Throne Of Knowledge Explores Mournful & Isolated Timbres On The Profound Offering, ‘The Return To Unity’

World renowned author and playwright – Leo Tolstoy – once stated, “Music is the shorthand of emotion.” I couldn’t agree more, as we often listen to music that matches our feeling and/or emotional state. At times, music frequently instigates a particular feeling that allows the listener to drift into an ardent state of explicit emotions or imaginative foundations. One such compelling artist that provokes those very sentiments is Throne Of Knowledge, a Dark Ambient/Winter Synth project that presents an impactful sense of mystical feelings through cold and somber drones. On the latest album, ‘The Return To Unity’, three extended tracks of space ambient and winter synth tones fuse wonderfully to create a hypnotizing atmosphere of otherworldly experiences.

The haunting opening track, “The Return To Unity”, showcases a sequence of looping melodies, perpetual drones and celestial atmospherics that promulgates an alluring sense of bliss across twenty seven minutes of playing time. This is an extraordinary track that implicitly serves as a soundtrack for meditative sequences. If you’re expecting a lot of change ups, soundscapes and explosive moments, you’ll need to seek that type of music expression elsewhere. However, if a relaxing, and introspective experience is what you’re vying for, then look no future than this beautiful track as it sincerely provides that moment of reflection that is much desired. Next up is the sixteen minute long endeavor, “Aura”. Even more minimalistic than the first track, this will invoke a period of mental solitude through bleak drones and the occasional soundscape that depicts instances of awareness and contemplation. If the first track is the one that takes the listener to an altered state, then “Aura” is the track that locks the listener in for the duration of this pensive experience. The winter synth tones are prevalent throughout this track as the atmosphere is cold, dry and full of gray colors and sounds. The final song on the album is “The Observer Effect”. Although considered a bonus track, this is the third and final installment of the meditation experience as it’s the one that slowly pulls the listener back to reality. This near sixteen minute long track contains more key rhythms and is presented in a quicker pace than the previous songs. Although the gloomy drone is still ubiquitous, it’s used more in the background than in the forefront, allowing for the harmonies to take over and draw the listener in to a refreshed perspective of life and happenstance. Having this bonus track on the album makes perfect sense as it completes a sonic adventure of mindfulness and prospective gain.

This third chapter of the Throne Of Knowledge collection is an exceptional work of art that tells a wordless story of nature and peaceful existence. Although firmly rooted in Dark Ambient, there are underlying tones and themes that give this adventurous piece endless meaning and also a home in other genres such as Winter Synth and – in a way – Atmospheric Dungeon Synth. I highly recommend this album for a relaxing experience, so please check it out at the link below and enjoy this highly effective masterpiece.

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Links:

https://throneofknowledge.bandcamp.com/album/the-return-to-unity

Top 10 Dungeon Synth / Synth Releases Of 2021

The great thing about the Dungeon Synth community is that it’s growing at a staggering rate and it seems like multiple albums by an array of artists are getting released on a daily basis. The downside of that is picking just 10 releases to be featured on my Top 10 Dungeon Synth / Synth albums list of 2021. If I had the time to create and talk about my Top 50 releases, I’d certainly do so. However, since it would take me too long to get that done, you’re stuck with a list of my Top 10 favorites of this year. Please enjoy and show your support for these artists if you don’t already do so.

10. Lamp & Dagger (Various Artists) – This Tape Is Haunted

https://lampanddagger.bandcamp.com/album/this-tape-is-haunted

Although this may be considered by some “a seasonal album”, it’s much more than that. It’s like a soundtrack of dread and horror that provides a terrifying backdrop to your ghoulish nightmares. Lamp & Dagger assimilated an all-star cast of Dungeon Synth artists to step beyond their traditional undertakings for creating a spectacle of anguish and fear. The results are breathtakingly evil and definitely deserves more than a seasonal listen. I’ve not stopped listening to this since it’s release and it’s more than worthy of kicking off my Top 10 Dungeon Synth/Synth albums of 2021 list.

9. Baerdcyn – We Are But Somber Beings

https://baerdcyn.bandcamp.com/album/we-are-but-somber-beings

Baerdcyn is a multi-talented artists that finds his stride with a myriad of acoustic instruments and organic tones. Just off the beaten path of traditional Dungeon Synth, ‘We Are But Somber Beings’ is a masterclass in instrumental compositions with raw emotions as the driving force. These mournful tracks contain some of the most serene arrangements that I’ve heard in a while and it’s been one of my go-to albums when I relinquish myself to a period of relaxation and relief from day-to-day endeavors. Tune in to this peaceful, Medieval offering and enjoy its blissful mystery.

8. Elminster – Mountain Specters

https://elminster.bandcamp.com/album/mountain-specters

Elminster is one of my favorite Dungeon Synth artists that has turn it up a notch or two this year with releasing multiple stellar albums and expanding his arsenal amongst multiple project titles. Although just about everything has been amazing, it’s the ‘Mountain Specters’ album that has consumed the most plays from the ever-growing Elminster catalog. The tunes are very dreamy with an alluring charm that depicts a brief time of light during a rather dark period. If someone were to ask me a good starting point for discovering Elminster, I’d look no further than ‘Mountain Specters’.

7. Vandalorum – Maewyn

https://vandalorum.bandcamp.com/album/maewyn

‘Maewyn’ came out earlier in the year but I still listen to it quite often. The conceptual album based on the legend of Saint Patrick maximizes the sound spectrum with massive layers of synth effects, odd noises and percussive patterns & drum fills that are out of this world. With a fusion of upbeat and gloomy arrangements, this is not only an interesting album to listen to, it’s also one of my favorites of 2021 and it rightfully deserves the space on this list.

6. Jenn Taiga – Lunar Nocturnes & Esoteric Incantations

https://jenntaiga.bandcamp.com/album/lunar-nocturnes-and-esoteric-incantations

Jenn Taiga has hit another home run with ‘Lunar Nocturnes & Esoteric Incantations’. Auspiciously fusing Berlin School, retro synthwave and the underlying elements of Dungeon Synth, Jenn Taiga has created a type of energy that is impressive, addictive to listen to, and at times leaves an anxious feeling of the unknowing with regards to song structure and limitless capability. For me, it’s hard to top 2020’s ‘Plight’, but ‘Lunar Nocturnes & Esoteric Incantations’ expands the horizons of the aforementioned with its awe-inspiring resilience and is just as impressive.

5. Uilos – I: Dark Night Of The Soul

https://socalledhell.bandcamp.com/album/i-dark-night-of-the-soul

Out of all the albums in my Top 10 list, this is the only one that caught me by surprise. This is a pensive recording that exposes a meditative value with each and every listen. The production effort is a predominant factor that maximizes the tranquility of this recording and it’s the wall of sound vibe that makes this such a grand offering. The music ranges from Medieval styled anthems to modern synth harmonies and everything just fits…perfectly! Uilos is an artist that I’ll be following really closely from now on.

4. Wampyric Solitude – The Splendor Of Loneliness

https://wampyricsolitude.bandcamp.com/album/the-splendor-of-loneliness

Wampyric Solitude is the only artist (at least for me), that has an album in both of my Top 10 year end lists (one here and another in my Dark Ambient list). In what I consider to be his defining moment in Dungeon Synth, we are graced with ‘The Splendor Of Loneliness’. This album emits almost ninety minutes worth of abrasive Dungeon Synth that is dark, ominous and portrays the hardship of Medieval confrontations. Every track is a near masterpiece but there are several that stand out. “Enthroned Amongst The Eldritch Shadows” and “A Putrid Stench From The Grave Of Hope” are without a doubt some of the best tracks I’ve heard this year. If caustic Dungeon Synth is your thing, then don’t go another minute without checking out this gem.

3. Landsraad – The Golden Path

https://landsraad.bandcamp.com/album/the-golden-path

Dungeon Synth constructed around the Dune Universe? Yes, absolutely and not only is the concept enthralling but the music is some of the best that was produced all year. Although comfortably seeded in the Dungeon Synth genre, it’s the synthwave aesthetics that propel this album to great heights. Providing a futuristic atmosphere with retrospective effects, this is a true audial translation of the Dune story. This spectacle is sure to stand the test of time and will remain one of my favorites for many years to come.

2. Erythrite Throne – Eternal Frost Of The Dark Ages

https://serpentsswordrecords.bandcamp.com/album/eternal-frost-of-the-dark-ages

Whether you’re new to the Dungeon Synth genre or not, Erythrite Throne is most likely one of those artists that will get referred to the most as the “go to” for consistent musical releases. After all, in this modest community of artists and fans, Erythrite Throne would be considered a household name. That being said, there are several amazing facets to his music including Vampyric Blackened Synth and Symphonic intonations. Although every bit is amazing, it’s the symphonic side that I tend to gravitate to the most. ‘Eternal Frost Of The Dark Ages’ is one of those albums and – in my opinion – may be the best album in the discography. Made up of four epic long players, these cinematic anthems deliver a gloomy but melodic style that is supremely written and produced. Every song stands out in this masterclass effort and this has been one of my most played albums of the year.

1. Leander – Sorrow Dwellings

https://leander33.bandcamp.com/album/sorrow-dwellings

There is something extremely special about Leander’s sophomore effort, ‘Sorrow Dwellings’. Not only is the music absolutely incredible, but as a whole, it just feels personal, as if it were exclusively written for me and/or my emotional state. This album was released in January and here in December, it has remained my favorite Synth album of the year. At times it has a traditional Dungeon Synth vibe, other times it has a 70’s prog rock feel to it and above all, these compositions were exquisitely written and are some of the best tunes I’ve ever heard – of any genre. Although only consisting of five tracks, they all stand out in their own way during this thirty seven minute journey. I can’t wait to hear what the future holds for this exciting artist.

Inoriand Returns With Another Winter Synth Extravaganza Aptly Titled, ‘Life Frozen’

It’s been nearly sixteen months since we’ve heard any great tunes from the Eldest Gate Records Bandcamp page. Once thriving with life, as multiple projects routinely released one amazing album after another, those monumental occasions have grown scarce as only Inoriand released a single album in 2020. However, now back from the frozen dead (for lack of a better phrase), Inoriand has returned with a Dark Ambient/Winter Synth masterpiece in a single track called, ‘Life Frozen’. Now, I’m not sure if this is a continuation of winter themed albums, like 2020’s, ‘A World Frozen’, or a bleak double-entendre for how the COVID-19 pandemic has plagued the entire world – perhaps both. At any rate, this near thirty one minute long track is exceptionally written and may be one of my favorite releases under the Inoriand brand.

Although the overall theme for the album is the cold, austere atmospherics of winter, there is a particular warmness that infects this monumental track. It’s as if the harshness of winter is slowly fading and the crystallized water is beginning to thaw, paving the way for a new season. As “Life Frozen” commences with droning keys and a gentle transition between notes, there is an overall vibe of tranquility and quietness that presents the notion of the chilling landscape chronicled in this song, has been a path less traveled for the duration of the winter months. An elegant keyboard melody begins to play at around the three minute mark and remains dominant for the majority of the track. Various soundscapes and effects are also introduced, creating a hypnotizing scene of serenity. At around the ten minute mark, slightly enhanced modulations bring a darker color to the track, representing an extreme isolation from society, as the ice continues to melt at a leisurely pace. At almost the eighteen minute mark, the track shifts gears again, bringing back a version of the original keyboard melody that was so predominant at the beginning. Maintaining a constant drone in the background, this portion of the track is well composed and almost trance-like, as the listener – by this point – will have a great view of an untouched winter landscape that seemingly reaches a utopian state as each second passes. With just six minutes remaining, another slight shift occurs with the addition of haunting effects with the drones becoming a bit louder in the mix. The climax of the track (and winter) has passed and the dawn of a new season is inevitable as the album ends in majestic winter synth fashion.

I’m really pleased that Inoriand has graced us with a new album of exalted, winter synth. One of the great artists of this sub-genre, Inoriand always creates a captivating landscape of musical textures and haunting ambience and it’s so easy to get lost in the compositions that are released. ‘Life Frozen’ is the perfect example of all of these elements working together to form the ultimate platform for a dormant, wintery escape. Eldest Gate Records continues their run of releasing premium music and Inoriand is without a doubt my favorite act from the label. If you’re into winter synth with elements of dark ambience, look no further than ‘Life Frozen’. Continue to support this wonderful label & artist and click on the link below to download this superb album.

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

Links:

https://eldestgaterecords.bandcamp.com/album/life-frozen

Eyre Transmissions XI – Interview With Medieval Dungeon Synth Artist, Pale Castle

If there is ever a musical venture that represents the desolation of solitude while remaining steadfast to the culture of true Medieval Dungeon Synth music, Pale Castle would fit the bill perfectly. Creating a sound that mirrors emptiness and isolation, Pale Castle excels at composing bleak arrangements that casts the listener back to an ancient time of fierce commonwealth rivalries, mystical imagery and mythical adventures, while presenting a soothing atmosphere to get lost in. I recently had the pleasure of communicating with the mastermind behind Pale Castle to gain more in-site to this amazing project and what adventures are to come.

1. First of all, welcome to the Dungeon and thank you for this interview opportunity. The name ‘Pale Castle’ is so intriguing to me because there could be so many meanings for its being. How did you come up with the name and what does it mean to you?

You are very welcome. This is first time I have spoken to the outside world and I thank you for the opportunity. The timing was providence as I have now finished a journey from a dark place of inspiration. 

The name is a place, the place is where I once dwelt. The castle was not always pale but now it fades. Some say it’s no longer there….I have not seen it in ages. 

The Pale Castle is where memories once grew but now fade away. Another musician I admire once said that he could “build a castle with memories just to have somewhere to go”. That is how the listener could interpret ‘Pale Castle’…as a fortress of memories.

2. The music of Pale Castle is – at times – very bleak and dismal, presenting a true Medieval perception. Was that the vision for this project?

Thank you, for that is what I sought to convey.

The vision is that of solitude and adventure. 

A personal journey that I would like to share with my listeners. It’s my path in life to seek mystery and find a higher purpose though music and the realms it brings me to. 

My photography on the Pale Castle Instagram heightens and documents this passage.

Simply put though, the vision is a tale as old as time itself. Loss, gain, death and rebirth. The songs are fragments and imprints of my torment and occasionally my joy. That is my vision, a projection of my emotions both jovial and melancholic.  

3. I really enjoy the minimalistic aspect of the compositions, especially on the S/T album. What’s your typical routine for creating and tracking a typical Pale Castle song?

Sometimes I wander the hills and valleys and there I find inspiration in the wind and the night’s sky. There, when I’m Fortunate enough, I am hit with a burst of creative energy and begin to whistle or hum a few chords and melodies. I take that energy and store it in my mind. Then, when I return to my quarters I center myself and begin to preserve it. The process varies depending on the ambiance or sound I ultimately desire to achieve. I use a few different instrument and I enjoy sketching out a kind of story with a single motif and then expanding from that as my mood commands the direction of the track. A lot of the sorcery happens in the mixing and mastering phase of an album. 

I prefer minimal arrangements as it allows for the listener to focus on the emotion of the piece. Powerful chords and melodies and can be repeated with benefit, similarly as a steady fire can warm one’s bones.

4. My favorite track from the S/T is “Wall Of Blood Crosses”. How did you amass such an ethereal sound for that track and what was the inspiration behind it?

Plenty of analog reverb and tape delay was used to get that tone. It was layered several times as well. The inspiration came from the story that the album tells. As you can see, the album has a linear narrative that is told through the song titles. “Wall Of Blood Crosses” is the part in the story when I am wandering the castle and reflecting on my history and admiring the silver crosses filled with my family’s blood going back centuries. Imagine a huge hallway lined with such talismans all sealed with lead to keep them protected. 

That is the wall of blood crosses. Thousands of talismans filled with blood in a room that is most likely no more. “What happened to the crosses?” one might ask. 

I no longer care anymore. 

5. It’s impressive how your songs can transition from ominous to harmonious on a whim. Is there a particular concept in mind for these types of arrangements?

The concept is that those are reflections of life and how things change quickly, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. Especially when traveling. Dungeon Synth to me was always about the idea of traveling and adventure even if only in one’s mind. 

And even in the mind the mood of one’s thoughts can change without warning. This can be an emotional spark in music when done with feeling. I like to catch my listeners off guard and so that maybe they are slightly startled and taken back if for only a split second. That is not unlike when an animal or a force of nature enters your path while wunderlusting on an otherwise clear road. 

6. Moving on to ‘Sorrowful Memories’, it still contains the dreary aspects of the S/T, but this time around there seems to be more cinematic elements. Was it a conscious decision to branch out with a grander sound the second time around?

The initial offering captured in the self titled release is all about the castle and the stories within it’s boundaries. ‘Sorrowful Mysteries’ is the adventurous spirit the was freed once I was able to separate my soul from my body. On the first tape I created a cold and confined sound to illustrate the oubliette like atmosphere, in ‘Sorrowful Mysteries’ I wanted to convey the feeling of traveling and discovery. So yes, it was a very conscious decision to create a more cinematic sound. The listener should feel outdoors and upon a means travel. 

7. Your songs carry a lot of background ambience that is not only soothing, but an important part of your sound. Have you ever considered doing a Dark Ambient project as well?

I have done several Dark Ambient projects over the years. My very first recordings in the late 1990s could be considered Dark Ambient. 

I was only a teenager when I started recording music, nonetheless I believe that Dark Ambient was my first inspiration for recording my own compositions. There are artifacts of these recordings and others that were produced throughout the 2000s and as recently as last year. I will not name them here but there are ways to find these projects. 

That was another life. Still, fragments remain.

8. “The Gathering Of Spirits” is one of my favorite tracks from ‘Sorrowful Memories’ as it seems to have that gothic, romanticism influence. What were some of your influences during the recording of this album and this track in particular.

When my father died in 2011 it was in our family home and many souls gathered there, myself included to witness his death. Convergences such as these are a sort of phenomenon that occur with little or no flow of information, as if to say that the spirits inform those who need to know. The spirits also gather with each other for the preparation to carry one’s essence to the land of deeper shade.

A family friend one night once witnessed an eerie green ball of energy hover over my family’s land, he and I both believe this to have been my father’s power manifested as it was right before he fell ill. After my father’s body grew cold and rigid other visitors arrived.

They brought flowers to adorn his corpse and helped wrap him in sheepskin pelts. 

Some told us that they knew not of his demise and were only guided to the estate by an urge. Others came wholeheartedly to pay their final respects. He was the sorcerer and the final track is about his death as well. As far as musical inspiration for that track I’d say that perhaps it was inspired by my memories of that fateful night.

9. Speaking of influences, let’s talk about your Dungeon Synth beginnings if we can. When did you first start listening to the genre and who were some of your favorite artists?

My first encounter with Dungeon Synth is difficult to pinpoint as I have been listening to unusual music for quite awhile and definitely heard “dungeon” like music on the odd college radio stations at night in the 1990s. 

With that said though I would say that my first introduction to traditional Dungeon Synth was though listening to Black Metal interludes from bands such as Dimmu Borgir, Burzum, Noktunal Mortum, Summoning and also more avant-garde dark synth, especially Sopor Aeternus & The Ensemble of Shadows. That project definitely had a very significant impact on my musical path. I would actually recommend that your readers listen to ‘Songs From The Inverted Womb’.

I would also like to take this opportunity to share an experience I had upon listening to my favorite Dungeon Synth album for the first time which is ‘Fjelltronen‘ by Wongraven. As I recall I was laying in a pitch dark room and within the first few measures of the opening track I began to feel weightless and I drifted into a simi -conscious state of being. Throughout the rest of the album I experienced what could only be described as an “out of body experience”

After that I began to see Dungeon Synth as something very special. That was 2004. By 2005 I had began recording Dungeon Synth experimentations. Pale Castle is my first complete Dungeon Synth endeavor. 

There is a “je ne sais quoi“ about the genre that definitely matches my personality. 

Not in a dark and brooding gothic fantasy way, more akin though to my fascination with the past and of realms unfound or forgotten.

Loss, isolation, suffering, love and remembrance…those are the aspects of life that stoke the fires of the castle.

10. When did you realize that you wanted to record a Dungeon Synth album and at that time were you involved with any other non-synth based music projects?

I have been recording synthesized music since the 1990s and have been involved with a handful of black metal, ambient, experimental groups and solo projects over the last two decades, although as of 2010 I have been producing and recording only synth based ambient and Dungeon Synth. 

The idea for Pale Castle came to me in late 2019 as I began to see the future of “dark music” and it’s esthetics. The romanticism of old-school black metal, the re-discovery of what brought me solace and to be in a mental place where I felt I could give it a valiant effort. 

That is when the transformation occurred. 

I found the castle in the dark recesses of my mind. It’s with me now forever. 

And with that said, I will choose to remain quiet about those earlier recordings as I see them as part of an old life. Not that I am ashamed or not proud of my past but rather to exemplify my commitment to the future and to Pale Castle. 

11. Earlier this year you released the ‘Remember Together, Remember Forever’ cassette, which features both Pale Castle recordings. How is the cassette release doing so far and what do you think about the recent surge in cassette sales as a form of music release?

At time of this interview it is almost gone far as it’s availability on my Bandcamp merch page. 

So that is good, most importantly because that means it is being heard and shared with others and hopefully will bring some to tears, whether they be tears of joy or sadness, so long as they are not tears like those of a crocodile.

That is the goal of my music, to get a genuine emotional response, especially stimuli connected to memories and personal turmoils. 

Yes, the appreciation of the cassette tape as a collectible form of musical preservation is something that makes me smile. When the compact tape cassette was introduced in 1963 it was not yet a major competition to the vinyl LP, by the late 1970s though it was becoming a standard for music collections across the world. It remained very popular until the early 1990s when CDs, although introduced in 1982 we’re finally more affordable and the players portable enough to start the inevitable death of the cassette tape from a popular consumer prospective. That is what is endearing about cassette culture, that people choose to support artists who make tapes and collect their releases despite it being cumbersome and less convenient. I think the resurgence is also due in part by the current generation hearing about the old times of tape trading and the satisfaction of making something by hand. That is the thing about cassettes, they require just the right amount of patience to make at home but are not too expensive such as the case with vinyl and when compared to CDs, tapes are much more resilient. I have seen an uptick in compact discs as well though,albeit in other genres such as noise and ambient. To finish the subject, I will say that I think the resurgence of tape is an art in and of itself and that alone is a testament to the importance of the cassette’s existence.

12. What else is in store for Pale Castle for the remainder of 2021?

Currently I am recording new tracks for a 60 minute album titled “When Everyone Else Dies, We Won’t” Hopefully I will find the time to also design and make a few clothing items. 

Not only t-shirts, I’d like to offer some one of a kind garments and special items for my supporters. That is the beautiful part of this new golden age of independent artists, no longer do musicians and artists need the approval and favors of the gatekeepers to share their creative passions.

I plan to share many of my creations in 2021.

13. Have you ever thought about performing in a live setting or is Pale Castle strictly a studio project?

The idea of preforming Pale Castle live is something that intrigues me, it would most certainly have to be the appropriate location and setting though. An old church, a stone cellar or an actual dungeon. Short of a venue along those lines I don’t see it happening. If I were possessed to somehow play a bar or club I would probably loose my temper at the crowd and go from “dungeon synth” to “prison synth” 

No, If I were to perform it would have to be around a respectful audience in a somber atmosphere.

14. I really appreciate your time for this interview. Do you have any final thoughts or words for those that will be reading this?

Thank you for the invitation and for providing me an audience so that I could share my thoughts regarding not only my music but that of the genre itself and with that I would like to say that Dungeon Synth is not a novelty genre to me and that it’s existence is very much rooted in history though various periods in human history. Growing up I often heard sounds that are not “synth” but most definitely of the “dungeon” I would like to say that Dungeon Synth and Dark Ambient as musical genres are two of the most important aspects of my artistic pursuit in life and that anyone considering releasing their recordings should definitely go forth and be proud of your creations. To all artists, take personal time to be alone with your thoughts preferably in the outdoors or more importantly where you as an individual feels the most tranquil. It is within that tranquility that you will find your most genuine ideas. I could ramble for an eon but I shall save that for hopefully a later time with you as I would be interested in a video interview in the future. In closing I would like to say thanks to you again and all hailz be to TYRANNUS! thank you for your music and inspiration! You are noticed and appreciated. 

– Bless all those who keep the candles burning and the fires lit. I feel your pain and I hear your voices in the night.

-Pale Castle

Links:

https://palecastle.bandcamp.com

https://www.facebook.com/𝔭𝔞𝔩𝔢-𝔠𝔞𝔰𝔱𝔩𝔢-111304390635373

https://www.instagram.com/pale_castle/

Hasufel Spreads Anguish Into The Halls Of Madness With Synth-Spectacular, ‘Exaltation’

‘Exaltation’ has been a highly anticipated release ever since the advertisements and promo packages have been putting out exciting information on the music contained within for the past few months. For me, it provoked a sense of enthusiasm for really wanting to dive in and examine the power of each track. With just four songs and about twenty minutes of playing time, I expected this one to hit hard right from the opening note until the final one. So after have experiencing this album at least five or six times now, do I think it lives up to the hype? Absolutely…and then some! ‘Exaltation’ is a seamless blend of Dungeon Synth, Winter Synth and Dark Ambient with superb vocal narrations and effects, as well as ominous soundscapes and field recordings. This is quite the unique listening experience and definitely a rewarding one.

“School Of The Prophets” begins with eerie drones and sinister, lo-fi soundscapes, depicting a true scenery of dungeon vibes and heinous Medieval existence. Winter synth tones come into the equation and are quite melodic, but as an addition to the darkened tones, it’s presents a grim listening experience. Pastoral narrations add a maniacal and dreadful emotion that may seem overwhelming, but fits in perfectly to maintain the gloomy ambiance. The song closes out with a single – high-pitched – tones that leads right in to, “White Mildew”, another bleak affair that showcases what it would have been like to be committed to a lifetime of Dungeon-dwelling existence. The slight echo on the voice narrations is reminiscent of early 90’s Black Metal ambient sections – desolate and ominous at best. Although keyboards are used in a minimalistic setting, they fuse perfectly with the atmosphere of this track. “Salvación” is a slow builder, almost tribal-like, with more outstanding narrative parts. This time there is a vocal variant that is added, expanding the density of the soundscapes and field recordings. This track is almost in the realm of ritualistic black ambient, and is one of my favorite recordings on the album. However, amongst the chaos, it ends on an austere, but peaceful note. The final song on the album is the title track, “Exaltation”. From the very beginning, it emits very creepy vibes with heavily reverberated piano tracks and almost circus-like anthems, as if a great show was coming to a close. This is a grand meshing of the senses, as it is part whimsical and part malevolent. It’s like chaos with paralysis and a perfect way to end this short but amazing album.

Hasufel fuses the best of both worlds – speaking specifically of Dungeon Synth and Dark Ambient. Although ‘Exaltation’ doesn’t fit firmly in either of these genres, the prodigious tracks contained within takes the best of both genres and expands them to a realm of unimaginable terror and viscous imagery. I’m completely fascinated by this recording and it reminds me of 90’s Black Metal as well, especially with the dissonant ambient interludes that create the horrific scenes between the tracks of hateful riffing. I highly recommend checking out ‘Exaltation’ if any of the above-mentioned descriptives appeal to you. I guarantee that you won’t be disappointed, so click on the link below and download this spectacular album.

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

Links:

https://pacificthrenodies.bandcamp.com/album/exaltation

‘Voices Of The Ainur’ Is A Podcast That Showcases The Best In Dungeon Synth, Dark Ambient, The Obscure, And Beyond

It’s rare to find a podcast that properly showcases the mystical wonders of Dungeon Synth, placating matters of Dark Ambient and the arcane obscurities within the realms of synth music. However, ‘Voices Of The Ainur’ just may be the premier podcast that embodies the spirit of these genres in a supremely engaging platform.

Commencing in October of this year, ‘Voices Of The Ainur’ produces high-quality episodes of the music that we love on a weekly basis. Each episode is around an hour long and features multi-genres of music in some of the most fluid mixes I’ve heard. Best of all, no talk, no interruptions, and all music! Additionally, each episode has its on mini-site with visionary photos, quotes and the playlist (with Bandcamp links) for the artists that is featured. Although this podcast was recently brought to my attention, it’s already my “go-to” platform for getting a weekly dose of the genres that I love.

In summary, ‘Voices Of The Ainur’ is a supremely composed podcast that demands to be heard. I know that we all have our favorite platforms for listening to music, whether it’s by digital download, streaming media, or physical platforms, but if you’re like me and still enjoy great podcasts, then you must check out ‘Voices Of The Ainur’. Not only is the music great, but the possible exposure to new artists makes it that much better. I’ve included the link for Apple Podcast below, but ‘Voices Of The Ainur’ is available on at least fifteen podcast platforms. The links to those can be found on the main web site (also below). Please give this awesome podcast a listen and enjoy!

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Links:

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/voices-of-the-ainur/id1534862806

https://www.voicesoftheainur.com/

https://www.facebook.com/VoicesOfTheAinur

https://twitter.com/oftheainur?s=21

Thorgnyr Delivers A Conceptual Piece On The Revolution Of Life Called, ‘Cycles’

As Dungeon Synth continues to grow in thematic expression, I’ve come to the conclusion that no subject matter is off limits at this point and anything that can arouse the emotions is worthy of a conceptual album in this ever-so-impressive genre. Although there are many noteworthy artists that have burst onto the scene to deliver their brand of medieval synth music, one that has been rather impressive as of late is Thorgnyr. On the extraordinary sophomore effort called ‘Cycles’, Thorgnyr releases four long-form tracks that conceptualize a day in the revolution of life (in general). With the help of Icelandic folklore, mythical creatures and ghost stories, these four tracks emerge as a solid story with varied influences and the outcome is outstanding.

On the opening track, “Dusk”, beautifully suppressed synths are woven into a Medieval melody that lay the ground work for this breathtaking ten and a half minute long track. After a short refrain, layers of background synths are added to thicken the sound. At around the three minute mark, synth leads orchestrate a discordant – but necessary pattern – that harmonizes well with the original melody of the music. Soon afterwards, percussive patterns are introduced, solidifying this track in the right evening time mood and preparing the listener for further enchantments that represents the other phases in this cycle. The next track is the grimly composed, “Night”. Starting with just a single keyboard melody and briskly bridging in backup sounds that are daring and bold, this track perfectly describes the title in the dark, brooding music that unfolds across nearly ten minutes of playing time. Deep, thunderous keyboards play modulating sounds that are haunting and spirit evoking. About halfway through, a quirky keyboard arrangement makes its way into the mix, as if representing the awakening of nocturnal creatures, as they stir through the land in search for food and festivities. “Dawn” begins with a loud, shrieking keyboard tone that is definitely in the Dungeon Synth tradition. As the awakening of a new day emerges, warm keyboard melodies pleasantly mix synth leads, creating a warm and inviting sound. This sound maintains a relatively quick pace for the first six minutes or so, then the track takes a sharp turn with different keyboard effect. The keyboard leads really shine throughout this whole track and they rarely let up, except on occasion to bring in more layers of synths and percussion patterns. The final track on the album is the best ten minute long, “Day”. Commencing with a high-pitched keyboard arrangement that matches the relaxing elements of nature as the day unfolds, breathing life into everting into existence. A couple of minutes in, distorted synths provide the backdrop to the enlightened melodies and gives this track an immense sound, as this album comes full circle. Again, the percussion elements add a nice layer of crunch to the track and gives it’s a grandiose feeling.

With having such a short career in the Dungeon Synth genre thus far, Thorgnyr continues to deliver the goods and proves that’s they are in it for the long haul. With just two albums under their belts – ‘Depths’ from March and ‘Cycles’ from April, Thorgnyr sounds like they’ve been delivering the ancient message for much longer than that. ‘Cycles’ is a really impressive release and one that I plan on listening to for sometime to come. Please support this amazing artist and download ‘Cycles’ from the link below.

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Links:

https://thorgnyr.bandcamp.com/album/cycles

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

Execration Chamber Blend Cinematic Quality Score With Lo-Fi Dungeon Synth On The Intrepid ‘Cathedral Of Unbeing’

Is there a more perfect time to listen to Dungeon Synth than now? As we’re faced with the global pandemic known at COVID-19, many people are confined to their own homes in order to prevent the spread of the deadly virus – basically being imprisoned in their dungeon until it’s safe to – once again – interact with society. The mood just seems right to consume some lo-fi Dungeon Synth, to take you back to those Medieval days of malicious captivity. One artist that is an absolute fit during this trying time is Execration Chamber, and on ‘Cathedral Of Unbeing’ the infusion of cinematic composition and lo-fi Dungeon Synth is just what the doctor ordered to cure the ailments of solitude.

Monumental album opener, “The Lesser Felled” begins with the soaked sounds of a heavy rain field recording, followed by dense layers of keys that harmonize in a symphonic way. The sound is gloomy and mournful but played with a sense of hope and reason. As the song comes to a close, the sounds of heavy rainfall can be heard for one final time. “Gaunt, The Night” introduces bombastic percussive elements as if an anticipated Medieval battle is on the dawn of existence. The solo keys really standout as they are crisp and have the perfect tone to augment the background rhythm. “Buried In Time” has a bleak feeling to it, as it’s galloping cadence matches the simple beat that accompanies it throughout. At times, the keys become discordant as the sound becomes more harrowing. “The Great Purging Of Memories” sounds as if it could have been an intro to an early 90’s lo-fi black metal recording with its eerie tone and divergent arrangement. “A Hallowed End Of Passage” would be the perfect track to lead a garrison of warriors into battle. With its fast-paced, rhythmic patterns, this is just the motivation needed to carry out an assault on an enemy invasion. “Imminent Warfare” is a battle-ready anthem that features wondrous organ sounds and precision drum pulses that emit a culture of feudal decadence. “Crawling Tombs” is a dismal track that has components of lush textures and emphatic keys. The continuous pounding of the drum sounds as if the surviving warriors of a brutal battle are in sync, heading back to their kingdom to recover from their wounds. “Wept In Blood” is a dismal canticle with massively layered keyboard tones that are a vivid reminder of the tragedies that preceded times of peace. The final song on the album, “Dimly” is a sorrowful dirge filled with depressive sounding keyboards that perfectly compliment the emotional journey that this album has taken us.

‘Cathedral Of Unbeing’ is an incredible album that has that old-school Dungeon Synth vibe but with and an updated cinematic quality to it. It’s fantastic to see such a broad spectrum of musical sounds collide in an epic adventure with such a prosperous outcome. These tracks flow together so well and just like many other amazing Dungeon Synth recordings, they tell a valiant Medieval story of both victory and tragedy. I’m very much looking forward to hearing more adventurous tales from Execration Chamber, but in the meantime, please support this improbable artist by downloading ‘Cathedral Of Unbeing’ from the link below.

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Links:

https://execrationchamber.bandcamp.com/album/cathedral-of-unbeing

Inoriand Finds A Comforting Balance Between Solitude And Frigid Winter Imagery On ‘A World Frozen’

When it comes to Dungeon/Winter Synth, Inoriand is easily one of my top 3 favorite artists. Their large collection of winter themed albums – almost exclusively on Eldest Gate Records – are as absorbing as they are beautifully written and 2019’s ‘Silence’, was my number one pick for dungeon/winter synth album of the year. That being said, I’m always eager to receive that email notification stating one of my most treasured artist has a new release. Once I learned that Inoriand’s latest effort, ‘A World Frozen’, consisted of just a single track with a playing time of nearly thirty nine minutes, I was beyond excited and could not wait to immerse myself in this new, icy cold musical journey. The results are astonishing and the fact that Inoriand can continued to release albums without repeating previous efforts, is a major accomplishment.

The albums only track, “A World Frozen” is like a massive expedition through the darkest & coldest season of the year in a vast, isolated land only inhabited by the occasion brave hyperborean natives and the natural replenishments they hunt for survival. At times, the conditions are peaceful, yet somewhat challenging and other times the blizzard-like circumstances make the terrain impossible to traverse. “A World Frozen” begins with a peaceful synth introduction as if the haze of the morning perpetual sunrise never existed. Random keys emit a radiance, like melting ice dripping it’s clear liquid onto the surfaces below. All seams peaceful as this scene carries on like a snapshot in time. Incandescent drones sway in and out of audio contention as if it’s in sync with the northern winds. At around the fifteen minute mark, the dripping sounds have all but faded and the droning tones shift to a slightly lower frequency, signifying a shift in temperature and and the possibility of much harsher conditions. At around the seventeen minute mark, an abrupt static sound channels the negative energy in the air, as a winter storm and arctic-like conditions are inbound. Twenty minutes in, and the oblique synth melodies are at their strongest. Multiple layers of keyboard sounds and tones are arranged in a manner that gives this austere atmosphere the soundtrack it deserves. The keyboard section at around the twenty eight minute mark is my favorite part on the album and features a few sounds that reminds me of the impeccable ‘Silence’ album. The final few minutes couldn’t be better, as this immeasurable album draws to a close. The mix of long, drawn out drones and high pitch sounds of single keyboard notes compose a wonderful melody, fading in unison with the winter sunlight.

Inoriand has done it yet again! ‘A World Frozen’ is an exceptional album that – for me – is already in contention for dungeon/winter synth album of the year. It boasts a very bold and mature sound, with excellent production. Additionally, I find that I can easily submerge myself into any world when listening to Inoriand, and for an artist to have that affect, is quite impressive. I highly recommend downloading this album, as well as checking out everything else on the Eldest Gate Records Bandcamp page. You will not be disappointed.

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

Links:

https://eldestgaterecords.bandcamp.com/album/a-world-frozen