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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Link:

https://mausoleumwanderer.bandcamp.com

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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Link:

https://countshirintsu.bandcamp.com/

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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Link:

https://apoxupon.bandcamp.com/album/how-the-garden-grows

Bonus Content:

Mystic Timbre is providing 10 download codes for those readers that would like to have a copy of this album. Please redeem @ mystictimbre.bandcamp.com/yum

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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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Link:

https://gondolinrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-urchin-prince-a-century-of-dust-vol-i

‘Labyrinth Of The Golden Princess’ Is Dungeontroll’s Powerful New Collection Of Lugubrious Hymns

As Dungeon Synth continues to gain notoriety and its musical variety expands into many complex sub-genres, there are some artists that maintain the traditional path of thy medieval biddings by conjuring minimalistic enchantments that are sorrowful, yet enthralling to hear. Over the course of three albums in just the span of a few months, Dungeontroll has painted a hypnotizing picture of beguiling anthems that not only stretch the limits of the imaginations, but allows the listeners to close their eyes and enter a fantasy world like no other. On ‘Labyrinth Of The Golden Princess’, we are drawn to a guarded crypt in a captivating, yet forbidden forest where our Siren awaits to be rescued from an entangled curse in which she is proscribed from ever leaving.

The opening track, “The Sleeping Crypt” is a somber piece, describing the depressive mood of the golden princess as she forever awaits her rescue or demise. “A Long Forgotten Kingdom” has a nice drum track to go along with the ethereal tones of the keyboards. The orchestrations add an additional layer that provides an element of surprise to the story, and a sense of uncertainty for the golden princess. “Weaving A Web Of Gold” is a light, relaxing piece in which I imagine the princess conducting one final act of self glorification – leaving her mark – by creating a golden, magical web. Even though the music is very mournful, it’s an accepting time for the golden princess as she prepares to leave the enchanted world behind. Next up is, “An Unspoken Oath”, which is sort of a continuation track in the storyline of the final moments of the princess. “The Lonely Paladin Of Uzohr” contains some very beautiful orchestral movements and some background choir-like sounds to signal the end of the golden princess. Although her life is no longer, her legacy lives on in the crypt through the mystical golden web that was spun prior to her disappearance. The final track, “Requiem For The Golden Princess” provides a solemn dirge for her final resting place with some very harrowing, yet detailed synth movements that have a melodic approach to a regretful ending.

On ‘Labyrinth Of The Golden Princess’, Dungeontroll examines the elaborate departure of this fantastical being through beautiful, soulful Dungeon Synth sounds that are true to the old school DS vibe and without being too radical. I love the record player sound effect that can be heard in each track that gives it that nostalgic feel, adding to the mystique of the ancient times detailed in this recording. This is one of the more fascinating DS albums that has been released this year and I highly recommend this to both seasoned fans of the genre as well as those people that want to experience something new and exciting. Show your support for this truly amazing artist and download the album from the link below. There is also a link if you’re interested in a physical tape purchase.

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Link:

https://dungeontroll.bandcamp.com/album/labyrinth-of-the-golden-princess

Tapes also available from:

https://serpentsswordrecords.bandcamp.com

The ‘Path Through The Realm’ Is more Adventurous At The Direction Of Haxan Dreams

Blazing a path of more than just through a realm, Haxan Dreams has created a soundtrack that could accompany any adventure, whether it be through an enchanted forest, an icy cold winter storm, or the grim hollowness of a desolate mountain trail. The music on ‘Path Through The Realm’ is simply stunning and is more or less a cinematic dungeon synth masterpiece. However, this album is so much more than that. As I listen to these arrangements over and over again, I’m quickly reminded of a time when these musical preparations greatly existed as intros, outros, and the occasional filler tune on many black metal albums from the late 80’s and early 90’s.

Album opener, “The Realm” has some great dungeon synth keyboard parts that are accented by low-pitched (and barely audible) spoke word narrations. “Mountain Passage” has a very old-school vibe to it as well as some nice classical arrangements embedded within. The backing ambient track would also be amazing to listen to on its own. “Forest Of Idran” is the first song on the album that has that classic black metal intro vibe to it. The arrangements of the instrumentation is so compelling and dark, as if the composer is writing of a journey to be met with demise. Continuing on with the elements of black metal misery type intro’s, “Love And The Abyss” starts off melancholic but counters that emotion in the end with uplifting keyboard melodies. “Battle Of Twin Mountains” is an ideal spiritual piece that includes some tribal beats and bells. Just as the title suggests, this track seems as if there is an engagement in battle that takes place in the mountainside. “Dance Of The Coven” contains some tribal vocal elements that work well with the crescendo of the music. It’s almost as if a tribe of mountaineers have claimed victory in battle and are then displaying their ritual dance to claim praise to their high lord. Album closer, “To Dwell In Darkness” is an eleven minute long opus that shows a return to the elements of true old school dungeon synth and provides the final gateway to cross into the realm as set forth at the beginning of the album.

Haxan Dreams has created a very mature dungeon synth recording that mixes several elements of other musical genres and ventures into tribal beats with narrations and chanting patterns. Of all of the great DS albums that have been released this year, ‘Path Through The Realm’ is turning out to be one of my favorites so far. Support this wonderful album that is out now on Dungeon Deep Records by clicking the link below.

Link:

https://dungeonsdeeprecords.bandcamp.com/album/path-through-the-realm

Woodland Crypt’s Haunting Vision Conjures A ‘Gateway To A Forest Forgotten’

When I look back over the dungeon synth albums that have been released this year, it is truly impressive on how the genre has grown and the ways the music has branched out into many sub-genre’s. On Woodland Crypt’s latest EP, ‘Gateway To A Forest Forgotten’, the music takes us on a gloomy, deep forest adventures that has a cold, winter synth vibe to it, while maintaining elements of fantasy synth. This is quite an impressive feat for an artist that only has a few releases so far. The six tracks contained on this album are uniquely impressive and push the boundaries of traditional dungeon synth, almost crossing into the realm of post-dungeon synth.

“Sacred Glen” is an excellent choice as the lead off track as it exposes a particular calmness while traversing the gateway to the forest. “The Barbarian (Gûndabar’s Theme)” blasts right into a fantasy keyboard part that shows signs of aggression and commitment for the journey through the forest. The journey begins to slow as “Mausoleum Of Moss” provides a bleak atmosphere with some slight field recordings to give just enough atmospherics to set a gloomy precedence for the next track. “The Green Man” is an eerie song filled with lush keyboard tones and the occasional high-pitched accent that leans more toward traditional dungeon synth music. “Yule Festival” is a hymn filled with melancholy and crackling fire field recordings and contribute to the overwhelming sense of togetherness once reaching the final destination in the forgotten forest. “Return To The Mountains” closes out this astonishing album with an epic display of minimalistic synths and ambient droning.

Woodland Crypt has succeeded in constructing a meticulous album full of forest hymns that fit right in the ever-so-growing dungeon synth community. When a listener can don a pair of headphone, kickback, press play and let the music take them on a soulful journey, then the artist has reached a remarkable status. Although Woodland Crypt has only released two albums so far, they show signs of limitless potential and I’m looking forward to many more releases by this great talent. Join in on the journey and download ‘Gateway To A Forest Forgotten’ today!

Link:

https://woodlandcrypt.bandcamp.com