Dungeon Synth Digest VIII

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. You are here because someone, probably me, has talked enough about this strange little genre that at least enough interest has been piqued for further investigation. Dungeon Synth was offered to me by the work of Erang and has since led me into a magical world of fantastical ambient music and obsessed musicians who create worlds with sound and imagination. There are few musicians attached to this genre, and perhaps even fewer listeners, but I and a few other like minded individuals call this little hamlet home. Everyday it seems that this small genre grows and it becomes marginally more recognized. Dungeon Synth will most likley never gain wide spread attention but for its denizens who create and enjoy the modest material available, the few sounds of haze crawling music means the world to them. Enjoy your stay here in my little cottage and please have some tea and while you sit by my fire.

My first encounter with Skarpseian came through the Masmorra Dungeon Synth Comp which came with the purchase of its zine. Skarpseian’s regal haze was exquisite and became a staple of my subsequent runs through the disc. Fragmenter Av Trolldom is the third record from Skarpseian which is actually sort of a novelty seeing how so many dungeon synth artists release with abandon. The methodical planning by Skarpseian is evident with the glacial movements of the music. The album also comes with a fitting cover of Burzum’s “Der weinende Hadnur” from the artist’s prison synth series. Skarpseian certainly shows his influences yet that same regal haze which was mentioned before floods this record leading to an experience all of his own.

Oh Jesus, this is a split which you easy rest assured that you will be getting your money’s worth. Aside from the fact that both musicians contributing to this split have already had high marks in fields ranging from dungeon synth to melodic black metal, this split is over an hour plus the fact the bonus tracks are the same album just in seamless tracks. I know dungeon synth is not short of its releases with extrodinary album length but the quality of those releases is sometimes varied. Having a release which is both long and of high quality is astounding. Take for example the slow moving moods of Elffor’s “Odolosth” with its piano, string ensembles and haze which is as deep as a void and compare it to the mystical wanderings of Murgrind’s “Stronghold in the Mountains” and one has a split which is important enough for a seat at the high council of dungeon synth.

Alright, I am completely in with this project. Fegefeuer Anilmathiel is from Spain and by looking at his releases, seems very busy. The text surrounding Fegefeuer Anilmathiel’s releases is also wrapped up in a high conceptual framework detailing constructed worlds, creation myths, and a legendarium called The Lays of Assiriand. The music is ethereal with an inclusion of distant choral works which gives the music an intriguing angle. The current installment is short at just a little under 30 minutes but for the modest price of 5$ however supporters get a royal title on one of the constructed worlds and are included in the creation of the world. I mean, why wouldn’t you want a print indicating your royal title in a constructed dungeon synth universe. This sounds like the best present for friends and family.

Mystic Towers is worthy of pause for me not because of the music but rather the artwork. While Mystic Towers play a particularly gloomy variety of dungeon synth marked by dirge like crawling through haze and darkness, it is the album art they have chosen to use for the 2012 release Inner Kingdoms. The picture of the wizard sitting at a desk is from the Rolemaster rulebook, which was a particularly complicated RPG released in the 90’s. I know this because I love that picture. This sort of connection between listener and creator is delightful especially given the fact that both people are silently giggling with glee. If what I just said sounds up your alley, then Mystic Towers and the spires of magical grief will fit perfectly in your heart.

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