Towering Guitar Riffs Prevail As Poppet Engage In Eccentric Intonations On ‘Ascending The Stairs Towards My Nightmares Supreme’

In 2001, one of the most brilliant films of our times was released. The film, “A Knights Tale”, was a black-comedy set in medieval times but had modern age references, as well as classic rock soundtrack. I know that it sounds strange, but somehow the styles just meshed together perfectly and the results were simply incandescent. Almost twenty years later, I’ve come across an album that has that same vibrant connection. The album, ‘Ascending The Stairs Toward My Nightmares Supreme’ by Poppet, is a fantasy-styled dungeon synth album with bellowing, harsh guitar tones that take center stage the majority of the time. Imagine if Sunn O))) were to add bits of dungeon synth keyboard to their droning tracks, and you’ll get a better understanding of the vibe that Poppet displays on this outing.

The album opener, “I Escape From The Forest”, begins with a soothing keyboard arrangement that sounds as if it could be taken from a Harry Potter soundtrack. However, within the first minute, loud and blaring guitar droning pierces the track and provides the first sounds of the unique texture of this album – and Poppet in general. Although the distorted guitar riffs drown out the keyboards in some sections, wondrous fantasy dungeon synth melodies continue to creep along throughout the track, making its ominous presence felt. The next track, “Finding Solace In A Temple, I Am Surrounded By Stairs And Artefacts To Forbidden Gods” finds a happy fantasy synth intro before bludgeoning, sludgy doom riffs infiltrate the scene. As the guitar riffs drone on at a slow pace, the keyboards tell a compelling story of curiosity of well being in a sacred place, where you find yourself enclosed by objects of dark desires. Unable to escape the present situation, the music seems to provide an alternate reality. The third track, “I Climb The Temple Stairs, Frightened By The Sights I Shall See”, continues down the same path as it’s predecessors and instills a certain darkness while the guitars and keyboards alternate in providing a chaotic scene. Although it seems a bit tumultuous in spots, this song has quite a bit of melody and synchronizes well even when it seems like it doesn’t. The final track, “Oh! What I Beheld!” Is a short track consisting of a layered & discordant keyboard arrangements and is a nice closing statement for the album as it’s grandiose vibe winds down the tone and complexity of everything that has happened previously.

Poppet is a very unique artist that contributes an incomparable approach to dungeon synth. I always like when artist try something different and hone their craft in an unconventional way. Poppet epitomizes that approach and excels in doing so. If you’re into dungeon synth with no limitations, I highly recommend checking out Poppet and the latest album, ‘Ascending The Stairs Towards My Nightmares Supreme.

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Links:

https://poppetblackmetal.bandcamp.com/album/ascending-the-stairs-towards-my-nightmares-supreme

Edging Both Dungeon Synth & Dark Ambient, Morgoth’s Ring Deliver Two Sinister Hymns On ‘Where Stars Are As Feral As The Prowling Wolf Upon The Hyperboreal Heath Of The Cosmos’

If I were to take a guess, I’d say that if you’re reading this, you’re probably also a fan of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord Of The Rings” books (and/or movies) and everything else that falls within that universe. You’re probably also familiar with Morgoth – the black enemy of the world and the one who thwarted his power unto Arda, making middle-earth (as a whole) become known as Morgoth’s Ring. That malicious intent has crossed over to another Morgoth’s Ring, this time in the form of an ambient driven dungeon synth project. With two ominous tracks totaling over thirty four minutes of playing time, there is captivating songwriting on display here that is equal parts malevolence and cinematic glory. The album, ‘Where Stars Are As Feral As The Prowling Wolf Upon The Hyperboreal Heath Of The Cosmos’, is a daring fantasy adventure in which there is peace & bloodshed, as well as good and evil.

The first track is a sixteen minute, three-sectional opus called “Mystic Flamberge | Tempestuous Witching Inferno | Shadow Garland”. Beginning with a beautiful orchestrations, as if the opening credits of a fantasy movie explores the vast snow-capped mountains and deep wintry valleys of a mystical kingdom as it’s people enjoy peace and tranquility on any given day. However, a great storm rages on in the distance – unheard of by many – but will cause great devastation for those that are unprepared for battle. As the second part of the song enters, field recordings of remote storms signal the beginning of danger, and the kingdom prepares to launch an offensive while the commoners seek shelter. Long, droning (but symphonic) keys play melodic tones while eerie sound effects are sequenced in the mix to change the vibe to a more gloomy impression. Deep, meditative, spoken words begin to infiltrate the speakers, although they are barely audible. The adventure is at its maximum frightful level right now. However, the last three minutes of the track morph into a wonderful fantasy synth orchestration with a cinematic-worthy arrangement. The second and final track on the album is the eighteen plus minute long thriller, “Master Of Countless Terrible Legions | -.. .. . .- .-.. —- -. .”. Starting with a harrowing adventure-like tune that would sound right at home on a fantasy/adventure movie soundtrack, the grim, somber sounds work impartially to calm the savage reign of terror that may be imminent as well as provide a sense of agitated aggression due to its deep, droning echoing frequencies from the abyss. At around the six minute mark, the song proceeds down a malevolent path as supernatural sounds protrude as if you’re making your way through a haunted realm filled with evil, enchanted spirits. The last seven minutes of this song change direction once again into a more fantasy/forest synth arrangement. Although peaceful in tone, it has a bleak and dark sound too it. Even though this portion of the song title is written in Morse Code, it stands for Die Alone, and the emotion I get from the music is very reminiscent of loneliness and despair. What a beautiful way to end such a caliginous album.

Morgoth’s Ring is an exceptional up-and-coming dungeon synth artist that takes the cinematic structure to a new level. Mixing a variety of genres to create a legendary adventure – not only musically but for the imagination – this is one album that I plan to have on repeat for a long time. It meets my personal criteria for a great recording and the entertainment value is through the roof. I cannot wait to hear more from Morgoth’s Ring, but in the meantime, I highly recommend adding this one to your collection by downloading it from the link below. You will not be disappointed!

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Links:

https://morgothsring.bandcamp.com/releases

The Last Weapon Compose Tranquil Dirges on ‘Seasons’, That Can Be Therapeutic For Lost Souls

Music is one of the most curative forms of medicines we have that is always readily available. Although it may not have any internal healing power, the mental relief that it gives us, helps us maintain a stable composure through the highs and lows while also giving us a coping mechanism for other obstacles that tend to get in our way. No matter what genre you’re into, there is always an artist, an album, or a song, that takes you out of the ordinary and into the realm of the extraordinary. Dungeon Synth is one of the most powerful genres that provides that type of outlet as it opens up the imagination to limitless possibilities. The Last Weapon have recently released their debut Dungeon Synth album called ‘Seasons’ and it is the perfect album for those that have had a time or two with dealing with depression or a negative impact in their life. Although blooming with impactful Dungeon Synth sounds, the overall aesthetics of the album is harmonious but with minimal synth lines, creating quite an impactful recording.

The opening track, “Desert: Ascension”, starts just like the daily occurrence of a morning sunrise. As darkness slowly descends into light, the dawn of a new presence fills the air and breathes new life in all living things as if starting anew all over again. This is exactly what I imagine as the slow, droning keyboards build into something out of nothing, creating a melancholic atmosphere that will put the spirit at ease. Every so often, a simple drum pattern makes its way into the mix, as the tune continues to embark on an endless journey. “Path: Open Eyes” establishes a simple Dungeon Synth rhythm then minimalist keyboards sludge forth in various sounds, while maintaining a beautiful melody. This track speaks volumes of a time when life was simple and there were no concerns of an expeditious world getting in the way. “Forest: Journey Of Restoration” has a quaint into that is reminiscent of 80’s synth wave, but that dissolves into a winter synth tune that is both somber and emotional. The lackadaisical vibe of this track is perfect for providing a sense of recollection on ones life and a possible sense of direction with moving forward in a positive light. “Endless Night” is probably the grimmest sounding tracks on the album and is like being left alone, deep in a desolate dungeon without knowing what’s going to happen. As the dark and layered keyboards drone on, the empty space is augmented by the addition of a drum sequence that provides sense of enthrallment. The final track on the album, “Deep Though” starts with an eerie keyboard sound effect, as if you are in a mesmerizing nightmare without a means to awaken. Although a chaotic scene is happening around you, everything is happening in slow motion as you try to adapt to this harrowing environment. The effect soon fades into a crescendoing keyboard ambience that is quite gloomy. After a while, the sound slowly descends into silence, ending the album.

The Last Weapon have debuted a very impressive Dungeon Synth album with ‘Seasons’. Although not your typical DS style album, which normally diving into medieval and mythical times, it caters more to those that have dealt with traumatic times in their lives. That’s the great thing about this (mostly) lyric less genre; we can create our own atmosphere based on what is generated by the music, and The Last Weapon has excelled in delivering music that will communicate with the mind. That being said, please show your support for this exceptional artist and download ‘Seasons’ from the link below.

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Links:

https://tlwmetal.bandcamp.com/album/seasons

Five Of The Noblest Dungeon Synth Artists Collaborate On Monumental Disciples Of Sunlight Debut Album Entitled ‘Radiance’

Let’s face it, the Dungeon Synth Community seems a little cutthroat these days. If you follow any of the social media groups, there are quite a few topics that spark debate in a negative way that tends to divide the populace rather than promote unity. That being said, it’s rather refreshing to see artists come together to solicit their craft on a consolidated project so that us – the fans – can come to appreciate a variety of sounds on a single album. We can all thank Disciples Of Sunlight, the collaborative efforts of Vandalorum, Nameless King, Rêvoeil, Amethyst Dagger & Count Shirintsu, for converging to deliver a phenomenal debut album called, ‘Radiance’. These six tracks flow amazingly well together and show the power and resilience of a unified bond between motivated artists.

The first track is “Scent Of Evil” by Vandalorum and it begins with the soft, effervescent movement of layered keyboard tracks that contain a large dose of medieval melody. As more delicate instrumentation is added, I’m reminded of a brisk, wintry dawn as the sunlight breaks over the horizon and overtakes the night sky. As daylight comes to full motion, a synthesized drum beat is added to give the track a more massive sound. The next song is “A Cave Of Crystal” by Nameless King. As one of my favorite dungeon synth artists, Nameless King shines bright on this track with an excellent forest synth vibe that has a multitude of sounds and a superb arrangement. The main keyboard sound is crystal clear and the flute-like harmony is like a mid-day ray of sunshine in a peaceful kingdoms village where everyone seems to prosper. Next up is “So I Stood Below The Stars And Wept” by Rêvoeil. At first the simple arrangement will have you wondering the direction it will take, but soon, a full orchestration of sound kicks in and overwhelms the senses. Although this is the shortest song on the album, it perfectly fits in with the arrangement of the other tracks. Providing a second song on the album, Nameless King is up next with “The Embraced Knight’s Plot”. This is a wonderful, melancholic arrangement that has that signature Nameless King keyboard tone, with – once again – excellent songwriting. There is a trance-like quality about this track, especially as the illustrious melody plays over and over again. Amethyst Dagger provides the first of two long songs with the epic “The Judgement Of The Moon”. At just over eleven and a half minutes, this exquisite piece is mostly an ambient & winter synth track, but does contain a few spots where it breaks off into a dungeon synth tune. However, this is unlike any track I’ve heard in quite some time and it’s quite impressive and possibly my favorite song on the album. The second long song – and final track on the album – is “To Water We’ll Return” by Count Shirintsu. As it begins with a field recording of waves hitting the sands of a beach, a single keyboard track provides a desolate tune that sounds cold and isolated, as if and endless winter is drawing near. This winter synth dirge is the perfect way to end this album as it seems have completed the cycle of radiance, through various seasons.

Disciples Of Sunlight is an alliance that I hope will stick around for a while. If ‘Radiance’ is any indication of the affect of their collaborative efforts, then I’m sure future albums by this group of artist will continue to improve and impress. If you’ve not heard this album already, you’re missing out on something very special. I highly recommend this, so click on the link below and download it right away!

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Links:

https://disciplesofsunlight.bandcamp.com/releases

Grandma’s Cottage Presents Another Blissful Tale Of Serenity And Peace On The “Cookie” Side Of ‘Grandma’s Cottage’

Who says that Dungeon Synth can not offer comfort and warmth amongst the barbaric narratives that seem to overwhelm the subject matter of most releases? Sure there are those that write about mythical places full of tranquility but it’s rare that we get a set of releases that provide a sense of reward after all of the havoc has cleared the air. In steps Grandma’s Cottage, a new take on Dungeon Synth that is as advantageous as it is soothing. With two self-titled releases in the wind – The Cottage EP and The Cookie EP – I will be reviewing the wondrous sights (and smells) of The Cookie EP, simply known as ‘Grandma’s Cottage’.

Fresh out of the oven, the first track, “Snickerdoodle” is as warm as the sweet fragrance of the wintry pastry that is represents. With light keyboards and a nice melodic bell sounding arrangement, this track rolls out the welcome mat and makes you feel right at home. “Ginger Snaps” has a more dungeon synth sounding introduction although it is very light-hearted and uplifting as if grandma herself has forced you rest comfortably in a recliner so that she can cater to you herself. “Thumbprint” has a nice fantasy synth vibe but when the canorous keyboards commit, its as comforting as sitting around a warm fireplace after a nice feast, reminiscing old times. “Jelly Jewels” continues in the same vein as the previous tracks but features soft, flute-like sounds, adding a pleasant dynamic to this cozy scenery. The final track, “Russian Tea Balls” begins with a melodic key intro with the whistling sounds of a water kettle, then dives into an amiable fantasy synth tune that is full of spirit and harmony. Interestingly, if you download this album (from the link below), you’ll receive a recipe for Russian Tea Balls as a bonus.

Grandma’s Cottage is a unique and interesting concept that works rather well in the Dungeon Synth genre. Although the subject matter may be a bit uncommon for the community, the musical aesthetics are easily relatable and will leave a lasting impression. Additionally, while my review focuses on The Cookie EP, another spectacular review site dedicated to Dungeon Synth reviews – The Sword That Sang – is releasing a review on the other self-titled release, The Cottage EP. So, please check that one out here: https://theswordthatsang.blogspot.com/2020/01/grandmas-cottage-grandmas-cottage.html?m=1. These albums are fantastic, so please visit the link below and download them right away!

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Links:

https://grandmascottage.bandcamp.com/album/grandmas-cottage-2

Drifting Symphonic Dirges And Soaring Vocals Surmount To Potent Effort By Tir On ‘Urd, Skuld & Verdandi’

Like a grim calmness after a harsh battle, the amble winds flowing over a searing mountain top, altering the bleakness of sudden silence can be neurotic in a very intense way. The battlefields intense aftermath is serene, albeit amongst the stench of blood and death. Will war continue to rage on or did the cost of victory for one side reveal an endless truce? Although we’ll probably never know the outcome of this imaginative tale, we can thank Tir for setting up an impressive display of medieval-era scenes on the triumphant new album, ‘Urd, Skuld & Verdandi’. Layered with harmonious anthems with impressive vocals and piano work, Tir, takes us on a valiant journey where our awareness for ascendency will be tested.

“Intro” is more than an introduction to the album, it’s a wonderfully layered dungeon synth tune that is soothing and gives us a comforting place to forge our own journey as we listen ahead. “Ancient Spirits” begins with a brisk cello & bass sound, giving a dynamic charge before leading in to the next part of the song. A soft, steady drum beat and plucking strings provide a landscape of preparedness for an upcoming deadly campaign. As the volume intensifies, choir-like vocals are added, giving this track a raging sound. “Song Of The Rain” is a captivating piano ballad with howling winds in the background. This is the first track with lead vocals and they add an outstanding texture to the song and the album as a whole – something not usually heard on a dungeon synth/medieval synth recording. “Tyr”, again features the sounds of a distant choir, as they croon a melodious chant while droning keyboards provide a fluid platform for them to come together in harmony. About halfway through the track, it takes a dark turn to a more evil and viscous sound, as if a mysterious dark cloud suddenly forms over the ancient city, changing day to night and altering the plans for those going into battle. “Giant’s Tragedy” has a more uplifting sound, as symphonic keys find the balance between triumph and tragedy. There is a nice piano & orchestration break in the song before it picks back up and finishes just as it started. “Invisible Part Of Mountains” represents calamity with its saddened keys and well-written melodies. This is one of the standout tracks on the album as it showcases a beautiful cinematic composition with haunting spoken words. “Burzum” is a short interlude that has some comforting field recordings and formidable keyboard arrangements with a droning tone in the background. “I Can See The Stars Behind” starts with the pulsating of a tribal drum and horn-like sounds instigate the forward march command as a battalion of warriors prepare to defend their kingdom. “Memories In The Shadow” is another fearsome piano-led song with more lead vocals. This song has a lovely fantasy synth vibe and the arrangement is full of warmth. “Wagnerious” is another short track that features several wondrous piano parts and although it starts with a fantasy synth foreboding, it ends with a very nice symphonic arrangement. The final track, “Rhön” opens with the howling wind of an empty valley and layered piano tones offer their melodies to combatant the sudden silence. Soon, an acoustic guitar riff ensues, adding even more depth to this enormous album.

Tir has successfully created a magical endeavor to follow-up the magnificent 2016 debut recording of ‘Mountains’. Although musically just as focused as it’s predecessor, ‘Urd, Skuld & Verdandi’ is more impressive with its dynamic arrangements, brilliant vocals, and the use of multiple instrument settings, without over using any of them. There is just enough detail in each song to tell an amazing story, allowing the listeners to latch on to what’s going on, and proceed with the adventure at hand. Please show your support for this amazing Turkish artist and download this grandiose album from the link below!

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Links:

https://tirofficial.bandcamp.com/album/urd-skuld-verdandi

The Luminosity Of The Summer Synth Sounds On Amethyst Dagger’s Latest Release, ‘Beyond The Gates’ Are Beautifully Incomparable

All is not necessarily dark and grim in the world of dungeon synth. Although many dungeon synth albums are comparable to medieval times, the bloodshed of battles, and mythological creatures of the forest, there are some artists that put a lighter, distinctive spin on the genre. Amethyst Dagger is one of those artists and on their latest offering, ‘Beyond The Gates’, they present a mostly uplifting sound through melodic song structures and peaceful, droning keyboards. Each of the nine tracks are serene & pacifying and chronicle the times of an ancient world discovering its place amongst imposing kingdoms.

“The Tome Of Ancient Wisdom” begins with the peculiar sounds of someone entering a room and turning the pages of a timeworn scribe. As the reader catches up on the knowledge of past, elegant synths play gentle, fluid tones, keeping the peace surrounding this room that maintains hoary insight of the past. “Visions Of The Prophet” exhibits gentle and cheerful synth arrangements that continue to build and layer throughout the track. The charming ambient sounds are constant throughout, except for the abrupt distorted synth at the end that signals a particular danger in the air. “Downpour Over Silver Chapel” starts with a discordant keyboard sound and a soft but affective thunderstorm soundscape and then alters into a clear & dreamy keyboard arrangement that loops over and over again with alluring, synthetic droning keys in the background. “Hall Of Souls” is the first track on the album that sounds more like a traditional dungeon synth piece with its introspective tone and key pattern. The albums title track, “Beyond The Gates” is next and it has a very appealing cinematic sound and the arrangement speaks volumes of positivity and light vibes. One of my favorite tracks on the album, “A Long Rest” starts with the cracking of a small fire and a light-hearted keyboard riff, as if explorers of a mythical village are winding down for the night by a camp fire, deep in the woods, recollecting days events and planning for tomorrow’s journey. “Farewell, Companion” is an ambient based piece thats calm and dreamy and well represents nature’s harmonious morning, during a peaceful dawn. “When The Last Sword Falls” follows the same demeanor as the previous song and produces alleviating, droning keys as if everything is happening in slow motion, and without a care in the world. The final track on the album, “The Legends Live On”, is another one of my favorite tracks as it contains a wonderful mix of smooth ambient tones and the contentious keyboard arrangements of traditional dungeon synth. Additionally, the inclusion of a drum track in the last quarter of the song is a fitting end to the album as it summarizes the prosperous lives of those that forge on, despite the tragedies, trials and tribulations they are put through.

Amethyst Dagger have conceived a delightful recording that is much more that just a dungeon synth album. There is a certain cinematic quality throughout this amazingly produced effort, so there is no denying that fans of multiple genres of music will have a fondness for what it holds. ‘Beyond The Gates’ is one of those albums that can be listened to at anytime and for just about any situation and can remain enjoyable. Show your support for this admirable Brazilian artist and download ‘Beyond The Gates’ at the link below.

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Links:

https://amethystdagger.bandcamp.com/album/beyond-the-gates