soon, discordant keys set a bleak atmosphere. Inaudible noises dwell in the background as sections of divergent disarray cast a spell on those that continue to listen. About halfway into the track, ominous keys create a sense of melody, casting a shadowy light on this otherwise dark encounter. Psyclopean is up next with their second track of audial ambience in, “The Book Of Dayan”. A beguiling, warm drone casts a melancholic foundation while synth effects churn out a cold arrangement. A mournful vocalization adds a layers of funereal essence before giving way to a drifting thunderstorm field recording. Echoing narrations can be heard in the distance while peculiar percussion valiantly plays an off-kilter beat. The final few minutes of this track is filled with celestial drones, thunderous explosions and ethereal chants. If this doesn’t get you in the mood for Lovecraft-themed Mythos, then I don’t know what will. “Zanthu Tablets” is the next track provided by the magnificent Visions Of Ulnahar. Desolate waves on a gloomy beach front encounter cinematic tones and synth glitches showcasing a mixed emotive state. It’s as if this composition represents the ancient clash of good versus evil. This mesmerizing combination carries on until the end of the track, where the waves suddenly disappear and we’re left with just a soft theatrical melody. The final track on the album is provided by Noctilucant and it’s called “Cultes Des Goules”. Continuing on with a barrage of soundscapes and incandescent tones, this track is like an audible nightmare with haunting ambience, muffled wind sounds and soaring effects that are close to ear-piercing in pitch. A malevolent narrative piece is embedded amongst the ghoulish chaos as this nightmare of a track continues on. Retro synth leads are included in the mix and they provide a sinister tone to the overall sound of this track.

I know that this album has been out for a while now, but it’s never too late to review an epic collection of songs of these proportions. Each of these three artists – Psyclopean, Visions Of Ulnahar and Noctilucant – bring their own perception and taste for Synth excellence to collaborate on this pinnacle recording. Combining the best features of both Dungeon Synth and Dark Ambient music, this theatrical presentation tells an illuminating story of conceptual Lovecraftian manifestations. These are top-notch compositions with a supreme songwriting effort that deliver prestigious music of the highest order. Please support this album and these artists by listening to (and downloading) it from the link below.

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Links:

https://noctilucant.bandcamp.com/album/libris-arcanum

Celestial-Themed Intonations Lead To Visionary Dungeon Melodies On Time Unveiled Masterpiece ‘Lunar Theology’

It’s certainly pleasing to the ear to hear fresh elements in the Dungeon Synth genre. I’m sure we all have our favorite aspects of the music whether it be melancholic, gloomy, quirky or whimsical but what’s so gratifying is when an artist comes along and redefines the listening experience with a combination of the aforementioned styles. Time Unveiled – a fantastic new project from the mastermind behind the psychedelic Dungeon Synth act Temple Of The Fractured Light – gives us a unique perspective on the genre in terms of compositional approach and thematically driven vibes. The result is an eighty plus minute journey down an ethereal path of solar enlightenment and systematic melodies.

Whisked away to a celestial world with minimal distractions, “Into The New Story” is a satisfyingly gloomy piece with a simple (but infectious) melody that sets the mood for a daring adventure into the far reaches of galactic realms. By the time “…And Her Hair Was Made Of Starlight” kicks in, the journey begins to take flight with a simple but combative refrain that exemplifies a battle-like cadence with whimsical synths. “Master Of No Domain” commences with a single keyboard tone that plays a delightful intonation. After a brief introduction, layers of mischievous synth effects combine to create an amusing ride through harrowing landscapes. A short ambient section fuses two eccentric sections as this seven plus minute track provides the foundation for the remainder of the album. “Unrest In The House Of Solar (Prelude To Battle)” is a short somber piece that exudes a completely mournful state with soothing synths and elongated ambient sections. “Battle For The Sky” is a slow builder but showcases a variety of instrumentation and sounds to create an anthem for an upcoming lugubrious campaign. “Goodbye, Green Castle” features psychedelic effects and stringent synth arrangements and overall has a very nostalgic feel to it. “All The Things Which Make Light” is one of my favorite tracks on the album as has a grim tone and modest production. These are just a few key factors that enhance the experience as the trance-like groove is almost meditative. “A Song For Jacky Lynn” has a sensational bass line that thumps at a harmonious pace throughout the track. The layers of synth melodies build from start to finish and preserve the dark noir approach to this catchy track. The albums title track, “Lunar Theology” is a deceptively dark piece that combines calm, flowing synths with memorable leads. It’s minimalistic in nature but contains a haunting melody that makes it supremely grand. “Arabia In Monochrome” is a fun little tune that contains tribal-like beats and Eastern-influenced synth leads. The beat will have the listener bobbing their head with swift fulfillment while the Middle Eastern synth arrangements will catapult you to a dimension of dry desert heat and mischievous adventures. “XI: Sleep (Träd Cover)” is a beautiful rendition of a song by the late, great Geo Romero. Somber melody leads are superbly fused with reverberated synth tones that are crystal clear and down right mesmerizing. “Skyward, Amber Dancer!” contains guitar-like effects with a pitch-shifting ambient background that screams retro! This is such a fitting track to close out this illustrious nocturnal adventure. The final track is the bonus adventure, “Live At Rainbow Bridge (12/19/2020)” and is thirty five minutes of raw, emotional Dungeon Synth that is out of this world. From gloomy field recordings and soundscapes to dreamy synths, this recording is more than meets the eye as even the subtle imperfections blend well to create a riveting experience that must have been amazing to witness live.

I absolutely love the variance of melody that is embodied on ‘Lunar Theology’. Time Unveiled represents a new era of Dungeon Synth and sends these colossal transmissions on an interstellar orbit by way of renewed compositions and fantastic thematic approach. I highly recommend this amazing album so please click on the link below and support this project.

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Links:

https://timeunveiled.bandcamp.com/album/lunar-theology

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

Here with my third round of Dungeon Synth summary reviews that I call Celestial Ephemerides. As the Dungeon Synth genre becomes more expanded with an increased sense of popularity, there are many artists that continue to broaden their sound beyond the sphere of traditional Dungeon Synth. Such is the case for the amazing artists in this posting, as many of them create a fascinating world with their music that incorporates many elements of surprise. Please check these artists out and support them as much as possible and I hope you enjoy these releases as much as I do.

1. Meadow Grove – That Which Lies Beyond

‘That Which Lies Beyond’ is probably my favorite output but Meadow Grove as it’s firm mix of ambient textures and minimal use of synth leads create a mournful Dungeon Synth experience. These four epic tracks present a somber, musical experience that is part whimsical, part melancholic but completely alluring that is surely to reach a broad spectrum of listeners. When this thirty three minute long excursion is over, you’ll want to start it again, further embracing the enlightened bliss that it exudes.

https://meadowgrove.bandcamp.com/album/that-which-lies-beyond

2. Kalameet – The Everlasting Prairie Winters

Kalameet exemplifies the Medieval Dungeon Synth experience with bleak atmospherics and haunting synth arrangements. The gloomy production effort also increases the authenticity of the era that this recording represents. in addition to the captivating synth compositions, elements of percussion and whimsical key leads thwarts the listener back to a darkened time where castles and enchanted forests reigned supreme. I particularly love the ambient lead-ins for each track as they prepare the listener for a middle-aged journey that is compelling as it is real.

https://kalameet1.bandcamp.com/album/the-everlasting-prairie-winters

3. Gate Master – Gate Master

Although the self-titled Gate Master album is not the latest release in his catalog, it’s definitely one worth mention especially if you’ve not heard it yet. ‘Gate Master’ is everything that I love about some of my favorite genres of music. It contains a methodical Dungeon Synth cadence that draws the listener in as well as some bleak atmospherics that will satisfy fans of Dark Ambient music as well. On top of that, it encompasses some very cold and powerful Black Metal that was some of my favorite from last year. The track “Inverse Transcendent Hypostasis” is worth the price of the album by itself. Don’t pass on this artist and the amazing discography of albums that are available.

https://gatemaster.bandcamp.com/album/gate-master

4. Caliginous Empire – Gloom Lands

‘Gloom Lands’ is a captivating listening experience that runs the gamut of soundscapes and genre-bending within a twenty two minute span. Starting with a cinematic intro and leading into an fascinating journey of fantasy synth induced tracks, ‘Gloom Lands’ proves its epic prowess by virtue of musical compositions instead of the length of the album itself. One minute it is inviting with eccentric tones and the next the listener is presented with a brood of darkened atmospherics. An excellent debut from an up-and-coming Dungeon Synth artist!

https://caliginousempire.bandcamp.com/album/gloom-lands

5. Lamerak – Lamerak

At just sixteen minutes in length, ‘Lamerak’ is a charming fantasy synth adventure that catapults the listener into the heart of Medieval elements where a serene setting provides a peaceful existence for the entire kingdom. Although mostly a light and enchanting experiment, there are aspects of obscurity that enhances the listening experience. Synthwave effects create a haunting atmosphere for these tracks, making it a standout release in the Dungeon Synth community.

https://lamerak.bandcamp.com/album/lamerak

6. Lamia Vox – Alles Ist Ufer. Ewig Ruft Das Meer

‘Alles Ist Ufer. Ewig Ruft Das Meer’ is a soundtrack worthy album of cinematic proportions. Beautifully produced and classically arranged, these tracks fuse elements of Dark Ambient and Medieval Dungeon Synth with crystal clear clarity and a precise mix of elegant synth leads and dreamy narrations. Also featuring percussion, piano and stringed instrument arrangements, this album is an absorbing listen and is guaranteed to get multiples spins from listeners of this variety.

https://lamiavox.bandcamp.com/album/alles-ist-ufer-ewig-ruft-das-meer

7. Apoxupon – Nameless And Formless

‘Nameless And Formless’ is a bold and refreshing take on Dungeon Synth music. With dark atmospherics, layers of amusing keyboard arrangements and elements of experimental, avant-garde, Apoxupon has conjured quite an adventure with their fifth album of inspiring synth music. Never one to maintain the status quo, Apoxupon expands upon the realm of darkness and fantasy synth to create a signature sound that is unmistakable. This is one of my favorite Dungeon Synth albums of the year so far.

https://apoxupon.bandcamp.com/album/nameless-and-formless

8. Frailord – Injecting Divine Essence Of The Empyrean Kingdom

Frailord, one of the many projects behind Serpent Swords Records mastermind Davey Sasahara, finds a more regimented sound with a stark mix of Medieval Dungeon Synth and Black Metal, put together in a lo-fi production setting. One thing that stands out is the bombastic percussion, as it creates a hasty style of synth music that hypnotizes from the very first note. Sure you can hear the influences of Serpent Sword projects, but the intonations released on this album stand on their own as a unique project and identity. Another amazing effort by Davey!

https://serpentsswordrecords.bandcamp.com/album/injecting-divine-essence-of-the-empyrean-kingdom

9. Dahliad – The Feast Of Fools

‘The Feast Of Fools’ is a masterclass of synth compositions that extends beyond the Dungeon Synth realm. The theatrical presentation of this album as a whole is on point, while the inclusion of dark ambience and trance-like drones adds a bleak setting to the ominous output of each track. As if you’re trapped in a nightmare, certain tracks will play on the listeners emotions, ensuring an essence of coldness. However, other tracks contain an overwhelming sense of beauty, creating a wonderful balance as this album takes us down a different path in the realm of Dungeon Synth.

https://retconindustries.bandcamp.com

10. Genus Inkasso – Odd Little Gestures

This album is a little older but definitely with the mention in this article. Although not your typical Dungeon Synth album, it’s more like an experimental noise recording with harsh modulations that resonate in the same fashion as Dungeon Synth does. Using frequency manipulation as it’s stronghold for tonal adventure, this single track provides twenty six minutes of angst-laden soundscapes and reverberations that is sure to generate some feedback (no pun intended).

https://tonestrukt.bandcamp.com/album/odd-little-gestures

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