Two Obscure – Yet Groundbreaking – Genres Collide On The Unfathomable ‘Crypt Hop Compilations I’

Who would have ever thought that two musical genres at the farthest ends of the sonic spectrum could provide so much listening pleasure when combined? Well, quite a few obviously, because it’s definitely a thing. Crypt Hop was born out of the enigma known as Dungeon Synth and the ambiguities of Memphis style hip hop from the early 90’s. If you’ve not heard artist from that genre such as Manson Family, Gangsta Pat and Three 6 Mafia (among others), you’re missing out on some of the early, most innovative artists from the Memphis Horrorcore genre. If you strip away the gangsta rap, hip hop beats and underlying samples, you’ll actually hear an early 90’s rendition of Dungeon Synth, that typically features lo-fi production and the structural hissing of vinyl and cassette tapes. Fast forward to 2020 and we have the Dungeon Synth-led ‘Crypt Hop Compilations I’, which features thirteen daring tracks from various artist that intend to leave their mark not only in the Dungeon, but also in the Crypt!

The track that begins this morose phenomenon is “Poltergeist Manifestation At Midnight Cemetery” by Kravtun. Ghastly lo-fi synths compete against background static before a stunning hip hop beat immerses to synchronize everything. A swift breakdown in the middle with layered synths before the massive beats and bass tone reignites to finish out the track. “Astrals” by Leneaux has the warm sounds of fantasy synth that is soon accompanied by smooth drum & bass with a constant clap track. The background organ tones throughout add a nice texture to the track. “The Horla” by The Spirit Of Luvenium begins with a traditional Dungeon Synth sound then is bombastically merged with a mid-paced trap beat that is right on point. “Unterwelt Pt. 1” by Orcaluv is more of a hip hop track, as it features some grime style rap but the music is undeniably cemented in Dungeon Synth. “Tenebris Et Spiritus” by Lurk starts with droning synth notes that tip the creepiness scale. Barbaric percussions are interlaced to give a big, theatrical sound as layers of instrumentation continue to build. As soon as it reaches that “wait for it” moment, narrative samples take over, leading the anticipation, then it happens – slow, doom-like hip hop beats explode onto the track for the final minute. “Towers Of Time” by Moon Druid is truly unique in that it features an early 80’s style hip hop beat and clean sounding synth tone. Soon in, it changes to a more modern sound with a lush atmosphere. The track then morphs back into its original beat to close out the track. “On The Darkest Occurrence That Has Ever Happened By Right Of My Own Hand” by Pharanick is a straight up horrorcore rap track with eerie backing music and with medieval rapping about wizards and daggers, what can go wrong? “Windy Night (Crypt Hop Remix)” by Francis Robert is another superb fantasy/forest synth-based track with manic hip hop beats and throbbing bass lines. “From The Ashes Of Bael’s Kingdom” by Erythrite Throne is my favorite on this compilation. The multi-layered synth work is amazing and the quality Of Dungeon Synth in this one track is unmatched. Not only is the production spot-on, but the beats are amazing as they consistently ebb and flow with the tempo change of the music. “His Crimes Against The Realm” by Poodle Knight is another amazing track as it has multiple genre influences. Not only hip hop and Dungeon Synth, but I also hear influences of early synthwave on this track and it fits in perfectly. “Skull Bong” by Resinator begins with ambient undertones, Tibetan bowl sounds, and narrative samples before introducing a dark dub beat and discordant sound effects that are reminiscent of early-90’s pioneering electronic experimental artist, Scorn. “Noblesnatch” by Were-Panther is one of the most unique tracks on this compilation as it features medieval times centered rapping, 8-bit sound effects, chorus breakdowns, and a whirlwind of strange instruments. However, as weird as it is, it’s also a highly addictive listen and probably my second favorite track on the album. The final track, “Belabored With Mysteries” by DJ 行者, is a three and a half minute trip hop, psychedelic adventure that properly closes out this astonishing compilation.

What more is there to say? This compilation album is pure fire! The artists selected for this project have a gift for fusing two seemingly incompatible genres of music and making it sound like a band of gangsta’s should be raiding a castle with 9mm’s instead of swords. At any rate, this compilation is an incredible body of work in which these artists should all be proud to be a part of. If this is any indication of what’s to come, then I can’t wait for what the future has in store for Crypt Hop! Show your support for these artists and download this album from the link below.

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Links:

https://crypthopcompilations.bandcamp.com/releases

Influenced By The Appalachia Region, Leander Summons Cultural Sources On ‘A Journey Lost To Time’

The scenic beauty of nature has been the source for countless number of artistic endeavors for centuries and the stories they hold are memorable and irreplaceable. When you combine the scenery from a specific region with a cultural temperament that has been inherited from previous generations, the story telling can become quite grim, yet fascinating. For a genre, such as Dungeon Synth, this value still holds true as the listener is use to vacating the premise of vocals for providing a story and relying on the musical experience for setting the scene. This is quite a call to action for the artist that tell the stories with their instrumented crafts, and many are able to capture the resilience of this synchronous endeavor perfectly. Leander is one of those artists, and on his debut Dungeon Synth album, ‘A Journey Lost To Time’, the essence of mountainous isolation is captured beautifully in these five tracks.

“Elegy For Gone Days” begins with a soothing and dreamy piano melody that plays repeatedly until it resonates with the soul. Quietly, synth tones are introduced that resemble more traditional Dungeon Synth arrangements. These haunting sounds have more of a Forest or Fantasy Synth feel as the gentle vibes are warm and extremely melodic. Next up is the heavily percussive “Wandering The Summerlands”, that immediately kicks things off with a thunderous drum beat and synchronized keyboard tone. At around the minute and a half mark, the song settles into a keyboard heavy groove with a steady drum beat that sets a hurried pace. Halfway through, synthwave sounds are introduced, creating a despondent atmosphere that is dark, yet sublime. Without a doubt, this is my favorite track on the album. “Beneath The Ridge” has a low and reserved sound that focuses on the somber tone of the synth notes. The refrain during the last minute or so has an alluring sensation that you’ll not want to end. “In The Deep Glades, A Blade Lies Buried” is a slower-paced canticle that has almost a 70’s progressive/psychedelic vibe to it. The combination of the various synth tracks and the drum beats work really well together. The final track, “A Spirit Kneels By Singing Waters” begins with slow, droning notes that create a haunting backdrop for the spirited keys as they provide a solo story line that transcends the imagination.

Leander definitely uses the landscape and surroundings to his advantage to create isolation-themed Dungeon Synth that is based on the myths and culture of the area. Not only are the keyboard elements on point, but the addition of percussion really oscillates through these recordings with positive effects. I’m really impressed by this debut effort and am looking forward to many more recordings by this talented artists. Please show your support and download ‘A Journey Lost To Time’ from the link below.

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Links:

https://leander33.bandcamp.com

Pafund Expand Upon Minimalist Arrangements For A Theatrical Adventure In ‘Til Rigets Ende’

As the decline of sunlight fades over ancient ruins in a mythical kingdom deep in the woods, the bleak atmosphere of estranged malevolency absorbs the commonwealth. The murky encounters between civilization and the landscape become supernatural and post-twilight harmony ceases to exist. Shaken and anxious, the kingdoms people hide, and wait for dawn; for that it brings peace and tranquility. Pafund’s Dungeon Synth debut effort, ‘Til Rigets Ende’ is the musical direction that synchronizes with these dark and perilous evenings, providing a comfort for where there is discomfort. Consisting of a single track, clocking in at nearly thirty minutes, it’s broken down into two parts to accommodate for a cassette release as well.

“Side A” is a tranquil and brooding track that creates a doleful sound with its layered droning synths and harmonious keyboard melodies that drift amicably as if there isn’t a care in the world. With almost a stringent reverb effect, the keys seem to override each other at times, but the serene arrangement can still be fully heard. At around the five minute twenty second mark, the droning synths disappear and the keys play a catchy, somber melody before fading into a brisk, windy field recording. At this time, theatrical elements become presents and the song takes a darker turn. Spots of dark ambience provide a menacing background as the cinematic keys continue to crystallize into subharmonic patterns. “Side B” begins with an old school dungeon synth vibe as the dense sound commits to a melodic opening section that once again features a low-end background drone. At around the four minute mark, elements of fantasy synth take over as the musical patterns careen throughout the majority of the arrangement from this point. At around the ten minute mark, distorted percussions can be heard, providing a sparse atmospheric tone. The last minute or so is filled with nature-like field recordings that represent the dawn of a new day in the ancient, mythical kingdom.

Pafund’s debut dungeon synth recording is quite an impressive one. With elements of traditional dungeon synth mixed with modern cinematic sounds, ‘Til Rigets End’ easily sparks imaginative tales of fantasy and folklore. I only wish that the sound was mixed a little louder, as I had to listen with my volume all the way up and – at times – it was still hard to hear the music. However, that being said, this is an awesome album and I recommend this for fans of old-school dungeon synth and fantasy synth. Please support Pafund by downloading this album from the link below.

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Links:

https://pafund.bandcamp.com/album/til-rigets-ende

Gladden Fields Deliver The Sounds Of Forlorn With ‘Menace Of Despair’

I’m sure that if you’re reading this review – and being a fan of Dungeon Synth – you must be familiar with the Battle Of The Gladden Fields in the third age of the Lord Of The Rings universe. This was a very prominent battle, as Isildur and his escorts were ambushed by a group of Orcs and the Ring of Power was subsequently lost in the river Anduin. Gladden Fields is also the name of a UK-based Dungeon Synth artists that paints a harrowing picture of this great battle with his eerily composed music. The five tracks offered up on his latest effort, ‘Menace Of Despair’ uncannily resembles what the scene must have been like just minutes before that viscous attack by the Orcs, as the calm and soothing arrangements are topped with apprehensive orchestrations and somber melodies. Like the silent attack of the Orcs, these tunes are a mere decoy of an evil presence lurking behind the unknown.

Right from the opening looming soundscapes, the lead off the track, “Menace Of Despair” sets the stage for enemies lurking in vast terrain, as the tranquilizing synths crescendo ever so slightly while crossing into enemy territory is eminent. The slight use of percussion adds a frightening aspect as well. “Winter Sun” has a melancholic tone played throughout, with spots of despondent yet harmonic keys to add the slightest twist of darkness to the mix. “Through Poisoned Waters” has a deep, manic sound and shows restraint in its delivery. As the superbly timed percussive elements play in the background, I imagine an aphotic scene, just before the chaos occurs. The orchestrations in this track are simple, yet written amazingly well. “Helcaraxë” has a very old school, organic dungeon synth feel to it. The key arrangements are layered well and continue to build as the song progresses to the end. The albums final track, “Wall Of Night” begins with a very impending, dark ambient vibe and adds malevolent soundscapes throughout as this is the finale leading to up to the attack of the Orcs. This track represents full-on chaotic darkness with no chance of turning back.

Gladden Field is an extremely impressive Dungeon Synth artist that meticulously tells a story with his music. Although named after one of the great battles in one of the best and most famous stories ever written, Gladden Fields does the name justice by creating a soundtrack-like atmosphere with ‘Menace Of Despair’. If this album doesn’t put you in the mood for a great middle earth adventure, then I don’t know what will. Please support this fascinating artist and downing ‘Menace Of Despair’ from the link below.

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Links:

https://gladdenfields.bandcamp.com/album/menace-of-despair