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Dungeon Sounds: V.A. Dungeon Synth Compilation – Codex of Lost Voices

Label: Dungeon Synth Compilation
Artist: Anglachel, Il Cinghiale, Morgan Muir Woods, Anglezarke, Mörkt Slott, Conqueror’s Mourn, Erang, Machina Coeli, Vandalorum, Krampusnacht, The Inquisitor
Origin: Various

The Dungeon Synth Compilation is a bold project, to unleash a compilation every month of the last year. Records that revolve around a concept or story, oozing that uncanny feel of abandoned crypts and dark passages. Old ruins and abandoned tombs are part of the visions invoked by this music.

This edition, titled ‘Codex of Lost Voices’, revolves around the library. A place once filled with tomes and manuscripts is a magical place filled with mystery. Here this record takes us, to a place where the lure of secret knowledge is a deadly trap for those too eager to withstand its call. Writings that consume the souls of those, trying to harvest their knowledge, as depicted in the artwork by JDecker.

The opening tune comes from Anglachel, whose languid tones and twinkling keys, are playfully filling the silence of the abandoned structure, as the listener strides towards it. Imposing, but also tickled with curiosity, we enter to ‘The Journey of Vindyamar’. A grand hall stretches out with ‘Brittania’ by Morgan Muir Woods, with grand arches and a trudging, booming rhythm. The contribution following is by Il Cinghiale, bringing a bit more of an organic, folky sound with fingerpicking guitar (it’s always tricky to really resolve the origin of the sound), with a thick echo. I feel the incredible sad melancholy of an abandoned place of knowledge with this tune, titled ‘Tale of Hiems’.

Here The Inquisitor picks up with the brief ‘The Winter Hare’. Classical, wavery synths merge together and form a tapestry of sound. The music truly flows, offering an intermezzo from the empty halls. Vandalorum then steps back to ambient with sparse keys, to really evokes the feeling of abandonment, loneliness in these vast halls. A feeling Krampusnacht mainly prolongs with ‘Nos Galan’.

From there on, songs from Anglezarke, Mörkt Slott and Conqueror’s Mourn stick with a dowsed, atmospheric demonstration of their skills. Never does it really demand your attention, but it always sets the mood like a set of scented candles. The more pronounced notes by Mörkt Slott and horn-emulations by Conqueror’s Mourn create a certain build up for the song, which all leads to Machina Coeli’s ‘Creation’, which is the most futuristic-sounding song on the record, with some interesting use of bells and chimes, to create a very different moment in the journey. The tones filled with echo are there still, but the energy is higher, seeming to take us to the crescendo of the record. It’s climax if you will.

Erang then takes us to the the aftermath, with warm and regal tones. The whole sound has a taste of nostalgia, the last look over your shoulder at the great times. That’s what makes this so good. Nothing but praise for the person who put this together to weave a story with songs that are not naturally connected. Great stuff.