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!

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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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Løgan McCurter Cultivates A Kaleidoscope Of Synth Madness On The Elusive, ‘Primitive Baptist & The Oldest Time Traveler In The World’

I spent some time perusing Løgan McCurter’s Bandcamp page and was fascinated by the variety of music that he’s generated over the course of several albums and demos. From singer/songwriter and psychedelic to synth pop and retro synthwave, Logan knows no boundaries and has a niche for creating great music. Now, even further expanding his musical forte, Dungeon Synth is added to the audial pallet, and the release of ‘Primitive Baptist & The Oldest Time Traveler In The World’ is bestowed upon us. With a solid foundation in the Dungeon Synth realm, these eight tracks expand beyond multiple genres, creating a fascinating album of melancholic desires.

Impressive album opener, “Primitive Baptist” commences with a steady dose of tape hisses followed by the consoling sounds of retro synth chops that paint an effervescent scene of jubilant mystery. Celestial soundscapes and percussive pops create a harmonious tone, setting a wondrous theme for the remainder of the album. “Uniform Resource Locator” begins with some creepy sound effects before melding into a whimsical fantasy synth groove. This soon comes to an end, giving way to a warm ambient tone and a variety of sonic textures, as if providing a soundscape to a fanatical adventure. Toward the end, a barrage of synth leads come into play, bringing this track to a climactic ending. “Chapel Dweller” is a lugubrious effort with dreamy keys and cosmic effects. There is a beautiful sense of melody on this track that makes it an infectious listen. “Spoken Into Existence” begins with an alluring piano melody before shifting into a retro synthwave affair. It’s so easy to get lost in the ambient space that is created by the solar atmospherics, that you’ll almost feel as if you’re on a celestial journey through unknown realms. This leads right into the lush, “The Meaning Of Life Is That It Ends”. With tape hisses and fantasy synth tones, the melody is beautifully arranged to create a stark world of beauty and darkness. Hints of percussion and layers of synth leads add to the mystique of this song, making it one of my favorites on the album. “The Oldest Time Traveler” continues with the tape hisses and austere soundscapes, sending the listener on a psychedelic excursion. As the elongated synths begin to take shape, every element of this track becomes more predominant. The obscure effects really do this track justice, as it keeps the listener drawn into a world of fantasy and arcane details. The eerie “Tomb Sleeper” begins with haunting field recordings and maniacal effects before settling into a heavy bass-driven dirge that sounds like a synthwave ballad from the 80’s. The inclusion of steady rainfall provides a very soothing effect as this emotionally arranged anthem continues with various elements of surprise that succeeds in captivating the listener effortlessly. The final memorable achievement on this fantastic album is the mesmerizing “You Were The Spell”. After a brief, dismal array of grim sound effects, the track settles into an austere arrangement of harmonized synths that are simply breathtaking. The expanded notes overlay each other in an integrated fashion, providing a soothing and somber experience. The trance-like quality that builds with each interval pulls the listener further into a world of darkness and uncertainty. What an amazing way to end this extraordinary album.

Løgan McCurter’s Dungeon Synth journey – although a youthful one – is surely paying off with the bold and captivating release, ‘Primitive Baptist & The Oldest Time Traveler In The World’. He masterfully blends multiple synth styles to create his own unique signature within the Dungeon Synth realm. This is an extremely entertaining album with lots of twists and turns and I can’t recommend this one enough. Please click on the link below and support this prodigious artist by downloading this tremendous piece of work.

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Links:

https://loganmccurter.bandcamp.com/album/primitive-baptist-the-oldest-time-traveler-in-the-world

Tir Brings A Cinematic Approach To An Ancient Time On ‘Persepolis’

This is not the first trip to The Dungeon In Deep Space for Tir, as I reviewed the spectacular offering, ‘Urd, Skuld & Verdandi’ back in 2019. That album was a quintessential element for the Dungeon Synth genre and one that (I feel) elevated Tir’s status as a driving force in the community. Fast forward to now – and several releases later – and we’re graced with another experience beyond comparison in, ‘Persepolis’. A fifty eight minute epic journey translated through beautifully crafted and cinematic synth music that transcends traditional Dungeon Synth settings. Prepare to be amazed as Tir takes you back in time, centuries before the darkness of the Medieval period and the somber essence that it foretold.

From the very first note of “Daemon Of Desert (Aži)”, an intense cinematic quality fills the air and increases as multiple synth effects and percussive elements provide a somber, yet melodic introduction to this intoxicating album. “Anahid’s Miracle” is a serene, melancholic anthem that plays a sorrowful tone while windy field recordings establish a scene of desolation and solitude. The beautiful choir-like sounds add an addictive resonance that go beyond the reach of any genre. “Summoning Alborz” is a slow starter but the natural soundscapes and enchanting instrumentation begin to take charge and will beckon the listener to dry lands and mystic occurrences. “Righteous Viraz” is a whimsical piece that is supremely memorable and the mix of high and low tones work amazingly well during the intro. Soon after, grandiose keys cry out in pain as somber melodies commence and present an emotional journey until the end of the track. “The Dragon King Raised An Army” completely contradicts the last track, as it’s eerie tone sets a dark path toward desolation. Haunting keys with a small amount of reverb works really well here and then suddenly – for the final minute – a lighter harmonic synth shows a glimmer of hope. “Mēnōg And Gētīg” begins with a bizarre synth effect that ultimately fused into an austere Medieval dirge, complete with rhythmic percussion and trance-like keys. “The Stone Thrown From Činwad Bridge (Extended)” starts as a beautiful ballad with lush instrumentation and a gentle arrangement. As this nine and a half minute track continues to progress, layers of alluring guitar chops fill the air with scenic beauty. A haunting ambience plays in the background, bringing a tinge of darkness to this otherwise charming song. As the guitars slowly fade, we are left with the grumbles of deep winds and enchanting soundscapes. “Sands In The Sky” is a gloomy Dungeon Synth effort with bells, orchestral movements and grainy production. However, half way through, crisp string sounds provide an element of surprise and intricately woven detail. “The Song Of The Cosmos Is Heard From Persepolis” is another Medieval masterpiece as it contains all of the elements that make it a stand out track. From the deep, baritone key arrangement to the ancient soundscapes and vocal effects, this track covers a large range of sounds to present its impressive composition. There is also a touch of synthwave to spice things up a bit. “The Rising Shadow Of Chaos” is one of my favorite tracks as it wastes no time getting to the point with its drum and synth audial attack. Although it’s very minimalistic, there is a dark groove and a terrifying sound that is suddenly amplified by the grotesque vocals at the end. I need to hear more of this! “Blood Red Desert” begins with a warm drone and some snappy instrumentation before settling into a Medieval anthem, worthy of multiple listens. “Welkin” is another beautiful ballad that has layers of well-crafted synth leads and several twists and turns to keep it eccentric and compelling. “Empire Of Stars” is a short, melodic piano piece that morphs into an amusing track with a full ensemble of instruments. Just as you get into the grove of this little jingle, it comes to an unfortunate but abrupt end. “Lost To The Shadows Of Memories” features expanded notes, as if this were being played in memory of a lost soul. I love how (as the song progresses) the elongated notes build in layers, almost creating a symphony of madness as the drums and backing keys play in solidarity. The final track on the album is “Forgotten Prophesy (feat. Varkana)” and it’s such a massive way to close out this spectacle from ancient times. With Tir’s passion for cinematic arrangements and Varkâna’s signature beats and effects, what can go wrong? I would actually love to hear these artists collaborate on a whole album, as this track is one of the pinnacles of ‘Persepolis’.

I continue to be impressed with Tir, as he constantly raises the bar with each release. Never one to settle for “just average”, Tir goes above and beyond to create an extravagant album each and every time and ‘Persepolis’ is no exception. From cinematic to whimsical, battle rhythms to ballads, Tir covers all of the bases in this fabulous expedition set in ancient times. In addition to that, he incorporates elements of synthwave, percussion, and a guest artist to round out this project that makes it such a compelling listen. I highly recommend checking out ‘Persepolis’ from the link below.

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Links:

https://tirofficial.bandcamp.com/album/persepolis

Multi-Genre Synth Extraordinaire, Jenn Taiga, Cultivates A Nostalgic Collection Of Deft Anthems On ‘Lunar Nocturnes And Esoteric Incantations’

If you’ve listened to Dungeon Synth, Berlin School or any style of Synth music in the past few years, then Jenn Taiga needs no introduction. For all others, well, you’ve been missing out on one of the most talented musicians across a broad spectrum of genres. Last years ‘Plight’, was in my Top Ten list for synth album of the year and remains one of my favorite synth albums of recent years. As time and space progress, I find myself anticipating new releases by my favorite artists – Jenn Taiga included. Earlier this month saw the release of ‘Lunar Nocturnes And Esoteric Incantations’, a collection of six exquisite synth songs that embrace a world of retro darkness and euphoric bliss.

Album opener, “Six Of Swords” first appeared on last years ‘Apostles Against Hegemony, Vol. I: Transitive Properties’ compilation and it was one of my favorite songs from that huge assortment of impressive tunes. Beginning with a dreamy arrangement that slowly builds with haunting leads and cosmic sound effects, this track will surely generate a hypnotic state for the listener and prepare them for the mesmerizing characteristics that gracefully infiltrate the remainder of the album. “Strength” has a beautiful (but mild) Berlin School backing arrangement that is completely lenitive and soothing, while layers of concordant synths provide a rollercoaster of emotive vibes that are unmatched in their scope of memorable influence. Although this track is five minutes in length, I wish that it lasted another ten minutes or so. After a short nostalgic intro on “King Of Swords”, we are treated with a hefty dose of conventional, Berlin School patterns that are soon combined with an ominous arrangement of swaying synth leads and celestial soundscapes that are otherworldly and reminiscent of 70’s retro Space Rock/Synth music that popularized the genre several decades ago. “Justice” is the shortest track on the album at just under three and a half minutes long. However, it’s a monstrous synth piece filled with melody and tasty backing arrangements, making this compact offering a delightful listen. “Braziers Are Burning” commences with a grueling sound, like a distorted warning alarm terrifying an unsuspected community. After that startling lead in, majestic synth offerings come into being and provide a mystical journey of harrowing cadence, cinematic effects and layers of sonic resonance that reveals one of Jenn’s most complete compositions to date. The final symphonic piece on this mesmerizing album is “…As Our Offerings Rise To The Heavens”. At just under nine and a half minutes, it’s the longest track on the album and is an epic ending to this modern-day trip down memory lane. It’s starts with a somber synth fill that sways of lush movements. At just over two minute in, Berlin School melodies permeate the audial channels and we find ourselves falling deep into another legendary excursion. The retro synth patterns are simply amazing and this track is like a continuous build-up to a never ending story. There are several layers of harmony that can be heard in a couple of spots that are hypnotic and could be considered the transcendent soundtrack to a trance-like state of mind. As you continue to ingest the enchanting rhythms of this track, it suddenly fades into the black, leaving you wanting more.

For me, Jenn Taiga is one of the ultimate musicians in the world of synth compositions. Never afraid to venture out beyond a single genre, Jenn Taiga pulls from a wide array of musical aspects to create a sound of her own. Although there is a huge amount of influence from retro synth styles, it’s the polished, modern take on electronic song writing that makes this (and other Jenn Taiga albums) stand out. Whereas ‘Plight’ was in my Top Ten synth album of 2020, there is no doubt that ‘Lunar Nocturnes And Esoteric Incantations’ will be in my Top Ten list for 2021. If you’ve not heard this mind-blowing album yet, please click on the link below and relish in the greatness.

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Links:

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

Pafund Exemplifies The Old School Dungeon Synth Sound With, ‘Forbandelsen’

I consider Pafund a Jack-Of-All-Trades Dungeon Synth artists. Whether it’s the pounding rhythms of Medieval battle hymns, the sultry sounds of Renaissance era synth arrangements or gothic undertones that provide a ghastly atmospheric presence, Pafund is the quintessential composer with a firm grasp on the genre as a whole. On latest release ‘Forbandelsen’, the musical fortitude has increased to an expounding radiance that shows why Pafund is the Keeper of the Stronghold. Teaming up with Voices Of The Ainur to produce a special edition “enhanced” cassette release, the lo-fi resonation of this masterful collection of tunes sounds as authentic as ever and is sure to take the listener back in time, on a journey of pugnacious quarrels and darkened skies.

Album opener, “Gammel Trolddom I” begins with an excerpt that literally sounds like someone is being thrown into the depths of an ancient dungeon. Suddenly, majestic keys begin to flow and attune to a melodic pattern that depicts an intense and austere disposition. Layers of haunting synths and background attenuations begin to conform to the bleakness of Medieval skies and the transformation to dark ancient times seem almost complete. “En Søgen Efter Ære” commences with a soothing string arrangement before bursting into a battle-like composition, complete with balanced percussion and layers of synth effects that encourage triumph and victory. Next up is the enchanting narrative, “Ruinernes Hvisken”. As one of the most cinematic tracks on the album, this one is overflowing with wondrous synth effects – expanding to genres beyond Dungeon Synth – while maintaining a solid foundation in Medieval-based compositions. The drums are particularly exciting, as they are upbeat throughout the track and have a strong presence in the mix. More along the lines of a forest synth track, “Visioner Af En Anden Fortid” opens with alluring keyboard affects and an ethereal backing synth that provides a solid foundation from start to finish. Maintaining a steady, celestial tone throughout, this track has a trance-like quality that is easy to get lost in. “Gammel Trolddom II” begins with a gloomy synth intro that builds into a bleak but tenacious intonation that has both synthwave and Neo-classical influences. It continues to build into obscurity and the drum parts seem to play a minor (but important) role this time around. “En Kamp Mod Forbandelsen” starts with a heavy drum pattern and airy synths before leading into a whimsical arrangement, showing even more of a musical diversity than ever before. After a few minutes the reverberations become more grandiose, as organ effects begin to play in unison with the mischievous keys. The track ends with a barrage of percussive patterns before finally falling silent. The final track on this ceremonious album is, “Hvor Klipperne Møder Havet”. Consisting of a funereal orchestral arrangement, this is a soothing and serene way to end an album that was – at times – aggressive and intense.

I’d like to take a few minute to talk about the immaculate cassette quality of this album. Released on the incredibly meticulous, Voices Of The Ainur label, this is one of the highest quality cassette releases I’ve ever seen. From the superb slip case, detail-oriented j-card, and the pro-labeled cassette with the artist name and song titles etched on it, this is as good as it gets. You’d be hard pressed to find quality like this in a cassette release – not only in the music, but with the physical material as well. It’s detail like this that makes Voices Of The Ainur stand out amongst the rest. An absolutely stunning job for this cassette and I highly recommend grabbing one of these gems as soon as they go on sale.

As for the music, ‘Forbandelsen’ is another spectacular Pafund album and I continue to be impressed as to how much effort goes into each release. Although, this is your typical lo-if Dungeon Synth recording, the production effort is by no means low quality. Everything is stellar about this album, from the writing, arrangements, instrumentation to the production and physical release elements. I highly recommend checking out ‘Forbandelsen’, so click on the links below and indulge in the cassette release as well as the digital download, you won’t regret it.

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Links:

https://pafund.bandcamp.com/album/forbandelsen

https://voicesoftheainur.bandcamp.com/album/vota-012-forbandelsen-2

Gavella Glan Summons Medieval Forebodings On Dungeon Synth Debut, ‘A Silent Vigil For Oncoming Plagues’

One of my favorite sites to monitor for new and upcoming releases is the Noctilucant Bandcamp page. Creating some of my most cherished Dark Ambient and synth-based releases of the past few years, Joseph Mlodik has a knack for cultivating neural sounds through various projects such as Noctilucant, Sonic Oscillations and my personal favorite, House Of The Maker. Although these projects are firmly based in the realm of Dark Ambient, they each explore various audial modulations, broadening the spectrum for his magnificent releases. Earlier this year, the Noctilucant catalog (and sound scope) was aggrandized further with the release of his first-ever Dungeon Synth album, ‘A Silent Vigil For Oncoming Plagues’ under the moniker of Gavella Glan. Containing ten tracks of ambient based fantasy synth music, this album is a magnificent debut in a genre full of unlimited potential.

The ambient influences are apparent on enigmatic album opener, “The Calm Before The Storm”. There are plenty of field recordings and obscure soundscapes to propel the listener back to an ancient time, preparing them for the Medieval campaigns that lay ahead. Every so often, a dreamy synth lead will add a sense of peace and tranquility, as the sound effects continue to carry the story. Calmly leading into “Echoes Of The Past”, we’re greeted with lush vocals and synth harmonies that continue down the path of equanimity. As if that wasn’t serene enough, the soothing sounds of gentle waves crashing on a shoreline are added and maintain repose until the end of the track. The next song, “Beyond Hill And Dale”, is a relaxing, yet whimsical tune with random bits of distant laughter and a variety of instrumental effects. Although just a couple of minutes long, this is a beautiful piece that fits right in with the rest of the album. “The One Atop The Mountain” commences with a cracking fire and a soft ambient tone before fusing into a noble synth melody, suffused with layers of harmony and trance-like modulations. I love how the mild use of discordant notes change the atmosphere of this track and the spirit of this arrangement is one of my favorites on the album. “The Oxenfurt Drunk” begins with a quick narrative clip that is loud and crisp in the mix and if you’re not expecting it, you’ll probably jump at first listen. As the narration firmly belts out, “I’m here to talk about the contract”, you’ll be fully participating in the audial essence of the music that begins right after. From ambitious to whimsical, this track goes through several atmospheric changes and is a strong contender for the most cinematic track on the album. “A Story Night Of Arcane Hexes” starts with softly played synth leads and a hint of a strange commotion in the background. Key leads and haunting vocals are reminiscent of a horror movie soundtrack while a multitude of dangers lay ahead as the song is filled with evil sounds, firing blasts and obscure melodies that paint a bleak scene of destruction. “A Silent Vigil For Oncoming Plagues” dabbles in the synthwave arena while staying firmly planted in the cinematic Medieval Synth genre. Elongated synth leads combined with dark, oppressive soundscapes and field recordings provide an extremely textural composition with the occasional subtlety to keep it pertinent with the rest of the album. “Child Of The Elder Blood” is a dreamy arrangement that combines pastoral synth leads and melancholic drones. It’s as if you’re having an out-of-body experience and this track is maintaining a trajectory to propel you to another plane. This is an amazing piece and another one of my favorites. “The Path Of Warriors” is more on the lines of a traditional Dungeon Synth song with lo-if synth effects, combined with soft, flowing winds and a beautiful backing synth arrangement. From chirping birds, a warrior drawing his sword to an overall peaceful setting, this is another outstanding track and is sure to gain multiple listens. The final track on the album is the epic, “The Lord Of Undvik”. At almost eleven and a half minutes Lin length, it’s the longest track on the album and the most diverse. Beginning with the usual field recordings and soundscapes, an ominous drone carries forth in the background and flows persuasively from side to side, as it fuses into layers of ghastly synth leads and battle-like soundscapes, as if a deranged outcome was suddenly bestowed upon an unlikely kingdom. This haunting track concludes with devilish laughter and dark ambient-like drones and a perplexing end to this fantastical story.

I’m so glad that the Noctilucant mastermind decided to venture out and try his hand at Dungeon Synth. Not only is it a highly impressive album, but it showcases quite a story as well. There is adventure, cinematic music, a daring mix of genres and an entertainment value that will definitely keep this album in my play list for a long time to come. I highly recommend checking out this amazing album as well as all the other incredible albums on the Noctilucant Bandcamp page. Please click on the link below and download “A Silent Vigil For Oncoming Plagues “ by Gavella Glan.

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Links:

https://noctilucant.bandcamp.com/album/a-silent-vigil-for-oncoming-plagues