This maybe perhaps one of the furthest explorations outside of what is considered heavy metal. Erang’s music has no instances of harsh tonality or dark vocals as there are none. What the French project does is create soundtracks to worlds that exist on within the memory of its creator. A project that seems hinged on nostalgia, Erang makes music which is apart of a niche style called “Dungeon Synth.” The possibility of people creating self produced fantasy landscapes out of low tech equipment could be frightening to some and fascinating to others. Whether or not Erang’s music is actually metal, in the traditional sense, is still up to the person listening. I do however feel music hinged on dragons, dungeons, and the frontiers of fantasy is best suited for somewhere at least close to here.
From interviews and published text, Erang seems to be a project built on crafting worlds in addition to a very normal life. The creator has expressed an admiration for tabletop games but also has admitted to having other things, like music and family, that monopolize his time. Fantasy for Erang seems to be in its truest form which is escapist and albums like Within The Land Of My Imagination I Am The Only God feel glowing with warm and vibrant catharsis. Similar to other “outsider” art, Erang uses uses music to construct a world in which people and events from this life are expressed in events in a parallel world. These expressions range from dreamy 8-bit atmospheric tracks like “The Underwater Kingdom’s Coral Palace,” to clean acoustic melodies heard in “Autumnal Lullaby.” The creator often refers to this as music from the Kingdom of Erang and figures which appear on album covers feel like personal figures transformed into heroes and villains. It is at this point you will either “get” or not “get” the goal and spirit of the project. For some this music will be bedroom synth that sounds like Zelda and Final Fantasy, to others perhaps the perfect music for their Dungeons and Dragons group, and to others still an expressive fall into constructed worlds.
If it feels like I am gushing over this type of stuff it is only becasue I have been forthright for my love of fantasy as well as when creators envelop themselves in their own world. Erang’s music and process of creation is similar to artists like Henry Darger where realms and grand storytelling are constructed in private without the need for much attention. Erang’s music does not come without hesitation as the music, artwork and e-book full of drawings pushes the level of geeky devotion to uncomfortable limits. Though the divide between silly and profound seems thin, Within The Land Of My Imagination I Am The Only God could not be what it is without passing a certain threshold. If you were looking for black/death or just regular doom, you might want to move on. If you were looking for one person’s castle within their imagination, I have the perfect record for you.
Kaptain Carbon is the custodian of Tape Wyrm, a mod for Reddit’s r/metal, Creator of Vintage Obscura, and a Reckless Scholar for Dungeon Synth.