Machina Coeli Embraces Traditional Dungeon Synth Intonations To Invoke An Allusive Visionary Tale On ‘Lure Of The Forgotten Lake’

Machina Coeli is a legend in the dungeon synth community, having a lengthy career that has spanned over twenty years. Additionally, his visionary, audio art has garnered praise from other legendary and noteworthy acts such as Mortiis – which many consider to be the first to provide a mainstream outlet for the genre. Although only three albums have been released under this moniker, they are staple outings for the genre and easily cement Machina Coeli as one of the principle artists to make dungeon synth a rising form of music all over the world. The three epic anthems that make up ‘Lure Of The Forgotten Lake’ tell the tale of a masterful retaliation with the help of a set of secret scrolls that are sealed away in a chest at the bottom of the Forgotten Lake. With the aid of these scrolls, new and magical weapons can be conceived to help demolish those that are oblivious to the familiarity of righteousness. The evil that stands in the way of this protruding knowledge will surely suffer in the hands of defeat!

“Approaching The Forgotten Lake” contains the mysticism and production of traditional dungeon synth and with its positive sounding vibe, valiantly leads the effort to recover the scrolls from the Forgotten Lake. Layered keyboards, minimal field recordings and the use of choral chants are the focal points for this track and their collision produces a grand entrance for the album and sets the stage for the two mammoth tracks that follow. “Lure Of The Forgotten Lake” begins with a soft flowing stream sound that fades into the echoes of nature followed by a crescendo of tribal drums as if a battalion of knights and warriors stand lined up on a battlefield, ready to defend their kingdom to the death. As the drums continue to pulsate, luminous keys play a battle worthy melody and intensifies, signifying the approach to the Forgotten Lake to claim the abundance of magical findings that will propel them to victory. At around the five and a half minute mark, the music shifts to more of a medieval township melody, layered over a steady drum beat. The sound is uplifting and provides a positive spiritual tone, considering the task at hand. At the ten minute mark, samples of battle cries and yells can be heard, symbolizing another shift in musical direction, as well as the start of the mission to recover the lost scrolls. At around the fourteen minute mark, the climax of the song comes to an end and the melodies from the beginning of the track are now heard again, indicating the recovery from battle and the resumed search for the lost scrolls. “Search Of The Lost Scrolls” is a fourteen minute long inspiriting canticle that utilizes layered keys and delicate melodies to soothe the souls of those searching for the scrolls. The track moves into several minutes of exhilarating ambience with spots of water-like samples. This soon fades into more traditional sounding dungeon synth keyboard arrangements that echo with every key stroke. As the final section fades, the waters from a shoreline can be heard, along with the cries of a local owl as he looks on from above to the great warriors below, as they sift the chest of lost scrolls from the water. With their mission accomplished, it’s now time to create the new magical weapons that will solidify their kingdom forever!

Machina Coeli has pulled out all the stops with the exciting new story that is betrayed on ‘Lure Of The Forgotten Lake’. Although only containing three tracks, they create over thirty five minutes worth of music that is multifaceted when it comes to its musical direction. The traditional dungeon synth vibe is the gigantic under layer that is equally augmented by forest synth, fantasy synth, RPG sounds, and medieval ambient tones. This is not only a must have for your DS music collection, it’s also a necessity for the genre as a whole. Show your support for this legendary artist that has devoted over two decades of existence to the music that we love, and download ‘Lure Of The Forgotten Lake” from one of the links below.

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Vandalorum Soothes The Soul With Warm Vibes On Prodigious Conceptual album, ‘Flagellum Dei’

Atilla The Hun was one of the most revered leaders in the history of the world. He was greatly feared by his enemies and respected by the warriors that fought by his side. Although his unsuccessful surges into Rome, Persia and Constantinople (modern day Istanbul) brought moments of uncertainty, he subsequently invaded and decimated the northern areas of Italy and also the Balkans. What better way to immortalize this great figure and the culture of The Huns than by an atmospheric dungeon synth recording. ‘Flagellum Dei’ by Vandalorum presents a beautiful, conceptual album that is based in Dungeon synth, but also contains atmospheric field recordings, a good dose of percussion, and some twist and turns throughout. Although the overall musical output of ‘Flagellum Dei’ is calm and soothing, it portrays the story of harsh, war-time battles, when countries and territories were overtaken by great force. There is also a great cinematic sound quality to these tunes as well, as they could easily be part of a soundtrack that depicts action and adventure from medieval times.

“Death And Plunder” opens the album with a traditional dungeon synth sound and contains a backing drum track that brings out more emotions as the melody graces our ears in multiple layers. Next comes “Battle Of Chersonesus” and with its gloomy introduction and battle cry samples, depicts a scene of warriors preparing for battle. Although it has mostly an ambient feel to it, the last part of the song kicks into high gear as the dungeon synth sounds come to the forefront (along with more battle cry samples), putting the listener right in the heart of the battle. “Honoria’s Ring” starts with an alluring keyboard arrangement and contains an abundance of melody and empathy that matches perfectly with the lush field recording sounds throughout. “Mounted Archers Of The Steppe” is my favorite song on the album as it begins as a consoling ambient piece with perfectly matched added sounds and samples, as well as various instruments to broaden the scope of the arrangement. Throughout the song, you can feel it building into something exciting, as if the climactic ending of a battle is in near pursuit. Close to the end, the song erupts into a full-on rock arrangement. “Punishment” begins as a grim dark ambient recording and then fades into a cinematic dirge, with droning tones, layered with an echoed keyboard pattern. This is another standout track, as it is well written and performed near perfectly. “Wielding The Sword Of Mars” is a slow, ethereal song that summaries all of the style of the album into a single entity. From the ambient textures, dungeon synth melodies, to the intertwined drum patterns and superb writing, this song has all of the qualities necessary for repeated listens. “Hidden Burial Of The Chieftian” has a quirky dungeon-esque vibe, in which I can see Attila himself hanging out with his troops, enjoying a moment of downtime and festivities, after one of their great invasions. This song is a well-received surprise to the album, especially since it is mostly filled with ghostly and vivid tunes. The final track, “Atilla And Bleda” is a great arrangement in which I envision a gruesome showdown between the two brothers that resulted in the slaying of Bleda. Although historically there are several accounts for how this showdown commenced, the ending is undeniable and the creepy music (especially the monotone drum pattern) does it justice.

Vandalorum have created a monumental dungeon synth recording with ‘Flagellum Dei’. Combining the sounds of various genres of music with battle-like field recordings and an overall cinematic sound, this is an excellent recording and worthy of representing such a historical figure and leader in Atilla The Hun. Although Realm And Ritual will be releasing a physical version of ‘Flagellum Dei’ in the near future, it can be downloaded digitally now, at the link below. Vandalorum is an excellent up and coming dungeon synth artist that has proven he has what it takes to have longevity on the dungeon synth scene. Show your support and download this amazing album now.

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Interstellar Space – Special Halloween Review #2: Solus Woods – ‘All Hallows’ EP

For my second Halloween review, I’ll be checking out the latest from Solus Woods entitled, ‘All Hallows’. Just released several days ago, Solus Woods dives into the spooky sounds of the scariest night of the year and replenishes our senses with the shrills of horror films from yesteryear; and when I say yesteryear, I’m talking mid to late 80’s slasher flicks. Although these five tracks total at just under ten minutes, they pack quite a punch and would make for the perfect background noise while handing out candy to the trick o’ treaters that think their approach to your front door will scare you.

Lead off track, “A Lonesome Ghoul Rises From The Grave” could have easily been written as the into track for the Day Of The Dead soundtrack, as it conjure up the undead with its haunting ambient tones and mesmerizing keyboard arrangement. “The Death Omen Of A Radiant Boy” drones with the hiss and crackle of an old record, while celestial soundscapes resinate with power. The sounds of an eerie music box provide a sense of dread and torment and the scare factor is real. “In The House, A Sad Ghost Reflects On Life” contains bleak soundscapes, a discordant piano provision, and a grandfather clock that signifies that time is up for the lost souls that are held captive in the afterlife. “Wendigo” is an alluring ambient-style piece with lush soundscapes and contain a touch of special effects at the end to keep the arrangement interesting. The final track, “Beyond The Threshold, The Fiend Lurks” would be the perfect piece to play during the ending credits of a movie that contained a horrific ending. Although minimalistic with scorching synthesized tones, the sound is quite evil and the abrupt ending will leave you wanting more to listen to.

Solus Woods continues to outdo previous albums with each new one that is released. From the quality of writing, construction of the songs and overall product production, Solus Woods is quickly becoming one of my go-to bands for not only dungeon synth, but for dark ambient recordings as well. I highly recommend checking out and supporting this magnificent artist and downloading not only ‘All Hallows’, but the entire back catalog as well.

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Mausoleum Wanderer Shows No Restraint On Battle Fantasy Heavy ‘Kabal of the Ashuvrahqt’Aild: A Rasataalian Adventure’

In terms of great battles that are held in ancient fantasy lands from far, far away, there is nothing better than a good dungeon synth release to provide the soundtrack for its ethereal existence. For our protagonist in this story, a wild adventure awaits and music provided by Mausoleum Wanderer is just what is needed to motivate him for suitable action. On debut album, ‘Kabal of the Ashuvrahqt’Aild: A Rasataalian Adventure’, the listener is treated not only with the sounds of traditional dungeon synth tunes, but also battle hymns that span more than just the DS genre that are worthy of multiple listens. Although the beautiful album cover depicts a lone warrior on a hilltop in a mystical land, standing his ground in the face of adversity, he is prepared for battle, and Mausoleum Wanderer is leading the way.

On the album opener, “On A Certain Day, Under A Certain Sign”, an incoming rain shower drifts over the land as haunting – but subtle – keyboard melodies provide a light in the darkness and crash into an introduction filled with battle-like drum patterns and fantastic thematics. “Peer Through The Sage’s Eyeless Sockets” begins with an Egyptian- like keyboard arrangement and then morphs into an upbeat, island-like tune due to the use of the conga drum sounds. This works rather well with the dungeon synth sounds that compliment them. At about the halfway mark, the song goes into more of an ambient (and cinematic) feel, and then soon winds down with just a single keyboard track playing. On “Glades Betwixt Sleep And Wake”, the sounds of supernatural keys come to the forefront and paint a vivid picture of what’s to come once the battle commences. At this time, there is peace, but it’s only temporary, as the protagonist prepares his garrison for war. Up next is “Halls Scarred By Defiled Magicka” and if the album has its climactic battle-track, this is it. Soaring synthesized drums are in sequence with the rest of the arrangement as the adventure of infiltration has occurred. “Hymn’s Of Eaba’a, The Unsatiated Corruption” is a superb mix of dungeon synth tones but played in an ambient-style setting. Although this is a minimalistic track, it depicts the devastating outcome of the battle that has taken place. Next up is “A Debate Of Spell And Blade” and with its heavy cinematic overtones, sounds like a harsh victory song, yet with more battle left to play out. This is one of my favorite tracks on the album and could easily be used as a black metal intro/outro track. The final track, “Wealth Beyond Measure”, features a lovely acoustic guitar sound accompanied by lush keyboard soundscapes. More than an outro, this song signifies a new beginning to a new adventure.

Mausoleum Wanderer’s debut is a brilliant dungeon synth album full of cinematic elements, a touch of ambient, and multiple instrument sounds from around the world. The element of story telling, from the album art, song titles, and music in general are incredible and I can see many more adventures for the protagonist in this story coming soon. I highly recommend this if you’re into fantasy synth or cinematic score, so please click on the link below and support this outstanding artist.

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Count Shirintsu Deliver Two Powerful Mixes of Ancient Orient Inspired Dungeon Synth on ‘Welcome Home, Count Shirintsu’

Imagine being a noble king, in charge of a great kingdom where everyone prospers and respects your loyalty and commitment to the common people. Well, almost everyone. A small group of rebellious outcasts decided to thwart the king of his throne and forced him into complete exile. After a very ceremonious – but fabricated – funeral, the kingdom fell under new rule. However, a loyalist of the king realized the betrayal and set out to find the exiled king to help him exact vengeance and regain the kingdom that was wrongfully taken from him. Welcome to the world of Count Shirintsu and prepare to be bedazzled on the debut album, ‘Welcome Home, Count Shirintsu’, that tells the tale of his courageous, yet vengeful homecoming. To provide multiple musical perspectives of this wondrous adventure, a Dark Mix was released in June and then a Light Mix was released in August. I will examine both of these releases and prepare a viewpoint on how they relate to Count Shirintsu’s monumental homecoming.

The first of the two mix albums that were released was the Dark Mix, and the album opener, “Welcome Home, Count Shirintsu” starts with a ceremonious ambient tone with howling winds in the background. As additional keys crescendo in the mix, oriental style patterns are revealed before a short video game audio sequence is brought into the mix, adding an extra touch of creativity. Samples of samurai-like battle cries can be heard throughout, as Count Shirintsu himself, prepares for battle to reclaim his kingdom. “Fire Of Thinking” starts with a fiery field recording, layered with a haunting keyboard melody that signifies the dawn of battle. As this calm-before-the-storm piece reaches a close, Count Shirintsu is ready and motivated to finally lead his people once again. “Kyoden” is a track named after the loyal friend that learned of the evil wrong doings of Count Shirintsu, tracked him down and helped him on his quest for retribution. Although a short track, it serves as an introduction to this essential character to the story and contains some evening time field recordings with a short keyboard piece blended in. “Akashiga Castle” is a more traditional Dungeon Synth style recording with some excellent, stand-out arrangements embedded in the middle. I imagine it’s night time and Count Shirintsu and Kyoden have now entered the kingdom and have plans to overtake the castle and the cruel occupants that inhabit it. “Exile” begins with a grim ambient tone and is soon followed by an eerie keyboard provision, where the tone fades in and out with the pre-adjusted volume. Count Shirintsu is now recollecting the past where he was wrongfully exiled and it provides much motivation to continue his mission of restoring newfound peace throughout the kingdom, one again being under his rule. The final track on the album, “Restoration” can be summed up as the soundtrack for the impending battle to oust the wrongdoers of the kingdom. A simple drum track provides a smooth pace for this picturesque traditional Dungeon Synth track as Count Shirintsu once again takes the throne of his kingdom. The final few minutes of the track provide a beautiful ambient soundscape that resembles peace throughout the commonwealth.

For the Light Mix of the album, we have the same great story and the same excellent songs but some of the keyboard parts throughout the album have been brought to the light (sort of speak), by enriching the sound and providing an extra layer of energy to enhance the sound quality. This is most noticeable on songs such as “Fire Of Thinking”, “Kyoden” and “Akashiga Castle”. That’s not to say that every track hasn’t benefitted from the updated sound edit, but these are the most distinct as far as the value of production is concerned.

‘Welcome Home, Count Shirintsu’ (both mixes) is a grandiose album full of audio surprises that range from tradition and modern dungeon synth to ambient soundscapes, enriched with a plethora of sounds – including 8-bit video game jingles. This album also has a wonderful storyline that I hope will continue on proceeding albums. Show your support for Count Shirintsu and download one of these (or both) amazing albums at the link below.

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Apoxupon Convey Endless, Free-Spirited Vibes on ‘How The Garden Grows’ Forest Synth Gem

The resurgence of Dungeon Synth over the past few years has been immensely overwhelming. A plethora of artists from around the world have released a magnitude of DS albums, many of them becoming instant classics of the genre and setting the standards for many generations to come. Another interesting thing that has surfaced with the rejuvenation of the genre is the introduction of sub-genre’s. Many artist have taken the basic approach of DS and have twisted it to the point that it morphs into a new dimension. From the eerie, hollowness of post-DS that transcends subject matter, to fantasy synth which takes the listener on musical journeys to mystical lands far away, where the imagination provides endless adventure, DS sub-genre’s have no boundaries. With Apoxupon’s latest release, ‘How The Garden Grows’, we find the winter season changing to spring, where all living things – once again – reach for life, in this Forest Synth magnum opus.

“Spring Renewal” is the perfect album opener as it fades in with a light streaming water, as if the winter ice has finally melted and is giving way to the natural garden scenery. Smooth harp and bass melodies set the mood for this track as birds chirping in the background find comfort in this warming environment. Beautiful orchestrations and tribal drum arrangements fill the rest of the space, making for a very enlightening song. “Moonlit” provides the same frame of character as the opening track, but elements of the dungeon synth genre are more predominant in the keyboard melodies and harmonies. Evening field recordings alter the atmosphere and the soothing, lush tones that begin around the three and a half minute mark, are the highlight of the track. “Gaia” brings the album to the early morning time where nature is at an awakening state. Alluring keys and background orchestrations are the focal point for the instrumentation, as the calming dawn gives way to full daylight. A flowing harp initiates “Weed & Vine” and various instruments come together harmoniously, representing continuity and growth in the garden. As one of the most upbeat tracks on the album, this one stands out as one of my favorites musically. “The Healing Stream” epitomizes the sub-genre term, forest Synth. From the magnificent harp sounds, minimalistic drum beats, light use of nature field recordings, to the multiple other sounds used, this track has it all. Although it’s very somber musically, it still has a very springtime feel to it, continuing the natural ambiance of the album. The final track, “Night Chorus”, represents the end of daily routine in the garden, and with its ambient vibe, proceeds to slows nature’s processes down to a halt as dusk gives way to the evening sky. What an emotional way to end such a majestic album filled with positive energy and artistic vision.

‘How The Garden Grows’ is an immaculate album full of surprises and musical details that may take multiple listens to fully grasp what all is going on. However, this is one Forest Synth album that you do not want to pass on and Apoxupon is bringing new light to a genre that is normally filled with eerie and grim medieval tales. I’m really looking forward to what the future holds for this wonderful talent and am excited (and hoping) for many future releases. Click on the link below and check out this album as well as Apoxupon’s previous stellar releases!

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Bonus Content:

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Faery Ring Delivers A Neo-Classical Dungeon Synth Masterpiece with ‘The Urchin Prince: A Century Of Dust, Vol. 1’

Dungeon Synth provides a great escape from the real world. Most of the time we can look at an album cover, match it with the song titles and embed ourselves in an imaginary world full of endless adventures and possibilities. Whereas a good book drags you into its catacombs through its imaginative talks, a lyric-less musical endeavor has to be more thought provoking, as it pulls on your senses and emotions in order to create character, time, and place. Fortunately, for the captivating release by Faery Ring, ‘The Urchin Prince: A Century Of Dust, Vol. 1′, the cassette release comes with a twelve page story book that whimsically takes you to the coast of Bellspall, where the Pallor family rules the Pale Crag. It is here we learn the tale of the tragic beginnings of the Urchin Prince and his eventual, unnecessary fight to take the castle. I’m sure that subsequent volumes will continue this wonderful story and we’ll eventually learn if the Prince will become King.

Musically, ‘The Urchin Prince’ masterfully combines old school Dungeon Synth and grim, neo-classical instrumentation, as if it’s being provided as the soundtrack to a modern-day horror film. Album opener, “Saltmouth”, is a short piece that describes the horrors that take place during the birth of the Urchin Prince. The music is very dark and begrudgingly evil. “Grim Enceinte, The Old Gaoler” sets the tone of complete obscurity as the infant Prince is rescued from the sea and brought to his new safe haven, even though its almost as gloomy as stranded life at sea. “Dust, The Urchin Prince“, contains mesmerizing musical crescendos as the Prince comes of age and sets out on his own to reclaim what is rightfully his. “The Uncherished Parlours”, contains more of a Dungeon Synth vibe which perfectly describes the hidden place that the Urchin Prince finds that is filled with centuries old swords and rotting tomes. “Bellwether, Herald Of The Long Slumber” is my favorite track on the album as it beautifully combines cinematic film score, classical arrangements and an overall medieval vibe of betrayal and misfortune. “The Starless Stargarden” is another well-played DS track that emphasizes the power of black magick and the darkness it brings in the end. Much like the spell that was cast on the Stargarden, this track soon fades into nothingness. “Mauveine, The Daughter Of The Comfortless King” has a very uplifting, fantasy synth sound to it, showing another astonishing musical direction for this album. “Prolix II, The Comfortless King” contains a very alluring keyboard melody that comes into play as the cymbals crash with the climax of the song. The albums final track, “Lemures” not only musically describes the confrontation of the Urchin Prince, but also serves as the ending credits for this volume of work. The end is almost a dark ambient piece with ghostly violin riffs being played until it fades out, as to say this story will be continued in the very near future.

‘The Urchin Prince: A Century Of Dust, Vol. 1′ is an enthralling tale of sadness, betrayal & revenge, in which our protagonist rises from the ashes of near death to reclaim the family wealth he never knew was his. Although, this musical adventure is just twenty two minutes long, there is so much going on that will keep you entertained beyond any time limit or restriction. I cannot wait for the next volumes of this story to be released so that I can find out what the future hold for the Urchin Prince and the Pale Crag. Please show your support for Faery Ring and Gondolin Records by purchasing this wonderful release at the link below.

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