Burzygóry – Burzygóry [Finland, Dungeon Synth] (2020)

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Naturmacht Productions | 5-28-20

Bookmarked for greatness. I am going to precede this review with the fact I dislike the cover for Burzygóry as well as the name. I do not know what it is amaboutt both of them but they are repellent and I do not think I would have listened to this had I not been intrigued by the label. With all of that out of the way, I am glad i did listen. Burzygóry is thew work of Zannibal who is one third of the folk/black act Marrasmieli. In true fashion of dungeon synth, Zannibal sets out to create familiar and alien landscapes with the mastery of someone who has been doing this for years. Burzygóry is not only refined but it is effective at its settlement in the colony of dungeon synth.

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Ethereal Kingdom – Oath of Battle [Sweden, Dungeon Synth] (2020)

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Self Released | 5-26-20

I am currently writing a dungeon synth digest with all of my current favorites. Since I keep reviewing a new one each day, I keep finding wonderful releases this delaying the article. Ethereal Kingdom will have to be the one that starts my next digest. This is wonderful. This is sweet. This is a record that is just as foundational as other classics in the genres for its production and scope into fantastic landscapes. Situated on the lighter and orchestral side of the genre, Ethereal Kingdom, however, carries and air of grief and sadness through its cheerful melodies. As if gazing upon a lonely cliff, Oath of Battle is filled with the sounds of closure and contemplation which resounds thorough the centuries.

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Fen Walker – Sojourns in the Realm of the Undermoon [US, Dungeon Synth] (2020)

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Self Released | 5-20-20

Fen Walker was an artist that I missed during my sabbatical from dungeon synth. 2019’s The Totem Wilds Call Thy Name was an intense journey into the lands that lay beyond dungeon synth which was more like a psychedelic walkabout than a record. The sharp synths and progressive nature of Fen Walker’s music fits the motif of shamanistic visions and strange spirit quests. Sojourns in the Realm of the Undermoon continues this theme with another record poised with pulp adventure befitting of a faded paperback cover. This release concludes a loose trilogy of records that I may not have been around for the beginning but am sure glad was here for the end.

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Upyr – Journals Of Twilight’s Wanderer [Serbia, Dungeon Synth] (2020)

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Self Released | 5-20-20

This is delightful. When searching around for dungeon synth, different styles emerge which can sometimes be grouped together. Before the alignment chart, I used to group all courtly styles of dungeon synth together under the heading of THE CASTLE for their penchant for stately styles of synth. Upyr would most certainly fit into the court of THE CASTLE for its polite and measured approach to lo-fi ornamentation. Journals of Twilight’s Wander as flowery in its music as it is in its album title with tendrils of melodies climbing up glass walls all under the veil of starlight.

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Tusen Vindar Kallar – Norrvindarna kallar | [Sweden, Dungeon Synth] (2020)

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Self Released | 5-20-20

I believe I found this searching for black metal Bandcamp releases. What a nice surprise. Tusen Vindar Kallar (no idea what it means) is a Swedish composer who throws their sound back to the cold mornings of the 1990’s with a release which bows to the icy altars of bands like Depressive Silence and Lamentation. With a cover that could be from the same era, Norrvindarna kallar | travels down frostbitten paths tying the binds of both dungeon synth and dark ambient.

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Octobeast – Voyage of Doom [Sweden, Dungeon Synth] (2020)

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Self Released | 5-19-20

This is wonderful and something that comes as a surprise. Octobeast has already released a fairly well received record in April and now returns with another record of epic sea faring synth. There has been a small wave of creature based synth or should I say dinosaur themed synth that I thought this was going to be more of the same. While we could probably lump sea monsters and dinosaurs in relatively the same universe, Octobeast presents a record of mid-fi synth that outside of its visual elements, possess all of the qualities of magical ambient that it as agnostic in theme as anything. Ill take any sort of music that is high of quality and they can throw any sort of monster them on top and we can all be happy.

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bomBARDed – OST V [US, Soundtrack / Dungeon Synth] (2020)

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Self Released | 5-19-20

There really inst a good genre for this since this is not truly dungeon synth. If I would throw out a few genres I would have to put them with caveats. This is Video Game Music but its not from a video game. This is a soundtrack but it is not from a movie. This is dungeon synth only in spirit. This is music from a podcast that is about D&D adventures and it is absolutely wonderful. bomBARDed is a D&D podcast whose background music is composed by a Texas band called Lindby. I am not sure if the members are playing the game but the podcast is what you can expect from a D&D podcast. The music in the podcasts is situated in the background and would not be so remarkable if it were not showcased on this record. OST V is ostensibly the 5th release from this series and for all intents and purposes and for all of its caveats brings a sense of escapist wonder with tidbits of magic and wonder.

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Nifheldhur – Of Wolf and Battle [Italy, Dungeon Synth] (2020)

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Self Released | 5-15-20

“Nifheldhur is a project born back in 1996 and dispersed over time. 24 years later, it comes back to life, to pay homage to shields and swords, in a concept of 4 acts, divided into the melodies of a single track ……”

I enjoy the flavor of this release. It also helps when the music is in step with the concept. Nifheldhur, for all intents and purposes, is a new band as I could not track down any of the 90’s material but we will assume it existed in some fashion before the wave of the internet. Of Wolf and Battle is the first release in this sword and shield production and is a panaorama of emotion and melodies. The grandeur of the music is restrained by the production though its lo-fi quality makes for interesting dichotomy as it is a wall sized oil painting on paper hung by tacks. Any indication that this is a criticism should be discarded as Nifheldhur achieves the vast escapism in battle scenes made in basements.

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Elador – The Last Journey [Russia, Dungeon Synth] (2020)

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Self Released | 5-14-20

It is sort of charming the new Elador comes with the frank apology of being inactive due to school and service in the Army. I always like it when dungeon synth drops its veil of secrecy and reveals very real people with real lives playing apart in this elaborate escapism. Back in 2015, Elador released a split with Medhelan called ​A Crown of Ice and Stone. That was my first dungeon synth tape purchase which led me into a frantic collector phase which I still have today. Elador’s last proper release was 2017 and like some other artists, are slowly getting back into the scene with fantastic records. Elador for anyone new is an orchestral styled artist who takes large cues from the soundtracks of Skyrim. In fact, I think there was an EP dedicated to the world of Skyrim. The Last Journey is the return of Elador but unlike the last few records, this one has pronounced sound effects and wandering melodies which is a bit jarring at times but seems to be working towards something greater. I always enjoy listening to Elador and nit just because of my history but rather this is n artist who is honest and genuine and is just a real person making fantasy ambient.

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Snowspire – A Spire Enshrouded [US, Dungeon Synth] (2020)

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Self Released | 5-13-20

When the term winter synth first started to be used, I thought it was a needless exercise in dividing up an already niche genre. This coincided with the term forest synth or forest ambient. While I think the division of sound in a small genre is sort of micromanaging a sound, devoting oneself to the chilling sounds of winter is sort of fun. A Spire Enshrouded is a soft and delightful album that steps away from the cold and informal aesthetics of other winter synth. Here beyond the crisp night are glowing lights coming from small homes which are domed with fresh snow. This is a cozy record that is full of love and warmth and is something that I would like to live in forever.

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