Fflewddur Emits Sonic Impulses Of Chiptune, Synthwave And Gracefully Crafted Dungeon Synth On ‘Farther Down We Go’

When the songwriting is spot on, I will listen to just about any genre of music, to include sub-genre outputs that may go against the grain of traditional boundaries. Even for Dungeon Synth, there are some sub-genres that I enjoy more than others but I will always give anything a chance regardless. That being said, if there is a definitive skill set in the composition department and arrangements are done in an appealing taste, I’m up for anything. That definitely holds true for Fflewddur and their riveting album, ‘Farther Down We Go’. Although some of the instrumentation is a bit more whimsical than my normal taste for Dungeon Synth, these songs are crafted with such meticulous detail and an irresistible amounts of melody that I can’t help but fall victim to the addictive style that shines on these seven light-hearted tracks.

Album opener, “There’s Nothing In This Cave Worth Dying For” is quite an impressive beginning to this adaptable album as it exposes several layers of genre-defying sounds that are intricately woven to produce an initial audial stimulating experience set to take place over the next twenty six minutes. “Caution To The Wind” begins with the guns a blazing as massive synth effects expose a grandiose scenery of Medieval savagery. However, not even twenty seconds in, a beautiful 8-but melody begins to play and changes the course of this track. As layers of synths and orchestrations begin to make their presence felt, it’s obvious how imposing this song intends to become and the wonderful melodies continue to impress until the end. Next up is the title track, “Farther Down We Go” and it’s as daring and adventurous as the previous tracks but in a different way. The effects are more subdued and haunting and the rhythmic beat in the background will have the listener nodding their head with awe and admiration for the songwriting skills on display. “A Fire For Warmth” begins with, well, a crackling fire field recording and it’s soon joined by several layers of compressed synth effects. The background melody and lead keys play off of each other so well, and the lingering drone in the near distance holds everything together perfectly. “A Discovery Of Gnomes” is a jubilant and whimsical piece that borders the realm of Comfy Synth. However, the bombastic drum beat provides a darker essence than usual for a melody of this nature. Ultimate, it all works together very well for a short but entertaining track. “The Elders Speak Of Treasure” contains inaudible vocal samples (or probably a distorted synth effect) that sets an eerie scene and then follows it up with grim keyboard harmonies and soothing synth leads that set a melancholic mood. The final track is the breathtaking, “Reaving The Gnomic Keep”. Featuring fast-paced percussive elements and quirky 8-bit leads, this eccentric track pretty much sums up the musical genius of the previous tracks in just under four minutes. This one will have you reminiscing fantasy movies of the 80’s or leave you wanting to play dungeon crawlers games from yesteryear. If that’s the case, then mission accomplished for Fflewddur.

‘Farther Down We Go’ is such a charming and enjoyable album. Delightful melodies and compelling songwriting are a predominant factor for the duration of this twenty six minute long amusing journey, which is full of twists and turns along the way. If you enjoy your Dungeon Synth with a sense of easement and calm demeanor, look no further than Fflewddur’s ‘Farther Down We Go’. Please support this fantastic artist and download the album from the link below.

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Links:

https://fflewddur.bandcamp.com/album/farther-down-we-go

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

This is the first post of a new column that I’m writing called Celestial Ephemerides. I created this column for one main reason; I’m getting so far behind in reviews that I needed to find a way to push out more of them in a shorter amount of time in order to keep up with the request that flow in on a daily basis. I hope you enjoy these summary reviews and please support all of these amazing artists.

1. Akerius – Shadowed Paths Through Middle-Earth

Akerius continues to prevail on the Dungeon Synth scene with wondrous anthems of Medieval descent. Part cinematic beauty and part obscure synth compositions of the outer realm, Akerius is determined to produce something just right for everyone. ‘Shadowed Paths Through Middle-Earth’ is no exception as the gothic undertones enhance the masterful arrangements that take the listener on a journey of assorted musical textures.

https://akerj.bandcamp.com/album/shadowed-paths-through-middle-earth-2

2. Ethelborn – Ealdhláford

The sounds of Ethelborn are gloomy, yet warm and melodic. The four pieces that make up ‘Ealdhláford’ are not only charming, but their is a particular simplicity that gives this a natural feeling. The arrangements are well constructed and each song has that special moment that makes them stick out, enticing the listener to come back for more. This is a very enjoyable release and I look forward to more offerings from this artist.

https://ethelborn.bandcamp.com/album/ealdhl-ford

3. Amn – Lands Of Intrigue

‘Land Of Intrigue’ caught me off guard and I wasn’t expected to be blown away by this gem. Part Dungeon Synth, part synthwave, and a lot of psychedelic moments throughout, this album is peerless and put me in a melancholic mood instantly. The forty eight minute adventure that awaits you on this album is truly extraordinary and small, intricate details will surface with each and every listen.

https://amndungeonsynth.bandcamp.com/album/lands-of-intrigue

4. Archana – In The Halls Of Relics

Archana continues to dive deep into the realm of forest & fantasy synth with another ethereal performance of ‘In The Halls Of Relics’. With an overall minimalistic theme, the smooth synth performance careens somewhere between bleak atmospherics and a caliginous & visionary motif. Another impressive release from this reclusive artist.

https://archana.bandcamp.com/album/in-the-halls-of-relics

5. Whispering Mirrors – The Stuff Of Old Dreams

One of Whispering Mirror’s primary focus is to carry on the old-school Dungeon Synth sediment via epic song lengths and grandiose keys & pads. These two tracks tell a compelling story from start to finish and the listener will be captivated by the seamless arrangements and enchanting compositions. This album gets played on repeat quite often for me.

https://whisperingmirrors.bandcamp.com/album/the-stuff-of-old-dreams-2

6. Pale Castle – Sorrowful Mysteries

From the very first note unto the last, ‘Sorrowful Mysteries’ is an absolutely intriguing effort that has that old-school vibe, yet has a touch of modern melodic sense to it. The Lo-Fi production adds a touch of authenticity without sounding underproduced. There are too many stand out tracks to list a favorite and I typically never skip over any of them during a play through.

https://palecastle.bandcamp.com/album/sorrowful-mysteries

7. Arx Silvestris – Silvestris I

One thing I love about Arx Silvestris is their willingness to defy genre conventions and create something that is bold and cinematic. Although ‘Silvestris I” has touches of Dungeon Synth throughout these three tracks, there is a huge theatrical component the gives it an extravagant quality and the dreamy drones that are arranged throughout give it a touch of light ambience. This is a very impressive release.

https://arxsilvestris.bandcamp.com/album/silvestris-i

8. Rectory – Giallo

Rectory is an exceptional new talent in the Dungeon Synth community that focuses on elements of horror and paranormal entities. Not only does the music establish an eerie essence of ghoulish matter, the themes are relatively focused on the embodiment of afterlife activities and they mesh together quite seamlessly. ‘Giallo’ continues that fixation with malevolent synth-based melodies and spooky soundscapes that takes the listener into a dark world of ghostly imagery.

https://rectory.bandcamp.com/album/giallo

9. Forgotten Ghost – Cave Cathedral

‘Cave Cathedral’ is like a symphony of desolate soundscapes and bleak ambience that combine to form an evil orchestral movement designed to bring forth angst and dread. However, at the same time, there is a particular calmness in these tunes that make them so addictive to the ears. Whether it’s the trance-like song structures or the minimalistic arrangements, this is a fantastic recording that demands multiple listens.

https://forgottenghost.bandcamp.com/album/cave-cathedral

10. Wampyric Solitude – Darkness, Beloved and Eternal…

‘Darkness, Beloved and Eternal…’ is as soothing as it is haunting. These beautiful passages are like a full orchestral act to accompany breathtaking cinematic moments set back in the early Medieval times. From peace time to post-conflict situations, these grandiose anthems firmly represent an era placated by middle-aged imagery. This is high quality synth music that defies genre boundaries.

https://wampyricsolitude.bandcamp.com/album/darkness-beloved-and-eternal

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Vandalorum Surpasses All Expectations On The Extremely Diverse ‘Maewyn’

Vandalorum is an artist that needs no introduction, especially if you’ve followed the Dungeon Synth genre for the past couple of years. Quickly establishing himself as one of the premier acts in the community, Vandalorum has persistently released a number of exceptional albums, garnering a huge following amongst musicians and fans alike. Vandalorum is also no stranger to The Dungeon In Deep Space either, as I reviewed the 2019 album, ‘Flagellum Dei’. That album erupted with enormous Medieval anthems and made me an instant supporter. Although I didn’t get the chance to review the massive follow-up release, ‘Mesopotamian Death Cult’, it was also a work of art that surpassed its predecessor. That leads us to the latest release called ‘Maewyn’, the gallant story of the life of St. Patrick; from the trials and tribulations of his actions with bringing Christianity to Ireland to his lasting impression on history and story telling throughout the ages.

Jubilant album opener, “A Saint Lays Claim To The Souls Of The Irish” is light and vibrant and immediately presents colorful layers of energetic electronic music that transcends Dungeon Synth. The warm drum patterns and vigorous synth leads catapult this track down a genre-less path and exposes it to boundless sources of musical universal acclaim. From the very first note of “Rise Of The Fomorians”, I realized that this album was going to be special and once again eclipse its predecessors. After a short keyboard intro, a drum beat fuses with expansive synths and showcases a groove that is completely mesmerizing. Traditional Dungeon Synth keyboard effects have a few spots that are commendable and gives it a bit of flare and variety, but the real winner is the choir-like vocals and the bombastic drum fills. I can’t get enough of this track and it may be my favorite one on the album. Next up is the short, symphonic piece,“Moraltach”. Although at just under a minute and a half long, it plays an important role by continuing this voiceless story and shows just how powerful good music really is. “Children Of Lir” continues the passion set forth in the previous tracks and offers even more melody as layers of synth effects meld together to form a memorable composition. However, once the drum beats are engaged, this Crypt Hop track soars to chilling new heights. Retro synthwave vibes with a touch of reverb keeps it old-school while maintaining a modern appeal. “Enslaved By Celtic Raiders” takes us back to a more traditional Dungeon Synth style, but powerful percussive parts and soaring guitar leads makes this one of the most ambitious compositions yet. The synth break in the middle – complimented with natural sounding field recordings – is beyond extraordinary and it completely exudes tons of emotions. “Exodus Of The Tuatha De Danann” commences with an immaculate piano lead that builds up to a serene duet with a soaring synth. As other instruments are betrothed, you can sense a maniacal presence taking over as this early-dawn, synthwave track soars beyond the stratosphere. “Cu Chullain” is another musically diverse piece, as it begins with a peaceful and somber intonation. As various instruments assemble to form a harmonious arrangement, the track ascends to new heights as black metal vocals are introduced at the same time the drum beats come in to play. “The Nymph Of The Forest Of Neri” is an elegant cantata that has some of the best melodic moments on the album and the brisk drum beats are a welcomed treat. “The Cave Where He Saw Hell” takes us back to a more traditional Dungeon Synth sound, specifically in the layered synth effects. However, this one would easily classify as a Crypt Hop track as well, especially when the smooth beats start up at various times. There is a velvety shine throughout this emotional song and it serves as a spiritual uplifting guide, as this magnificent album comes to a close. The final track on the album is the near ten minute long, “A Prayer In The Fields, and God Answered”. Not rushing a single thing, it begins with a simplistic synth drone, with layered leads filling in with some lush details that sound very emotional. This structure remains throughout the track, although the synth effects change style a few times to maintain a curious introspective. This song is so mellow & beautiful and provides the perfect ending to this amazing album that has provided so much variety.

This is one of those albums that can be listened to from start to finish without ever skipping over any tracks. I can’t think of a single song on ‘Maewyn’ that I would skip during a play through. Since it contains so much diversity on every track, I wouldn’t want to miss any of the intricate details contained within because at any given time, any of these tracks could easily become my favorite song on the album. The vast improvements in musicianship and songwriting over the past three albums or so is just unreal and Vandalorum should be proud of such an amazing accomplishment. Please show your support for one of the genre’s best and download ‘Maewyn’ from the link below.

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Links:

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

Lord Orots Establishes A Powerful And Enthralling Setting With ‘Latzineko Erresumaren Itzulera’

Some artists just have that IT factor. The IT factor being the difference in quality and quantity in artistry that makes them stand out amongst the masses. From songwriting, compositional arrangements, effective use of soundscapes and field recording, production and even the visual aspect of the artwork, achieving this level of excellence is often curated by many but seldom maintained by few. One of those that stand out, albeit in a brief Dungeon Synth career, is Lord Orots. With a few EP’s, several singles, and a split release under his belt, we also have the massive full-length album, ‘Latzineko Erresumaren Itzulera’ to absorb and appreciate. This album is true, Medieval Dungeon Synth of the highest order with a cinematic quality like no other. The eight tracks contained within will no doubt take you back to a darkened, Middle Ages period of mystical wonder and endless tales of fantasy and adventure.

Right from the opening seconds of “Mendekurako Garaia”, the sounds of nature bring forth peace and tranquillity and pave the way for a celebrated transition to pulsating drum beats and melodic keys. The slight presence of a rain storm changes the mood to a grim appeal as this brief introduction comes to a close. Not wasting any time, the grandeur’s of Medieval essence can be felt as “Ziegan Giltzapetuta Betiko” announces its audial arrival. The awe-inspiring layers of synths fuse gallantly without becoming over imposing. Mixed perfectly, every instrument can be heard throughout its entire arrangement with complete clarity. The addition of a palpitating rhythm section adds a unique depth to this already wondrous track. Fading right into “Zeberio Errekako Iamiak“ with an elongated drone, it swiftly migrates into an ancient sound, courtesy of harmonized keys and harp-like effects. About halfway through, the action begins to pickup with choir-like vocal effects and muffled drums. “Oreina Eta Ontza Gauaren Ezkontza” is a beautiful piece that is filled with magnificent melody and sorrowful keyboard chops. Wonderfully composed, this track not only has an emotional standard throughout, it’s complimented by a deep drone that often goes unnoticed, but is crucial to the massive sound. The vocal effects are used sparsely but in great taste and just as this track puts you on the edge of your seat, it comes to a halt. That leads right into my favorite track on the album, “Ehun Mila Urte”. Commencing with a drum beat that is more in line with an enthralling death-march than a tribal pattern, it sets the stage for a bleak affair with an austere synth arrangement and a slightly discordant drone. Crisp lead keys flow smoothly across the electronic ivories as tensions start to rise. An intensity in the drum beat and layered tones begin to build as the song reaches a climatic point. After a short bridge section, influences of Warhammer 40k and Gregorian chants belt out in a victorious effort, and this dynamic song soon comes to a close. “Basoaren Besoetan” features lush keyboard melodies that sway between the soothing sounds of nature as birds randomly chirp in the background. At almost ten minutes in length, this is the longest track on the album and contains many sublime moments of dreamy, harmonized synth leads and it never loses focus on establishing a a connection with the essence of its environmental surroundings. “Udazkena” is another one of my favorite tracks on the album and it’s musical prowess enables this gem to standout amongst the others. Consisting of mostly slowed down synthwave chops and marginally distorted drones, this piece is full of early-dawn emotions and borders somewhere between melancholic and downright ominous sounds. The final track on the album is the war-like anthem, “Amaiera”. Although mainly consisting of calming synths and synchronous drum beats, this would be an effective composition for either rallying the troops or bringing unity throughout a discordant kingdom.

When it comes to uncompromising Dungeon Synth, Lord Orots has proven to be the chieftain of the synths and quite the skillful composer. Showing no timidity to venture beyond the borders of DS, Lord Orots incorporates many musical facets and ideas to create a unique musical experience, while staying true to the genre and the time period that it represents. I’m thoroughly impressed with ‘Latzineko Erresumaren Itzulera’ and am certain this album will stand the test of time. This one has been out a while already but if you’re one of the unfortunate few that hasn’t checked this one out yet, I highly recommend clicking on the link below and adding this masterpiece to your collection.

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Links:

https://lordorots.bandcamp.com/album/latzineko-erresumaren-itzulera

Elminster’s Musical Vision Of The Forgotten Realms Novel Series Is Boldly Interpreted On ‘The Making Of A Mage: I – V’ EP’s

The more Dungeon Synth becomes a prominent music genre, the more we see countless artist hone their crafts’ and release material of a Medieval vibe with hopes of escalating a fan base and continuing their endeavors in this darkened, underground community. One way to stand out amongst the musical suitors is to swiftly release honorable music that continues an epic, primitive storyline. That’s where Elminster comes in with his ‘The Making Of A Mage’ series, consisting of five astounding albums of compelling and diverse tunes that interprets events from the Forgotten Realms novel by Ed Greenwood. The albums are ‘Part I: Brigand’, ‘Part II: Burglar’, ‘Part III: Priest’, ‘Part IV: Magus’, and ‘Part V: King’. Although they can be enjoyed as individual recordings, when played in succession they build into a wondrous tale of a bold musical adventure.

‘Part I: Brigand’ consists of four uplifting tracks that are minimalistic in sound dynamics but huge in composition. “Heldon Burns” commences with a somber synth arrangement accompanied by a feisty percussive element. Haunting orchestrations are definitely of the middle-ages time period and generally speaking, this is a great introduction to this project. By the time we get to the third track, “Heed The Words Of Helm Stoneblade, The Last True Knight Of Athalantar”, were introduced to clean but slightly discordant guitar strums and thunderous key pads that provide a diverse bass sound. Toward the end of the track, the instruments descend a musical scale with some dissonant keys thrown in for good measure.

‘Part II: Burglar’ consist of three tracks and has a playing time of around eleven minutes. Leading off this endeavor, “Eladar The Rogue’s Theme” has an awesome comedic value but also represents the album title perfectly as there is a lot of mystery and suspense that surrounds this three minute track. Skipping over to the final song, “To Chain A Mage”, there is an obvious sense of growth in the musical direction and this one takes on a more serious role in the series. From mystical keyboard arrangements, massive brass instrument effects, and a pounding rhythm section, this track has such a major composition maturity that will leave you wanting more.

‘Part III: Priest” begins with the dark and heroic, “Mystra’s Query”. From pounding drums, audacious synth arrangements, and even a flute lead that stands out impeccably, Elminster takes this series into darker territories of Medieval grandeur. “Once Elminster, Now Elmara” almost sounds as if the intro is being played on a child’s instrument. However, after light drones are introduced and beautifully played melodies – that layer in synchronized harmony – come about, this melancholic tune is probably one of the most memorable tracks from all of the EP’s.

‘Part IV: Magus’ consists of just two tracks but lead off song, “Ondil’s Floating Tower” clocks in at almost twelve minutes long. Beginning with a desolate droning keyboard tone, an ambiguous keyboard melody sets in to change the ambience and direction of this long player. Every so often, another layer of instrumentation is added, setting a particular mood and specifying the tone for something miraculous to soon follow. After layers of musical building, the instruments slowly fade and the track descents into a depth, just as it started.

‘Part V: King’ is the final EP in this amazing saga and it consists of three tracks of about fifteen minutes of playing time. The first song, “The Eve Of Battle” is an obscure piece that firmly assembles into a magnificent orchestration full of deep, guttural sounds and magnificent melodies. The orchestrations are cinematic in nature and this is one of the most mature compositions of all the EP’s. Skipping to the final track, “Fit For The Throne”, we find more colossal dynamics in the composition department and the stringed melody that is incorporated from the beginning is so majestic that it just reeks of Medieval quality. Big horns and background synth drones make this a grandiose finale as any King couldn’t be more proud to accept their throne under these conditions.

Elminster has done an amazing job capturing the essence of the Forgotten Realms story and translating it to a marvelous Dungeon Synth musical adventure spread out across five EP’s. It’s hard to pick a favorite amongst these, especially since they are all so different and represent various themes in an overarching story. Every one of these albums are worth listening to and downloading, so please visit the link below and support this amazing up and coming Dungeon Synth artist.

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Links:

https://elminster.bandcamp.com

Guild Of Lore Extends Autumnal Adventures In The Ghoulishly Conceivable Journey, ‘Autumn Bohollow’

So many artists excel at designing the perfect mental landscape that accompanies their music, that sometimes it’s hard to fathom what is reality and what is not. These temporary emotional journeys are intellectually constructed to consume the emotional state and provide an alternate reality to escape to. Eerie occurrences, distant travels and explorations of unknown towns leads us to Bohollow. Welcome to the enthralling imagination of Guild Of Lore. Welcome to ‘Autumn Bohollow’.

The album begins with a cinematic explosion in “Macabre Moon Rising”. Commencing with a sound that is reminiscent of a dystopian western, multiple tiers of magnificent instrumental sounds are joined together in musical accordance and sets the stage for a whirlwind of an album. Next up is “Clearing Of The Corn”. Featuring monstrous beats that will have you tapping your feet, harrowing vocal effects and a wide arrange of stringed instrument sounds, this massive arrangement is a gritty and heralding affair. Fast paced and daring, this is a masterpiece of synth music that defies genre titles. “A Vision Through The Veil” is a somber and harmonious experience that features a wonderful narrative tale that verbalizes the initial Bohollow experience. “The Call Of Fall” is a peaceful affair that borders more toward the Dungeon Synth musical narrative. Still maintaining the incredible storyline, this track presents more of a lite, cinematic tone and is warm and inviting, just like the town of Bohollow. “Pumpkin Pickers Festival” has a simple – but effective – melody that suddenly turns into so much more. With a percussive groove that is warm and welcoming, the layers of keys and synth effects are equally inviting. “Sway The Ember In The Night” is a short piece that has a soothing background ambience and evening-time field recordings that match perfectly with the lush melodies of the synth leads. “Dawn Upon The Countryside” is a breathtaking creation that depicts the dawn of a placid day. Beautiful keys and pads lay somewhat in the background to the essential sounds of nature and roaming farm animals. The quiet tone of this song is so alluring that you don’t want it to end. “The Old Bohollow Mill” is another enticing mix of appeasing instrumentation and the delicate sounds of the country life. As if there is no care in the world, the melody will have your mind wondering back to an ancient time, where life was slower and innocence was at the forefront of human integrity. “Where The Oak Trees Dance” begins with the dainty chirps of nearby birds followed by magical and rhythmic drum patterns. Clean keyboard chops and delicate pads slowly integrate into this massive track, as this becomes a mystifying song full of nostalgia and emotion. “Thread & Thimble” begins with an alluring acoustic passage, but is soon merged with light percussion and euphoric melodies that maintain the balance of sovereignty and tranquility. “Along The Riverside” sounds as if you’re camped out by a slowly flowing river with frogs grumbling in the background while someone strums a random tune that continues the peace with nature. “Winters Arrival” is one of the most charming songs on the album (and one of my favorites), as it has a certain discordant tone to it while remaining melodic and lively. “Declaration From Winterstead” commences with a bold Medieval sound and continues with the verbal narrations of Bohollow. This track, albeit brief, is an excellent interlude before reaching the grand finale of the album. “The Majesty Of Winter Triumphant” is such a heartwarming way to end this adventure, as it represents peace, victory and unity for the township of Bohollow. The music is hugely cinematic and again presents wonderful percussive parts and defiant keys & pads that portray the Medieval era in the most positive of ways. This is the perfect way to end this album and story, or perhaps set it up for more events to follow in the future.

In my opinion, Guild Of Lore is one of the top acts not only in the realm of Dungeon Synth, but in synth music in general. ‘Autumn Bohollow’ is another first-rate performance that is consistent with the rest of the Guild Of Lore catalog. From the music, storyline, production and album artwork, there is good reason why this album made it to my Top Dungeon Synth Albums of 2020 list. Please show your support for this astonishing artist and download ‘Autumn Bohollow’ from the link below.

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Links:

https://guildoflore.bandcamp.com/album/autumn-bohollow

Disgusting Cathedral Injects A Harsh But Symphonic Form Of Controlled Chaos In ‘Adventurers Despised And Rejected’

Just the name – Disgusting Cathedral – is charred with contrast and residual meaning that is beyond the scope of initial thought. First, the word disgust means repulsive to the aesthetic taste of ones morals. However, in this day and age of antonymic speaking, disgust could also mean the awesomeness of something. A cathedral is basically a religious sanctuary. So, when we put the two words together, we have an abhorrent room of worship. That being said, it’s only fitting that Disgusting Cathedral (the artist) finds solace in composing angst-filled arrangements in the Dungeon Noise sub-genre of Dungeon Synth. ‘Adventurers Despised And Rejected’ is a forty four minute gritty adventure deep in the halls of a noise-filled castle where dark dungeons and dimly lit corridors pave the way for sick (antonymic-ally speaking) compositions.

The ten tracks presented on this blasphemous affair constitute a dark and grueling concept of restrained reverberations and malevolent soundscapes that tell an abrasive story of true Medieval happenings of a hideous nature. Album opener, “A Crystalline Cavern On The First Level Of The Barrow Of Arcane Secrets” send cosmic signals right away, as every note, every soundscape is riddled with distortion or reverb (or both), and it sends an immediate maniacal impression of the dark past. A few tracks later, the dose of frequency distortion is increased as “A Gatehouse In A Nearby Dwarven Town” tips the noise scale. However, there is a wondrous underlying composition of notes, with a fascinating conglomerate of melodic keys being played. Soon, mass distortion takes over as a full-on static noise pierces the ear canal via deafening audio waves. The random chirps and squeaks that are heard throughout add a uniqueness as well. Forging onward, the fifth track, “Lord And Lady Stone Gnome Are To Expire” is an eight plus minute slow build that finds Disgusting Cathedral dabbling with elongated drones and looping soundscapes. As the volume crescendos, clarity turns into musical deformity while the thick modulations continue to build. On the eighth track, “Per Bend Sinister Or An Azure, A Badger Statant Countercharger”, we find a nice keyboard melody that soon blends with random, industrialized noises that seem to suddenly take on a life of their own. As these obscure tones begin to take over the focus of the track, additional distorted elements come into focus and aimlessly create a wall of sound that becomes more abhorrent as the song comes to a close. Skipping over to the final track on the album – which is also considered a Bonus track – “The Kindness Of Fossilized Plants Pt. II: Part One (Cursed Version)”, we are still presented with the abrasive formula of the previous arrangements. However, there is more of a cinematic song structure going on here that is extremely dismal and haunting and almost depressing. The sinister effects and baneful soundscapes create a dark scene of ill intention but with less modularity as on previous tracks. This is the perfect song to end this inauspicious album.

Disgusting Cathedral summons a new type of darkness – in the form of harsh noises and frequency modulations – to enhance the Dungeon Synth listening experience. If your seeking soft atmospherics and lush keys with harmonic undertones, you’ve come to the wrong castle, as ‘Adventurers Despised And Rejected’ is the polar opposite. Strong, brash sounds with a hateful intent are the primary focus on this outstanding album of unique compositions. I highly recommend this for anyone that is open to an alternate reality in the Dungeon Synth realm. This music is not for the faint at heart though, as it’s an all out audial assault with evil intent. However, if harsh noise and industrialized synth music is your style, then this will be a very rewarding experience.

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Links:

https://disgustingcathedral.bandcamp.com/album/adventurers-despised-and-rejected

Krauhl Chronicles A Tale Of A Medieval Wild Man On ‘Call Of The Woodwose’

According to ancient folklore, a woodwose is a name given to mythical creatures from Middle-Ages Europe that were covered with hair and roamed the land – much like the modern age Bigfoot. It’s only fitting that these wild beings found a common ground with the Dungeon Synth community, as their lineage traces back many centuries and is even featured in modern popular literary representations, such as fictional tales by J.R.R. Tolkien. From the musical spectrum, Krauhl has taken the helm with this allegorical beast to bring us the riveting ‘Call Of The Woodwose’. The seven tracks contained on this album tells a magnificent tale of the ancient forest wanderer and the circumstances surrounding its existence.

“A Discovery Of Footprints” opens with a distorted keyboard drone with a slow, rhythmic percussive beat. Tranquil keys begin to take shape and provide a lush foundation for a retrospective vision. Random spots of pre-recorded dialog are perfectly sampled to further construe the subject at hand. “The Spring Of Whiskey Hollow” is a short piece that gives the illusion of sublime comfort and serenity. As quixotic keys play peacefully during the first half of this short track, an interesting – yet intriguing – acoustic part provides a relaxed and charming riff. “Rambling Of The Cavernous” is a minimalistic blend of balanced drum beats and Medieval sounding key. As the drum pattern begins to increase its time signature, the thickness of the synth sound becomes more apparent and the reverb makes this an extra tasty track. “Rustic Worships” commences with a battle-ridden drum pattern, followed by mellow synth leads that are layered supremely. This is exactly how I would envision Medieval music for a somber situation. “Neither Ape Nor Man” is an obscure acoustic passage with eerie soundscapes and natural field recordings. Although it’s just over a minute and a half, it’s succeeds at fusing with the story of the album, as well as the menagerie of musical sounds that have been heard thus far. “Eyes Beyond Trees” is probably my favorite track on the album. Not only is the short audible passage fantastic, but the mix of deep, thudding tones, piano and keys fuse everything together just perfectly. The final track on the album is, “One Who Runs And Hides”. Magnificent echo effects on the lead keys stand out, as other instrumentations play a bold and continuous melody. The esoteric bells that can be heard throughout, provide such a creepy vibe to this track, that it’s like being embedded into a nightmare. Even with everything sounding low key and muffled, clean piano chops are always a welcomed sound as it demonstrates a keen sense of mature songwriting.

Although this fantastic album has been out for a while already, it’s never to late to share music like this, especially when given the opportunity to listen to something new. Krauhl captured a great subject matter and seized the opportunity to provide a spellbinding soundtrack to a fantasy adventure dedicated to the ancient woodwose. ‘Call Of The Woodwose’ is twenty five minutes of extraordinary Dungeon Synth music that will whisk the listener away to an ancient time. From magnificent synth leads, piano work, acoustic guitar, and phenomenal narrative passages, this album has it all. Please support this superb artist and download this album from the link below.

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Links:

https://krauhl.bandcamp.com/album/call-of-the-woodwose

Eyre Transmissions IX: From Death Metal To Dungeon Synth, Whispering Mirrors Carries On The Old-School Grandeur

The ties between metal and dungeon synth has been present since the inception of the genre. Although, predominantly a larger influence has been drawn from the mystical shrouds of black metal, death metal shares a similar allegiance. Whispering Mirrors has affiliated with both death metal and dungeon synth and now fully focuses all efforts in composing epic, old-school dungeon synth without compromise. I had a chance to chat with the driving force behind this project and was intrigued by the influences and depth of everything that has been conceived, as well as the direction it’s headed. Please enjoy this interview session with Whispering Mirrors.

1. Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions. Let’s start by talking about the dawn of Whispering Mirrors. Was it initially intended to be a death metal project or a multi-genre endeavor?

Hey thanks for the interview! When I decided to form Whispering Mirrors back in 2018, I initially only planned to release Dungeon Synth music specifically. I ended up releasing Altar Knife only because I wasn’t entirely confident in my keyboard abilities at the time and wanted to show that I also played guitar (an instrument I felt way more proficient in). I also wanted to keep the project open to other musical styles and influences so I wouldn’t be completely locked down playing only Dungeon Synth music. As a side note, I started making what would later be called Dungeon Synth back in 2004 but those albums and that era is a story for another day.

2. There is a definite parallel between black metal and dungeon synth but do you feel that death metal provides that same equidistant value?

Interesting question, I never really thought about it! I think the imagery and a lot of the lyrics of extreme metal in general are a huge influence on many in the scene, myself included (polishes gauntlet). 

3. How was the transition from shorter metal tracks to dungeon synth tunes of epic song lengths?

To me it was secretly always what I wanted to do. I always enjoyed long ambient tracks, Dungeon Synth or otherwise, because they can take you/are designed to take you on a journey (it’s hard to tell an epic tale through traditional, three minute song lengths). Repetition and variations on themes create the song length intrinsically. I also think, fundamentally, that Dungeon Synth is Mortiis and the blueprint laid out in his early albums is what Dungeon Synth should be.

https://whisperingmirrors.bandcamp.com/album/altar-knife

4. These days, there are many sub-genre’s of dungeon synth. What sound/style does Whispering Mirrors best relate to?

Whispering Mirrors main, original goal was to create “Traditional” or “Old School Dungeon Synth” directly inspired by Mortiis. That is what Dungeon Synth will always be to me; the truest form and the style that resonates most with me. Presently, I’d say I’m a bit more open to experimentation and other sounds in general, so we’ll see what the future has in store.

5. From ‘Grammaticon’ to ‘The Stuff Of Old Dreams’, I can sense a shift from more ethereal tones to a Medieval sound. Was that due to intentional growth or experimentation…or both?

It was a bit of both. A lot has to do with fully buying in – literally. The midrange keyboard that I used on Grammaticon didn’t really have the sounds I wanted when it came to the traditional sound I was going for. Once I upgraded to a true workstation/synthesizer (or three or four), suddenly I found myself using more and more real sounds and better pads. I was also playing more with sounds other than strings so naturally a more varied sound comes through on “Dreams.” If you can make a good brass sound and couple it with a timpani, you’re well on your way to medieval.

https://whisperingmirrors.bandcamp.com/album/grammaticon

6. Your latest album, ‘Stuff Of Old Dreams’ is phenomenal! Is there a backstory to the music?

Firstly, thank you! I feel a bit like this release slipped under the radar. I wrote “The Stuff of Old Dreams” with the concept in mind first and that concept was “bravery.” Basically, it’s a story about a knight going solo to slay a dragon. No metaphors here, just blood and steel. I was watching Dragonslayer and thought this is it, this is the concept for the new album! In hindsight, it seems like such an obvious theme that I’m really surprised I don’t come across more albums with this concept.

7. I like how these two tracks seamlessly flow between louder rhythms & tones and elegant passages. What’s your strategy for piecing all of this music together?

Grammaticon had a very loose theme, more tones and imagery I had in mind while I composed stream of conscious. I wanted to make a true concept album this time around so I really started by writing the story. Once I knew the story arc, I started hammering it out musically and then went back over and over again refining passages and adding layers to fit the narrative. My strategy really isn’t the best for getting music out quickly! At least, it takes me forever as I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I think at the core of my creative process is a very real sense of don’t rush it and really only working when I want to/feel inspired to. I might go three or four weeks not even touching a keyboard and then sit down on a random Saturday and knock out ten minutes of usable material all at once. I’m a big believer in the subconscious mind always working in the background and most of the time I’m thinking about this project and what I want to do musically with it without even touching a keyboard. Once I finally sit down to compose, I know exactly where I’m going.

https://whisperingmirrors.bandcamp.com/album/the-stuff-of-old-dreams-2

8. Do you ever have those moments where you think of a riff, keyboard chop or rhythm in the middle of the night while trying to sleep and then get up and record? How about while at work or away from home?

Absolutely! I have a ton of recorded voice memos that go back years for both guitar and vocal melodies. I also keep a notebook by my bed for ideas in general.

9. Do you plan (or already have) any physical releases of your albums?

All the albums have been released through Ancient Meadow Records with the exception of Altar Knife, which was released on the now defunct Castle Wall Records. I plan to remaster all my albums in the future and self release them again on CD or cassette. 

10. You seem to be a well versed musician. Besides your Whispering Mirrors solo material, have you been involved with any other projects?

I’ve been playing guitar since I was 14 and did the whole singer songwriter thing for years before starting Whispering Mirrors. I was also the vocalist in a punk band in high school and a Black Metal band in my mid twenties. Whispering Mirrors really covers all my bases at the moment so I don’t see the need to start another project or band (or join one for that matter).

11. Do you have any big musical plans for 2021? Recording, collaborations, playing live, etc..?

I’m currently working on some new material that’s quite a bit different than what I’ve been doing for the past two years. Since the pandemic started, I’ve recorded two EPs that may or may not ever see the light of day. Both of them are very “Old School” in sound and style but ultimately I was bored with the results. I was actually watching an interview with Fenriz where he describes the shift from playing technically to simply and how Darkthrone benefited from that in so many ways. While I’ve heard that particular story a million times, for whatever reason this time it sunk in. Old School Dungeon Synth is difficult for me to preform live and that’s the direction I see this project going or at least, that’s my new goal for 2021-playing live. I’m so used to playing along with a drummer and I miss that. I’m also a better player when I have that structure behind me so I look forward to incorporating more drum sounds in the future.

12. Now that would be a cool concept – full band playing dungeon synth (maybe 2 keyboardists, guitarist and/or bassist and a percussionist). Would you ever consider something like that?

I’d be the first guy to say yes to joining something like that and then not show up for the second practice. I think that’s a cool idea, but fundamentally believe the solitary nature of Dungeon Synth is what makes it important and interesting. The more you move away from it being a one or two person creative outlet to something band like, the more it becomes something else.

13. I really appreciate your time and music and look forward to many more years of your tunes? Any final words for the Dungeon Synth fans that will be reading this?

Thank you again for your interest in my musical endeavors, I truly appreciate it! To those who have supported me and been there for me over the years (you know who you are) INFERNAL HAILS! To anyone new reading this, I hope my music can inspire you or help you along on your own musical journey. Stay true to your vision and everything else will follow.

Links:

Bandcamp: https://whisperingmirrors.bandcamp.com/music

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/whisperingmirrorsofficial/

Arcana Liturgia Composes Somber, Old-School Compositions On The Adroit, ‘Follow The Old Path’

With the infusion of so many sub-genres of Dungeon Synth these days, it’s always refreshing when artist embrace the classic culture of the genre and produce old-school medieval tunes. Arcana Liturgia does just that by capturing the essence of a mystical life in the Middle Ages, when kingdoms, ancient battles and folklore of mythical creatures terrorized the villagers. On the aptly titled ‘Follow The Old Path’, the listener is whisked away in an audial time capsule, where they are put right in the path of age-old existence and are compelled to navigate the lands through ten fantastic songs of pure synth bliss.

“The Arcanum Revelation (Intro)” initiates this compelling story and propels the listener back to ancient days with alluring, orchestral arrangements and percussive elements that are of soundtrack like quality. The depth and melody that is being delivered on this opening track is an inauguration for a fantastical journey like no other. “Follow The Old Path” slows the pace down just a bit but is no less majestic than the intro. The synthesis of smooth, rich keyboard work and rhythmic beats are an addictive sound and the layers of synth leads that are introduced throughout, make this an even more dynamic listen. “The Kingdom Under The Mountains” is nearly seven and a half minutes of esoteric keyboard melodies that are played effortlessly in a serene manor with a dirge-like tribal beat. This song touches on dark times and has a gloomier spin than than the previous tracks. However, it’s well written and maintains the integrity of the album really well. “In The Depths Of The Crystal Caves” takes the album in a slightly different direction musically, with clean, reverberated keys and backing drones that are warm and catchy. Complete with a chimerical rhythm section, the long, drawn-out keys continue to build as if a climactic scene is to be introduced. This track also presents a delicate side to Arcana Liturgia and shows just how musically versatile these compositions are. “Through The Obsidian Portal” has a harsher tone to it but the arrangement is as fluid as can be and this could also serve as a Black Metal track intro. A couple minutes in, a short whimsical pattern is played but soon after, it’s back to serious business as the volume and synth depth pick back up and blast away, as if setting the stage for a battle scene. “Baptized In Blood” commences with the crackling of a fire and a flute sound effect. After that short introduction, a faster paced beat is introduced – along with dreamy sounding keys – as anticipation starts to build. Additional instrumental parts join in and finds this track shifting from the earlier sounds of the intro to faster keyboard sections. This is probably one of my favorite tracks on the album. “The Whispering Forest” shows another side of Arcana Liturgia as it introduces more of a Forest Synth sound, with clean keyboard arrangements, flute sections and various field recordings. This is one of the most peaceful sections of the album. “The Rise Of The Arcanum” begins with a battle-like percussion beats and the glaring sounds of war horns. Surprisingly, this track shifts toward a more melodic sound with tasty keyboard chops that will have the listener humming along. Suddenly after a short break, brooding narrations can be heard and the music gallantly picks back up again. “The Ashes Of A New Era” has a gentle sound but the combination of the fast and slow keys are outstanding – especially on this track. Not only is the musicianship at its peak, but this is a supremely written composition and the choir-like vocals are a great addition. The final track on the album is “Cinere In Ventum (Bonus Track)”. Starting with a low-end drone that is almost out of audial range, a rhythmic pattern is soon introduced. As the percussive parts increase, obscure chanting can be heard, followed by desolate keyboard arrangements. This pattern repeats a few times and not only is it creepy, it’s also a fantastic way to close out this album. Even though this track is so different from the others, it certainly fits in when imagining a storyline from those ancient days.

This is such a superb album by Arcana Liturgia. From the old-school Dungeon Synth sound to the consistent use of percussion, ‘Follow The Old Path’ contains all of the elements for a great synth album as well as the perfect conduit for a wondrous Medieval story. If you like classic Dungeon Synth with plenty of symphonic elements and gritty percussion, look no further than ‘Follow The Old Path’. I can’t recommend this album enough so please click on the link below and check this album out now.

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Links:

https://arcanaliturgia.bandcamp.com/album/follow-the-old-path