Dreadwood Prophecies Shines Ghostly Bright On Mystifying Debut, ‘Shadow Realm: A Dungeon Synth Mixtape’

It’s such a refreshing experience when, out of the blue, a new artist is introduced to the scene and hits it out the park on their debut release. ‘Shadow Realm: A Dungeon Synth Mixtape’ is the album in question by the searing duo known as Dreadwood Prophecies. Donning skeletal masks and cloaks of black, this team emits a compulsory sound of synth wizardry and includes a variety of genres to produce their own unique Dungeon Synth experience. Over the course of ten riveting tracks, we get to encounter fantastical realms of nostalgia through lo-fi synth effects and mesmerizing songwriting. At just thirty six minutes in length, this short album packs quite a punch with an assortment of tones, styles and memorable songs.

Catapulting us into a sphere of dark enchantment is the vivacious album opener, “The Evil Wizard Is Ruining The Town With His Bullsh*t”. Quirky song title aside, this is a momentous beginning with fantasy synth vibes and angelic keys, albeit amongst obscure harmonies and nostalgic tones. Up next is the ominously textured, “The Great Unraveling”. As if it were accompanying an enthralling dream, these peculiar sounds transcend the lo-fi production qualities with its flow into other territories such as Berlin School and synthwave. At just over two and a half minutes, this short intonation delivers a wondrous endeavor of anxious cadences and memorable melodies. “The Wonderer” commences with a fast paced synth chop and melodic, acoustic guitar tones. The first of my top three favorite tracks on the album, this one is on another level with its shifting choice of melodies and masterful songwriting. As each section continues to build each time around, you can’t help but to succumb to a world of psychedelic mischief and dreamy horizons. “Somber Longing” is a steady Dungeon Synth offering that achieves a bleak ambience through heartfelt harmonies and serene instrumentation. The overall alluring tone is mesmerizing and continuously draws the listener in with its hypnotic arrangement. The second of my top three tracks is “Into The Abyss”. Beginning with a funereal, celestial tone, a beat slowly forms, creating a haunting atmosphere. Soothing keys come into play and are again joined by a steady drum beat. Various degrees of synth effects add to the mix as drum patterns come and go with surprising effect. As darkness continues to enshroud, this track never ceases to build, adding an array of synths that are addictive and demand repeated listens. “Swamp Journey” presents a snug little canticle that is part whimsical and part quixotic with a sound that glistens with pleasant inflection. Natural sounds in the background elicit a peaceful environment, rich with enjoyment and elation. “Lost Echoes” is another fascinating experience that evokes a melancholic tone with jubilant percussive parts and spiritualistic ambience that supremely fills the background space. Mollifying synth leads produce a mournful fervor with its rhythmic patterns and enchanting harmonies. The third of of my top three tracks is “Dark Ritual”. The layers of music has a hypnotizing effect due to the combination of sonic bass textures and assortment of synth leads. In between, the experience of elongated keys creates a soothing balance that properly fuses all of these elements into a single, massively sounding song. “Patient Montage” is an introspective creation that combines soft guitar strums with resilient synth leads, producing an enigmatic track that is enriched with colorful modulations and exquisite tones that clear and bright. The fitting, final track on the album is, “Death Of A King”. The initial riff is like a Medieval epilogue, emitting a sense of reprieve with its upbeat – almost comfy synth-esque – arrangement and alluring vibe that concludes with a refreshing sensibility.

Dreadwood Prophecies are an amazing project that embodies all that Dungeon Synth has to offer. Eagerly willing to take chances on a cluster of sounds and styles, they’ve easily come up with a unique approach that they can call their own. Whether it’s Medieval influenced or ventures into synthwave or Berlin School, ‘Shadow Realms: A Dungeon Synth Mixtape’ is a refreshing experience with endless replay value. If you’ve not heard this album yet, you’re missing out on one of the genres album of the year contenders. Click on the link below and prepare to enter an audial realm that demands to be experienced.

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Ruptured World Embodies Dark Jazz And Riveting Spoken Word Aesthetics For The Forth Album In The Planetary Series, ‘Xenoplanetary’

To some extent, this particular review is like coming full circle. Back when I first started The Dungeon In Deep Space in August of 2019, my very first review was the second album in the Planetary series by Ruptured World called, ‘Archeoplanetary’. I’ll admit that – although it was a great album – my review was pretty lackluster, probably due to the unforeseen direction of this blog. Now, nearly four years later, I’m extremely excited to review Ruptured World’s latest offering, ‘Xenoplanetary’. This appears to be the forth and final installment of the Planetary series and if that’s the case, it concludes this epic story in a magnificent blaze of glory. Although not your typical Dark Ambient album, Ruptured World has expanded the audial palette to include hypnotizing, electronic beats and remnants of dark noir jazz. With that – and including a story that is masterfully narrated – this album has already reached S-Tier status (for me at least), and boldly catapults the Dark Ambient genre to searing new heights.

Wasting no time in showcasing the new sound described above, “Emergency Thought – Cast Distant Messaging” slowly fades in with a mechanized, electronic beat that is more reminiscent of a sound that you would hear in a smoke filled Jazz club than with a typical upbeat percussive style. A looping keyboard chop plays a somber melody while droning soundscapes provide a textural backdrop of mesmerizing beauty. Sporadic sound bytes of communication frequencies and radio transmission acts as a prerequisite for the storyline and after a short break, that’s exactly what we get. The Macrae family legacy begins to unfold as a short narrative contributes to the preface for the rest of the album. “Tenebrous Wetlands” commences with a continuation of the narrative as a slow blend of drones and elongated keys softly plays in the background. More communication anomalies can be heard and the drones continue to expand as the song unfolds. About halfway through, massive synth tones create a dreamy space of haunting atmospherics and obscure melodies. “The Cruel Darkness” is where this ominous story takes a menacing turn. While the narrations continues on with this compelling story, the music feature another killer drum beat, alongside an atmospheric ride through spacious drones and harrowing synth effects. As this track continues to slowly build, a sense of angst begins to take over. Layers of keyboard chops and industrial modulations intensifies, albeit in a looping pattern. “The Telekinetic Amassment Of Being” start with the perpetuation of Phoenix Macrae’s mission with a strange twist on the spoken word delivery that includes voice manipulations, echo effects and eerie loops. As the story unfolds, immense drones proceed eloquently and take over as the focal point of the track. As this sound modulates at a steady pace, soothing drum textures and harmonious synth play a darkened groove that only Ruptured World could pull off in this type of musical adventure. This combinations creates a trance induced pattern that is imposing as well as easy to get lost in. With an eager enthusiasm, the entertaining escapades of Phoenix continues to play out on “Enter The Labyrinth”. A chaotic blend of radio transmissions unfold, as it provides cryptic clues for this ever evolving story. In the meantime, peaceful synths produce an evocative drone while looping keys evolve expressively. This track is really serene and it’s overall alluring tones make this one of my favorite songs on the album. Throughout the song, narrative elements can be heard but this time, they take a backseat to the mesmerizing and melodic intonations. “The Magnitude Of Luminescence” continues with a realized arrangement of amazing storytelling and an array of communication signals. As the mission continues, obscure effects begin to alter the transmissions, while effervescent drones slowly make their way into the arrangement. The inclusion of field recordings and synthwave-styled compositions adds a new element to this already impressive album. The layers of electronic arrangements seem to continue endlessly before abruptly coming to a conclusion. “The Daze Of Foreboding” begins with calming drones that can easily be interpreted as the dawn of a new day. As the continued radio transmissions slowly fade away, a jazz-like drum pattern begins to take shape. A consoling synth melody sounds more like a new wave song structure but the combination with the rest of the electronic elements are so addictively satisfying. The main key pattern also sounds like an alternative take of the keyboard melody from the first track. As the album winds down, “The Exhibition” concludes the narrative portion of this accomplished offering. The unforgettable spoken words exhibit an exhausting odyssey of family resilience and exploratory happenings that are unlike any other Dark Ambient recording I’ve ever heard. This eight minute track is mostly made up of these compelling narrations, while distant soundscapes produce an eerie atmospheric vibe. Only within the final few minutes, do we hear an increase in instrumentation, as it fulfills a sonic voyage to be remembered. The final offering is “The Agony”. Although only being just under two and a half minutes in length, it’s one of the most ominous compositions on the album. Heavy use of reverb and inaudible vocalizations enhance the listening experience for this bleak dirge that features elements of classic synthwave and industrialized drones.

Ruptured World is one of the most compelling artists in the Dark Ambient genre and the inclusion of abundantly used spoken word is both unique and rewarding. For a majority of Dark Ambient releases, the listener is able to interpret the music into their own story. However, with the Planetary releases, we are treated with the best of both worlds. With the forth installment, ‘Xenoplanetary’, Ruptured World has defied the odds yet again by adding to the musical ferocity, both elements of haunting jazz beats and looping keys. It goes without saying that this is the most exploratory of the Planetary releases and easily my favorite. This is surely a series that will be enjoyed for many years to come, and at the same time, I’m eager to hear of new adventures that Ruptured World will explore in the future. ‘Xenoplanetary’ is a Dark Ambient album of the year contender so don’t pass this one up. Click on the link below to experience this amazing album and story.

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Abandoned Graves Solicits Posturing Sounds From Various Electronic Genres On The Blazing Dungeon Synth Full-Length Debut, ‘Salvation’

When it comes to Dungeon Synth music, it’s almost as if it’s an “open source” genre of musical incantations. Meaning that almost any form of musical styles can mesh and blend with the basic aesthetics of Dungeon Synth without taking away its original intent. That’s why I love artists that put their own spin on the genre, providing a fresh atmosphere for all to enjoy. One artist in particular that travels down this path is Abandoned Graves. With the release of their first full length album, various electronic genres are explored and seamlessly mesh with the traditional foundations of Dungeon Synth music. The results of this is ‘Salvation’, a thirty eight minute journey into the abysmal infrastructure of electronic music that is gripping and transcendental, to say the least.

Poignant album opener, “Spring’s Lament” commences with a corrosive modulation that wavers viciously before fading into a minimalist tone with a lethargic echo effect. This tonal delivery begins the slow dive into Dungeon Synth madness and the sky becomes the limit at this point. Suddenly, a quirky, chip tune sound develops into a fun but menacing anthem. As this short track fades out into oblivion, the darkened textures of “The Dreamer” start to unfold. The deep, atmospheric drones are met with sporadic synthwave modulations that gradually expands into an electronic escapade through various styles. However, this eclectic fusion of expression coalesces into a grandiose offering that is upbeat and surprisingly accessible. Up next is the melodramatic offering, “The Board”. As the somber intonations start up, the dreamy synth effects evolve into a chaotic piece with heavily modulated synths and harrowing background ambience. As if descending into a nightmare, a blend of mesmerizing tones take this song down a darker path than the precious ones. Almost dipping into noisecore, it ultimately subsides into a peaceful Dungeon Synth canticle of harmonizing effort. “The Tower” doesn’t waste any time meshing various tones in a hauntingly beautiful harmony that finds a blend of warm ambience and light-hearted synth chops. However, that all soon comes to an end as we begin to hear pulsating drum beats and deep ambient drones, as a sinister atmosphere comes about. Industrial samples and radiant textures expose a multitude of horrors before -once again – morphing into a Berlin School styled synthwave anthem. This is definitely my favorite track on the album and my only wish was that this song was a little longer. The title track, “Salvation”, starts with an orient-styled effect but sparingly incorporates more sounds to create an amusing jingle that provides a soulful gateway to the next track. With “First Grave”, we get to experience natural sounds of nocturnal essence with the slight howl of crashing waves. Ambient textures begin to build into a tumultuous affair with looping drones and obscure effects. As this song evaporates into an audial radiance, we once again get to experience a shift in styles as the twists begin to unfold. Jolting modulations and bombastic Medieval cadences begin to consume the airwaves and vast layers become a musical fortress to these ears. The final track on the album, “The Crypt”, is a full on ambient nightmare, complete with ghoulish drones and creepy sound effects throughout. At just over seven minutes long, a lot is crammed into this bleak offering. Even with all of the malevolent effects, there is a sense of calming throughout that seems more minimalistic than chaotic. That being said, this is a cold, desolate way to close this impressive album and one that will stay in my playlist rotation for sometime to come.

Abandoned Graves has presented a fine experience with the multi-genre offering, ‘Salvation’. Although firmly staying rooted in Dungeon Synth, the Keep gates have swung wide open for the inclusion of an assortment of electronic music styles. That being said, there is a lot to take in on this recording and there is never a dull moment throughout. If an eccentric fusion of music is your thing, then I highly recommend checking out this monumental album. Please click on the link below to begin your listening experience with Abandoned Graves.

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Cycle Of The Raven Talons Adjure The Spirituality Of Nature On The Breathtaking Opus, ‘A Medicinal Musical’

Before I get into the heart of this review, I’d like to take a moment to provide a proper shoutout to Chet W. Scott and Glass Throat Recordings. I first learned of this small, independent label with the release of the Blood Of The Black Owl debut back in 2007 – an album that I reviewed for Maximum Metal some 15 or 16 years ago. At that time, there were no digital offerings, only uniquely hand-crafted physical releases. I quickly familiarized myself with Ruhr Hunter, another Chet W. Scott project that leans more toward Industrial Noise and Dark Ambient and was not only instantly blown away, but I was drawn into a world of musical healing and uncommon audial offerings. Since then, I’ve been constantly intrigued by the spiritual and naturalistic-based conjurings that Chet has acquiesced for physical and digital releases. Almost every album on this mighty label resonates with me on a personal level and many of my favorite albums are anchored with Glass Throat Recordings. However, one project that has been on my radar for sometime now – that has finally released a massive undertaking of an album – is Cycle Of The Raven Talons. This meditative double album is everything that I expected and so much more. Featuring over ninety minutes of medicinal drones and soundscapes, this album instantly succeeds in allowing the listener to connect with nature, their own spirituality and a world of ceremonious healing.

Leading the charge in this ritualistic experience is the jarring “Tatanka Nishna Aku”. Fusing spoken word and native chanting, this organic offering is like a calming foreword for the enlightenment that will soon follow. At nearly ten minutes in length, it’s a tributary piece that not only pays homage to women, but it represents a naturalistic approach to beauty and tranquility. Soothing flutes and drones augment the audial spaces as this track enables the lister to transcend into another world of effervescent beauty and traditional narratives. The first of the four twenty plus minute offerings is the enthralling “My Intentions Dawning”. Commencing with a thudding drum sound and whispering breath exhalations, this slow-building ceremonial oblation is a sonic escapade to get completely lost in. Ambient textures begin to layer with lethargic expediency while haunting flute melodies deliver an exotic performance. The soundscape that is presented on this track is vast and ominous while at the same time being consoling. About seven minutes in, delicate spoken words provide a narrative that is beyond relentless. As the droning ambience become louder, howling winds become the force of nature that become engagingly fierce. As the song drives toward its conclusion, vocalizations become more dominate, along with the inclusion of various instrumentation and increased ambience. The next elongated adventure is “To Live Again”. Beginning with distant horns and the cracking of a deep woods camp fire under the brisk even sky, a rhythmic drum patter soon begins, eliciting a solid cadence to synchronize the rest of the instrumentation that randomly comes into fold. For over twenty minutes, this track produces a perpetual solace in relaxation and mesmerizing comfort. Throughout this mammoth undertaking, the tides sway between full on instrumentation and just the constant back beat over reassuring whispers. The feeling of being at one with the wilderness is prevalent as the early evening evolves into the dead of night. Several instruments provide a grim ambience that seamlessly fuses with the rest of the arrangement. The final few minutes abrupts into a controlled but chaotic explosion, as the shadows of the night become the predators of our imagination as life takes on a whole new meaning. The next magnum opus is “Crying”. Opening with the sounds of bird chirping and soft waves brushing against an isolated shoreline, a hollow drone slowly crescendos in the background, clashing with the elements of nature in all forms. A steady, tribalistic drum beat begins to play as the sounds of the early morning dawn come into focus. Darkened, ambient textures become more prevalent, creating an abysmal space of sonic atmospherics. About halfway in, gentle flute-like instruments produce a harmonizing elegance that puts forth a spiritual vibe. Every so often, the cawing of birds remind the listener of the scenic beauty of these ceremonial incantations. The continuous drum patterns and water rumblings makes this track a pleasant and enjoyable experience. The final song on this medicinal experience is “Seek In Shadow, Release Into Light”. Wasting no time, this is the most audial aggressive song on the album. A conglomeration of sounds clash at the very beginning before settling into a faster-paced drum pattern. Chanting vocalizations and eerie whispers trade off as the narrative nature between the two seem contentious. Loud clashes and rumbling throughout evoke an industrialized experience as this quarrelsome piece continues to play out. Toward the middle of the song, many of the aggressive tones fade out in favor of layered vocal patterns that are mollifying and spiritualistic in an ancient, native tongue. After a few minutes of this heralded crooning, light ambient textures begin to build while whispered singing commences. The final impression of this offering starts to wind down in solidarity as the ceremonial endeavor finishes like an enlightened undertaking.

‘A Medicinal Musical’ by Cycle Of The Raven Talons is more than just a rewarding musical experience. It represents the earliest forms of music in its rawest form, as well as the basic understanding of nature and the ritualistic essence that it portrays. By allowing the listener to sink into this sonic voyage while experiencing minimalistic audial excellent it’s apparent that this album is a unique and prominent journey through the soul. Chet W. Scott continually excels in this aspect, no matter what moniker he chooses to use. His gift for providing a naturalistic experience is unmatched and Cycle Of The Raven Talons is just another project that showcases his dynamic abilities. I highly recommend checking out this once in a lifetime listening experience, as well as the other amazing musical gifts that grace the Glass Throat Recordings lineup. Click on the link below and prepare to be enthralled.

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Pathworn Pilgrim Perpetuates Cinematic Elegance On The Exceptional Fantasy Synth Offering, ‘Breath & Bellows Of The Old Kingdom’

Pathworn Pilgrim, the dynamic offspring of Guild Of Lore mastermind, debuted in 2021 with the fascinating ‘Beauty Of The Bitter Coast’. Overflowing with sonic Medieval dirges, the thirty five minute long effort was a great start, especially coming from the already legendary Guild Of Lore Camp. Now, just over a year later, Pathworn Pilgrim have ascended from the keep with an exquisite collection of Dungeon Synth anthems that entertains for the better part of seventy minutes. Better production, excellent blend of instrumentation and songwriting beyond comprehension proves that Pathworn Pilgrim is not just a side project, but a valuable mainstay in this community. Twelve tracks that flow from upbeat canticles to darkened soundscapes provide a vast soundscape for any type of Medieval adventure.

It’s obvious from the very first note, Pathworn Pilgrim has set out to paint a vivid and ancient landscape built on melancholic atmospheres and dismal times. “Untamed & Unforgiven” does an excellent job of setting a mood of Medieval candor while displaying an uncanny approach to symphonic synth music. An excellent blend of Dungeon Synth vibes and orchestral ambience, this track perpetuates a theme that will continually be painted over the course of fourteen tracks. “Breath & Bellows Of The Old Kingdom” commences with dark, whispering drones and naturalistic soundscapes in the background. However, the mood changes to a lighter atmosphere as somber synth leads create a heart-warming environment of peace and tranquility. “The Pilgrims Path II” is a groovy little piece that will have you bobbing your head in unison with the crisp and joyous intonations that build in layers throughout the track. Brisk percussions and amplifying tones create an inspiring mood that can be enjoyed at all levels. “Against The Mighty Jeralls” is my favorite track on the album as it uniquely combines dark, ambient tones with soothing field recordings and mighty orchestrations. This track could easily fit in on any fantasy-adventure movie soundtrack. “The Fells Of Falkreath” is another Dungeon Folk inspired track with stringed effects and a percussive cadence taken right from a Medieval songbook. The imperfections on the flute sounds solidifies the organic balance of this song and it’s another one of my favorites. “From Rift To Reach” focuses on long, drawn out notes instead of faster synth rhythms. This creates a brooding and dreamy atmosphere with amicable intent. “Echoes Of The Dwemer” contains some sinister sound effects right from the start, portraying an ominous vibe and setting a darker tone for the album. As the orchestration elements kick in, the notes are lower and deeper than on previous tracks, invoking bleak atmospherics of sinister subject manner. “Throat Of The World” begins with clean synth tones, almost gothic-like in delivery. As the crisp, synth leads commence, a trance-like effect comes into focus and the soft, ambient textures in the background are amazing. “The Frozen Flora, Fain The Fauna” is a bleak, ethereal piece that transcends time and space with an inevitable destiny of abysmal obscurity. The ambient tones are at times depressive and the assorted effects presents a theme of coldness and disarray. Picking things back up a notch and moving toward an enlightened direction, “Of Hearth & Mead” is the track that will get your blood flowing again. Clean stringed effects and a bombastic beat are at the heart of this buoyant canticle and overall, it has a New Age feel to it. “Snowfall Upon The Pale” is a chilling ambient piece with a huge cinematic production. At times, this sways toward a space ambient piece but then dives back into the vast hole of theatric tones with an audial approach to magnificent soundscapes. “A Hush The Holds Over” continues with the theatrical theme and further enhances the sound of the previous track. As if moving in slow motion or meditating in the early morning air, this composition loiters in the fray of hibernating effects, giving the listener an endless space for contemplating majestic realities. “The Road To Sovngarde” begins with a choir effect, producing a sense of positive light and unheralded energy. As if providing the audible conclusion to a climactic battle, this song envelops victory and valor at the highest sense. The final track on this magnum opus is the impudent “Honor & Strength”. Instead of adding beats to layers of synth tones, this piece commences with an enigmatic beat that provides a backbone for building an array of synth effects that firmly engages the pulsating rhythms. This is one of the most intriguing songs on the album and although it’s different from proceeding tracks, it fits in perfectly and closes out this mammoth recording in dignified fashion.

This Guild Of Lore side project is a musical endeavor that is more a secondary outing; it’s a statement of theatrical and Medieval values that wanders down a completely different path, bringing forth a renewed sense of being and modern synth transparency. Although this is just the sophomore release from this musical entity, it’s a seasoned spectacle of synth greatness with alluring arrangements and beautiful songwriting. I see limitless potential with Pathworn Pilgrim and ‘Breath & Bellows Of The Old Kingdom’ is a huge step toward toward not only Dungeon Synth greatness, but overall grandeur in electronic music in general. Please support this amazing album by listening and downloading from the link below.

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Dronny Darko & Ugasanie Once Again Collude On An Oceanic Dark Ambient Masterpiece With ‘Dark Source Of The North’

One of my favorite thematic subjects for a Dark Ambient album is the vast, dark ocean and the menacing evils that lurk within its chaotic abyss. It’s even more fitting when two of Dark Ambient’s most accomplished artists collaborate for this type of setting and produce an all-out maritime nightmare. However, this is not the first time Dronny Darko and Ugasanie have joined forces on such an event, as they released the chaotically impressive ‘Arctic Gates’ back in 2019 on the Cryo Chamber label. Now, four years later, they are back with a follow-up album and it’s just as bleak and ominous as their first. ‘Dark Source Of The North’ is an aquatic ordeal that delivers a punishing array of soundscapes through an incessant void. The eight tracks contained within produce an otherworldly soundtrack of futile escapism and amaurotic malevolence.

“In Search Of An Object” wastes no time in submerging the listener in a vast, cold ocean surrounded by emptiness and horrifying seclusion. Deep drones, complimented by reverberated textures creates an overwhelming sensation of solitude. As the sound continues to flow and become more aggressive, this nightmarish scenario becomes inescapable. Opaque winds increase for a moment before subsiding with the end of the song. In the second track, “Anomaly”, frigid ocean currents crash against an unprotected shore, creating a sort of naturalistic dominance. Obscure sound effects commence, producing a repulsive sound, only enhanced by deep, droning textures. As the ocean waves subside, the faint abhorrence of distant thunderstorms display an inevitable conclusion of chaotic force and destruction. As the end of the track nears, industrialized chaos create an audible pandemonium before being overtaken once again by crashing waves on a desolate seashore. “In A Magnetic Field” begins with a sinister effect that modulates as if it’s in heavy rotation and being prepare for a destructive scenario. Space Ambient styled drones begin to increase in broad layers as various, creepy effects paint a vivid picture of apocalyptic proportions. “Presence” immediately thrusts into a collision course with an abysmal void with intense drones and arcane noises that are downright terrifying. At the peak of these sound encounters, they maintain their intensity for a while before collapsing into a single drone. Assorted effects are heard in the distance as if fleeing from an anarchic discord. The main drone also builds into a soothing atmosphere for the final few minutes of the song. “Contact” commences with a single drone that emulates a distant beacon, either providing an early warning or waywardly sounding off due to a malfunction. As it continues to fade, synth pads ascend onto the darkness with hints of obscure orchestrations and howling, digital winds. As panic begins to set in, inaudible vocalizations and elongated modulations paint a gloomy scenario of solitude. As the track nears completion, random jolts of high pitch sounds produce a peculiar sound akin to large drops of acid rain bouncing off of industrial material corroding away in a barren wasteland. “Consequences” is one of the shorter tracks on the album so it rushes in quicker than the other offerings and builds layers of destructive patterns within the first minute. Not to say it’s an all out audial assault, this track is masterfully arranged and sets the album up for a climactic ending with the remaining tracks. “Transition” begins with a deep, slightly distorted drone, as if a large vessel is passing by without warning. As the vessel draws near, the tones increase in volume and adds subtle soundscapes that are eerie but luminous. There is a lot of reverb usage in some of the effects, producing a colossal sound design that is beyond epic. The final track on this distressing album is “On The Other Side Of The Arctic Gates”. Instead of beginning with an ominous drone, bells toll in different ranges, symbolizing the traversing to calmer waters. Although many dark obstacles were observed and navigated along the way, the journey to the other side has turned out to be just as challenging. As the layers of aggressively sounding drones kick in, the sense of adventure continues down a dark path in the form of various soundscapes and dystopian-like effects. Proving that wastelands can also be aquatic, the forceful winds and soothing ocean waves at the end are a fitting finale for this esoteric and mysterious album.

Dronny Darko and Ugasanie have once again proven that their collaboration efforts produce top tier results. ‘Dark Source Of The North’ is a fantastic follow up to their 2019 ‘Arctic Gates’ album and if they choose to produce more albums with this same theme, I’d eagerly welcome it. The Cryo Chamber label always provides a solid platform for the best in cinematic Dark Ambient music and this solid release is right up there with the best of the best. If you’re a fan of sinister Dark Ambient music that ventures beyond time and space, definitely check out this album from the link below.

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Psyclopean Conceives A Psychedelic Soundtrack For Realms Of The Unknown On ‘Nostalgiamancer’

As one of the harbingers of Psychedelic Dungeon Synth music, Psyclopean has developed a passion for producing an ominous blend of nostalgic Dungeon Synth and curious musical obscurities that paints a cinematic landscape of futuristic remembrance. On the projects latest album, ‘Nostalgiamancer’, Psyclopean reaches deep within the psyche of wistful modulations to deliver an album worth being called a soundtrack for pneumatic endeavors. Over an hours worth of retentive musical excursions (including two epic-sized tracks), this album is one meditate to, as well as to exercise one’s own thought patterns for eternal cleansing.

The album opener, “Hypnosynchromystical Transfiguration” is nearly sixteen and a half minutes of transcending electronic music that is exactly what’s needed to commence this hypnotizing journey. Beginning with retrospective synth effects and a short spoken-word narrative, this track quickly sets a tone for magical and enchanting adventures. Hisses, crackles and pops are some familiar production tactics to give this a nostalgic vibe and thoughts of yesteryear primarily consume the listeners thoughts. Soon after, psychedelic sequences take over and thicken the overall sound, inputting a dreamy sense of melody in the process. As one part flows into the next, we are presented with an arrange of instrumentation, such as acoustic guitar and trance-like percussive elements. As the song seamlessly continues, each phase flows perfectly into the next, allowing the listeners to create their own adventures that match the serene harmonies within. From faster cadence sections to whimsical compositions and exerting in between, this track is such a majestic offering. Up next is “The Uncanny Valley”. At just under four minutes in length, this is one of the shorter songs. However, where it falls short in playing time, it’s made up for in the masterful melodies and impressive use of tracking to make the most out of the lead sections. Beginning with a war-like pounding of the drums, this song transparently molds into several influences before closing in a sea of spacey bliss. “A Walk Among The Ruins” is probably one of the most beautiful songs in Psyclopean’s entire discography. A soothing synth melody continuously plays in the background while haunting orchestrations flow higher in the mix. Creating a landscape of melancholic passion, it’s hard not to elicit an emotional response. Toward the end, clean synth leads breathe new life into the song, as if one is in a deep meditative state or whisked away in a territory of astral projection, where distant stars slowly move closer within reach. “Noble Sons Of Celephais” is more of a Dungeon Synth track in the traditional synth, relying on bold Medieval incantations rather than vivid visions of the imagination. The mesmerizing synth leads mesh well with the background ambience and occasional percussive spots, as there are some massive theatric moments during this five minute masterpiece. “Life Is A Weird Fiction (Which We Narrate To Ourselves)” is the ultimate reputation of what this album stands for and is pretty much an adventure within the adventure. With a playing time of nearly twenty six minutes, there is a lot to uncover in this relic of a story. As the tape hisses commence, so do the dreamy synth leads that are reminiscent of classic symthwave effects. Various electronic patterns are synchronized in a way that shouldn’t work, but this song quickly comes together as a unified musical wonder. There are a lot of ambient patterns, as well as Berlin School sequences that are audible throughout, and it’s all arranged so sensationally, that it’s hard to tell when the various sections of this song begin and end. The assorted tones and effects represent an arrangement of colors and shapes that are dominate visuals for this audial escapade. As the shapes and colors bend and shift, the music takes shape in hypnotic fashion, ensuring that nothing else is interfering with this sonic journey. The final song on the album is “Court Of The Somber Queen” and it introduces some actual singing, slightly distorted by wavy effects. Another short piece, this is a very appealing way to close out this psychedelic experience. Complete with soothing synths and acoustic guitar passages, I get the sense that this is the song that awakens the soul and brings a sense of reality back to the listener.

Psyclopean continues to outdo previous efforts with something bolder, more creative and enjoyable than the last. As a big fan of Psyclopean’s back catalog, I can proudly say, this is the strongest effort yet from this project. From epic song lengths to a variety of tones and effects, ‘Nostalgiamancer’ is the ultimate listening experience for those that enjoy a bit of variety in your Dungeon Synth music. Head on over to the link below and down this album and don’t forget to experience the back catalog as well. This year is already starting off with a bang, thanks to enchanted albums like this one.

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Robert Eggplant Leads Us On A Musical Excursion With Plenty Of Acoustic Guitar And Field Recordings On ‘Dog Island’

Robert Eggplant is one of those artists that certainly has an unmistakable sound. Although the base of his work is ambient, there is a particular abstract design to his albums that result in a Dark Ambient, experimental conglomerate that is gloomy, nostalgic and full of neutral colors. On his stunning fourth album, ‘Dog Island ‘, he takes field recordings, acoustic guitar effects and ominous loops to another level. Fifteen obscure tracks that takes up a better part of eighty minutes, set a minimalistic scenery that’s perfect for a dreary afternoon. So, light a few candles, turn down the lights and prepare to meditate for the course of these gripping tracks.

The album lead off track, “Witanic Path” commences with a humming drone noise that resides far off in the distance. The soothing texture of rain drops present a darkened day and when the strumming guitar loops hit, there is a sense of calming amazement that penetrates the air. Anytime an album showcases the sounds of desolate winds, it has my immediate attention. “Tremorous Dreamer” is a fantastic follow up track as it fires off a barrage of minimalistic field recordings, hissing loops and obscure guitar strums. It’s like having a dream that turns into a nightmare, in which you never awake. There is something really sinister about this sound. “Magpies In The Cherry Tree’ continues the menacing atmosphere with an industrialized hum in the background while the sounds of nature try to elicit a particular purity. More random guitar strokes and beautiful use of field recordings continue this endeavor that is like a journey into the unknown. “Paroxysm” begins with a beautiful & retrospective melody that is joined with slight wind and rain sounds. As nature takes a turn for the worse, the journey must continue and the bleak field recordings lead the way. Again, looping guitar strums become a focal point and may even cause a startling reaction due to being the loudest intonation in the mix. “Leaf Blowers In Paradise” is up next and the title alone is a hit in itself. This song presents another masterful blend of field recordings, many which are audible to the point of knowing what they are, while others provide a grim backplane for the track itself. As random as these pieces may sound, they provide a wonderful sense of balance in not only this track, but throughout the entire album. “The Devil will Always Chase The Hungry” is another marvelous song title and it perfectly matches the minimalistic ambience that ensues. There are more classic synthwave textures on this track and a soothing resonance that is a much welcomed surprise. “The Dynamical Nature Of Time” pieces together chirping birds, environmental elements and looping instrumentation. Overall, this song is bleak, with austere timbres that has an uneasy effect. “Drug Rug Wedding” is an interesting title that combines looping buzzes, howling winds and creepy modulations to produce an extremely horrid outcome. Reverberated guitar tones sound so apocalyptic as it demonstrates an ever growing presence of demise. “Plague Demon” begins with the sounds of doomed terror via haunting synth keys before settling into a more holistic dirge complete with soothing guitar tones and aquatic-styled field recordings. “Device Control” is a suitable follow up track as it showcases the same aesthetics as the previous track but in a more hurried way. Although there isn’t a lot going on in this song, the synths provide the lead instrumentation while the adamant rain drop field recordings showcase a percussive element. The guitar strums sound very distant – almost dreamlike – in the mix, allowing for a wide imaginative space to contemplate these sounds. “Shadow Signifier” begins with a deep, spacey drone that soon fuses with harshly reverberated acoustic guitars and random field recordings to break up the monotony. “Left Hand Pathogen” starts like a cosmic soundscape with high pitched screeches and samples. The desolate sounds of walking down a damp path comes into play while audible rings signify the beginning…or the end. This is one of my favorite tracks on the album. “The Summoner And The Summoned” is one of the most bizarre tracks as the guitar loops are like a deformed echo moving through a modulation chamber while the chirps of bird are caught singing next to this industrialized musical gear. The sounds of stones scraping in the middle of the song is really creepy, while the untimed strums of a detuned guitar continue to impress. “Desert Storm Memorabilia” is a thought-inducing track that could represent a variety of subject matter. More naturalistic soundscapes accompany acoustic guitar strums and other borrowing sounds that present a bold tone of menacing proportions. The final track on this mammoth of an album is, “Vertical Burial (Improvisation)”. For this track we get a clear picture of compositional acoustic riffs combines with tape hisses and the occasional field recording. This is such an intriguing effort and another one of my favorite tracks. I could listen to a whole album of these type of improvised acoustic guitar textures. As the album closer, it brings everything into prospective as if the harsh elements of a monstrous journey has come to a triumphant end.

I’ve been a huge fan of Robert Eggplant ever since ‘Amalgamation’ came out back in 2019. His recordings have a very distinct sound and rely heavily on field recordings rather than traditional Dark Ambient instrumentation. For me, this is a breath of fresh air, as it showcases something distinct and unique to the artist that is undeniable in every way. On ‘Dog Island’, he continues with that same recording technique and delivers another masterpiece of an album. If you’re into something that is less song structured and more sound structured, then I can’t recommend Robert Eggplant enough. Please click on the links below to download this amazing album and check out his previous albums as well. You definitely won’t be disappointed.

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Ten Of Swords Adjures Medieval Resonance On The Ominous, ‘You Were Once Far But Now You Are Close’

This has been an amazing year for the Dungeon Synth community as we’ve seen (and heard) more releases than ever, been exposed to a plethora of new artists and have witnessed many of the seasoned acts that we know and love release some of their best material to date. Amongst those artists is the newcomer, Ten Of Swords. Although Ten Of Swords has only been around a little over a year, there is already a huge catalog of memorable albums to check out. For my last review of 2022, I’ll be writing about ‘You Were Once Far But Now You Are Close’. Although not the latest album (as there has been at least nine addition releases since this offering from March), it was my introduction to this project so I thought it would be a good idea to write about my first impression.

Album opener, “Night Of The Worm Moon Festival” slowly creeps in with a cavernous effect on the synth leads. As the music comes into focus, a percussive cadence is fused in, creating a battle-like rhythm. There is a tinge of discordance to this track and it’s bound to put the listener into a mood full of Medieval crusades and bloodshed victories. “Raiding The Wizard’s Wine Cellar” is a festive piece with inimical harmonies and consoling textures. There is a twangy effect with the main keys and the off-kilter soundscapes that happen throughout adds a bit of dark color to this otherwise convivial song. “A Spinning Dance Of Ancient And Forbidden Pagan Rhythms” is an upbeat offering that immediately offers a sanguine groove on top of ancient Middle Eastern patterns. Production wise, it sounds very distant and dreamy which adds to its mystique. “Who Would Have Though There Would Be A Dungeon Here?”, is a seventeen and a half minute affair into a dark atmosphere that features reverberated ambience in the beginning and builds into so much more from there. Staticky keys and dark pulses come into play as this brooding track begins to take shape. There are spots of whimsical synths as well as heavily modulated key tones that sounds downright menacing. As the track continues to unfold, it becomes apparent that the various sections are akin to walking down an ominous path in a dark forest and encountering the unexpected along the way. Even with an extended playing time, this spectacular track is over before you know it. “Den Of The Fallen” commences with the tolling of bells, that ring out in angst while a dark, dismal groove builds around it. The effects used on the keys here is extremely thick, as if someone is plucking the lower notes of a piano wire. Toward the end, distorted ambience comes into play, adding layers of grim textures, before simplifying into the opening chops of the tracks. This is a really cool song that is probably my favorite on the album. The final song is, “The Day After The Worm Moon Festival” and although the composition is quite jovial, in delivery it’s rather quixotic and portentous. Again, the production ensures a distant tone, allowing for the audial space to be consumed by droning thoughts and mystifying clarity. Another excellent track to close out this isolated year astonishing album.

Ten Of Swords is a pretty unique project with a one-of-a-kind sound that is firmly rooted in the Dungeon Synth genre. With a quickly growing catalog of anomalous albums, this act is definitely one to watch for in the near future. ‘You Were Once Far But Now You Are Close’ is an entertaining album that offers a variety of tones and styles that are quick to grow on. The longer songs allow for a complete meditative experience, as these tracks are somewhat trance-like in transmission. I highly recommend this album if you’re into the more obscure side of Dungeon Synth.

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Reality Scruncher Produces Otherworldly Timbres On Minimalistic Debut, ‘Deep Space Impingement’

I’m really excited to finally be publishing this review. Reality Scruncher is a new Drone/Dark Ambient project by jack-of-all-trades blogger, Casey Douglass. In case you’re not familiar, Casey always takes an impressive dive into all things obscure, including music, films and books. Speaking of books, Casey is also an accomplished author with many tales of horror and menacing bewilderment under his belt. Now, he is taking on the audial channels with his first Dark Ambient album, ‘Deep Space Impingement’. Thirty seven terrifying minutes of celestial modulations and deepened voids spread across five impressive tracks. How does this intro album stack up against the rest of the genre? Let’s take a deeper dive and find out.

Sinister lead off track, “Hope Into Terror” gradually comes into full perspective as it adjusts with audial bends in and out of earshot. With each louder intonation, it’s apparent that a horrific scene of deep space terror is abound. About halfway into the track, the wavering radiance declines as a mechanical drone – akin to a vessel drifting about in the far reaches of space – produces a mesmerizing sound with bits of chilling effects throughout. Toward the end, the tone grows louder as a doomed final destination becomes imminent. “Constricted Temporals” epitomizes the droning technique as a deep, hypnotic modulation emits an articulate and muffled sound. This track is nearly twelve minutes of eerie soundscapes that slowly builds with layers of ambient pitches that resemble the darkest areas of space where boundaries cannot be identified and the nearest celestial bodies are nowhere in site. This track represents nothingness and the imposing frequencies that it produces as a total sense of anxiety completely unfolds. “Shimmering Spectral Anomaly” continues the epic droning but with a wobbling effect of ominous proportions. As the timing continues to fluctuate, one begins to question the horrors of a possible cosmic impact that is bound to expire all life form in its path. As the song nears its completion, loud revolts form synth pads come into play, providing a level of audial defiance that could change the impending course of this unfolding terror. “Quantum Monstrosities Frolic” is another gigantic undertaking as the drones are presents with more reverberations and tonal distortion. This creates a malevolent sound and is also the pinnacle of horror for this album as a whole. There are some assorted sound effects throughout but are used sparingly, as this track is a true image of nightmares. The final track on the album is, “Suicidal Infinity”. Complete with hollow drones and industrialized soundscapes, this is the ravenous ending that I was hoping for. Most of the audial extremities occur slightly in the background, allowing for the white noise-styled drone to continue as the lead character for this song. The bits and pieces that do occur in the background sound like distant storms and interferences that could become closer as time continues. Suddenly, a loud, glaring alarm begins to blast away, as it warns of a distressed energy that is inbound, ready to infiltrate all forms of communication. As the warning fades away, we’re left with the icy cold sound of endless drones and the realization that nothing is more terrifying than the deep explorations of space.

‘Deep Space Impingement’ by Reality Scruncher is an absolutely amazing Dark Ambient effort and it truly captures the essence of deep space drones and the emotions that come with it. Minimalistic tones with sparse use of sound effects is the combination that is right up my alley and it works very well for this debut recording. I hope that Casey continues his recording career under this moniker and produces more Dark Ambient albums in the same vein as this one. I highly recommend checking out this album if you’re into cosmic drones with horrifying consequences. Please click on the link below and download this bleak but entertaining musical experience.

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