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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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.

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

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

Grande Loge Evokes Tribal Beats And Ritualistic Atmospherics On Compelling ‘Mantras’ Release

Once again, I find myself arriving late to the party on a fantastic album that was released toward the end of 2020. With so much music being released in the genres that I’ve created this blog for, it sometimes feels impossible to stay dialed in to all of the magnificent works of art that find their way into this world. However, as I’ve always said, it’s better late than ever, especially if discovering something that may have a lasting impact. Grande Loge definitely fits that bill with their awe-inspiring, ritualistic ambient debut, ‘Mantras’. Featuring seven tracks of ceremonial dirges, these songs exemplify ancient tribal hymns with traditional instruments and a solid production.

From the start, “Epopteia” takes the lister back in time, to a medieval Scandinavian period where music and art were inspired by the land, ancients Gods and culture. A broad mix of conventional instruments and hymnal chants, this track sets a particular mood for mythological inspiration and ritualistic dominance. As the track continues, the pace increases and the compositional movements become more austere. “Mithra Invictus” commences with bold vocal incantations, followed by Middle Eastern-style melodies. A variety of percussive elements create a galloping style arrangement and the vocal performance become increasingly powerful. An impressive break toward the middle of the track brings more layers of stringed instruments and soon after, it picks back up to an enchanting performance of strident harmony and ancient throat singing. “Hekaten” continues with the powerful vocal performances in a chant-like manner, complete with serene musical accents, with the occasional bell ring. As the song ages, the vocals become more majestic and continue to stand out. This track is reminiscent of a group of Norse warriors participating in a ritualistic ceremony before forging on to battle. “Avekko” has a compelling and unique vocal performance, with layers of vocal chats & whispers, while drones of throat singing occupies the background elements. Harsh shrills of warrior-like cries peak at random intervals, while a beautiful violin lead stands out between all of the vocal endeavors. “Aecroto” begins with a simple percussive beat and then menacing overtone vocals begin to engage – chanting a traditional narration. A background drone increases with anxious intent while a wide range of voice melodies continue to shine. “Tenya Pon” is a fun little track that will have the listener tapping their feet in unison with the drum beats, while singing along with the simple vocal chants that are present throughout. It’s easy to tell that this is a celebratory track due to the upbeat percussive performance and the sing-along style vocals. The final track on the album is the ceremonial “Hierophantes”. Various traditional instruments synchronize to compose a minimalistic but glorifying final performance. Representing the darkness of nature and melancholy, this song is soundtrack worthy and succeeds in catapulting the listener back to a dark time where an ancient civilization lived off of the land and endured the hardships of Arctic-like elements and suffrage through battle. This is such an exalting way to end this amazing album.

‘Mantras’ is an exception album and such a bold statement for a debut. Grande Loge sustains a high caliber performance throughout this stunningly beautiful magnum opus and every track stands out in the most impressive of ways. Combining elements of traditional instruments, multiple singing styles and haunting background ambience, Grand Loge creates a challenging platform for ritualistic inspired music. Fans of Wardruna and Phurpa should dive into this album immediately and everyone else should take the time to check out this extremely special performance. Click on the link below to download this grandiose musical experience.

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Links:

https://cycliclaw.bandcamp.com/album/mantras

Eyre Transmissions XIII: Interview with Synth Extraordinaire, Elminster

With just over a year of active involvement in the Dungeon Synth scene, Elminster has managed to rack up quite an assortment of excellent albums. Whether released under his flagship moniker – Elminster – or other incredible crafts such as Anadûnê, The Owl Knight or DCCCVIII, it’s apparent that Elminster is in it for the long haul and is quickly becoming a “go to” artist for all of your Dungeon Synth needs. I recently had the opportunity to chat with Colin Bacon – the maestro behind all of these amazing projects – to find out what the driving force is behind all this talent, how he got into this genre of music, and what the future hold. Please enjoy this very detailed account for all things Elminster!

1. Thank you so much for this interview opportunity. Elminster hit the Dungeon Synth scene just over a year ago with the ‘Making Of A Mage’ series. Since then, you’ve been on a relentless spree of new album releases, other projects and splits. How did you get started in the genre and where are all of the fresh ideas coming from?

As much as I wish that I could say that my introduction to the genre was by finding a cassette hidden in the middle of a stone circle or castle, I actually found the genre via Youtube’s recommended function. I had checked out a few before, but the first handful to grab me were the Blood Tower/Apothecarium split, Barbaric Frost’s Against The Darkness, Coniferous Myst/Owlbear/Scrag/The Herbalists split (which Isaac was kind enough to sell me their artist copy of), and the Druadan Forest/Uruk Hai/Bannwald Split. All of these albums are magical to me and, even though I now know the basics of songwriting, I still am not entirely sure how each was made. Pivoting to the second part, I get a bit restless with my hobbies and often feel like I am climbing the walls if I am not able to indulge them, in a rather compulsive sense. As for the variety, I read a lot growing up, especially fantasy novels. Each of my projects is an attempt to capture a specific feeling within a wide and varied genre.

2. I want to go back to the ‘Making Of A Mage’ series of releases. Can you talk more about the inspiration for these EP’s and do you have a plan for anymore “Mage” albums?

The inspiration for TMOAM was a novel of the same name by Ed Greenwood, never has a book captivated me with such ease. My brain created a picture of every scene and ran wild with how I would make a movie for it, how it would be scored, etc. etc. (It would be animated similarly to the 1970s LOTR movies, if I had my way). When searching for what the alias of my project would be, Elminster just felt right and I decided in that same moment that my favorite novel required a soundtrack. Each of the EPs is named after a part of the book (part 1 was brigand, part 2 burglar, etc. etc.) and each of the song titles are referential to plot points. Seeing as I created a product that accomplished what I wished it to, there likely won’t be any more albums of that name, but I would certainly consider doing soundtrack albums for the other books in the Elminster series.

https://elminster.bandcamp.com/album/the-making-of-a-mage-2

3. Earlier this year, you released the Crypt Hop EP, ‘Beats To Dungeon Crawl To’. This was definitely a seamless transition to another one of the fascinating Dungeon Synth sub-genres but was this something that had been planned all along or just an experimental effort?

When first creating the Elminster project, I did not know of Crypt Hop, it was only through the Vandalorum episode of Midnight Ambience and murmurings on facebook that I learned about it. I had been into the concept of beatmaking ever since discovering the grime artist JME during early lockdown. Through him, I got into UK Drill artists such as Digga D, Kwengface, Teezandos, Abra Cadabra, and Pop Smoke (an american who laid down NY Drill vocals over UK beats, rest in peace Bashar). I saved up my money and got FL Studio and began to learn how to make those types of instrumentals. While getting into each of the aforementioned genres, I began to realize that I enjoyed the fact that they borrowed from carribean dance rhythms and blended said rhythms with darker instrumentals. A practiced ear will likely notice that most trap artists put the snare on beats 3 and 7 while using a steady rhythm hi hat pattern, but these genres (drill especially) like to put the snare on beats 3 and 8 while using a nonlinear hit hat pattern, which gives the beat both bounce and swing. From there, my selfish desire to marry crypt hop and drill produced the EP in question.

https://elminster.bandcamp.com/album/beats-to-dungeon-crawl-to

4. I have to talk about ‘Antipaladin’ as it’s one of my favorite efforts by you. How does your albums evolve from one epic story to another and what do you think makes this one stick out amongst your ever growing discography?

My albums usually get named near the beginning. I am usually on a nature walk and think “It would be awesome for an album of X name to exist. Alright, Colin, what would it sound like? What would the songs be called?”. The reason it stands out could vary from listener to listener, but the reason it feels different to me is that it was the first time I had had a mythological topic in mind and that I really pushed myself to learn a new songwriting style, which I’ve heard get called Berlin school (I’m a bit of a genre tourist with that genre, so I won’t claim to have a great understanding of its hallmarks).

5. You also did a very unique thing with this release by giving download codes for those that donated to the Shelter House Domestic and Sexual Violence Center in Fort Walton Beach, Fl. What was your decision to release this on a “give back” like scenario?

I’ve been slowly coming to the realization that I want to be involved in activism. I naturally lean a bit more introverted so I figured that leveraging my music would be the most effective and most comfortable way for me to do some good. On top of that, I figured that a DV shelter is something that pretty much anyone could get behind, so people would be willing to give more freely. I’d like to thank High Mage for being so willing to help me make this a reality and I’d like to thank the community for raising a combined $250 for those charities from that run, it really warmed my heart. I would also like to mention here that the split I have with Maiden Hair and coming out through Weregnome this October will also be giving its proceeds to (I believe 2 seperate) wildlife charities, please consider donating if you have the means to. I would like to make this type of release happen a few times a year.

6. In July of this year – almost a year after releasing albums under the Elminster moniker – you started a new project called, Anadûnê. Other than the music being a tad more cinematic than Elminster, what influenced the creation of this project?

This project was created because I was lucky enough to land a spot on the dev team of the Medieval II Total War Silmarillion Mod as the in-house musician. I felt like a project of that theme should be separate and approached with a different writing process.

https://elminster.bandcamp.com/album/the-rise-of-gondolin-2

7. ‘The Rise Of Gondolin’ (by Anadûnê) is probably one of your coldest albums to date, but there is so much dreamy melody happening at the same time. How do you manage to incorporate these distant facets in order to create something so amazing?

Thank you! I’ll be honest, I don’t know. With that album, I didn’t let myself think too hard about it and just let myself write. I often find that it is pretty obvious when I overproduce a release and usually find that I enjoy trusting my instincts. Gun to my head, the patches I used were not as in your face and I leaned into them.

8. The Owl Knight is another fascinating project that draws upon chip tune, retro experiences and classic RPG theme songs. How are you able to make this sound so refreshing without being as whimsical as other chip tune recordings?

If I had to guess, the reason it doesn’t share a lot of the tropes with other chip tune recordings is a combination of hardware (I use toy keyboards as opposed to synthesizers/console sound cards), growing up after the era of 8 bit music being the de facto game soundtrack, and by being primarily inspired by the album Sunken Dungeon by Longsword. I also have listened only to a little bit of chiptune DS. It’s definitely good music, but there’s only so much time in my day.

https://elminster.bandcamp.com/album/i

9. You have another Crypt Hop project out called DCCCVIII. First of all, what is the meaning behind the name and secondly please tell me that this is a long term project because it’s freaking amazing!

DCCCVIII is a nod to my love of using crazy 808 patterns in my beats, it is the roman numeral spelling of 808. I have no plans to stop that project, it has been both incredibly fun to write for and has been extremely good for me to have a new challenge, genre-wise.

https://elminster.bandcamp.com/album/in-days-past

10. In August alone, you’ve released 5 albums including two splits. Where do you find the time to stay this busy and what’s behind all of the musical motivation?

I get incredibly restless and I don’t sleep a whole lot haha. On top of that, music has been a very rewarding hobby to get into. I love the dopamine hit I get when I hit the publish button or when I see people receiving their copies of my tapes.

11. The split release with Baerdcyn is so tantalizing that it’s quickly becoming one of my most listened to albums at the moment. Do you record music specifically for split releases or are they leftover tracks from previous efforts?

Thank you! I usually create them specifically for splits, I generally don’t keep a lot of “overhead”. When I finish something, I release it in most cases.

https://elminster.bandcamp.com/album/mystical-manifestations

12. I think split releases are very important as they show artist solidarity and help promote from within. What are your thoughts on this and do you have any more split releases in the works?

That is absolutely how I view them! I love the work of so many artists and selfishly want to have an opportunity to work with them and splits allow me to do that in a less invasive way. I also got into the genre through several splits and from doing so gained an immense appreciation for them. I have 2 more in the pipeline that are finished, 1 that I was doing the vocals for before I blew out my voice from screaming, and handshake agreements with a few artists for more in the future.

13. Do you have any plans to share your craft in a live setting, specifically during one of the Siege events?

I am certainly interested in playing live, but would probably only do so if reached out to. I would really want to do something fun for it if so.

14. What do you have in store for the rest of 2021 and what are your musical goals/dreams for 2022?

For 2021, I am planning on continuing to have fun writing different types of music. I have plans to try my hand at black metal and might give black ambient (think gonfanon but without being a fascist) once my 4 track arrives. In December, High Mage and I have agreed to do an event called Magemas, where they will be doing an entire month of my releases, so keep your eyes peeled for that (I hope they don’t mind me mentioning it here haha). For 2022, I plan to release an Elminster box set through them as well.

15. I really appreciate your time and thanks for all the great music! Do you have any final words or thoughts for those that may be reading this interview?

Thank you so much for having me! This has truly been an honor. My parting shot would be to ask the community to keep their eyes open for releases of mine with the charity element involved as their donations will be able to impact the wider world and allow our beautiful genre to do good for others. Stay safe and love each other. – E

Links:

BC: https://elminster.bandcamp.com/music

Psyclopean, Visions Of Ulnahar & Noctilucant Congregate For A Cinematic Lovecraftian Offering With ‘Libris Arcanum’

What happens when three idealistic artists come together on a collaborative effort with a single theme in mind? An absolutely brilliant album is born and an unparalleled blend of Dark Ambient and Dungeon Synth intonations tell a Lovecraftian story of horror and lore. ‘Libris Arcanum’ presents six epic tracks of sonic adventure with Psyclopean, Noctilucant and Visions Of Ulnahar contributing two fanatical adventures each. These dark compositions combine droning ambience with the essential sounds of riveting Dungeon Synth, providing an eerie exploration into the world of One of our favorite fantasy authors.

Psyclopean caters the albums lead off track with “De Vermis Mysteriis”. This majestic undertaking begins with soaring synth leads and subtle soundscapes that set a captivating scene of somber foreboding. The cinematic approach to the first section is a beautiful introduction to this extremely diverse album. However, gloomy elements start to merge in a horrific fashion with moments of layered keys fused with a grim ambience. Elegant keys bring this song to a close, properly preparing the lister for the remaining intonations. The next track is “The Dhol Chants” by Visions Of Ulnahar, setting an aggressive pace with jolting soundscapes and loud, distorted keys. As these tones drone on at full capacity, evidence of evil luring in the background is apparent, as subtle instances of abhorrent effects make their presence known. This one will definitely get the heart racing as the unknown prevails. Next up is “Cthäat Aquadingen” by Noctilucant. The sound of crashing waves start this eight plus minute journey into oblivion and soon, discordant keys set a bleak atmosphere. Inaudible noises dwell in the background as sections of divergent disarray cast a spell on those that continue to listen. About halfway into the track, ominous keys create a sense of melody, casting a shadowy light on this otherwise dark encounter. Psyclopean is up next with their second track of audial ambience in, “The Book Of Dayan”. A beguiling, warm drone casts a melancholic foundation while synth effects churn out a cold arrangement. A mournful vocalization adds a layers of funereal essence before giving way to a drifting thunderstorm field recording. Echoing narrations can be heard in the distance while peculiar percussion valiantly plays an off-kilter beat. The final few minutes of this track is filled with celestial drones, thunderous explosions and ethereal chants. If this doesn’t get you in the mood for Lovecraft-themed Mythos, then I don’t know what will. “Zanthu Tablets” is the next track provided by the magnificent Visions Of Ulnahar. Desolate waves on a gloomy beach front encounter cinematic tones and synth glitches showcasing a mixed emotive state. It’s as if this composition represents the ancient clash of good versus evil. This mesmerizing combination carries on until the end of the track, where the waves suddenly disappear and we’re left with just a soft theatrical melody. The final track on the album is provided by Noctilucant and it’s called “Cultes Des Goules”. Continuing on with a barrage of soundscapes and incandescent tones, this track is like an audible nightmare with haunting ambience, muffled wind sounds and soaring effects that are close to ear-piercing in pitch. A malevolent narrative piece is embedded amongst the ghoulish chaos as this nightmare of a track continues on. Retro synth leads are included in the mix and they provide a sinister tone to the overall sound of this track.

I know that this album has been out for a while now, but it’s never too late to review an epic collection of songs of these proportions. Each of these three artists – Psyclopean, Visions Of Ulnahar and Noctilucant – bring their own perception and taste for Synth excellence to collaborate on this pinnacle recording. Combining the best features of both Dungeon Synth and Dark Ambient music, this theatrical presentation tells an illuminating story of conceptual Lovecraftian manifestations. These are top-notch compositions with a supreme songwriting effort that deliver prestigious music of the highest order. Please support this album and these artists by listening to (and downloading) it from the link below.

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Links:

https://noctilucant.bandcamp.com/album/libris-arcanum