Dark Ambient & Dungeon Synth Recordings To Enthrall You During The Global Pandemic Continuation

Back in March, I published a playlist of Dark Ambient & Dungeon Synth recordings to help tide you over during the shelter-in-place order. Well – here we are – almost two months later and not much has changed, with the exception of a lot of great music being released. So, whether or not you’re still stuck at home, or have the ability to venture out, please enjoy this personal playlist of Dark Ambient and Dungeon Synth recordings that have been keeping me entertained lately! This is all great stuff so please support these artist and download an album or two!

Dark Ambient Playlist:

https://melanohelios.bandcamp.com/album/the-psychonaut
https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/eternal-drift
https://blackweald.bandcamp.com/album/leonov-2
https://noctilucant.bandcamp.com/album/the-autumnal-end-2
https://roberteggplant.bandcamp.com/album/earth-sinking-into-water

Dungeon Synth Playlist:

https://varkana.bandcamp.com/album/cosmic-terror
https://lordorots.bandcamp.com/album/latzineko-erresumaren-itzulera
https://namelessking.bandcamp.com/album/downfall-of-drangleic
https://wyrmlodge.bandcamp.com/album/the-short-but-touching-tale-of-slime-golem
https://serpentsswordrecords.bandcamp.com/album/perpetual-cruelty

Shelter-In-Place Dark Ambient & Dungeon Synth Playlist

We are living in dark times and whether we like it or not, we are witnessing a historical occasion that is effecting the whole world. Although many people still have to work, legions of the worlds population are under a strict shelter-in-place order. Not to make light of the situation, but what better time is there to check out some awesome artists that you may have never heard of before, or to revisit some newer albums that stand out amongst the others. These are some of my (current) favorite albums to listen to and I’m sharing them with you as a recommendation. Check out and support these amazing artists (and labels).

Recommended in Dark Ambient:

https://hiemalambient.bandcamp.com/album/vacant
https://scottlawlor.bandcamp.com/album/badseed
https://cycliclaw.bandcamp.com/album/the-outside
https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/shortwave-ruins
https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/dystopian-gate
https://cycliclaw.bandcamp.com/album/scenes-from-the-sublime

Recommended In Dungeon Synth (and beyond):

https://borg.bandcamp.com/album/woodland
https://serpentsswordrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-woods-of-galdura
https://crypthopcompilations.bandcamp.com/releases
https://jenntaiga.bandcamp.com/album/plight
https://coniferousmyst.bandcamp.com/album/queen-of-the-timberline-realms
https://criptadel.bandcamp.com/album/the-goblin-market

Mortiloqvist Deliver A Necropolitan Tale Of Death On The Imposingly Brilliant ‘Overmorrow’ Release

Death is inevitable for all of us and although we cannot escape it’s clutches, the dreadful end continues to captivate us in many ways. Not only are we mystified by the moments that lead up to the actual occasion, but thoughts of the afterlife and how our physical remains are dealt with (over time) are equally fascinating. What better music is there than dungeon synth to provide a platform for exposing a compelling story of the death and the afterlife? Even with just music alone, ‘Overmorrow’ is an alluring look into a mischievous tale of life after death gone wrong and Mortiloqvist takes us on that passionate journey with extraordinary synth tunes.

Sensational album opener, “The Taste Of Graveyard Dirt” begins with the sounds of workers digging, as if they are seeking to resurrect a long lost tomb. Demon like grumbles signifies they are near their goal but are they really ready to unleash what they are about to find? A beautiful guitar chord plays willfully in the forefront which eventually leads into a clean-sounding, classic dungeon synth recording. With almost a summer synth vibe, the instrumentation leans heavy on medieval times as wondrous melodies layer to create a dazzling sound. Next up is “The Dead Rise Up And Form Into Ominous Words The Night Wind That Moan Through Their Skulls” and is has a dark, winter synth vibe as a single keyboard note drones in the background. Supreme string picking creates an architecture for discordant harmony and although it may sound random, it’s like a cosmic and brilliant string solo from a scene in a horror movie. “Among These Sacred Ruins A Doppelgänger Of You Rots In Silence” is the longest song on the album, as it clocks in at just over eleven minutes. Starting with a quick dose of field recording before moving into a orient style synth structure, this track is full of surprises. Quickly moving back to a traditional dungeon synth sound, the main melody in the song is very unforgettable and you’ll surely be humming along. The addition of exceptional, female operatic vocals is very welcomed and fit in perfectly with the direction of this track. After that, there is a short dark ambient interlude with demon like growls before kicking things back into high gear with the medieval synth melodies. The final track, “Looting A Corpse” begins with the crackling sounds of a small fire in the forest while a lush tune surrounds it in dominating fashion. With the lonely strums of a stringed instrument and long-noted keys augmenting the harmony, this track signifies the dreadful beginning of the end and a sudden journey to the great beyond.

Although we all will probably not have the fortune of having a soundtrack to signify our journey into immortality, Mortiloqvist has put together an exquisite album that tells an adventurous story of the hereafter. As music listeners, we seek fulfillment in satisfying the senses with tales like these and when the music is able to do the talking, then the artist has created a successful endeavor. ‘Overmorrow’ is one of those albums and it is also special in that it uses an equal mix of synths and organic instruments. Additionally, the field recordings are used sparsely but very tastefully. I definitely recommend checking out this album so please click on the link below and download this masterpiece.

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Links:

https://mortiloqvist.bandcamp.com/album/overmorrow

Mantle Of Dust Emits Effulgence On Radiant & Energetic Fifth Album, ‘Through Paths Well Remembered’

In just about every music genre, there is a specific type of celebratory sound for every occasion. Depending on the type of situation it is, it could also mean a sub-genre classification, or an just an album that generates a cult following. The same holds true for dungeon synth. Whereas a lot of the musical themes tend to be geared toward battle hymns or dig into the realm of ancient medieval synth, with a focus on more serious and theatrical instrumentation, there is a lighter side as well. Forest synth and fantasy synth tend to have softer musical elements and the arrangements evoke an imagination of peaceful times in ancient kingdoms and mythical villages hidden away deep in mountainous forests. Those are the exact feelings that I get while listening to the latest Mantle Of Dust release called, ‘Through Paths Well Remembered’. Although there is a melancholic feel to this album, the acoustic guitar riffs combined with the beautiful synth arrangements ensures that the overall sound borders between classic, symphonic black metal-esque interludes and cinematic fantasy score.

The soothing guitar melody of “The Path Well Remembered I” creates a lavish atmosphere of warm emotions and when the flute arrangement begins, the song puts us right in the heart of the forest, where there is peace and gathering amongst villagers. “Lake Of Tears” starts with a haunting flute and synth combination. Soon, the sounds of battle-like drums kick in and the pace of the song increases, as if a peculiar alertness is in the air. “The Three-Sided Coin Inn” is one of my favorite tracks on the album and has more of a medieval sound. The mix of live and synth instruments along with the occasional vocals, provide many layers of great sounds as this song represents love & spirit throughout the village, as well as a place for everyone to come together in harmony. “The Wise Tree” is a very uplifting song that represents celebration and I can see everyone dancing gleefully and drinking large mugs of ale while listening to this track. From the fast pace drum beats, flute arrangements and multiple keyboard and synth sounds, this track is sure to stand out. As “The Wise Tree” suddenly ends, “Madness Beckons (Medley For The King)” begins, as if the king has suddenly appeared at the front gate of the small mythical village deep in the forest to pay a random visit. The synth melodies in the beginning are slight somber but about halfway through take a turn to a much darker tone, as if the visit from the king isn’t going as well as expected. “Paradise Found” features grandiose keyboard arrangements and the main sound is extremely catchy and I guarantee you’ll be humming it after the song is over. This would be a great song to be used as an into for a symphonic black metal album. However, it perfectly stands on it own as a dungeon synth piece. “…Of Noblest Steel” is another strong synth-based track with a great melody featuring several layers to give a very cinematic sound. I could imagine this track being used in a fantasy-based film score. “Through Paths Well Remembered II” is quite different from the first track as the approach seems more animate and action packed. The solo keyboard notes work well with the backing melody and this song flows smoothly right from the opening note. “The Seventh Castle” is another one of my favorite tracks on the album as it successfully combines elements of medieval, dungeon & forest synth in a single track without being over bearing. There are several spots of grand cinematic score as well, as this track just has it all. “The Dwarven Realm” starts with a rhythmic drum beat, memorable keyboard melody and a steady ambient tone in the background. Suddenly, a beautiful violin riff joins in the mix to expand the horizon of the song. The overall tone of this track is mesmerizing and the violin sound in several spots give it that extra push toward greatness. The albums final track, “Victory Or Death” is the perfect way to end the album. With an excellent blend of dungeon synth style keyboards, ambient synths, cinematic score and spoken word, this song provides a final dirge for the villagers of the mythical village in the forest to look up to.

Mantle Of Dust has created an excellent dungeon synth album with their fifth effort, ‘Through Paths Well Remembered’. On this album I hear many influences such as medieval synth, forest synth, ambient, and cinematic movie score. Additionally, with the use of live instruments and vocals/spoken word in several spots, they’ve added elements not normally used on your typical dungeon synth album. This is a superb album and one that is definitely worth checking out. Please click on the link below to download this album and support this amazing artist!

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Links:

https://mantleofdust.bandcamp.com/album/through-paths-well-remembered

Top 10 Dungeon Synth Releases of 2019 by The Dungeon In Deep Space

This has been a fantastic year for dungeon synth! More artists, more releases, and a more diversified range of sounds being infused to keep things as interesting as ever. Even with the successful DIY approach of many artist, more micro-labels have surfaced with physical releases/distribution and even merchandise. That all being said, coming up with a top 10 list out of what seemed like a million dungeon synth releases this year was extremely difficult. However, I decided to keep it simple and resorted to the albums that I continue to listen to on a daily or weekly basis. Whether you agree or not, I hope you enjoy my top 10 dungeon synth releases of 2019!

10. Varkâna – Ahrimanic Chambers

https://varkana.bandcamp.com/album/ahrimanic-chambers

Varkâna’s conceptual album based on the death spirit known as Angra Mainyu, is extremely dark and has a chilling mix of droning dungeon synth keys, live drums on several tracks and ambient undertones throughout. Top quality work on this excellent album and a well deserved entry in my top 10 list.

9. Borg – The Triumph Of Spring

https://dungeonsdeeprecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-triumph-of-spring

Borg’s ‘The Triumph Of Spring’ is probably the black sheep of my list. It’s strange, quirky, unique and full of harmonized (what sounds like) kazoo solo’s, but I find myself returning to this album quite often. The entertainment value is extremely high and the music is as close as you’ll get to comedic, medieval music. It may not be for everyone but I absolutely love this!

8. Wayfarer – Ata Amutar

https://eldestgaterecords.bandcamp.com/album/ata-amutar

Wayfarer create a very unique brand of dungeon synth. The songs are very long, constructed as if they could be part of a fantasy movie soundtrack, and yet they are all very different and flow together so well. Although there are a few uplifting parts, most of the vibe on this recording is bleak in nature. For those that like background music while you’re working, studying, sleeping, etc., then this superb album may be right up your alley.

7. Solus Woods – The Wanderer

https://soluswoods.bandcamp.com/album/the-wanderer

Solus Ritual is so much more that your average dungeon synth artist. Leaning less on medieval aesthetics and more on ritualistic ambience, Solus Ritual is in a class of its own. Although I reviewed two other amazing albums by this artist earlier this year, “The Wanderer” is the album that stands out as the shining gem in the discography for me.

6. Dungeontroll – Labyrinth Of The Golden Princess

https://dungeontroll.bandcamp.com/album/labyrinth-of-the-golden-princess

Dungeontroll have released four albums this year and “Labyrinth Of The Golden Princess” is hands down the best offering of the four. The music is amazing fantasy synth, with a touch of melancholy and somber expressions . Additionally, the untold story behind the concept is one that manifested with me from the very beginning.

5. Aufhocker – False Confessions

https://aufhocker.bandcamp.com/album/false-confessions

This could very well be the soundtrack to your worst nightmare! Although, not a nightmare filled with bludgeoning horror, but one filled with eerie visions and mystic, abandoned places! This is very well crafted and is surprisingly not as one dimensional as you would expect from an album containing eighty minutes worth of music! Of the ten Aufhocker albums that were released in 2019, this magnum opus is my absolute favorite!

4. Blue-Ghost – Coral Sea

https://ussblueghost.bandcamp.com/

Although the musical components are true to dungeon synth, the story is based around Naval battles in the Pacific that occurred during WWII. The music is depressive and somber and probably accurately represents the emotional state of the sailors back in those times. Absolutely genius!!

3. Nameless King – Sovereignless Souls

https://namelessking.bandcamp.com/album/sovereignless-souls

This was the third release of the year by Nameless King and its an outright monster! The crystal clear production allows the multiple layers of keys & synths to take the spotlight and the result is one of the most majestic sounding DS releases of the year. The songwriting is spectacular and I can easily imagine a life in medieval times every time I listen to this magnificent recording!

2. Immateriæ – Leere

https://immateriae.bandcamp.com/album/leere

Immateriæ successfully uses dungeon synth fundamentals to an advantage by creating a retro-style space exploration ambient album. This is something new, fresh and unlike anything else I’ve ever heard in this genre. Four tracks and nearly thirty minutes of spacey dungeon synth is exactly what I needed to hear at the time of its release and I’ve not stopped listening to it since.

1. Inoriand – Silence

https://eldestgaterecords.bandcamp.com/album/silence

Inoriand’s ‘Silence’ was released in May of this year and I’ve not stopped bragging about it since then. Ethereal and dreamy, this cold, winter synth masterpiece evokes the feeling of dread and isolation but not necessarily in a negative way. With ‘Silence’ I imagine being stuck alone in a fire-lit cabin on a winters mountainside with no contact to the outside world. Such an incredible & amazing album and my top pick for dungeon synth album of the year!

Vandalorum Soothes The Soul With Warm Vibes On Prodigious Conceptual album, ‘Flagellum Dei’

Atilla The Hun was one of the most revered leaders in the history of the world. He was greatly feared by his enemies and respected by the warriors that fought by his side. Although his unsuccessful surges into Rome, Persia and Constantinople (modern day Istanbul) brought moments of uncertainty, he subsequently invaded and decimated the northern areas of Italy and also the Balkans. What better way to immortalize this great figure and the culture of The Huns than by an atmospheric dungeon synth recording. ‘Flagellum Dei’ by Vandalorum presents a beautiful, conceptual album that is based in Dungeon synth, but also contains atmospheric field recordings, a good dose of percussion, and some twist and turns throughout. Although the overall musical output of ‘Flagellum Dei’ is calm and soothing, it portrays the story of harsh, war-time battles, when countries and territories were overtaken by great force. There is also a great cinematic sound quality to these tunes as well, as they could easily be part of a soundtrack that depicts action and adventure from medieval times.

“Death And Plunder” opens the album with a traditional dungeon synth sound and contains a backing drum track that brings out more emotions as the melody graces our ears in multiple layers. Next comes “Battle Of Chersonesus” and with its gloomy introduction and battle cry samples, depicts a scene of warriors preparing for battle. Although it has mostly an ambient feel to it, the last part of the song kicks into high gear as the dungeon synth sounds come to the forefront (along with more battle cry samples), putting the listener right in the heart of the battle. “Honoria’s Ring” starts with an alluring keyboard arrangement and contains an abundance of melody and empathy that matches perfectly with the lush field recording sounds throughout. “Mounted Archers Of The Steppe” is my favorite song on the album as it begins as a consoling ambient piece with perfectly matched added sounds and samples, as well as various instruments to broaden the scope of the arrangement. Throughout the song, you can feel it building into something exciting, as if the climactic ending of a battle is in near pursuit. Close to the end, the song erupts into a full-on rock arrangement. “Punishment” begins as a grim dark ambient recording and then fades into a cinematic dirge, with droning tones, layered with an echoed keyboard pattern. This is another standout track, as it is well written and performed near perfectly. “Wielding The Sword Of Mars” is a slow, ethereal song that summaries all of the style of the album into a single entity. From the ambient textures, dungeon synth melodies, to the intertwined drum patterns and superb writing, this song has all of the qualities necessary for repeated listens. “Hidden Burial Of The Chieftian” has a quirky dungeon-esque vibe, in which I can see Attila himself hanging out with his troops, enjoying a moment of downtime and festivities, after one of their great invasions. This song is a well-received surprise to the album, especially since it is mostly filled with ghostly and vivid tunes. The final track, “Atilla And Bleda” is a great arrangement in which I envision a gruesome showdown between the two brothers that resulted in the slaying of Bleda. Although historically there are several accounts for how this showdown commenced, the ending is undeniable and the creepy music (especially the monotone drum pattern) does it justice.

Vandalorum have created a monumental dungeon synth recording with ‘Flagellum Dei’. Combining the sounds of various genres of music with battle-like field recordings and an overall cinematic sound, this is an excellent recording and worthy of representing such a historical figure and leader in Atilla The Hun. Although Realm And Ritual will be releasing a physical version of ‘Flagellum Dei’ in the near future, it can be downloaded digitally now, at the link below. Vandalorum is an excellent up and coming dungeon synth artist that has proven he has what it takes to have longevity on the dungeon synth scene. Show your support and download this amazing album now.

Please Like/Follow my blog so that you’ll get first hand updates every time I post a review. Thanks for visiting the Dungeon!!

Link:

https://vandalorum.bandcamp.com/album/flagellum-dei

Physical Release (TBD):

https://realmandritual.bandcamp.com/merch