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!

Please Like/Follow my blog so that you’ll get first hand updates every time I post a review. Thanks for visiting the Dungeon!!

Links:

https://morgothsring.bandcamp.com/releases

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!

Please Like/Follow my blog so that you’ll get first hand updates every time I post a review. Thanks for visiting the Dungeon!!

Links:

https://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!

Please Like/Follow my blog so that you’ll get first hand updates every time I post a review. Thanks for visiting the Dungeon!!

Links:

https://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!

Please Like/Follow my blog so that you’ll get first hand updates every time I post a review. Thanks for visiting the Dungeon!!

Links:

https://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.

Please Like/Follow my blog so that you’ll get first hand updates every time I post a review. Thanks for visiting the Dungeon!!

Links:

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

Moon And Azure Shadow Instill The Sounds Of Dungeon & Medieval Synth On Masterful Black Metal Overture.

Synthesized orchestrations have been infused with black metal for decades now, creating a sub-genre of technical and theatrical metal known as symphonic black metal. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that with the exception of a few bands, this sub-genre hasn’t really been my thing. However, after a renewed interest in dungeon synth and winter synth, I’ve come to appreciate the genre more than ever. That brings me to Moon And Azure Shadow, a one-man Black Metal project that mightily imbues the dungeon, winter, and medieval synth style into his unique brand of gothic infused black metal. The result is an incredible album of epic song lengths and robust symphonic pleasure known as ‘Age Of Darkness And Frost’. Consisting of three lengthy tracks that contain a hefty dose of black metal with a wide variety of other sounds, and four tracks of classical synth-style compositions, ‘Age Of Darkness And Frost’ is a surprisingly exceptional album that is sure to make a few “Top 10” list for 2019.

The breathtaking album opener, “Across Dark Landscapes” makes it grand entrance with an enormous symphonic auditory effect. There are so many imposing sounds on this track, it almost as if it could be used for an expeditious sequence in a movie. The cinematic quality is incredible and hearing this, I imagine a group of nomadic travelers, traversing a snowy mountain summit in search of a new place to secure as their home. As the climax of the music winds down, a beautiful piano melody can be heard, taking us to the end of this triumphant song. The next track – and first long track on the album – is the title track, “Age Of Darkness And Frost”. At almost nine minutes long, this wondrous endeavor features elements of medieval synth, gothic sounds, and very impressive symphonic black metal. Starting with another cinematic opening, it soon embraces the sound of a slow-tempo gothic anthem. The black metal-style vocals kick in and take this track to new heights. After a short melodic interlude, heavier & faster black metal rhythms take center stage and even include a section of blast beats over a canorous guitar and keyboard riff. The following track, “Black Winged Gates Of Destiny Descend” is another short respite between longer tracks but it’s no filler by any means. Theatrically, this song is monstrous and contains some chilling keyboard tones that are equally catchy. “Abyssic Lunar Tower” is the longest track on the album at seventeen and a half minutes long. The opening keyboard riff is like an addictive dirge that has a considerable sound and is soon joined by a sequenced drum beat that really sounds incredible. After a few minutes, an acoustic guitar plays a simple riff before an early-era Emperor-style Black metal riff unloads in the audial senses and makes this track even more pummeling. The riff at the six minute and twenty second mark is one of the best I’ve heard in many years and is one of the most brutal sounds on the album. At around the eleven minute mark, the song winds down to an eerie winter synth sound with a thunderstorm soundscape augmenting the ambient space in the background. A slower black metal riff soon takes over and plays out to the end of this majestic track. Next is “Through The Channelling Of Souls”, and with its medieval synth sound, provides a powerful statement with regards to the elements of nature and the darkness that conceives it. At almost eleven minutes long, “Unholy Vanquishing” begins with a ceremonious keyboard track, as if a group of warriors are preparing for a long battle in the icy cold north. Soon after, a gothic-like Black metal riff takes over and has a wonderful – but sorrowful – sound, like early Hecate Enthroned songs. This track also features some mighty voice narrations, adding yet another great element to this album. The last couple of minutes of this song is a great mix of slow-tempo black metal and dungeon synth and the vocals once again shine throughout. The final track, “Passage Through Time And Cold” features an excellent piano arrangement with some symphonic keys to add additional layers. The tone throughout this track is very melancholic and ghostly and is the perfect way to end such an amazing album. The last couple of minutes turns into an ambient soundscape with a scene of a snowy ridge and a traveler making his way to a nearby destination.

Listening to ‘Age Of Darkness And Frost’ has turned out to be such a pleasurable experience. Within a few months, I’ve gone from never hearing of Moon And Azure Shadow to including this album on my Top 10 metal albums of 2019. Even though this is a black metal album, there is enough medieval and dungeon/winter synth elements on it to be featured on The Dungeon In Deep Space site. Beside, there is a high possibility that if you’re even reading this, you’re a fan of both genres anyway. That being said, I highly recommend checking out ‘Age Of Darkness And Frost’ by clicking on the link below.

Please Like/Follow my blog so that you’ll get first hand updates every time I post a review. Thanks for visiting the Dungeon!!

Links:

https://moonandazureshadow.bandcamp.com/album/age-of-darkness-and-frost

Mantle Of Dust Emits Effulgence On Radiant & Energetic Fifth Album, ‘Through Paths Well Remembered’

In just about every music genre, there is a specific type of celebratory sound for every occasion. Depending on the type of situation it is, it could also mean a sub-genre classification, or an just an album that generates a cult following. The same holds true for dungeon synth. Whereas a lot of the musical themes tend to be geared toward battle hymns or dig into the realm of ancient medieval synth, with a focus on more serious and theatrical instrumentation, there is a lighter side as well. Forest synth and fantasy synth tend to have softer musical elements and the arrangements evoke an imagination of peaceful times in ancient kingdoms and mythical villages hidden away deep in mountainous forests. Those are the exact feelings that I get while listening to the latest Mantle Of Dust release called, ‘Through Paths Well Remembered’. Although there is a melancholic feel to this album, the acoustic guitar riffs combined with the beautiful synth arrangements ensures that the overall sound borders between classic, symphonic black metal-esque interludes and cinematic fantasy score.

The soothing guitar melody of “The Path Well Remembered I” creates a lavish atmosphere of warm emotions and when the flute arrangement begins, the song puts us right in the heart of the forest, where there is peace and gathering amongst villagers. “Lake Of Tears” starts with a haunting flute and synth combination. Soon, the sounds of battle-like drums kick in and the pace of the song increases, as if a peculiar alertness is in the air. “The Three-Sided Coin Inn” is one of my favorite tracks on the album and has more of a medieval sound. The mix of live and synth instruments along with the occasional vocals, provide many layers of great sounds as this song represents love & spirit throughout the village, as well as a place for everyone to come together in harmony. “The Wise Tree” is a very uplifting song that represents celebration and I can see everyone dancing gleefully and drinking large mugs of ale while listening to this track. From the fast pace drum beats, flute arrangements and multiple keyboard and synth sounds, this track is sure to stand out. As “The Wise Tree” suddenly ends, “Madness Beckons (Medley For The King)” begins, as if the king has suddenly appeared at the front gate of the small mythical village deep in the forest to pay a random visit. The synth melodies in the beginning are slight somber but about halfway through take a turn to a much darker tone, as if the visit from the king isn’t going as well as expected. “Paradise Found” features grandiose keyboard arrangements and the main sound is extremely catchy and I guarantee you’ll be humming it after the song is over. This would be a great song to be used as an into for a symphonic black metal album. However, it perfectly stands on it own as a dungeon synth piece. “…Of Noblest Steel” is another strong synth-based track with a great melody featuring several layers to give a very cinematic sound. I could imagine this track being used in a fantasy-based film score. “Through Paths Well Remembered II” is quite different from the first track as the approach seems more animate and action packed. The solo keyboard notes work well with the backing melody and this song flows smoothly right from the opening note. “The Seventh Castle” is another one of my favorite tracks on the album as it successfully combines elements of medieval, dungeon & forest synth in a single track without being over bearing. There are several spots of grand cinematic score as well, as this track just has it all. “The Dwarven Realm” starts with a rhythmic drum beat, memorable keyboard melody and a steady ambient tone in the background. Suddenly, a beautiful violin riff joins in the mix to expand the horizon of the song. The overall tone of this track is mesmerizing and the violin sound in several spots give it that extra push toward greatness. The albums final track, “Victory Or Death” is the perfect way to end the album. With an excellent blend of dungeon synth style keyboards, ambient synths, cinematic score and spoken word, this song provides a final dirge for the villagers of the mythical village in the forest to look up to.

Mantle Of Dust has created an excellent dungeon synth album with their fifth effort, ‘Through Paths Well Remembered’. On this album I hear many influences such as medieval synth, forest synth, ambient, and cinematic movie score. Additionally, with the use of live instruments and vocals/spoken word in several spots, they’ve added elements not normally used on your typical dungeon synth album. This is a superb album and one that is definitely worth checking out. Please click on the link below to download this album and support this amazing artist!

Please Like/Follow my blog so that you’ll get first hand updates every time I post a review. Thanks for visiting the Dungeon!!

Links:

https://mantleofdust.bandcamp.com/album/through-paths-well-remembered