DUNGEON SYNTH DIGEST IV

Dungeon Synth Digest IV

One of my dreams is to become an expert on dungeon synth. Or at least talk about it enough that people think of me as an expert. Or even become an expert by default in absence of anyone else who cares. Whatever the case, this genre that was opened to me by the work of Erang, has led me into a magical world of fantastical ambient music and obsessed musicians who create landscapes within their own heads. There are few musicians attached to this genre, and perhaps even fewer listeners,…

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Hollywood Metal’s Spooky Halloween Playlist

I enjoy Halloween for it’s simplicity. For a few weeks out of the year, everyone is allowed to embrace darkness. It is a joyous occasion when ghosts, ghouls, witches, and the terrifying occult are giggled at and made into the atmosphere of a party. This pretty much makes up most of heavy metal so I do not see why you wouldn’t have a playlist of the best spooky music for this season. However, let us face a hard fact. Any Halloween playlist will be discarded come November 1st, and all…

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UREAS – The Black Heart Album

If you want to know about Ureas their website is a good place to start. Upon finding their homepage you’re greeted by their self-description which is so perfect I’ve put it here in its entirety: “Welcome to Denmark’s most controversial Gothic/Metal/Rock/Badass motherfucking street progressive fucked-up metal band” Which is not only a fuckton of things to try to be, it’s potentially the angstiest, edgiest, most hilariously immature way I’ve ever been told by a band that they make music for the hardcore 13-17 demographic, pushing for the sweet-spot when everyone’s…

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SAXON – Battering Ram

It’s been an unusually good year for fans of the classics, what with Motorhead, Maiden and Satan all releasing new albums. Now, with Saxon’s “Battering Ram”, English Metal’s suddenly looking a lot like it did in the eighties, which will probably make a whole lot of middle-aged men happy. It certainly did that for my old man, harking back to a happier time when he had less wives and more hair. I came into Saxon flying blind, I’m ashamed to say. As a feckless twenty-something, I can’t tell you whether…

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GRAND AGES – Medieval

Grand Ages Medieval

Looking at the box art for Grand Ages: Medieval you might think the presence of an angry, Theoden looking motherfucker staring down at his kingdom like it just shat on the rug is meant to imply this is a game of war and bloodshed – the fire and pikemen behind him certainly do. But if you buy this looking to forge an empire in bloody conquest you’re going to come away disappointed; a more accurate cover would have been him looking angrily down at a thousand pounds of uneaten wheat,…

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CHILDREN OF BODOM – I Worship Chaos

I find myself wondering how exactly you would worship chaos. It’s not like having regular services at an appointed place would be in the spirit of the thing, and chaos by its nature is sort of hard to identify when it’s happening. Sure, they might just throw a waterbomb filled with petrol and snakes into a meeting of the electoral college or go chase butterflies about in the Amazon and call it a day, chaos sown, but it’s hardly worship. If you wanted to properly worship the universal force of…

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BLOOD BOWL 2

blood bowl 2

If you’re anything like me, you’ve always been put off traditional sports by the ludicrous pay checks, constant scandals and persistent lack of incentivised, legitimized murder. Bloodbowl was Games Workshop’s attempt to fix that, back when they still made games you could play without re-mortgaging your house. Bloodbowl 2 is, oddly enough, the fourth title released by Cyanide to bring that particular blend of football and fantasy violence to everyone who doesn’t own an Olympic sized dining table. It’s framed and presented explicitly like a sporting event, complete with constant…

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Imaginations Wander: An Interview With Erang

Erang was my introduction in dungeon synth. Naturally, I was very excited when he agreed to an interview. To begin dungeon synth is a relativity new genre of bedroom ambient music which has roots and history dating back to mid 1990’s black metal and dark ambient. The style grew out of black metal bands whose members started made solo projects exploring the same atmosphere just with synth. This combined with Burzum’s prison records all gave dungeon synth its start which would eventually find its name and broader recognition more than…

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BEHOLD! THE MONOLITH – Architects of the Void

Behold! a band taking the damn time to actually build some tension before bringing the hammer down. A thousand guitarists playing a thousand notes a second could live a thousand years, and not manage the same level of destitute, absorbing beauty as Behold! The Monolith manage in their first track. The same goes for impact. A man can spring into action with blows like rusted lightning, but a giant swings his club like he’s pulling a world out of orbit; there’s a lot more slowness, a lot more quiet, and…

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LEAVES’ EYES – King of Kings

When it comes to folk metal, there are few countries with more pedigree than Germany. The only one that comes to mind, in fact, is Norway, and so you might expect Leaves’ Eyes, a symphonic/folk group with German and Norwegian origins to be masters of the art. It’s not like they’ll be short of inspiration, considering their history of focusing on historical epics and Norway’s history of producing them. The result is some truly inspired symphonic folk metal. With “King of Kings” that inspiration comes in the form of Harald…

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TAD MOROSE – St. Demonius

Tad Morose is a Swedish project which has a strange makeup. To some this is a venerable power/progressive outfit which saw praised records including 2003’s Modus Vivendi. To others, this is an obscure power/progressive outfit with members forming fleeting connections to more obscure bands. Also the drummer is Peter from the indie pop group Peter Bjorn and John. Hopefully I am not the only one who cares. This dual nature for the band is amplified following the 10 year break taken by the band only broken by a 2013 record…

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GLORYHAMMER – Space 1992 – Rise of the Chaos Wizards

I apparently have a big problem with Gloryhammer. Back in 2010, the keyboardist for Alestorm formed a power metal band which would play with the tropes of power metal. 2013’s Tales from the Kingdom of Fife was an uneven balance between competent symphonic power metal and flat parody fantasy lyrics. See there I go again. Fuck. If I seem at all self-conscious about Gloryhammer it is only because I seem to be offended by this UK band’s seemingly jovial romp through absurdity. Why can’t I just relax?

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STRATOVARIUS – Eternal

Statovarius is a darkhorse. To the larger population, this Finnish power metal band is probably not given the credit they deserve at least in terms of current output. Even within the metal community, Stratovarius’ accomplishments are not sung as much as they are deserved. This praise comes not from massive overhauls of the power metal template rather a surprisingly consistent and entertaining power from a band who is entering their fourth decade in existence. If I sound at all reverent it is because 2013’s Nemesis was a breathtaking surprise for…

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