Caliginous Empire & Natura Carcerem Synthesize For Dungeon Synth Greatness On ‘Shadows Reflected’

Two of Dungeon Synth’s upcoming artists – Caliginous Empire & Natura Carcerem – have joined forces for the monumental offering, ‘Shadows Reflected’. However, this is no simple collaboration; this is two compelling creators showcasing the best side of their craft and extending a long overdue exposure to up and coming artist as they show solidarity in one of the best musical genres around. Caliginous Empire exhibits a soothing blend of symphony tones and melancholic soundscapes, while Natura Carcerem ventures more into aspects of Dark Ambient and ominous atmospherics. However, on this joint venture, they both step out of their comfort zones and expand on their musical creativity resulting in an ethereal experience that flows with haunting transparency.

“Before I Depart” is the somber album opener that starts with melodic keys and piano chops that slowly builds into a grand intonation. A short narration constructs an ancient storyline before percussive beats and layers of melody complete this soothing musical affair. The excitement really begins on “Hidden Penumbra”. Commencing with the soft crashes of ocean waves on a desolate, ancient shore, dense keys and pads create a fantastical soundscape of cinematic proportions. Soon, the tonal keys descend into an emotionally-charged passage of atmospheric modulations and alluring patterns. Out of nowhere, the track blasts into a melodic Black Metal section, complete with harmonic guitar chords, blast beats and ominous vokills. It then dwindles down to a quiet symphony of swaying keys that close out the track. The next track is “Reflected Shadows” and it showcases the talents of both musicians as they merge their unique sounds to present this stunning effort. A gentle piano ballad starts this epic adventure then an array of sounds and effects slowly builds a wall of discordance that is hypnotizing to say the least. Toward the end, tasty guitar leads mirror the main melody and establish a theatrical dose of affinity and atmospheric creativity. Natura Carcerem presents the next two tracks, the first being “On The Precipice Of Despair”. This is a beautiful flowing song that is held together by rigorous drum beats and celestial keys. Filled with eerie arrangements and haunting soundscapes, there is also an effervescent crypt hop beat that will have your head bobbing for the last portion of the song. The final track is the ghostly, “These Shadows Know My Name”. The cawing of crows and frightening modulated tones produces ghoulish atmosphere of haunted mansions, graveyards and nocturnal creatures that are bound to scare all those in their path. A soft Berlin School sequence adds a nice touch, as it increases the nostalgic vibe. More narrations and Black Metal vokills close out the track as this exceptional album draws to an end.

It’s never too late to recognize a fantastic album. ‘Shadows Reflected’ was released almost a year ago and it – so far – has stood the test of time, as these songs are unique, impressive and memorable. Caliginous Empire and Natura Carcerem have successfully blended their talents for supreme song writing and arrangements on this album and I can only hope that they will team up again in the near future to present us with another endeavor of this magnitude. If you like your Dungeon Synth meshed with other style of music, do not look past ‘Shadows Reflected’ as this is a one stop shop for your extreme Dungeon Synth needs.

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Links:

https://uncomfyrecords.bandcamp.com/album/shadows-reflected

https://caliginousempire.bandcamp.com

https://naturacarcerem.bandcamp.com

Celestial Ephemerides: A Collection Of Dungeon Synth Summary Reviews, Part V

With the ever growing Dungeon Synth community and the endless amounts of review requests that I receive, publishing these Celestial Ephemerides articles is the quickest way for me to keep up, and to also push out content to the community in a timely fashion. For Part V, we find a varied list of exciting Dungeon Synth albums and some that are multi-genre endeavors with just a touch of Dungeon Synth influence. Needless to say, it’s awesome to watch this community grow with everyone’s unique spin on one of the greatest genres around. Keep up the great work, artistry support and most of all, I hope you all enjoy this publishing.

1. Psyyps – L’oracle de I’imaginaire et La Porte du Chemin

Psyyps adopts the Dungeon Synth aesthetic to create a magnetic brand of New Age bliss. Permeated with tribal-like beats, alluring ambience and a host of instrumentation, this experience is one of a kind. It’s as if the dungeon lore of Medieval times escaped to a futuristic setting of unfamiliarity and enlightenment. Prepare to be amazed by these eight tracks of cutting edge explorations.

https://psyyps.bandcamp.com/album/l-oracle-de-l-imaginaire-et-la-porte-du-chemin

2. Baerdcyn – Naegling

No other artist has mastered the art of Medieval tranquility quite like Baerdcyn. Blending aspects of folk ambient with his passionate stringed instrumental chops, ‘Naegling’ is a product of majestic beauty and absolution. Tracks such as “The Quest” and “Dragon’s Scale” dig toward the center of the soul with ardent layers of mythical sounds. Haunting reverberations increase the intensity of these tracks, showcasing a likeness for enthralling peace.

https://baerdcyn.bandcamp.com/album/naegling

3. Search For The Navigator – Flight Of The Firmament

‘Flight Of The Firmament’ is an unparalleled sonic adventure. Combining Dungeon Synth, Ambient Music, Comfy Synth and whimsical soundscapes, this album is like an interstellar odyssey; a grand musical, if you will. Containing six tracks of celestial-themed electronics, the incursion of various oddities is endless as you wander through clusters and nebulas, heading toward an otherworldly dungeon. Don’t let this one slip under the radar; it’s too good to pass up and it needs to be heard immediately.

https://searchforthenavigator.bandcamp.com/album/flight-of-the-firmament

4. Ancestral Axe – Dawn Of The New Age

Like a Medieval battle between Christianity and Paganism, ‘Dawn Of The New Age’ is a sacrificial offering of war-time aggression and dark hymnals as bloodshed spills across the land. The samples, field recordings and soundscapes really breathe a spectacular life into this recording, as the music takes us through the trials and tribulations of battle, territorial reign and the fight for ultimate victory. So, sit back and enjoy this marauding journey of superlative tunes.

https://hammerandflailrecordings.bandcamp.com/album/dawn-of-the-new-age

5. Grîmmöld – Heatherfrost

Grîmmöld takes on the coldness of winter with three tracks of mesmerizing ambience that represents the quiet days of snow covered lands and hibernating conditions. Taking a break from the normal blackened dungeon synth offerings, in favor of a modest take on the lighter side of things, Grîmmöld amasses a celestial escapade of bleak proportions. These tracks are soothing, yet desolate in delivery. ‘Heatherfrost’ is another exemplary offering from one of the most respected artists in the business.

https://grimmold.bandcamp.com/album/heatherfrost

6. Ozeregoth – In The Shadow Of Gloomspire

‘In The Shadow Of Gloomspire’ is a chillingly atmospheric album that is more reminiscent of the peaceful settings of the Renaissance era than the battle-heavy times of the Medieval period. These are tranquil tracks that slowly build and include a sensation background ambience, slightly distorted modulations and a dose of synthwave textures as well. This is a great album to sit back and relax too; and reflect on ancient times and how those experiences must have played out.

https://ozeregroth.bandcamp.com/album/in-the-shadow-of-gloomspire

7. Stuffed Crust – Sacrificial Slice Upon The Blackened Stone

Don’t let the playful album cover and hilarious song titles fool you, this weird adventure is done in great taste and the musicianship is surprisingly good. ‘Sacrificial Slice Upon The Blackened Stone’ is like the Primus of Dungeon Synth – only stranger. On this whimsical ride, you’ll hear metal drumming, screaming vocals, eerie synth chops and super lo-fi guitar harmonies – all in the name of delicious fun. I mean, who doesn’t like pizza and music? The moody tracks are borderline comfy synth, then it’s followed up by maniacal black metal parts that seem out of place but are exquisitely relevant in this instance. Sit back and enjoy (a slice) the journey to Margherita(ville)!

https://stuffedcrust.bandcamp.com/album/sacrificial-slice-upon-the-blackened-stone

8. Dungeon Guerrilla – The Prophecy

Dungeon Guerrilla takes us on a mystical journey through the ages with the fantasy synth album, ‘The Prophecy’. This maritime adventure showcases layers of melodic synths that are intricately woven to create a chunky sound, while sparse percussive parts show an innovative side to these tunes. The production is on point while the reverberation creates a grandiose sensation. This thirty seven minute journey is well worth the time and it’s sure to warrant multiple listens.

https://dungeonguerrilla.bandcamp.com/album/the-prophecy

9. Oulfaam – Χορεύοντας στις σκάλες

Talking about impressive, this album is like listening to a live orchestral concerto mixed with dark jazz noir. The dissonant moments are compelling and the mood often changes from estranged elevator music to haunting synth anthems. I love albums that showcase many sides of a musical genre and Oulfaam succeeds in doing so here. Ten tracks of variety lead toward an epic adventure of the unknown and this is the album that will be your guiding hand. A very enjoyable endeavor!

https://oulfaam.bandcamp.com/album/–3

10. Blood Moss – Blood Moss

Who would have ever thought to combining Dungeon Synth with 60’s-era psychedelic rock? Well, Blood Moss thought of it and have latched on to something creative, and you know what? It works extremely well! The lo-if quality makes this sound so amazing and the guitar work – for what it’s intended for – is extremely addicting and it’s something that I could vibe with for days! This album is not only full of jarring compositions, it also has passion and an overall gratification for music in general. If you’ve not heard this yet, you have no idea what you’re missing. I highly recommend this to everyone that is open-minded for new, fresh ideas.

https://bloodmoss.bandcamp.com/releases

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Sylvanum Portrays An Idealized Vision On The Beguiling Offering, ‘A Forest Portal’

Every great kingdom has its mystical forest full of bewilderment and perplexing paths. Enchanting life forms congregate on the forest floor while Medieval strongholds inhabit the space not so far off in the distance. What a time to be alive to experience such allurement and it’s unfortunate that we can’t endure that first hand. Thankfully, artists such as Sylvanum exceed with a particular mythical charm through their music, granting us the opportunity to partake in such monumental pleasures. On ‘A Forest Portal’ we are presented with a musical endeavor that showcases the attraction of ancient times in the most entertaining way. Eleven tracks of whimsical guidance create a galvanizing space of adventure and tranquility for forty gratifying minutes.

“As The Light Fades” begins with a deep rumble and harrowing soundscapes, as if traversing the darkest corridors of the forest. Serene synths and prominent textures signify a bright end for the path less traveled. Soothing leads and ambient fills create a monumental sound as this track is a cinematic adventure and properly starts this amazing album. “(Through The) Faerie Ring” commences with the sounds of nature and the peace that it represents. Chirping birds, clicks and clacks of various insects and an endless flowing stream makes quite an impact before layers of synth leads and ominous effects come into play. The arrangement slowly glides like the stream it overtakes and thrusts the listener on a courageous adventure through the paths of timber. “Midsummer Night” is my favorite track on the album and the arrangement waivers between whimsical leads and somber synth chops. Although there is a contrast of sounds, they fuse perfectly to produce a unique moment that is sure to garner repeated listens. Next is “The Dance Of The Nymphs” and the warping synth intro is reminiscent of that classic synthwave sound. Renaissance era leads erupt with a sense of accord and prosperity. The layers of activity in this track is quite compelling as they seem to be out of sync, yet blend perfectly. “Shrouded In Leaves” has a dreamy ambience that creates an endless depth of space, while reverberated keys play a symphony of eccentric harmonies. At various times, a flute effect, takes the lead and produces a magnificent tone that takes this track to another level. “Take A Darker Path” begins with a field recording of someone walking down a rugged path while crunching leaves and breaking twigs create a temporary diversion for the traveler. While traveling on, the soundscape fades into a melancholic arrangement with elongated keys and unidentifiable sounds. “The Search For The Sun” is a tranquil offering with a standout strings arrangement and the whirling ambient textures in the background portray a dreamlike state. The title track, “A Forest Portal” is a devious introduction with war-like percussion, blaring synth chords, and subtle hints of alluring melody. The combination of these beguiling textures creates an ambience for woodland appreciation and an inspiration for natural serenity. A brief narrative instills life into this otherwise uncharted territory. “A Glimpse Of Light Through The Trees” is filled with gloomy acoustic passages and ethereal keys that harmonizes in luminous beauty. The synth leads are a throwback to classic synthwave tones and are an imperative part of the mix. “By A Moonlit Lake” continues with the same sentiments of the last track and has a retrospective feel that is haunting and colloquial. The final track on the album is the illuminating, “Morningtide”. Complete with background ambience that produces a trance-like space this song is equally consumed with an array of effects and synth leads. Although short and to the point, it provides an uplifting ending to an amazing album.

Sylvanum is definitely an artist to keep an eye out on and if future sojourns are like ‘A Forest Portal’, then sign me up for the journey. From whimsical to melodic and a plethora of emotional sections, this is an album you won’t soon forget. The stellar production is an added bonus, creating a spectacle of theatric beauty. Although this album has been out for a while, I can’t recommend this enough. Please show your support for this fascinating artist and download ‘A Forest Portal’ from the link below.

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Links:

https://sylvanum.bandcamp.com/album/a-forest-portal

Consilium Lupum Affords A Traditional Dungeon Synth Offering With ‘The Return Of The Unholy In the Cloak’

First off, I’d like to apologize for my lack of content lately. It’s always been my intention to publish one or two reviews a week. Unfortunately, “day job” commitments as of late have created a hinderance toward that goal. Nevertheless, I continue to drown my ears with excellent music so when the opportunity presents itself, I’m always ready to discuss. That being said, one album that has been circulating in my playlist lately is ‘The Return Of The Unholy In The Cloak’ by Consilium Lupum. Leaning more toward a traditional Dungeon Synth sound, this album takes me back to amicable Medieval times where music was joyous and the ambiance was constructed around harmonious times.

Album opener, “A Medieval Saga (The Beginning)” erupts after transitioning from a subtle ambient tone. Decadent, rhythmic patterns gallop blithely with a slight distortion while drawing the listener into a Middle Aged world with alluring melodies. Trance-like percussive beats boost the feeling of being secluded in hazy memories of darker, yet peaceful time. “Return Of The Wanderer” commences with the crashes of thunderous sound effects while distorted modulations create a pattern of essential tones. Their are excellent synth works in this tune that flows in a continuous, transparent stream from beginning to end. “The Crying From The Old Man’s Cave” features valiant horn effects as if a mysterious introduction of important figures were abound for an imminent presentation. Layers of horns and synths emit noble sounds of content heritage and vast prosperity for all. “The Magic Journey Across The Mountains” has more of a minimalist approach. With sparse use of soundscapes, this tune relies heavily on lush, alluring synths that produce a gratifying melody and the sense of mystical journeys. “The Sorcerer From The Past” commences with a short drone before introducing another round of horn effects. Wonderfully layered in a coat of distortion, this track crescendos into a rapid pattern of synth bliss before decreasing into a minimal lull. The sounds of rain and thunder begin the ominous “The Song From The Dead Forest” and tiered synths play various harmonies that fuse together in unison. At various times, the soothing rain returns and abruptly concludes but never takes away from the beauty of this gloomy arrangement. “The Seeker” begins with a psychedelic vibe and the looping keys almost produce a hypnotic-like state. Several synth patterns begin and are a bit loud in the mix but this discordant approach works well for this track. It’s as if blurred vision slowly becomes into focus and then becomes increasingly sharp, before returning to the normalcy of a focused state. “Trapped In Time” is a short track that has a slight synthwave sound, as sharp keys focus on elongated chops and a reverberated rhythm plays a peculiar pattern. “The Joy Train Through The Hidden Village” continues with joyous melodies and rhythmic drums beats that are reminiscent of a peaceful town where goods are sold and celebrations are held throughout. The final track on the album is, “A Graveled Time Of Our Lives”. Beginning with a round of celestial sound effects, droning keys and esoteric fills lead to a dismal incantation, bringing this otherwise uplifting album to a grim ending.

For a debut Dungeon Synth album, Consilium Lupum offers an impressive collection of Medieval tracks. From blaring horn effects to distorted synths, this album really creates an atmosphere of peaceful endeavors of feudal, Medieval times. This is an album that warrants multiple listens, especially if in the mood for knights, castles and foreshadowing relics of ancient lands. Please check out this excellent release by clicking on the link below. Most of all, enjoy the daring adventure that ensues.

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://saluterecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-return-of-the-unholy-in-the-cloak

Eyre Transmissions XV: Interview With Up-And-Coming (And Proficient) Dungeon Synth Songsmith, Thyark

An album that has recently caught my attention in an exemplary way is ‘Journey To The Last Kingdom’ by Thyark. Relatively new to the Dungeon Synth community, Thyark has done a magnificent job at crafting a debut album with such high quality music and production values. From the multi-layered synth expression to the endless infusion of other genres, this is a highly entertaining album that is sure to please fans of a wide away of music. I recently had the opportunity to discuss this new musical excursion with Thyark creator, Volkh, and the path that led him to the Dungeon Synth community. Hope you enjoy this interview with the stellar up-and-coming artist, Thyark!

1. Thanks for this interview opportunity! Thyark is new to the Dungeon Synth scene and already has an impressive debut release. How did this project get started?

Thanks to you. This project began in middle of the pandemic during the lockdown, the truth was, I was not very knowledgeable about the style. But after listening to projects like Old Sorcery, Fief, Ancient Boreal Forest, I began to investigate more within the genre and the truth is that I was fascinated. It also suited me well since I had a musical crisis for a few years. I’ve come from the Black Metal scene all my life but I reached a point where I needed to do something different and that was the origin of this THYARK project. The need to do something different and new for me.

2. On the debut, ‘Journey To The Last Kingdom’, you explore a variety of techniques that cross both the Dungeon Synth and Dark Ambient genres. Did you have this particular style in mind or did it come to you in the production phase?

As I was starting something completely new for me, I decided to start from the Dark Ambient base because I already had some experience with that style and then through the influences that I heard I began to create the songs. And the truth is that I am very proud of this first demo.

https://thyark.bandcamp.com/releases

3. Thyark also ventures into the synthwave territory and uses a lot of percussion as well. Was it your intent to incorporate an assortment of styles to create a unique sound?

The truth is that I always try to make my music sound as personal as possible and from what little I knew and heard at the time, I noticed that many projects used folk percussion like war drums but I had not heard anything with ‘metal’ percussion, so to speak. And when I tried to add this kind of drum kit, I really liked the sound.

4. I noticed some vocal narrations on one of the tracks and it fit in very well. Is this something you may consider doing more of down the road?

If the composition requires it, yes. Any good idea that can be included in a composition to create a good atmosphere, then yes.

~ Volkh ~

5. The production has a very retrospective feel to it, which gives it a darker, more theatrical vibe. How was this amazing sound accomplished?

Everything is a matter of creating with passion, heart and feeling for what you do.
In the end it does not matter if you have a professional or basic equipment. If you are a musician but do not have those three tools, little can be done.

6. Besides synths and drums, what other instruments were used to make this album?

Everything is done with the synthesizer except the voice. But in the future, I would like to be able to record classical and folk instrumentation with microphone and do something more special, but that takes time, money, etc.

7. Who are some of your influences for creating this style of music?

Ancient Boreal Forest and Old Sorcery, In addition to music, Tolkien’s works and other sources of medieval history or fantasy reading also influence me a lot.

8. Is Dungeon Synth a genre they you are sticking with for the long haul or do you plan to venture out to other genres?

I would like to always have this project focused on Dungeon Synth, but it doesn’t take away the idea of being able to include some Black Metal influence maybe in some work. But for now, my idea for this project is to make Dungeon Synth / Dark Ambient.

9. Have you thought about collaborating with other artists? If so, who would you be interested in collaborating with?

I have something discussed with Ancient Boreal Forest, and I would like in some future to be able to do a split with Old Wizard or even some other project that interests to do a good split.

10. I’m happy to say that I have a cassette release of ‘Journey To The Last Kingdom’ and the layout and artwork are simply amazing. Was this a DIY project or was this effort professionally released?

This demo was released under “my label” when I had my demo completely finished, I tried to find labels that might interest them but at that time I didn’t know any label and many others had pending work, so I decided to release it myself.

11. Are you planning any other physical formats such as CD or vinyl?

My new album ‘Memories of a Majestic Realm’ will be released on cassette thanks to Moonlit Castle Records (IT) throughout this year. I will also release the CD version under my label. And vinyl, well… maybe one day I hope to be able to do it, but at the moment it is something very expensive.

12. Do you have any aspirations to play this material live?

The truth is that I have never had in mind to do lives when it is only one person, but I have some offers that could be carried out but it takes time to raise the idea and how to do it. I’m also considering being able to make cinematic videos.

13. I want to thank you again for this interview opportunity. Do you have any final thoughts for the fans that may be reading this?

Thanks again for the opportunity as it is very important to me. First of all, I want to give a huge thank you to all the people who supported and support THYARK. I am very grateful for the enormous reception that my project has had in such a short time since it is a fairly young project. Now I am working hard on my new album, I hope you like it.

‘Memories of a Majestic Realm’ is coming soon!!!

Links:

BC: https://thyark.bandcamp.com/releases

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/DS.Thyark.Official

Maronian Athenaeum Transcribes An Epic Adventure Into Sonic Excellence On ‘The Fall Of Svælinørg’

Logically speaking, big things come in small packages. That’s the first thing that comes to mind after listening to Maronian Athenaeum’s fascinating album, ‘The Fall Of Svælinørg’. Two tracks of uncompromising Dungeon Synth with a playing time of nearly thirty two minutes. Going in to this without knowing what to expect, it’s easy to assume that there may be a lot of build up between active moments, as well as a lot of backing ambience to set a particular mood. However, upon the initial listen, I was quite impressed – blown away actually – at the variety of music and how the various parts fuse together seamlessly to express a fascinating Medieval story.

The first track, “The Great Stand Of King Svænim”, proceeds in a dreamy, theatrical way as the opening sequence showcases an inspiring Synth melody that emits a tone of melancholic unease and sadness. The heavy reverb gives it a grande sound while soothing melodies compliment it with graceful harmony. Bits of percussion are slowly induced to form an ebullient cadence around the heart of the track. After a brief moment of field recordings, the track blasts into overdrive with a soundtrack-like refrain that is sure to get the blood pumping. Staying true to traditional Dungeon Synth characteristics, a mournful synth effect creates an atmosphere of anguish and dreariness. As this sixteen minute track continues, other facets of electronic music are interpolated, further expanding upon the normal traditions of a track of this magnitude. From whimsical to bombastic tones, this song provides an extremely magnified listening experience. Thinking that I’ve heard the best of what this album has to offer, the second (and final) track is what really blew me away. “Min-Min’s Reign” is a mesmerizing sixteen minute escapade through an assortment of synth genres that are merged in a magnificent sequence of meticulous song writing. Commencing with the soothing sounds of rain and polarizing sequences, patterns of retrospective synthwave begin to take shape. With a mild tempo and addictive arrangement, it doesn’t take long for the lister to be fully engaged with this masterpiece. Soon after, a complex arrangement of hasty rhythms shows a change in pace and an algorithm of futuristic vibes. I sense a mild Berlin School influence as the keys affix in a looping pattern while the song builds around it. Industrialized effects continue the element of malevolence that are sure to cause moments of anxiety or discomfort. This pattern slowly ascends into an ambient tone, creating a dark space for the remainder of the track. Celestial keys contribute to the bleak, spacious atmosphere with haunting relevance as this daunting song comes to an end.

I am more than impressed with Maronian Athenaeum and the variety of music that is included on ‘The Fall Of Svælinørg’. Using Dungeon Synth elements as the base for these tracks, a multitude of other electronic sounds forge an impressive blend of music that is sure to resonate with fans of a variety of synth genres. These tracks certainly do tell a compelling, mythological story that has no boundaries for self-interpretation. I highly recommend this album to everyone that loves synth music and I can’t wait to hear what this artist has in store for us in the future.

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://themaronianathenaeum.bandcamp.com/album/the-fall-of-sv-lin-rg

Top 10 Dungeon Synth / Synth Releases Of 2021

The great thing about the Dungeon Synth community is that it’s growing at a staggering rate and it seems like multiple albums by an array of artists are getting released on a daily basis. The downside of that is picking just 10 releases to be featured on my Top 10 Dungeon Synth / Synth albums list of 2021. If I had the time to create and talk about my Top 50 releases, I’d certainly do so. However, since it would take me too long to get that done, you’re stuck with a list of my Top 10 favorites of this year. Please enjoy and show your support for these artists if you don’t already do so.

10. Lamp & Dagger (Various Artists) – This Tape Is Haunted

https://lampanddagger.bandcamp.com/album/this-tape-is-haunted

Although this may be considered by some “a seasonal album”, it’s much more than that. It’s like a soundtrack of dread and horror that provides a terrifying backdrop to your ghoulish nightmares. Lamp & Dagger assimilated an all-star cast of Dungeon Synth artists to step beyond their traditional undertakings for creating a spectacle of anguish and fear. The results are breathtakingly evil and definitely deserves more than a seasonal listen. I’ve not stopped listening to this since it’s release and it’s more than worthy of kicking off my Top 10 Dungeon Synth/Synth albums of 2021 list.

9. Baerdcyn – We Are But Somber Beings

https://baerdcyn.bandcamp.com/album/we-are-but-somber-beings

Baerdcyn is a multi-talented artists that finds his stride with a myriad of acoustic instruments and organic tones. Just off the beaten path of traditional Dungeon Synth, ‘We Are But Somber Beings’ is a masterclass in instrumental compositions with raw emotions as the driving force. These mournful tracks contain some of the most serene arrangements that I’ve heard in a while and it’s been one of my go-to albums when I relinquish myself to a period of relaxation and relief from day-to-day endeavors. Tune in to this peaceful, Medieval offering and enjoy its blissful mystery.

8. Elminster – Mountain Specters

https://elminster.bandcamp.com/album/mountain-specters

Elminster is one of my favorite Dungeon Synth artists that has turn it up a notch or two this year with releasing multiple stellar albums and expanding his arsenal amongst multiple project titles. Although just about everything has been amazing, it’s the ‘Mountain Specters’ album that has consumed the most plays from the ever-growing Elminster catalog. The tunes are very dreamy with an alluring charm that depicts a brief time of light during a rather dark period. If someone were to ask me a good starting point for discovering Elminster, I’d look no further than ‘Mountain Specters’.

7. Vandalorum – Maewyn

https://vandalorum.bandcamp.com/album/maewyn

‘Maewyn’ came out earlier in the year but I still listen to it quite often. The conceptual album based on the legend of Saint Patrick maximizes the sound spectrum with massive layers of synth effects, odd noises and percussive patterns & drum fills that are out of this world. With a fusion of upbeat and gloomy arrangements, this is not only an interesting album to listen to, it’s also one of my favorites of 2021 and it rightfully deserves the space on this list.

6. Jenn Taiga – Lunar Nocturnes & Esoteric Incantations

https://jenntaiga.bandcamp.com/album/lunar-nocturnes-and-esoteric-incantations

Jenn Taiga has hit another home run with ‘Lunar Nocturnes & Esoteric Incantations’. Auspiciously fusing Berlin School, retro synthwave and the underlying elements of Dungeon Synth, Jenn Taiga has created a type of energy that is impressive, addictive to listen to, and at times leaves an anxious feeling of the unknowing with regards to song structure and limitless capability. For me, it’s hard to top 2020’s ‘Plight’, but ‘Lunar Nocturnes & Esoteric Incantations’ expands the horizons of the aforementioned with its awe-inspiring resilience and is just as impressive.

5. Uilos – I: Dark Night Of The Soul

https://socalledhell.bandcamp.com/album/i-dark-night-of-the-soul

Out of all the albums in my Top 10 list, this is the only one that caught me by surprise. This is a pensive recording that exposes a meditative value with each and every listen. The production effort is a predominant factor that maximizes the tranquility of this recording and it’s the wall of sound vibe that makes this such a grand offering. The music ranges from Medieval styled anthems to modern synth harmonies and everything just fits…perfectly! Uilos is an artist that I’ll be following really closely from now on.

4. Wampyric Solitude – The Splendor Of Loneliness

https://wampyricsolitude.bandcamp.com/album/the-splendor-of-loneliness

Wampyric Solitude is the only artist (at least for me), that has an album in both of my Top 10 year end lists (one here and another in my Dark Ambient list). In what I consider to be his defining moment in Dungeon Synth, we are graced with ‘The Splendor Of Loneliness’. This album emits almost ninety minutes worth of abrasive Dungeon Synth that is dark, ominous and portrays the hardship of Medieval confrontations. Every track is a near masterpiece but there are several that stand out. “Enthroned Amongst The Eldritch Shadows” and “A Putrid Stench From The Grave Of Hope” are without a doubt some of the best tracks I’ve heard this year. If caustic Dungeon Synth is your thing, then don’t go another minute without checking out this gem.

3. Landsraad – The Golden Path

https://landsraad.bandcamp.com/album/the-golden-path

Dungeon Synth constructed around the Dune Universe? Yes, absolutely and not only is the concept enthralling but the music is some of the best that was produced all year. Although comfortably seeded in the Dungeon Synth genre, it’s the synthwave aesthetics that propel this album to great heights. Providing a futuristic atmosphere with retrospective effects, this is a true audial translation of the Dune story. This spectacle is sure to stand the test of time and will remain one of my favorites for many years to come.

2. Erythrite Throne – Eternal Frost Of The Dark Ages

https://serpentsswordrecords.bandcamp.com/album/eternal-frost-of-the-dark-ages

Whether you’re new to the Dungeon Synth genre or not, Erythrite Throne is most likely one of those artists that will get referred to the most as the “go to” for consistent musical releases. After all, in this modest community of artists and fans, Erythrite Throne would be considered a household name. That being said, there are several amazing facets to his music including Vampyric Blackened Synth and Symphonic intonations. Although every bit is amazing, it’s the symphonic side that I tend to gravitate to the most. ‘Eternal Frost Of The Dark Ages’ is one of those albums and – in my opinion – may be the best album in the discography. Made up of four epic long players, these cinematic anthems deliver a gloomy but melodic style that is supremely written and produced. Every song stands out in this masterclass effort and this has been one of my most played albums of the year.

1. Leander – Sorrow Dwellings

https://leander33.bandcamp.com/album/sorrow-dwellings

There is something extremely special about Leander’s sophomore effort, ‘Sorrow Dwellings’. Not only is the music absolutely incredible, but as a whole, it just feels personal, as if it were exclusively written for me and/or my emotional state. This album was released in January and here in December, it has remained my favorite Synth album of the year. At times it has a traditional Dungeon Synth vibe, other times it has a 70’s prog rock feel to it and above all, these compositions were exquisitely written and are some of the best tunes I’ve ever heard – of any genre. Although only consisting of five tracks, they all stand out in their own way during this thirty seven minute journey. I can’t wait to hear what the future holds for this exciting artist.

Mørk Hest Solidifies A Dark Fantasy Spectacle Of Cinematic Proportions With ‘Conspiracy Of Angels’

I will never seize to be amazed at the amount of energy and focus that Dungeon Synth artist ingrain into their craft. While keeping true to the classic Dungeon Synth sound, acoustic instruments, soundscapes, other genres and dark ambience add layers of transparent value to the genre while keeping it fresh and innovative. Also, the fact that minimalism creates such a massive distinction is fascinating to witness. One artist that is certain to grab the listeners attention with a minimalistic approach to cinematic excellence is Mørk Hest. Solidifying his mainstay in the Dungeon Synth community with the engaging ‘Conspiracy Of Angels’, we find soothing compositions with theatrical build ups and alluring sustainment that is captivating throughout the entire album.

Mørk Hest explores an assortment of musical techniques on this album, but on the tenacious opener, “March Of Iron”, we hear a bombastic percussive segment that as powerful as it is poised. With mild reverberations and a constant rhythm, this is a style that sets the mood for Medieval tales and enchanting anthems. “A Dream Unfinished” commences with soft, chant-like intonations before dreamy synths take over and illicit arrangements alter the emotional stance of the album. “Dead Calling” continues the dive towards darkness as grim synth effects emit a gloomy and subjective vibe. Even though the tone alters several times, there is no question that this is a huge cinematic effort and the power of the ancients is in full effect. “Chatter Of War” starts with an uplifting cadence as illusory synths play a scale of elegant notes that lead into a haunting melody. “Knight’s Last Conquest” is one of the most decadent songs on the album and is of soundtrack-like quality that could easily be heard on a dark fantasy film. “Divinity Of A Night’s Eclipse” takes a turn toward a darkened abyss as a Dark Ambient style drone leads the charge in this ethereal hymn. Ominous vocals are featured as well and provide gothic overtones to this otherwise eerie offering. “Echo Of A Thousand Lost” contains vibrant orchestrations that are intended to calm the soul, especially since the precious few tracks created a sharp descent into a blackened realm. Next up is the tranquil, “Harper’s Ferry”. Including various reverberated soundscapes, this tracks has an underlying melody that is reminiscent of Renaissance-era musical endeavors and contains a trance-like quality that gives it an extra sense of depth. “Perilous Journey” epitomizes the fantasy synth sound with inspiriting keys and a gentle production value that diffuses the minimalistic setting. The title track, “Conspiracy Of Angels” employs a calming synthwave style with looping notes and a gentle harmony that is reminiscent of a daybreak setting, where life begins to take shape at a relevant pace and ataractic appeal. The final track on the album is “Wounded Spear”. Continuing in the same mesmerizing fashion as the previous track, this swan song provides an alleviating sense of ease, as peaceful ventures overtake the dark descent heard previously. This is such a beautiful and emotional way to end this album that you don’t quite want it to end.

Mørk Hest has accomplished an amazing feat of musical proportions by creating the consummate Dungeon Synth album. Although this is more of a orchestral and cinematic endeavor that the traditional sounds of Dungeon Synth, there is no denying the influence of the aforementioned. Utilizing space but dreamy vocal chants, soothing percussion, and an array of synth effects, ‘Conspiracy Of Angels’ is a fantastic album that should be heard to be appreciated. If you’ve not listened to this riveting album yet, please click on the link below and support this impressionable artist.

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Links:

https://morkhest.bandcamp.com/album/conspiracy-of-angels

Celestial Ephemerides: A Collection Of Dungeon Synth Summary Reviews, Part IV

Hello deep dungeon dwellers, I’m back with my last dose of Celestial Ephemerides for the year that covers the Dungeon Synth genre. These albums are simply amazing and I wish I could devote more time doing long form reviews but As a single-human operation, I seem to run out of time quite often. Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy this collection of summary reviews and please support the artists and this community!

1. Elven Sorrow – A Rise And Fall To Be Forgotten

Elven Sorrow brings us a mighty dose of Dungeon Synth in the form of a single, forty plus minute tracks. From impulsive elements of dark dungeons to retro synthwave tones, this track plays through a range of electronic goodness that succeeds in captivating the listeners attention, specially with the epic song length at play. With a dim production and minimalist dynamics, ‘A Rise And Fall To Be Forgotten’ is up close and personal rather than being grandiose in design. Impressive debut album from this artist.

https://elvensorrow.bandcamp.com/album/a-rise-and-fall-to-be-forgotten

2. A Compendium Of Curiosities – The Resting Place Of Dreams

‘The Resting Place Of Dreams’ is a sulky combination of synth wizardry and Renaissance-era atmospherics. These five tracks are a beautiful reminder at just how in depth the Dungeon Synth genre is, as it has a sound all of its own, yet plays right into the traditional Dungeon Synth aesthetics. Another mesmerizing album by A Compendium Of Curiosities and one that instills hope of continued growth in this loyal community of artists and fans.

https://acompendiumofcuriosities.bandcamp.com/album/the-resting-place-of-dreams

3. Borja – Antediluvian

Although a slight departure from Dungeon Synth in the traditional sense, ‘Antediluvian’ is a fresh take on theatric synth music. Soothing in nature, these tunes are memorable and will leave a lasting impression of the dreamy content that it portrays. Tracks such as “Where Dreams Fade To Ashes” and “Under The Eyes Of The Serpent” pack quite a punch with darkened arrangements and minimalistic vibes. This is an exquisite release with high entertainment value and impressive compositions that is sure to please all fans of electronic music.

https://borja375.bandcamp.com/album/antediluvian

4. Lóndrangar – Lóndrangar

Lóndrangar creates menacing Dungeon Synth for the warrior soul. These three expanded tracks produce nearly thirty three minutes of gritty synth tones with compounding melody throughout and a lasting impression for battle-like consequences. Mild orchestrations and gloomy production intensify the music while the epic arrangements set forth a dark path of Medieval influence. Find a cozy place and light a candle to enjoy this massively impressive effort.

https://londrangar.bandcamp.com/album/l-ndrangar

5. Calignosia – Páramos

With a grim assembly, Calignosia emits a musical pallet full of joyous rhythms, acoustic passages and a wondrous sense of melody that is sure to whisk the listener back to ancient times. With a slight reverberated sound and minimalistic approach to recording, the echoes of a Medieval past can be heard throughout this amazing recording. Each track presents a solitary stance that easily come together on an impactful audial journey. Highly recommended for those that welcome modern, world musical influences in their Dungeon Synth recordings.

https://calignosia.bandcamp.com/album/p-ramos

6. Goryō – Kaidan

Ancient Japanese instrumentation and traditional arrangements from the Samurai era prevail on this intense album of archaic tranquility. Deep drones and intensified soundscapes provide the landscape for these alluring compositions of a sinister output. I can imagined traveling in an unforgivable, wintry mountain terrain and being stalked by silent warriors of the night. This is one of the most unique recordings I’ve heard this year and it’s garnered plenty of playing time in my secluded domain. Highly recommended for fans of the orient and Japanese nostalgia.

https://goryokai.bandcamp.com/album/kaidan

7. Diego S. – Border Lands

Diego S. really knows how to set the mood with his brand of atmospheric Dungeon Synth. Beautifully produced, each track has a a crystal clear sense of direction and every instrument sounds exquisitely charming in the overall mix. Tracks such as “Beyond The Mist” and “Remnants Of A Hero” prove their worth with gloomy arrangements and mystifying synth effects that electrify with ethereal consistency. Defiantly an album worth checking out and an artist worth following to keep up with his musical endeavors.

https://diegosofficial.bandcamp.com/album/border-lands

8. Uilos – I: Dark Knight Of The Soul

Uilos presents ‘I: Dark Knight Of The Soul’ and it’s like listening to Dungeon Synth from the future and quite possibly an Album Of The Year contender. Songs like “Hermits Hideaway” has a touch of retro synthwave while “Strength Of Ten” and “The Last Stop” manipulates soothing guitar tones for a mystical adventure. This album has something for everyone and the journey – from start to finish – is absolutely amazing.

https://socalledhell.bandcamp.com/album/i-dark-night-of-the-soul

9. Shrouded Gate – Ravenlore

‘Ravenlore’ does the stronghold proud by stirring up an aggressive dose of Cinematic Dungeon Synth. The use of multiple synth layers are prominent throughout and the stellar songwriting broadens the scope of its fabled delivery. The dreamy production effort also enables this to cross multiple sub-genres such as comfy synth, forest synth and grandiose, dark Dungeon Synth. Standout tracks include “The Gentle Blossoms” and “Through The Dream Sky” – which has a mesmerizing percussion section. Don’t pass on this excellent album that has so much to offer to the listening ear.

https://shroudedgate.bandcamp.com/album/ravenlore

10. Inexistence – A Journey Through Ancient Times

Inexistence are the masters of variety as the tracks on ‘A Journey Through Ancient Times’ maneuver between sadistic synth intonations, chip tune endeavors and menacing symphonic black metal intro-style synth offerings. You never know what you’re going to be listening to from track to track but rest assure, these intonations are well constructed and hold their own either in a single track listening session or as a full album venture. From bombastic to minimalistic, expect the unexpected and enjoy the deep dive into this magnificent recording.

https://inexistence1.bandcamp.com/album/a-journey-through-ancient-times

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Marsyas Zskin Produces An Explosive Combination Of Tranquillity And Nostalgia On ‘Flight Of Icarus’

Now this is a release that I’ve been very excited about reviewing for a while now. Combining Dungeon Synth with a theatrical sense of delivery, ‘Flight Of Icarus’ is a special album for electronic music in general. Marsyas Zskin knows no boundaries as musical thresholds are pushed to the limits in this spectacular collection of musical tales that exudes a soundtrack-like quality. From aggressive impulses to comfy intonations, this album uses a diversified range of sounds to portray a story that is only limited to the listeners imagination.

Opening track, “Visions Of Bright Aether”, exudes layers of ominous modulations creating a bleak atmosphere while droning synths provide a foundation of unimaginable depth. Throughout this seven and a half minute track, an array of effects are manipulated to create a commotion that is as accessible as it is enthralling. Pounding drums find a place to embed amongst the keys, adding a tasty rhythmic tone. Toward the end of the track, symphonic keys pay homage to early renditions of progressive synth wave. Skipping over a few tracks, we find “Memories Of Minoan Winters” where haunting atmospherics meet sinister and discordant synth chops. There is a beautiful underlying melody that screams in anxious disarray, but retro synth tones keep everything in synchronized perfection in the most bizarre of ways. Next is the beautiful dirge, “Dreams Of Foreign Skies”. The keyboard work is simply amazing here as the wizardry of the music continues to impress. However, the last portion of this track turns into a dreamy soundscape that fades out like a soothing, endless drone. A few tracks later, we hear the whimsical, “As A Boy, He Stared At The Sun”. Nearly nine and a half minutes of epic sounds and textures that take the listener on an audacious adventure filled with twists and turns. From the drum-laden intro to the subtle breaks of various instrumental solos, this song hauls a major influence for Medieval journeys of good verses evil. A few tracks later we find “Rise Of A Mysterious Dawn”. Although this is one of the shorter tracks on the album, the fantastic details present an early morning dawn, where all the creatures begin their days’ adventure while evil crawls back to the depths of Middle Earth, awaiting the next heinous encounter with the evening eclipse. The fourteenth track, “Carried By Light, Back To The Sea” is a serene Ambient piece with semi distorted pads and modular loops, that bridges the various sounds found in this recording. Skipping over to the eighteenth and final song on the album, “Weeping Apollo”, we find a more daring intro with harsh drum pulses and doomy synth tones. At almost eight minutes in length, this song covers a lot of ground musically and sees several transitions from engaging Dungeon Synth to Ambient sounds and hints of industrialized noise. Additionally, the overall sound sways between eccentric keys and maniacal impulses, ultimately representing a mischievous excursion of days long forgotten.

Marsyas Zskin has created an amazing album that has no boundaries and isn’t afraid to explore territories normally out of reach in the Dungeon Synth genre. Also, this is a mammoth of a release with eighteen tracks totaling about ninety minutes of playing time. Even with an album that long, there are enough wreathes to keep the listener engaged from start to finish. That’s a huge accomplishment, especially for a genre that sees a ton of releases. If you’ve not checked out ‘Flight Of Icarus’, I highly recommend doing so. Please click on the link below and download this mesmerizing release.

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Links:

https://realmandritual.bandcamp.com/album/flight-of-icarus