Dark Ambient & Dungeon Synth Recordings To Enthrall You During The Global Pandemic Continuation

Back in March, I published a playlist of Dark Ambient & Dungeon Synth recordings to help tide you over during the shelter-in-place order. Well – here we are – almost two months later and not much has changed, with the exception of a lot of great music being released. So, whether or not you’re still stuck at home, or have the ability to venture out, please enjoy this personal playlist of Dark Ambient and Dungeon Synth recordings that have been keeping me entertained lately! This is all great stuff so please support these artist and download an album or two!

Dark Ambient Playlist:

https://melanohelios.bandcamp.com/album/the-psychonaut
https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/eternal-drift
https://blackweald.bandcamp.com/album/leonov-2
https://noctilucant.bandcamp.com/album/the-autumnal-end-2
https://roberteggplant.bandcamp.com/album/earth-sinking-into-water

Dungeon Synth Playlist:

https://varkana.bandcamp.com/album/cosmic-terror
https://lordorots.bandcamp.com/album/latzineko-erresumaren-itzulera
https://namelessking.bandcamp.com/album/downfall-of-drangleic
https://wyrmlodge.bandcamp.com/album/the-short-but-touching-tale-of-slime-golem
https://serpentsswordrecords.bandcamp.com/album/perpetual-cruelty

Vociferous Soundscapes Reach New Heights on Avant-Garde Gem, ‘Ab Antiquo’ By Paolo Rocchi

Over the past few years, Dungeon Synth has taken off and sprouted into many wondrous directions. I stay amazed at the amount of influence it has created across so many platforms, and although it may branch off into regions that are far-fetched from the original idea, one can always tell it’s influence by the harrowing compositions that remain dark and uncanny. That definitely holds true for the masterful works of Paolo Rocchi, as he uses the Dungeon Synth foundation to create leading-edge experimental music. By combining eerie synthesizer tones and electric guitar manipulations, Paolo Rocchi conceives a sound of his own on debut recording, ‘Ab Antiquo’.

Self-titled lead off track, “Ab Antiquo”, submerges the listener in an endless dry desert with the blistering sun glaring down on a battered and dehydrated soul. As the high-pitched shrills of a synth fades in, layered electric guitar riffs soon take command and set the scene with a sense of glimmering light and emotional hope. There are touches of melody throughout that you just don’t want to end, and the fast picking toward the end of the track is the perfect climactic conclusion. “Etiam Periere Ruinae” begins with a distant rainstorm field recording, followed by a beautiful piano melody. A haunting synth tone peacefully drifts in to set a somber and atmospheric outlook. The music and the rain seem to get louder simultaneously, creating an emotional setting that may have a captivating outcome, but they both slowly fade off into the distance, leaving the notes of a piano to fill the impassioned void. “Lupus” is a short track filled with guitar manipulations and effects. Although, it seems as a simple interlude, it’s a relative track for this album and fits in perfectly. “In Fabula” is a creative synth wave piece with random sound bits that dart in and out of the main music pattern like a space ship dodging meteors in deep space. At times, the music gains and eases volume control as if someone is loosing consciousness during a violent cosmic flight. The overall sound has a classic science fiction feel to it, creating a nostalgic vibe throughout. “Ex Novo” begins with random high-pitched keyboard sounds that resembles an old style dial-up modem or fax line connection. In the background, theatrical intonations can be heard from time to time, adding a whole new dimension to this peculiar track. The final song on the album is “Codex Temporis” and it fades in just how the previous track ended. With added effects and demented reverberations, this is one disturbing effort. Modular frequencies bend at any given moment, as the persistent keys continue to provide frightening sounds.

Although ‘Ab Antiquo’ is just a short, sixteen minute outing, it’s much larger than it seems. The musical output is very obscure, yet grandiose and unpredictable, and because of that the listener will be enthralled during the entire listening experience. Although loosely based in the post-Dungeon Synth realm, this is full on experimentation full of bizarre twist and calming melodies. I’m very impressed by this album and highly recommend this for anyone that has no genre boundaries. Please show your support for this amazing new talent by downloading ‘Ab Antiquo’ from the link below.

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Links:

https://paolorocchi.bandcamp.com/album/ab-antiquo-2

‘Cosmic Terror’, Varkâna’s Lovecraftian Themed Third Album Is A Mind-Blowing Dungeon Synth Magnum Opus!

H.P. Lovecraft – the legendary author that wrote some of the most transcendent stories in the genres of weird fiction, cosmic horror, horror fiction, and science fiction – has inspired generations of entertainers and artists with his Cthulhu mythos (among others), that has allowed his name to live on for quite the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, Lovecraft’s legacy wasn’t cemented until after his death, as his writing craft and vision was virtually unknown and unchallenged and he died in hardship, unable to support himself by his penmanship along. That being said, his writing was well ahead of its time and influenced movies, music, games, fictional characters as well as occultism. Of the Lovecrafian musical output there has been throughout the years, one of the most impressive recordings is the latest album by Varkâna called ‘Cosmic Terror’. An hour long Lovecraft-themed masterpiece, ‘Cosmic Terror’ builds upon the grimness of dungeon synth and appends ritualistic undertones and synth wave elements to produce what may very well be one of the greatest albums of the year.

“From Beyond” wastes no time as the opening sounds are a conglomerate of haunting synth notes straight from the grave. As the eerie melodies prowl the audio waves, incandescent synths radiate a sense of dire oppression. Soon, blazing synth wave tones fill the atmosphere that radiate with pure madness. At around the three and a half minute mark, trance-like droning keyboard sway like the waves of a Dead Sea under a full moon. One final solo synth arrangement plays on to end this stellar track. Next up is “Space Lord”, my absolute favorite song on the album and possibly one of the best despondent sounding synth tracks ever written. Dismal keys play saddened notes while spacious synth leads create a dynamic atmosphere that is more gray than black. Multiple percussion sounds and retro synths begin to crowd the airwaves as the abundance of textures come together to form the perfect mix of dark tones and harmony. A little over halfway through the song, the music fades into a warm ambient composition that drones slowly with the same melody as the beginning of the track. “The Dream-Quest” has the sound of a dark anthem being played in a dimly lit room that is used for seances to conjure unruly spirits. Tribal-like drums set a deathly pace while the long winded keys continue their heinous ways. Toward the end, more traditional drums are introduced, as well as synth wave patterns that add a bit of light to the grimness. “Nyarlathotep” is my second favorite track on the album as it combines memorable synth melodies with extended keyboard notes that establish a baseline for this epic composition. This nine minute requiem is packed with moments of sheer bliss, specifically the final two minutes as the beautifully toned keyboard arrangement plays so well against the rhythm and drums. “Devourer Of Stars” continues the powerful combination of synth rhythms and leads with alluring drums and retro synth wave sounds. “Devourer Of Dreams” is another nine minute anthem that is full of somber annotations and dreamy textures, especially when the percussion kicks in. The standout part in the track starts at around the four minute mark, when an elegant piano arrangement is introduced and layered with the soothing, yet slightly sinister synth melody. “Ex Oblivione” is another elongated track that features baritone-sounding keys and abstract synth effects. Again, simple but elegant drums provide the perfect balance of synth and avant-garde music. The final track on the album is the title track, “Cosmic Terror”. After a short, stark intro, introspective melodies take over and lead right into a progressive drum beat. The part that ensues has a 70’s progressive/fusion sound to it and it fits in perfectly with the rest of the album.

Varkâna is turning out to be one of the most consistent artists in the dungeon synth genre. Last year, the very impressive ‘Ahrimanic Chambers’, made my list for Top 10 dungeon synth albums of 2019. As of this writing, there is a strong possibility that ‘Cosmic Terror’ will be my top pick for dungeon synth album of 2020. The songwriting is spectacular, the arrangements are unbelievable, and each and every track is extremely memorable and soon you’ll find yourself addicted and playing them over and over again. To have music of this high level paying tribute to the great H.P. Lovecraft, I would say that he would be extremely honored. I can not recommend ‘Cosmic Terror’ enough, so please show your support for this exhilarating artist and download this as soon as possible!

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Links:

https://varkana.bandcamp.com/album/cosmic-terror

Eyre Transmissions V: Interview With Dungeon Synth Mainstay, Erythrite Throne

If you’re a fan of Dungeon Synth, then you are well aware of the many talented artists that contribute a steady amount of music for our listening pleasure. One artist that I consider a linchpin of the community is none other than Erythrite Throne. Releasing some of the most consistent blackened Dungeon Synth there is, Erythrite Throne continues to challenge the listener in diving into a medieval world of dark imagery, vampires, and lust for malevolence. With a distinctive sound and style that is unmatched by any other artist, Erythrite Throne is constantly progressing and improving with each release. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Erythrite Throne main man, Davey Sasahara, to talk about his Dungeon Synth endeavors, Serpents Sword Records and anything in between.

1. First of all, thanks for taking the time to respond to this interview. I have to ask, where do you find the time to write the massive amounts of music that you do? 

It’s pretty much the only thing I do with my free time haha. It’s something that I enjoy doing a lot so I write music as often as I can, I also have pretty bad ADHD, so this is something that helps me sit down and work on my concentration.

2. How many projects have you released music under?

Right now, I have 16 active projects, but I have a lot of projects I’ve stopped working on completely and there’s not much of a trace of them on the web. All together I’ve released music under maybe 30 or projects of varying musical styles.

3. When you are writing new music, do you go into it with a specific project in mind or do you improvise and let the music guide your path? 

I usually improvise everything and just feel it but there a few times that I sit down with the intention of making music for a specific project.

4. Take us back to before you started releasing Dungeon Synth. We’re you involved with music from other genres? 

I was! I was in a hardcore band as well as doing a few projects by myself. I was making some gothic electronic stuff, some vapourware, some trap. I like to experiment with music a lot. 

5. What influenced you to start writing Dungeon Synth? 

I’ve actually been making this type of music since around 2014, I just had no idea it was called Dungeon Synth, so I was just calling it gothic music haha. Actually, the first Voslaarum album Forgotten Vale is a compilation of stuff I made around 2014-2016, some of it is actually still on YouTube under a different name. 

6. I know this year you were slated to play live at the Northeast Dungeon Siege and due to the COVID-19 outbreak it was modified as an online festival (via Twitch). How was it preparing to play live online? 

It was good, it was my first time streaming so it took me a bit to figure it out, but I had a lot of help from my friends in the community and I think it turned out great. All those people put a lot into making NEDS happen and I appreciate them so much, it was a great time and I was honoured to play! 

7. I highly anticipated seeing your set and thoroughly enjoyed it. Did that inspire you to want to play more live gigs in the future? 

100%! I would like to play many more live shows in the future. 

8. It seems like Erythrite Throne is the “mothership” of all your projects. Is that the case? 

It absolutely is. I played around with a lot of other projects and musical styles before I landed here, it has a very special place in my heart.

9. Some of your earlier Erythrite Throne works contains a good bit of Black Metal (Instrumentation & vocals) whereas the more current material is mostly synth based. Was there a plan to make Erythrite Throne a more metal based project at some point? 

Erythrite Throne was always made to infuse Dungeon Synth and Black Metal, I never want to choose between the two because I love them both so much. Which direction I take an album really just depends on how I’m feeling in that moment.

10. One of my favorite projects of yours is Abholos. Although I can hear traces of Erythrite Throne in Abholos, the sound is more ethereal, and the texture is of a primitive nature. What influenced you to start this project? 

The first Abholos demo was actually supposed to be an Erythrite Throne album based on the work of Lovecraft, but it just felt different from Erythrite Throne, so I created Abholos which still has my kind of sound, but I try to make it it’s own entity.

11. Do you have more Abholos albums planned for this year? 

I absolutely do!

12. Another newer project that I absolutely love is Moss Golem. Initially “mislabeled” a Comfy Synth album, it’s actually like a synth-based black metal project. Did you create this project to defy the sub-genre stereotypes that seem to exist these days? 

I did. It was pretty much a fuck you to what you think something is or has to be called. MOSS GOLEM is a really important project to me..

13. One of your less talked about projects is Vokaron – which I think is an amazing project that leans toward the Crypt Hop genre. How did this project come about and do you plan to continue it? 

I actually made this album for my partner when he was recovering from surgery. He likes to sing so I made him this album to sing with well he was at home getting better with nothing else really to do. I do plan to drop at least one more Vokaron album!

14. Other than the projects that I’ve mentioned, what are some of the other ones that are near and dear to you, and why? 

I can’t really choose one honestly. All of them are important to me in one way or another and I try to put a lot into each one.

15. Tell us a little about Serpents Sword Records? 

I created Serpent’s Sword so I could have one spot for all my projects and tapes under one banner. I figured it was better than having 20 different Bandcamp pages.

16. Other than physical cassette releases, are there any plans to expand the merchandise (t-shirts, patches, stickers, hats, etc.) store for Serpents Swords Records? 

Absolutely. I’ve already had patches done for Erythrite Throne, but I’d love to get shirts and stickers done for that and a few of the other projects on Serpent’s Sword.

17. Have you toyed with the idea of releasing other artists material on Serpents Sword Records?

I have and I actually will be releasing some other artists music in the near future starting with a very special release for a good friend of mine! More info will come soon for that.

18. I really appreciate you taking the time to answer these questions, as well all of your contributions to the Dungeon Synth community. Do you have any final thought you’d like to share with anyone reading this? 

I appreciate you taking the time to interview me and listen to my music; it really means a lot to me! I want to thank all the amazing friends I’ve made in the Dungeon Synth community and all the people who listen to and support my music, it really means more to me than I can describe. I’m excited to continue working on music for you all!

Links:

https://serpentsswordrecords.bandcamp.com

https://erythritethrone.bandcamp.com/music

https://www.facebook.com/serpentssword/

Borg Produces Quirky, Yet Highly Addictive Medieval Anthems On Clever Sophomore Effort, ‘Woodland’

Dark medieval times were known for unruly kings, countless battles filled with harrowing bloodshed, serious structure amongst the township and an all around malevolent aura that plagued kingdoms and villages alike. Within the Dungeon Synth genre, we are constantly reminded of these scenarios with fascinating music that brings forth imaginative tales of what may have been during those desolate times. Fortunately, there were also festive times where constant partying and bantering seemed to be the norm throughout the commoners. Enter the bewildering music of Borg. Instead of austere synth tones that exemplify the aforementioned, Borg creates an unconventional and bizarre twist on the genre that is more like a menagerie of maniacal misfits with a trunk full of random instruments. Surprisingly, this is some of the most addictive music I’ve heard in quite some time. Not only does it showcase a buoyant side of Dungeon Synth, but the musical showmanship and songwriting abilities of Borg are simply captivating. ‘Woodland’, the sophomore effort from this quirky creator, brings forth sixteen new tracks of unorthodox Dungeon Synth that will have the listener hooked from the very first note.

“Toward Woodland” is the perfect track to get the festivities going, as a single obscure sounding instrument plays a harmony and then is slowly joined in by additional instruments until a jolly rhythm section fills the air with free spirit and gracious tones. “Pt. 1 – A Trusty Companion” is a galloping guitar sectional that is backed by some bizarre instrumentation. “Pt. 2 – Lullaby For Lonely Mountains” is a slow, dirge-like track that could have been taken from a 60’s spaghetti western film. The acoustic guitar passages sound amazing and the fact that there is a short brass instrumental interlude, is very impressive. Just the amount of the various instruments used on this track is enough to make this one of the stand out pieces amongst the sixteen fascinating tunes. “Pt. 3 – The Scorched Land” is a short ballad-like anthem that sounds like a recorder and a guitar providing individual solo ideas in a synchronized ensemble. “Woodland Theme 1” brings back a little of the quirkiness that Borg is known for, as the main harmony is played over child-like instruments, but sounds extremely fun in the process. “Woodland Theme 2” is more of a recorder led tune with some slight percussion but without a doubt it fits right in with the rest of this uniqueness. “Foliage Fade” is another ballad-esque type affair, almost like something you would hear if walking through a field of flowers while mythical creatures gallivant about vicariously. “The Last Summer” is an acoustic guitar heavy tune and various eccentric instruments can be heard while classical-style strumming and picking complete this song. “The Garden Of Fruit Trees & A Bad Omens” is a jubilant synth track that changes into a darker tone and features various instruments toward the end. “Empty Halls – Greeted By Sorrow” is a wondrous violin based track that contains a great Medieval dance melody and ancient style percussion. “Empty Halls – Funeral” is a short, droning dirge played over a well produced (and layered) wind instrument recording. “Empty Halls – A New King” once again introduces the unconventional instrumentation, simple note playing and play-along style rhythms. However, these are the types of songs that really stand out as being true and authentic to that medieval style. “The Joy Of Water” begins as if it could be a western tune and features the sounds of what could be an accordion. Very laid back and jubilant, this represents the best of peaceful times. “A Proposal In Moonlight” again features the high-pitched sounds of a recorder, with various other instruments – including a xylophone – playing synchronous sounds of a tranquil nature, as if an adventure deep in the woods yields a prosperous reward. “Wedding Dance I” is a minute long canticle that’s pays celebratory tribute to one of the most joyous occasion their is, and “Wedding Dance II” continues that celebration – but probably after a couple of pints of ale. In the end, everyone is happy, celebrating the happiest of occasions and without a worry in the world.

There simply isn’t any other artist in the Dungeon Synth community like Borg. Although this idiosyncratic style of music may not be for everyone, it sure it appealing to these ears. Additionally, I can totally admire the musicianship, effort and thought process that must that gone into creating a precarious project of this nature. However, this music is needed in Dungeon Synth and from what I’ve seen so far, it’s been welcomed with wide-open arms. If you are one of the few that has never had the opportunity to checkout this unbelievable artist, then do so at your earliest convenience. I can not recommend this enough, so click on the link below and check out ‘Woodland’.

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Links:

https://borg.bandcamp.com/album/woodland

Live Instrumentation And Middle Ages-Themed Atrocities Are The Focal Point of ‘Lux Tenebras’ By Akerius

The Medieval period is one of the most commonly referenced eras in human history. From the Early period of the massive Byzantine Empire and Viking invasions, to the Late period horrors such as religious conflict, war and the Black Death, the Middle Ages contains a massive amount of history, romanticism, and influential subject matter that is perfect for the Dungeon Synth genre. One artist that transcends greatness when dealing with these themes is Akerius, and on the heavy medieval influenced ‘Lux Tenebras’, superior songwriting and frequent use of live instruments catapults this album to a realm all of its own. Although containing only five tracks with about twenty minutes of playing time, these tunes are exquisitely crafted and provide a solid domain for transiting the listener from a modern setting to a dimly lit castle forged high on a mountainside during times of extreme peril.

The felicitous album opener, “Ouverture 1209”, slowly crescendos from an initial deep growl sound effect into a theatrical canticle. The feeling of anticipation and anxiety grows as turmoil sets a grim scene. Beautiful acoustic guitar passages are occasionally accompanied by harsher guitar tones and tribal drum beats. Atmospheric keyboard parts give off a barbaric tone that blends perfectly with the rest of the arrangement. The keyboards in “Tuez-les Tous!” have a 90’s style gothic sound to them that have a dreamy, echo-like effect. As the percussion elements are introduced, the synth notes – with their galloping like quality – are reminiscent of a time when crusades are fought to a bloody death. About halfway through, an alluring acoustic passage plays a peaceful setup to the final valiant march of the crusaders. More distorted guitar tones are added to show power and strength during this trying time. “Mon Âme Sombre” begins with a water-like field recording and a serene narration before drifting into a synth heavy Medieval-style tune that contains robust melodies with grim atmospheric tones. “Melioramentum” has a touch of 70’s prog influence, especially with the acoustic guitar riff and accompanying keyboard sounds. Ancient sounding percussion beats give this track an added archaic influence that ensures its relevance amongst the rest of the songs. The final track on the album, “Lux Tenebras” suns up the overall feel and theme of the album with its long, brooding keyboard notes that are arranged in a melodic way with sparse percussion usage and bell sounds throughout that signify the ending of a specific period or conflict.

Akerius creates a magnificent Medieval period influenced recording that contains some of the most epic songwriting I’ve heard in this genre. With the addition of live instrumentation and percussive elements, ‘Lux Tenebras’ packs a powerful punch that will appease not only fans of Dungeon Synth, but also 90’s symphonic Black Metal and even Goth. This is one artist that I’m really looking forward to hearing more from. I definitely recommend checking out Akerius, so please show your support by downloading ‘Lux Tenebras’ from the link below.

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Links:

https://akerj.bandcamp.com/album/lux-tenebras

Two Obscure – Yet Groundbreaking – Genres Collide On The Unfathomable ‘Crypt Hop Compilations I’

Who would have ever thought that two musical genres at the farthest ends of the sonic spectrum could provide so much listening pleasure when combined? Well, quite a few obviously, because it’s definitely a thing. Crypt Hop was born out of the enigma known as Dungeon Synth and the ambiguities of Memphis style hip hop from the early 90’s. If you’ve not heard artist from that genre such as Manson Family, Gangsta Pat and Three 6 Mafia (among others), you’re missing out on some of the early, most innovative artists from the Memphis Horrorcore genre. If you strip away the gangsta rap, hip hop beats and underlying samples, you’ll actually hear an early 90’s rendition of Dungeon Synth, that typically features lo-fi production and the structural hissing of vinyl and cassette tapes. Fast forward to 2020 and we have the Dungeon Synth-led ‘Crypt Hop Compilations I’, which features thirteen daring tracks from various artist that intend to leave their mark not only in the Dungeon, but also in the Crypt!

The track that begins this morose phenomenon is “Poltergeist Manifestation At Midnight Cemetery” by Kravtun. Ghastly lo-fi synths compete against background static before a stunning hip hop beat immerses to synchronize everything. A swift breakdown in the middle with layered synths before the massive beats and bass tone reignites to finish out the track. “Astrals” by Leneaux has the warm sounds of fantasy synth that is soon accompanied by smooth drum & bass with a constant clap track. The background organ tones throughout add a nice texture to the track. “The Horla” by The Spirit Of Luvenium begins with a traditional Dungeon Synth sound then is bombastically merged with a mid-paced trap beat that is right on point. “Unterwelt Pt. 1” by Orcaluv is more of a hip hop track, as it features some grime style rap but the music is undeniably cemented in Dungeon Synth. “Tenebris Et Spiritus” by Lurk starts with droning synth notes that tip the creepiness scale. Barbaric percussions are interlaced to give a big, theatrical sound as layers of instrumentation continue to build. As soon as it reaches that “wait for it” moment, narrative samples take over, leading the anticipation, then it happens – slow, doom-like hip hop beats explode onto the track for the final minute. “Towers Of Time” by Moon Druid is truly unique in that it features an early 80’s style hip hop beat and clean sounding synth tone. Soon in, it changes to a more modern sound with a lush atmosphere. The track then morphs back into its original beat to close out the track. “On The Darkest Occurrence That Has Ever Happened By Right Of My Own Hand” by Pharanick is a straight up horrorcore rap track with eerie backing music and with medieval rapping about wizards and daggers, what can go wrong? “Windy Night (Crypt Hop Remix)” by Francis Robert is another superb fantasy/forest synth-based track with manic hip hop beats and throbbing bass lines. “From The Ashes Of Bael’s Kingdom” by Erythrite Throne is my favorite on this compilation. The multi-layered synth work is amazing and the quality Of Dungeon Synth in this one track is unmatched. Not only is the production spot-on, but the beats are amazing as they consistently ebb and flow with the tempo change of the music. “His Crimes Against The Realm” by Poodle Knight is another amazing track as it has multiple genre influences. Not only hip hop and Dungeon Synth, but I also hear influences of early synthwave on this track and it fits in perfectly. “Skull Bong” by Resinator begins with ambient undertones, Tibetan bowl sounds, and narrative samples before introducing a dark dub beat and discordant sound effects that are reminiscent of early-90’s pioneering electronic experimental artist, Scorn. “Noblesnatch” by Were-Panther is one of the most unique tracks on this compilation as it features medieval times centered rapping, 8-bit sound effects, chorus breakdowns, and a whirlwind of strange instruments. However, as weird as it is, it’s also a highly addictive listen and probably my second favorite track on the album. The final track, “Belabored With Mysteries” by DJ 行者, is a three and a half minute trip hop, psychedelic adventure that properly closes out this astonishing compilation.

What more is there to say? This compilation album is pure fire! The artists selected for this project have a gift for fusing two seemingly incompatible genres of music and making it sound like a band of gangsta’s should be raiding a castle with 9mm’s instead of swords. At any rate, this compilation is an incredible body of work in which these artists should all be proud to be a part of. If this is any indication of what’s to come, then I can’t wait for what the future has in store for Crypt Hop! Show your support for these artists and download this album from the link below.

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Links:

https://crypthopcompilations.bandcamp.com/releases

Influenced By The Appalachia Region, Leander Summons Cultural Sources On ‘A Journey Lost To Time’

The scenic beauty of nature has been the source for countless number of artistic endeavors for centuries and the stories they hold are memorable and irreplaceable. When you combine the scenery from a specific region with a cultural temperament that has been inherited from previous generations, the story telling can become quite grim, yet fascinating. For a genre, such as Dungeon Synth, this value still holds true as the listener is use to vacating the premise of vocals for providing a story and relying on the musical experience for setting the scene. This is quite a call to action for the artist that tell the stories with their instrumented crafts, and many are able to capture the resilience of this synchronous endeavor perfectly. Leander is one of those artists, and on his debut Dungeon Synth album, ‘A Journey Lost To Time’, the essence of mountainous isolation is captured beautifully in these five tracks.

“Elegy For Gone Days” begins with a soothing and dreamy piano melody that plays repeatedly until it resonates with the soul. Quietly, synth tones are introduced that resemble more traditional Dungeon Synth arrangements. These haunting sounds have more of a Forest or Fantasy Synth feel as the gentle vibes are warm and extremely melodic. Next up is the heavily percussive “Wandering The Summerlands”, that immediately kicks things off with a thunderous drum beat and synchronized keyboard tone. At around the minute and a half mark, the song settles into a keyboard heavy groove with a steady drum beat that sets a hurried pace. Halfway through, synthwave sounds are introduced, creating a despondent atmosphere that is dark, yet sublime. Without a doubt, this is my favorite track on the album. “Beneath The Ridge” has a low and reserved sound that focuses on the somber tone of the synth notes. The refrain during the last minute or so has an alluring sensation that you’ll not want to end. “In The Deep Glades, A Blade Lies Buried” is a slower-paced canticle that has almost a 70’s progressive/psychedelic vibe to it. The combination of the various synth tracks and the drum beats work really well together. The final track, “A Spirit Kneels By Singing Waters” begins with slow, droning notes that create a haunting backdrop for the spirited keys as they provide a solo story line that transcends the imagination.

Leander definitely uses the landscape and surroundings to his advantage to create isolation-themed Dungeon Synth that is based on the myths and culture of the area. Not only are the keyboard elements on point, but the addition of percussion really oscillates through these recordings with positive effects. I’m really impressed by this debut effort and am looking forward to many more recordings by this talented artists. Please show your support and download ‘A Journey Lost To Time’ from the link below.

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Links:

https://leander33.bandcamp.com

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

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

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

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

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Links:

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

Shelter-In-Place Dark Ambient & Dungeon Synth Playlist

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

Recommended in Dark Ambient:

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

Recommended In Dungeon Synth (and beyond):

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