GARGOYLIUM – Chroniques de la Citadelle

Gargoylium

The title for this review comes from the last of the Gargoylium releases but in reality is about everything released in 2018. Dungeon synth comes as a trickle or flood and the release cycle for artists can be at the whim of its creator. In the absence of any record label schedule or tradition when it comes to album releases, dungeon synth has been known for its prolific to the point of saturated release schedule. This only becomes a problem when the quality is low as when an artist makes…

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The Obsolescent Arborist – Tree, Timber and Forest

The Obsolescent Arborist

One of my favorite aspects about dungeon synth was the sense of quiet escapism the genre offered. One can page through my previous 36 volumes of Dungeon Synth Digest to find my interest gravitating towards sounds that were isolated and self entertaining. This genre is really at its best when it is sketching by itself in a cornerand I feel I gravitate towards introverted sounds. I have been finding myself recently interested in checking in with some of the more popular dungeon synth releases. This I feel will help the…

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OLD TOWER – The Rise Of The Spectral Horizons

“Old Tower is perhaps dungeon synth’s biggest contemporary success story. From playing along aside of Mortiis to landing a record on Profound Lore, Old Tower has gone from moody old school dungeon synth to moody old school dungeon synth now with a bigger audience.” The above was a blurb for Old Tower’s 2018 and Profound Lore (?) debut Stellary Wisdom. It was probably also one of my last written for the 33rd entry into the Dungeon Synth Digest. This entry, for some, was an odd blip in an otherwise routine…

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CHAUCERIAN MYTH – The Faerie Queene

This is the first article I haven’t written after a brief hiatus from the dungeon synth. I never said I was done with the sound rather just taking a break. Suffice to say, I became exhausted trying to keep up with the sound and felt overwhelmed after doing the dungeon synth compilation with the endless stream of new music. This combined with me leaving Facebook left me disconnected with the larger scene. While I am sure there are great releases coming out, I was content with only listening tt a…

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Life Beyond The Real: The Legacy of John Bauer

John Bauer Dwarf

If you have paid attention to the Dungeon Synth scene within the last few years, you have seen the work of John Bauer and more specifically his illustration “Ännu sitter Tuvstarr kvar och ser ner i vattnet” (Still, Tuvstarr sits and gazes down into the water). This watercolor was a favorite among Dungeon Synth fans for its vintage quality in fantasy art and the deep folkloric traditions of Swedish myths. The painting came in a collection of other myths which were published in the 1907 anthology “Bland tomtar och troll” (Among Gnomes and Trolls). This painting was popular at its time which was used in a shampoo ad in the early 20th century and later in the 90’s as a cetnerpoint for a nature conservation campaign. For as relativity obscure John Bauer has become int he canon of art and even fantasy art, Tuvstarr has become a beacon for many people to find his work. Even though Tuvstarr has been used in various ways, the lure of imagination and myth is still potent today as it was over a hundred years ago.

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Weirding Ways

Out of the Dungeon I believe it is time to say farewell… for now. Since the close of the Dungeon Synth Compilation project, I have found myself unable to harbor the same zeal for discovering new projects associated with this scene with the same frequency as before. This is no one’s fault but rather a migration of interest to other things. Over the past handful of Dungeon Synth Digests, I have found more interest in the fringe and odd sounds found on Bandcamp. These genres can range from experimental, new…

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DUNGEON SYNTH DIGEST XXXVI

Dungeon Synth Digest XXXVI

Yes, I know. That picture is amazing. The above image is from the Basic Dungeons and Dragons module CM5: Mystery of the Snow Pearls. The numbering comes from the Companion set of Basic D&D as Companion was intended as an expansion for characters level 15-25. The acronym BECMI lays out the level progression and supplements for characters with Basic Rules supporting character levels 1 through 3, Expert Rules supporting character levels 4 through 1, Companion Rules supporting levels 15 through 25, Master Rules supporting levels 26 through 36, and Immortal…

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DUNGEON SYNTH DIGEST XXXV

BASIC DS. Life on the Frontier I have been trying to come up with a name for this type of dungeon synth. Over the past couple of months and year I have seen a style of DS that leans towards the raw, lo-fi unrefined, and potentially crude. This primitive style is usually adorned with very simplistic album covers even looking like poorly drawn monsters out of RPG bestiaries. In fact the aesthetic for many of these records are geared towards old D&D dungeon crawls where the theme of fantasy RPGs…

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DUNGEON SYNTH DIGEST XXXIV

Dungeon Synth Digest XXXIV

For weeks, you’ve been looking for adventure in this forsaken wilderness, with nothing much to show for it. It’s autumn now, with winter fast-approaching, and you’ll be in real trouble if you don’t earn some treasure soon. As you’re finishing breakfast at a cheap inn, a traveler walks into the common room. In a loud voice he says, “Peace be upon you all! I, Hakeem the merchant, seek Hargath Stonehand and his worthy friends! As I passed through Sylvanhome forest on the way here, I stopped at The Manor, a…

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DUNGEON SYNTH DIGEST XXXIII

Dungeon Synth Digest XXXIII

You have arrived at the town of Stallanford, on the Duke’s Road. The town is bustling and busy, with many visitors and merchants’ wagons seeking hostels and stables for horses. This is no ordinary day, for tomorrow is the first day of the King’s Festival! Karameikos has no king, but this long-held festival honors a great hero of the distant past, King Halav. Long before Karameikos was a nation, King Halav of the Traldar folk fought with his warriors against evil Beast-Men. In a great battle, Halav and the king…

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SUMMONING – With Doom We Come (2018)

With Doom We Come

The news of With Doom We Come, the 8th record from Austrian black metal band Summoning, was met with an undeniable and overwhelming amount of excitement not just from the perspective of a group of fans but from followers of an entire genre. Dungeon synth’s relationship with Summoning may seem a bit complex being the band has a tandem relationship with the sound but with the announcement of the band’s first in five years caused an uproar in small bedrooms. This is perhaps why the new Summoning record is so…

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DUNGEON SYNTH DIGEST XXXII

Dungeons Synth Digest XXXII

The beautiful elven forest sleeps peacefully about you. Leafy green trees with trunks of silver and white march in blissful grandeur as far as you can see. The trail you walk winds toward the high mountains nearby to the north. The forest’s carpet of ferns and deep green bushes is punctuated by the bright reds, blues, and yellows of the abundant woodland flowers. Ahead, you see sunlight flash off metal lying in the path. Armor-elven armor-and whoever wears it is not moving. The elf on the trail died not long…

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Dungeon Synth Compilation XII: Disciples of the Shadow Realm

Disciples of the Shadow Realm

Ambition This is the 12th and final dungeon synth compilation to be released in 2017. This is also the final compilation volume to be released for the foreseeable future at least in this current iteration. In the early past of 2017, a few people on the Facebook group had an idea to release a compilation of work by community members. At around the same time, the members of the DS forum had the same idea. Instead of having rival compilations, both entities consolidated submissions and released it under the same…

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