Friday, December 13, 2013

Mixtape 02

DStapeA2 (pure dungeon synth):


01. Taur Nu Fuin - The Mountain Path
02. Undiscovered Moons of Saturn - Drowning in Magellanic Clouds
03. De Occulta Philosophia - Seventh Poseidon's Siren
04. Septic Flesh - Mythos (Part1 Elegy, Part2 Time Unbounded)
05. Капiшча - Калі ўвахожу я ў лес
06. Enid - Satan and Candida
07. Lord Lovidicus - Flying Past Extrasolar Wonders

DStapeB2 (free from genre constraints, at least related to dungeon synth in spirit):  

01. Pogo - Tunnels (Howl's Moving Castle Remix)
02. Amber Asylum - Riviera
03. Utred - Armorial Beast
04. Ultima IV - Intro
05. Arcana - Like Statues in the Garden of Dreaming
06. Midnight Odyssey - As Dark and Ominous as Stormclouds
07. Ice Ages - Eternal Sleep
08. Shadowgate - Entryway
09. Dimmu Borgir - For All Tid
10. Gail Laughton - Lemuria 16,000 B.C.


Two quite impressive albums from a new label called "Deivlforst Records," from the bands Arath and Murgrind.  Free to stream.

Also I forgot to mention in the last "updates" post, but Taramis is another new artist I'd only recently discovered and so not gotten a chance to really talk about yet.  But I recommend checking it out, if you haven't already.  Very powerful stuff:

Friday, December 6, 2013

Forgotten Times - Forgotten Times

In the heart of an icy forest stands the silhouette of a man, a lone wizard in meditation, as still as the dark surrounding trees, compelled to do nothing but sway to crystalline winds.  All around the scene float mysterious colors, spirits of departed magic, wisps of the essence, long since fled from our sterilized world.  

This is some extremely pure dungeon synth from Mexico, released some months ago.  It doesn't introduce anything new, but it nails the traditional dungeon aesthetic.  The synths sound straight from the early 90's, rich and raw digital orchestral tones, letting the full ugly colors of the patches shine through to great effect.

The tracks primarily wander over a static mood, slightly changing the riffs here and there to keep the listener interested in the surrounding scene, but never providing much conflict.  So in that way it should be primarily listened to as background music, a palpable ancient atmosphere to guide one's concentration.  The mood is typically one of romanticized loss, which is evident in the artist's name and track titles, focusing on the forgotten, the fallen, the final, and the twilight.  Night descends for the last time, leaving one only with fading memories of the day to cling to as they progress into the darkness.

I'm not very enthusiastic the piano is used in "Enchanted Dreams Waltz."  Piano in dungeon synth is generally fine, as is sentimentality, but when you mix the two it becomes a bit sappy sounding.  It doesn't ruin the song, and it can be appreciated in and of itself, but I think it's a good way to indicate the line between nostalgic yearning and sentimental camp; most of the album falls into the former category, but not this track.

A real guitar is introduced into the mix in the fourth track, "The Final Battle."  Normally guitars quickly detract from the dungeon sound, bringing the cosmic synths back down to earth, however here, very minimally playing the backing chords undistorted, it strongly complements the concept of pure dungeon synth.  So clearly one does not have to use all synth to be true, but probably does need to compose with a synthesizer sensibility.  Vocals are introduced in the last track, "Twilight of Forgotten Times," and while they are quite fitting for the genre, being ghostly whispers, they are a bit loud in the mix.  But it's definitely on the right track, going for vocals which serve atmosphere first and foremost.

While this isn't a great album, it's a very good one for a debut.  A close comparison in mood, I think, would be Depressive Silence.  It has that thoroughly 90's digital sound, with that perfect amount of wear and decay, and is fairly consistent in its atmosphere of mystical nostalgia.

It can be downloaded for free (or a price of your choosing) here:

A Few Updates

Since the list is now gone, from now on it probably wouldn't hurt to do some basic updates on new(ish) stuff that I haven't had a chance to address yet. 

Here's a few relatively recent albums that are worth checking out.  Hopefully I'll be able to review at least a few of them in the near future.

Abandoned Places - Giantlands
Foglord - New Realms and Forgotten Lands
Lord Lovidicus - Kyndill og Steinn
Aelvar - Portals of Decay

Also, there are now short samples for Til Det Bergens Skyggene, Yearner, and others on the Voldsom label website, for those who might've read the reviews but never had a chance to hear the music.