Dungeon Synth music just gets better and better each and every year. For 2022, it seems like a million Dungeon Synth albums were released and unfortunately, I didn’t get to listen to most of them. However, I did listen to A LOT of albums and some of my favorite artists created their best works to date, while many new artists brought their A game to this ever growing community. I hope you enjoy reading my Top 10 favorite Dungeon Synth / Synth releases of 2022 and hope some of these made your lists as well.
10. Meadow Grove – A Shattered Heritage
Meadow Grove has released a handful of impressive albums this year but ‘A Shattered Heritage’ is the one that I keep going back to the most. There is a dynamic quality about these songs that ranges from battle-like hymns to soundtrack-ready anthems. Shifting from cinematic and grandiose to simplistic and alluring, ‘A Shattered Heritage’ has a variety of music that is bound to appeal to a broad range of electronic enthusiasts looking for a further dive into the Dungeon Synth realm.
9. Pukel’E – SaqalE
Talking about a surprise, from out of nowhere comes Pukel’E with a short nineteen minute offering of the most impressive synth music I’ve heard in a while. From my favorite Dungeon Synth label – Voices Of The Ainur – ‘SaqalE’ blends Medieval Synth anthems with Winter Synth themes, producing a mesmerizing sound that I’ve not heard since ‘Silence’ by Inoriand (2019). My only complaint is that there should be forty tracks instead of four with about two hours of playing time. Jokes aside, this is an outstanding release and I can’t wait for this project to produce more music of this caliber.
8. Sunken Basilica – Sunken Basilica
Blasting onto the Dungeon Synth scene with a grizzly debut album, Sunken Basilica is quickly making a name for this bold new project. Composing a collection of Dungeon Synth anthems with a dystopian edge, these songs are raw, gritty and most of all, memorable. The low fidelity production makes these arrangements standout even more as it thematically sets a precedent for Medieval music and the dilapidated quality of times that it represents. I can’t recommend this one enough – especially if you’re into the more obscure aspects of Dungeon Synth.
7. Skuggkonungen – Den Svarta Stjärnans Brödraskap
There is a masterfully-crafted, calming essence that is congruent on all Skuggkonungen releases that continuously draws you in and wanting more. From synthwave to comfy synth and even ambient textures, the tracks on this album epitomize the true characteristics of Dungeon Synth without sounding dry and played out. Songs such as “Stilla” and “Tid Och Rum” have a futurist style but at the same time, are nostalgic in nature. If you’re new to Skuggkonungen, this would be a great place to start your listening endeavors.
6. Jenn Taiga – Siege
Refusing to be pigeonholed into a single genre, Jenn Taiga bears the sword of impiety for Dungeon Synth and beyond, while slaying those that can’t gauge the synth madness that dwells within. ‘Siege’ contains two tracks of mesmerizing synth Godliness that centers around Berlin School sequences and dark, euphoric tones, ultimately producing an uninterrupted essence of grim energy and cold intensity that is meant to be lost in – within the confines of its quintessential audial enclosure.
5. Elminster x Erythrite Throne – From Tomes Of Stygian Sorcery
So, before this album came out, I had my Top 10 list all figured out, arranged and ALMOST ready to publish. However, two of Dungeon Synth’s most majestic warriors – Erythrite Throne and Elminster – decided to grace the Iron Keep with a stalwart of an album known as ‘From Tomes Of Stygian Sorcery’. Although it’s only been out for a few weeks, there was no way I was publishing a Top 10 list without this recording on it. Three epic tracks from both artists find them at the top of their game and producing the best music of their careers (so far). “Bal-Garond Ascending” from Elminster and “As Depraved Warlocks Gather At My Tomb” by Erythrite Throne are the top tracks on this vivacious and transcending album.
4. Vandalorum – Black Mold
Although Vandalorum isn’t quite as active as other Dungeon Synth artists, the music he does produce is made of gold and considered the best of the best – well, at least to these ears. Last years flagship release, ‘Maewyn’, blew me away with its psychedelic incantations about the life and times of Saint Patrick. This year, we have the RPG soundtrack called ‘Black Mold’ and it’s my favorite release by Vandalorum thus far. Psychedelic orchestrations are fused with whimsical melodies and an assortment of chip tune styled synth leads. Most of all, the compositions are stylish and groovy with lots of surprises thrown in. This is totally an addictive album and it’s also the perfect listen for a late night (or early morning) drive.
3. Heldentenor – Blood Moons & Black Lakes: Chapter Two
The artist behind one of my favorite Dark Ambient projects – Sumatran Black – decided to release not one, but two Dungeon Synth albums simultaneously in January and without hesitation (and much ease), I can report that these albums are pretty killer. ‘Blood Moons And Black Lakes (Chapters One & Two)’ depict a new spin on the genre, but the premise and outcome are abrasive, nostalgic and a great interpretation of this wonderful genre. However, it’s Chapter Two that stands out between the pair and each song is a ten out of ten on the awesomeness scale. The standout track is the near twelve minute long, “The End?”, a seemingly endless foray into the melancholic abyss with ominous guitar strums and bleak ambience. Doesn’t get much better than that.
2. Thalmar – Pried From Winter’s Frost Laden Grip
Thalmar is one of the many projects by the conspirator behind the likes of Elminster, The Owl Knight and Moss Keep and although only a single album has been released under this moniker, it’s my absolute favorite. Four tracks of ambient induced dungeon anthems that are dark, erosive and downright terrifying. Layers of coarse madness intertwine to divulge a maniacal blend of organic synth music full of divine impurities and gloomy modulations. I practically listen to this album on a weekly basis and have done so since it’s release back in February. If you prefer your Dungeon Synth on the darker, more ominous side, then definitely give Thalmar a listen.
1. Arcanist – Hyperborea
When it comes to variety, this has to be one of the most impressive albums that I’ve heard all year. The Dungeon Synth duo know as Arcanist, has impeccably incorporated Black Metal, Berlin School and doom laden melodies in their arsenal to present the complete package know as ‘Hyperboria’ – my favorite Dungeon Synth album of 2022. With a plethora of sounds and styles at their beckoning call, Arcanist are able to compose these otherworldly tracks in a way that they are memorable, enjoyable and beguiling at the same time. I gladly offer forty three minutes of my time on a regular basis to this audial entity and in return, I’m able to submerge in a conglomerate world of exceptional synth music.
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