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

Execration Chamber Blend Cinematic Quality Score With Lo-Fi Dungeon Synth On The Intrepid ‘Cathedral Of Unbeing’

Is there a more perfect time to listen to Dungeon Synth than now? As we’re faced with the global pandemic known at COVID-19, many people are confined to their own homes in order to prevent the spread of the deadly virus – basically being imprisoned in their dungeon until it’s safe to – once again – interact with society. The mood just seems right to consume some lo-fi Dungeon Synth, to take you back to those Medieval days of malicious captivity. One artist that is an absolute fit during this trying time is Execration Chamber, and on ‘Cathedral Of Unbeing’ the infusion of cinematic composition and lo-fi Dungeon Synth is just what the doctor ordered to cure the ailments of solitude.

Monumental album opener, “The Lesser Felled” begins with the soaked sounds of a heavy rain field recording, followed by dense layers of keys that harmonize in a symphonic way. The sound is gloomy and mournful but played with a sense of hope and reason. As the song comes to a close, the sounds of heavy rainfall can be heard for one final time. “Gaunt, The Night” introduces bombastic percussive elements as if an anticipated Medieval battle is on the dawn of existence. The solo keys really standout as they are crisp and have the perfect tone to augment the background rhythm. “Buried In Time” has a bleak feeling to it, as it’s galloping cadence matches the simple beat that accompanies it throughout. At times, the keys become discordant as the sound becomes more harrowing. “The Great Purging Of Memories” sounds as if it could have been an intro to an early 90’s lo-fi black metal recording with its eerie tone and divergent arrangement. “A Hallowed End Of Passage” would be the perfect track to lead a garrison of warriors into battle. With its fast-paced, rhythmic patterns, this is just the motivation needed to carry out an assault on an enemy invasion. “Imminent Warfare” is a battle-ready anthem that features wondrous organ sounds and precision drum pulses that emit a culture of feudal decadence. “Crawling Tombs” is a dismal track that has components of lush textures and emphatic keys. The continuous pounding of the drum sounds as if the surviving warriors of a brutal battle are in sync, heading back to their kingdom to recover from their wounds. “Wept In Blood” is a dismal canticle with massively layered keyboard tones that are a vivid reminder of the tragedies that preceded times of peace. The final song on the album, “Dimly” is a sorrowful dirge filled with depressive sounding keyboards that perfectly compliment the emotional journey that this album has taken us.

‘Cathedral Of Unbeing’ is an incredible album that has that old-school Dungeon Synth vibe but with and an updated cinematic quality to it. It’s fantastic to see such a broad spectrum of musical sounds collide in an epic adventure with such a prosperous outcome. These tracks flow together so well and just like many other amazing Dungeon Synth recordings, they tell a valiant Medieval story of both victory and tragedy. I’m very much looking forward to hearing more adventurous tales from Execration Chamber, but in the meantime, please support this improbable artist by downloading ‘Cathedral Of Unbeing’ from the link below.

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Links:

https://execrationchamber.bandcamp.com/album/cathedral-of-unbeing

The Gloomy Intonations On ‘Archana’s Tales’ By Archana, Forges An Ominous Feudal Presence

Imagine an endless journey where the spectacles of nature inhabit the majority of your adrenaline-filled stimulation. As you cross boundless and threatening topography, your preparedness for battle is like no other, but fortunately the paths of the unknown have brought little to no campaign, limiting the possibility for senseless bloodshed. However, along the way, the dim and gloomy passage has brought on a variety of other undiscovered aspects. Welcome to ‘Archana’s Tales’, the somber yet soothing soundtrack for an unknown expedition filled with the unexpected and unexplained.

Like a pack of travelers hiking gallantly through a field of dreams, “Archana’s Tales” bold keyboard arrangements are the perfect opening sounds to this album. As if the morning dawn has signaled for the time to press forward with this harrowing journey, the lush key tones play a Medieval pattern that remain promising and victorious. Although the overall vibe is calming, there are a lot of layers and elements to give it a broad, ethereal sound. “Decorated Blade” is a great forest synth track that is very dreamy and distant. However, don’t let that fool you from the plethora of synth activity that is happening, as there is a lot of melodies combining to make this a great track. “Wayward In The Brume” is a mournful piece, as the main keyboard arrangement sounds like a dirge played at an ancient funeral. “Fray” begins like an anthem played at a kingdoms’ gate upon the arrival of the king after being away for battle. Not straying from the main cords, it’s meant to signal the return of the ruler, and this short piece succeeds in fulfilling that objective. “Mother Moon” is full of harmony and melody right from the start and provides a sense of warmth while envisioning a journey that crosses over into darkness, slowly fading from dusk as the sun sets off in the distance. “Boreal Kingdom” is one of my favorite tracks on the album due to the discordant key arrangement and the droning synth tones in the background. The final track on the album, is the near fourteen minute long “The Hyetal Shore”. Starting with some simple keyboard tones and rain field recordings, this is just a simple precursor to this well-rounded and excellent track. At around the six minute mark, the pace picks up a bit and more key arrangements are added to give a symphonic sound. There is still that Medieval element to the overall feel to this recording but this track is wonderfully composed in several sections to give it that grandiose appeal. The final few minutes of the song closes out with the continuance of the rain and occasional thunder sound, with a nice keyboard texture that signifies that the end is near.

Archana has composed and produced a rather unique dungeon synth offering with ‘Archana’s Tales’. This is somber forest synth at its best. There is nothing fancy or extravagant on this release, as it’s not needed. Simple keyboard arrangements and minimal use of field recordings are all it takes to draw the listener in and keep them captivated for the duration of the recording. When the songwriting is that powerful, that is all that is needed. Show your support for this amazing artist and download ‘Archana’s Tales’ from the link below.

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Links:

https://archana.bandcamp.com/album/archanas-tales-3

Lost Tales Evoke Fantasy Synth Vibes Of An Eccentric Nature On ‘An Old Wizard’s Secret’

Album art is a powerful thing. Its not just the eye-catching, spur-of-the-moment influencer for helping with making a decision on buying a particular album or not, but it also provokes the mind with setting a scene for the theme of the music and the direction the art takes our imaginations. In turn, this allows us to open up more freely to enjoy the musical journey that much more. The album cover for Lost Tales debut album, ‘An Old Wizard’s Secret’, is a mesmerizing piece of art that speaks in volumes of the despondent life of a wizard and the trials that he’s gone through just to make it out alive. Although probably finishing out his life as a desolate hermit, life has not always been this way. Musically, this fantasy synth adventure takes us on a daring adventure through various life events of the wizard, as he reflects on the good times and the bad. These six decadent tunes have an overall engaging and peaceful vibe and will leave you wanting more.

Brazen album opener, “Following One’s Singular Vision”, begins with a simple arrangement, soon followed by the delightful sounds of quirky dungeon synth effects that quickly shine a bright light on the theme of this amazing project. Moving in a totally different direction, “Defrocked; Expelled From The Academy” starts with a luminous jazzy sound that is serene and peaceful. The tones of winter synth keys come into play, as various melodic structure take turns conquering the open space. The deep bass effect gives this track a rich, unique quality and even has a bit of a middle eastern influence at times. “When What Was Loved Left This Plane” is a slow, melodic dirge, with a beautiful harmony keyboard part that is extremely unforgettable. I find myself humming this tune quite often and I easily imagine getting lost in a mystical forest and suddenly finding an oasis of enchantment, remaining enthralled with no sense of time or space. “Synthesizing The Reversal Of Death” continues the same musical theme as the previous track, as the soothing melodies draw you in, placing you in a relaxed state. When the main keyboard melody starts to play, an overwhelming sensation of being drawn to an era of magic and charm takes over. The layers of keyboard euphony hits the spot and succeeds in transitioning the listener back to ancient times. “The Opportunity To right Wrongs” is a wondrous dungeon synth effort with expeditious playing and excellent harmonizing with the slower keyboard parts. The standout solo arrangements are quite the delight and provide a magical moment for this song. The albums final track, “An Honor And A Blessing To Have Served The Court”, combines many different keyboard effects in a congenial effort that is full of grace and positive substance. The horn effects really standout and are the perfect addition to this final stance, as it adds balance to the album and closure to the overall theme of the wizards story and life.

Lost Tales is a prodigious artist that provides a considerable amount of balance to the dungeon synth genre. ‘An Old Wizard’s Secret’ is a wonderful debut effort and I love the direction of the music that is contained within. It’s a great balance of all of the elements that I love about dungeon synth music and although this hasn’t been officially released yet, I’m already looking forward to hearing more from this artist. You won’t be disappointed in this so I highly recommend downloading this as soon as it’s available or even pre-ordering it now. Mystic Timbre will also be doing a cassette release so keep you’re eyes peeled for that as well.

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Links:

https://losttales.bandcamp.com/album/an-old-wizards-secrets

The Legendary Mortiis Returns To His Dungeon Synth Roots On Meritorious New Album, ‘Spirit Of Rebellion’

It’s one thing to be prominent in two different genres of music, but to be considered (by many) to be The Godfather of one is an amazing feat – especially when you leave that genre for several decades and then make a ferocious return as if you’ve never left in the first place. That artist is Mortiis and his genre of dark desires is none other than dungeon synth. Blasting out on the black metal scene in the early 90’s as the original bassist for Emperor, he recorded the infamous ‘Wrath Of The Tyrants’ demo and ‘Emperor’ EP before splitting with the band and creating the Era 1 material of his solo project known as Dark Dungeon Music. I’m not even sure if he knew at the time what an influence those earlier albums would have on the dungeon synth community for generations to come, but he’s inspired a magnitude of artists and labels to create music with the same passion and desire. After the 1999 ‘Stargate’ release, the music of Mortiis began to take on a new form and the dungeon synth sounds were laid to rest…but not forever. Mortiis has finally returned to his roots and has graciously presented us with the magnificent ‘Spirit Of Rebellion’. Although it was intended to be a reworking of the 1994 masterpiece, ‘Ånden Som Gjorde Opprør’, it formed a life of its own and warranted a new title. The outcome is an explosive revival of the Era 1 material and I couldn’t be happier.

The twenty four plus minute long “A Dark Horizon” blasts into a battle worthy anthem with layered keys, pounding percussion and cinematic orchestrations that are film worthy. Depending on the version of the album you get, either the two songs are in a single format, or broken into multiple parts. For the sake of this review, I will reference the various parts of each song when describing the music. Part II of “A Dark Anthem” is haunting canticle with vocal effects that are sure to give you goosebumps. This is just a precursor to Part III which goes full throttle with the electronic vocal effects and pulsating drums as if unavoidable bloodshed is about to commence. However, the tempo changes to a more melodic structure and Part IV finds elements of forest synth as if a scenery of peace has been the vanguard of a mythical village, hidden away deep in a sacred forest. In terms of pure keyboard effects, Part V is the most old-school dungeon synth sounding part in the whole song. This multi-track effort has tons of melody and the background arrangement is memorable enough to stick with you for days on end. This beast of a song ends on a high note as Part VI perfectly summarizes this audio adventure with a welcomed reprise that features elements of the opening moments of the track. The second track, “Visions Of An Ancient Future”, is another top quality musical experience that includes over twenty six minutes of advantageous dark dungeon melodies. Part I is a high-tempo intro with a mix of goth and cinematic qualities. The grandiose elements of Part II are mesmerizing, especially when the electronic vocal chants kick in. The atmosphere continues to grow and remains overpowering throughout the remainder of the track. Part III contains warm elements of forest synth with ambitious effects thrown in to create the perfect medieval ambience. Part IV continues the medieval theme of the last track but takes it to a larger scale with the increased percussion parts. The somber keyboard arrangements create a sense of negotiation between good and evil, as the track continually sways from loud to softer parts. Part V has grim, eerie synth effects that keep this track interesting yet again. As the massive backgrounds continue to play without being overpowering, the dreadful melodies in the foreground carry on aggressively. Part IV is another bold and energetic piece that has an uptempo vibe and a strong mix of all of the elements present thus far in this mammoth of a track. Part VII has a tenacious medieval and fantasy synth vibe and features some awesome percussive sounds and keyboard arrangements. This is not only an excellent way to end this song, but an admirable finale to a spectacular album.

Whether this return to Era 1 material is short lived or an enduring comeback, Mortiis has accomplished an incredible feat – especially after being out of the dungeon synth genre for so long. There is nothing that I would love more than for Mortiis to continue down this path and continue producing material of this nature. If that turns out to be the case and ‘Spirit Of Rebellion’ is just the start, then we are in for a treat, as this album is as good as it gets. If you’re a fan of DS and you’ve not heard this album yet, what are you waiting for? You will not be disappointed as Mortiis once again sets the standard, just as he did nearly thirty years ago.

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Links:

https://downloadmusic.mortiis.com/album/spirit-of-rebellion

Mortiloqvist Deliver A Necropolitan Tale Of Death On The Imposingly Brilliant ‘Overmorrow’ Release

Death is inevitable for all of us and although we cannot escape it’s clutches, the dreadful end continues to captivate us in many ways. Not only are we mystified by the moments that lead up to the actual occasion, but thoughts of the afterlife and how our physical remains are dealt with (over time) are equally fascinating. What better music is there than dungeon synth to provide a platform for exposing a compelling story of the death and the afterlife? Even with just music alone, ‘Overmorrow’ is an alluring look into a mischievous tale of life after death gone wrong and Mortiloqvist takes us on that passionate journey with extraordinary synth tunes.

Sensational album opener, “The Taste Of Graveyard Dirt” begins with the sounds of workers digging, as if they are seeking to resurrect a long lost tomb. Demon like grumbles signifies they are near their goal but are they really ready to unleash what they are about to find? A beautiful guitar chord plays willfully in the forefront which eventually leads into a clean-sounding, classic dungeon synth recording. With almost a summer synth vibe, the instrumentation leans heavy on medieval times as wondrous melodies layer to create a dazzling sound. Next up is “The Dead Rise Up And Form Into Ominous Words The Night Wind That Moan Through Their Skulls” and is has a dark, winter synth vibe as a single keyboard note drones in the background. Supreme string picking creates an architecture for discordant harmony and although it may sound random, it’s like a cosmic and brilliant string solo from a scene in a horror movie. “Among These Sacred Ruins A Doppelgänger Of You Rots In Silence” is the longest song on the album, as it clocks in at just over eleven minutes. Starting with a quick dose of field recording before moving into a orient style synth structure, this track is full of surprises. Quickly moving back to a traditional dungeon synth sound, the main melody in the song is very unforgettable and you’ll surely be humming along. The addition of exceptional, female operatic vocals is very welcomed and fit in perfectly with the direction of this track. After that, there is a short dark ambient interlude with demon like growls before kicking things back into high gear with the medieval synth melodies. The final track, “Looting A Corpse” begins with the crackling sounds of a small fire in the forest while a lush tune surrounds it in dominating fashion. With the lonely strums of a stringed instrument and long-noted keys augmenting the harmony, this track signifies the dreadful beginning of the end and a sudden journey to the great beyond.

Although we all will probably not have the fortune of having a soundtrack to signify our journey into immortality, Mortiloqvist has put together an exquisite album that tells an adventurous story of the hereafter. As music listeners, we seek fulfillment in satisfying the senses with tales like these and when the music is able to do the talking, then the artist has created a successful endeavor. ‘Overmorrow’ is one of those albums and it is also special in that it uses an equal mix of synths and organic instruments. Additionally, the field recordings are used sparsely but very tastefully. I definitely recommend checking out this album so please click on the link below and download this masterpiece.

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Links:

https://mortiloqvist.bandcamp.com/album/overmorrow