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.
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Physical Release (TBD):