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Last Active 01-01-70 12:00 am
Joined 01-01-70

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04.30.24 Gary's pile of 2024 albums12.29.23 garas: My 2023
08.31.23 2023 digs w/ garas12.30.22 Bests of 2022 with garas
09.29.22 garas's 5th sputversary: things I've le 05.04.22 I need more "disco beat black metal"
01.09.22 1000 soundoffs milestone12.17.21 Grump's 2021
11.26.21 Best non-LPs of 2021 07.24.21 Non-2021 discoveries
05.21.21 Black Metal and Dungeon Synth 2021 03.03.21 King Gizzard 🆚 Lizard Wizard
01.21.21 Grump + the 2k ratings and double 666 p01.07.21 PENTAGRAM - in depth
12.16.20 Grump's cassette / vinyl additions to c12.08.20 Grump's 2020 part II
12.04.20 Grump's 202011.18.20 Getting into dungeon synth?
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Accept this invitation, and join me for an adventure! The goal (my goal) is to keep up with, as much as possible, with the latest releases. The plan is to fill this yearly list with the (somewhat) best releases. I'll my best to keep this list updated, and I'll add albums I rated 3.5 and above with short commentaries and links. Also, to keep this more exciting, I'll share you a few of older releases which I find extraordinary good (basically some 5.0s I explore this year). Feel free to ask & discuss anything about the genre here! Cheers!
1Empyreal Forest

The resemblances in style and in aesthetics to Depressive Silence made me like this instantly. Feels really old-school!
My rating: 3.5
2Ancient Boreal Forest
Where Dragons Dream

Magical and mysterious melodies with BM aesthetics - just how I love it. Also, nice Summoning and Thangorodrim vibes!
My rating: 4.0
Jewel of the Moonsea

I greatly enjoyed this one. Despite the obvious and humble worship of the old-school DS, it also brings something new and unique without sounding generic and lifeless - and I greatly respect that. A bit more on the slower side of the genre, with serious atmosphere. Adventurious!
My rating: 4.0

Wow. Some otherworldy high production right here! Cinematically atmospheric, easily outshines many movie's soundtracks. Fantastic quality... the vareity of styles blended together, the production and composition...very well done, I'm impressed.
My rating: 4.0
5Medieval Rites
Norse Mythology: A Viking Saga

A heartwarming piece of medieval folk music with ambient vibes. Great producion and pretty melodies. This is one of those albums you want to play in the background when you're about to read a book.
My rating: 3.5
6Haunted Realm
Kingdom of Ages Past

I found this one surprisingly enchanting. It has a calm and melancholic, yet still cold and mysterious atmosphere, which I found very enjoyable. Very modern sounding samples and instruments, but this type of sound is what I also greatly enjoy.
My rating: 4.0

This is it, the most perfect winter synth album ever made. The mysterious, ancient and powerful aura which fills the entire album is indescribable. Magical.
[Released in 2004.] My rating: 5.0
8Medieval Rites

Fief fans, assemble! This fills me with great joy. Beautiful and relaxing medieval ambient release.
My rating: 4.0

Very nice lo-fi dungeon synth release. Respetful to the old-school: melancholic and enchanting melodies recorded straight to tape (I assume) - and that's it.
My rating: 4.0
Mysteria Arkana, Bd. II

Deep, dark and mysterious. Orkenblut's second release is a very interesting one with odd sounds and noises with an omnious atmosphere.
My rating: 3.5
The Sage of Witherthorn

Wonderful. A very-well composed and adventurous album. Very original sound and samples with an excellent production. Each song is very dynamic, which makes the album constantly "fluid" and dreamy.
My rating: 4.0
Extended I

I'm greatly impressed about this EP. Very original sound, even though the sound of some instruments are a bit similar to other projects. Ah. I'm so into this atmosphere! A portal for the ears to transfer the listener to an underground fantasy world - at least, this is how I felt. Very strong focus on the ryhthm section, which gives a certain dynamism to the release. Similar to Mortiis, but lot more energic and "moving" - it's quite hard to describe. Alltogether, I loved this release because it really fired up my imagination.
My rating: 4.0
13The Cursed Cold One
The Hag Of The Sea

Great diversity in a quite short release. Lots of very good ideas, and original sounds - especially the percussions.
My rating: 3.5
Zargo's Lords

I have no idea how can Heimat Der Katastrophe put out so many awesome releases... I sense some serious magic behind this - especially about artists like Gnoll. The mysterious project's recent output is simply brilliant, top tier dungeon synth music. I simply can't get enough about this kind of fantasy-inspired releases like this, because these keep constantly blow my mind. "Zargo's Lords" is probably the very best what Gnoll ever released. The progression of each song is phenomenal, every melody and instrument is exciting, and the whole package flows like a dream. Just listen to this already, you'll understand.
[Released in 2019] My rating: 4.5 (maybe a 5.0 later?)
15Chaucerian Myth
Sir Orfeo

Level up. Chaucerian Myth just gets better and better with each release. This album is astonishing, and I think this is a huge improvement. Very classical music inspired style, accompanied by old-school synths - an enchanting combination.
My rating: 4.0
A World Frozen

Calm and ethereal - frosty dungeon drone just how I like it! Additionally, I think it is Inoriand's best so far.
My rating: 4.0
Sorcery & Might

Tbh, this is the first Dwalin album I enjoyed all the way through. Basically the album sounds like Summoning, but just only the percussions and synths - and I really-really liked it!
My rating: 3.5
18Depressive Silence
Twenty-Five Years

The whole discography in one box set.
[Limited physical format; not available anymore]
The Darkening of Valinor

Finally, the lost album by Thangorodrim!! The distinctive aesthetics can be found here, and the album sounds just as wonderful as expected. Interestingly, "The Darkening of Valinor" has the most diverse atmosphere from the whole discography: it is like all the unique winter synth, epic old-school and medieval styles are mixed together - which is extremly exciting. Wonderful album.
[Released in 2015] My rating: 4.5

The comfortably melancholic atmosphere which fills the album is very captivating, and personally I found it very relaxing. A rather slow dungeon synth release, which even tough is very well composed, suffers from being a bit too samey.
My rating: 3.5

Another honest and beautiful medieval (neo-)folk album, by the Swede bard. I think there is some improvement from the debut, but it is hard to describe why. I just simply enjoyed this one more. The various instruments, various moods and melodies are astonishing and enchanting, but one thing is sure: it is lovely! So simple, so touching... this what makes my heart melt.
My rating: 4.0
Strange Divinity

Beautiful, simply beautiful. A very atmospheric old-schoolish dungeon synth release, with gorgeous folk and strong drone elements. "Strange Divinity" is a captivating and exciting release, which flows like a slow, melancholic and sometimes nightmarish dream.
My rating: 4.0
23Old Sorcery
An Inkling of Void

A rather slow, dreamlike, and I think pretty winter synth-ish EP. A perfect choice for a gloomy day - a relaxing experience.
My rating: 3.5
24Arcana Liturgia
Follow the old path

God bless Arcana Liturgia for still making great dungeon synth... This album is a well composed and polished piece of magic for the ears.
My rating: 3.5
Thulêan Mysteries

Lots of familiar melodies and sounds, but still something new and exciting. The new (and probably last) Burzum album combined every strength of all the dungeon synth / ambient releases, making it Varg's best and strongest ambient output. A lengthy, but highly atmospheric release, which mostly builds on old-school synths and folk instruments. Fortunately this is lot more similar to "Yore" than "Sol austan", so it was technically impossible for me to not love this album. I wish songs like 'The Sacred Well', 'Gathering Herbs', 'The Ettin Stone Heart' etc. would be longer...
My rating: 4.5
A Journey Lost to Time

Sweet, relaxing fantasy-inspired release. It was kinda like a soundtrack from a long-lost old-school videogame (or movie?) mixed with lo-fi ambiences and a tiny bit of classical music. I can highly recommend it as a background music for reading.
My rating: 3.5
Songs Of Oblivion

Evilnox's latest is an exciting, strongly folk-oriented dungeon synth release, and I liked it. Lots of interesting folk instruments, deep drones and sound samples from old videogames... I bet it was lots of fun making it!
My rating: 3.5
28Guild Of Lore
Wandering Tales

100% the typical Guild Of Lore quality.
My rating: 3.5

All the early Thangorodrim-works have been remastered, and the result is very pleasing, and really have been brought together. This is a more ripe, and fullier complex, which certainly has its own highs and lows, but alltogether this is a fine and valuable musical experience for all the enthusiastic fans of Tolkien's work, and the dungeon synth genre.
My rating: 4.0
The Sleeping Wizard

Pretty, dinamic and enchanting work from Umbria - less folk/classical oriented than the previous LP, more on the fantasy synth side. And I sensed some similarities to Mirkwood, and Chaucerian Myth, which is very welcomed. Also: bonus points best artwork of the year, so far.
My rating: 3.5
31Barbarian King
Barbarian King

A terrible cover art hides great excellence: Barbarian King's debut is a very-well written and produced fantasy-inspired musical journey. Various instruments, and percussions and exciting melodies - this is all about.
My ratings: 4.0
32Kobold (IT)
The village in the frozen mountains

A very pleasant and magical release. I love concept albums (and most of HDK releases are story-driven), because it gives a certain extra excitement to the listening - same case with this Kobold album, I really enjoyed this the adventure in the icy mountains of the Huk Valley.
My rating: 4.0
33Goblin Priest
Dank Vision Sewer Crawl

Super good chiptune dungeon synth release, probably one of the bests I've heard. Sounds exactly like an old video game soundtrack. Very energic and the old-school aesthetics are spot on.
My rating: 3.5
34Magic Lantern (DS)
Skeleton Key

A pleasantly melodic dungeon synth piece, which strongly builds upon 8-bit music elements. Anyone who's into old-school videogame soundtracks may like this as well.
My rating: 3.5
35Dark Vestige
Songs From Saint Andrews Chapel

This is a dark, yet somewhat relaxing and highly atmospheric release, and I especially liked the medieval and middle-Eastern influences.
My rating: 3.5
Honey Moon And Blackened Stars

Great, strongly folk-medieval oriented dungeon synth album. A bit lengthy, but very-well composed work.
My rating: 3.5
Grabens Symphonie

Despite the plague, 2020 brought us some sweet compilation albums. Releasing the entire Lamentation discography on vinyl and CD was a massively kind gesture from Werewolf Records.
38Blood Tower
Clock Dreams

Excellent dungeon synth release. Clock Dreams delivered exactly what I hoped for: dense and mysterious atmosphere, interesting instrumentation & effects, and notable variety in ideas and styles presented. I loved it.
My rating: 4.0
Longing for the Past

Pretty little album, with a humbly magical atmosphere. Very relaxing!
My rating: 4.0
40Sidereal Fortress
The Hermit's Hole

Nice concept album, I found especially the atmosphere captivating, and the folk parts are very enjoyable as well. These more simple compostions fit better to this project, imo.
My rating. 3.5
41Treasure Seeker
Quest for the Secrets Beyond Time

Very nice, I'm impressed. Great medieval ambient release, very playful and adventurous, with pleasant Fief-ish vibes.
My rating: 4.0
The Power of Yourself

Fantastic EP! Murgrind single-handedly created one of the best DS releases of the year with this one long track. Masterfully produced and composed, super exciting and inspiring, with strong LoTR vibes... the atmosphere is also spot on! Probably best EP of the year.
My rating: 4.5
Fragmenter Av Trolldom

Blending the past with the present, 'Fragmenter Av Trolldom' is another perfect album from the modern age of dungeon synth. Each song has its own aura, and the overall gloomy and magical atmosphere is simply perfect. *garas's seal of approval*, of course.
[Released in 2016] My rating: 5.0
44Ancient Boreal Forest
A Relic From The Sands of Time

So the second release of ABF this year is another great piece even though it follows a different concept, more of a medieval and black ambient mixture... still exciting one, though.
My rating: 3.5
45Fen Walker
Sojourns in the Realm of the Undermoon

One of the most exciting releases of the year. Fen Walker masterfully mixes verious genres and influences together, creating a really unique fantasy-inspired Berlin-school electronic / dungeon synth / dark ambient piece.
My rating: 4.0
Of Wolf and Battle

Strong debut, the overall sound is like an exciting mixture of Olgerd + Murgrind + Thangorodrim, which is very nice.
My rating: 3.5

Very mixed bag, but sounds very nice! Some mellow folk here and there, more epic soundscapes and sinister sections - Burzygory's self-titled has them all! A bit short, but the variety within is exceptional.
My rating: 3.5
48Vampyric Desolation
Wolf Howl, Blood and Nightfall

Exactly my taste in dungeon drone: mysterious and very atmospheric. I got those Amnesia vibes, perfectly spooky.
My rating: 4.0
Gigantic Throne

Taking dino synth to the next level, 'Gigantic Throne' is a super fun album.
My rating: 4.0
Mythical Metallurgy

Nice album, sounds like the mixture of Fief and Criptadel. I kinda prefer the latter in this specific concept, but this is still a very enjoyable album!
My rating: 3.5
51Alloch Nathir
The Emerald Grotto

Very calm and relaxing forest synth. Worked perfecty for reading, and I think it is a great match to any other activites as well to lift up a tired spirit.
My rating: 3.5
52Lamp of Murmuur
Cursed Deambulations of the Nocturnal Entities

It was great, the artist behind LoM showed us he can write some really good dungeon synth if he wants to.
My rating: 3.5
53Vale Minstrel
Warden Of The Vale

Very-very strong folk ambient debut album, I really liked it. The production is very pleasant, it has nice instrumentation (especially the flutes are the most lovely) and has adventurous but relaxing atmosphere.
My rating: 4.0
54Whispering Mirrors
The Stuff of Old Dreams

It was really nice, but some songs (I assume both sides are seamless mixes of several songs) felt a bit out of place = less inspired / magical. However, this is an interesting album which mixes old-school and modern sounds.
My rating: 3.5
55Ancient Sword
Ars Antiqua

Very-very good dungeon synth album. The combination of spacey drone and adventurous synth soundscapes works great; and especially the usage of some rless typical (sometimes odd) synth sounds makes this an outstandingly enjoyable album.
My rating: 4.0
56Isegrimm / Ornatorpet
The Heathen Kingdom

Wonderful and hypnotic split! Flows like a dream, it has exciting synths and percussions, and has a very adventurous feeling. Both artists really shines in this record.
My rating: 4.0
Provincial Kingdoms of Éire

Beautiful debut from Ulaidh, I'm most impressed. Soundwise, this respectfully follows to the old-school traditions, but has a slightly modern edge - and together the album builds an enchanting and mystical atmosphere... Very relaxing.
My rating: 4.0
58Octobeast / Synthosaurus
Mega Clash of Creature Worlds

Holy shite, what a split! This is some really cinematic dino synth split, which sometimes kinda sounds like Fief... and hints of black metal.
My rating: 4.0
59Dream Division
The Devil Rides Out

Halloween hit us early this year... An exciting release with great variety within. Spooky atmospheres, great synths and textures and excellent production - perfect.
My rating: 4.0
60Jim Kirkwood
Tenebrae​-​A Presence of Light

I'm a little bit disappointed. The album has a gorgeous sound, but probably due to the very long runtime I became less and less interested. However, the more droney sounds and sections brought great new "colors" into the overall atmospere - and to be honest, I loved them the most. Still a very nice Berlin school dungeon synth album.
My rating: 3.5
61Stygian Ruin
Sulfuric Vapour From the Depths

"Exotic" sounds and old-schoolish atmosphere. Stygian Ruin's debut is a very interesting and somewhat charming release, covered by some sort of weird magic which gives a certain spooky feeling to this release.
My rating: 4.0
Bogs And Frogs And Nightly Fog

This sounds VERY-VERY similar to Krampusnacht, but with a different concept. (Same artist, maybe?) Anyway, I loved the atmosphere (which is a bit creepy, but playful at the same time) and simply the sound of this release.
My rating: 3.5
63Mournful Moon
.​.​.​As Shadows Fall Over Zenitheaen

It is one of those albums I fell in love with within a few seconds. Despite being a Lamentation "copycat", this is a very sophisticated album with a charming atmosphere, which respectfully invocates the old-school era of dungeon synth. Beautiful reverby piano sections, melancholic and magical songs, and some black metal vocals here and there... everything is spot on!
My rating: 4.0
Alban Arthan

Not far from a 4.5 by the Grumpy standards. The most well-layered Malfet record so far with top quality production. I have no idea what's the secret behind that choir sound, but it is one of the greatests I've ever heard within the DS genre. The spoken lines didn't add anything to the listening experience for me, and maybe the rainy/watery samples were almost too much, but I'm only complaining because I'm Grumpy. I loved the atmosphere, the medieval instruments etc. - I'm more than satisfied.
My rating: 4.0 (more like a 4.3)
65Timothy Fife

Gorgeous blend of Berlin-school electronics and drone music, executed perfectly with a super sweet production. I loved the analog synth sounds, and how dynamic the album is...!
My rating: 4.0
66Wretched Lament
A Portrait of the Plague Age

The "plague synth" album of 2020. In the steps of Foolish Fire, Wretched Lament presented the perfectly depressed, empty, mysterious and "shockingly real sound" of a pandemia. Personally I loved the classical gregorian chant samples, they gave it a certain liturgical and sacred touch, plus the deep dones made this release somehow liturgical, and doomed.
My rating: 4.0
67Wampyric Solitude
Carpathian Melancholy

I'm a simple man, and I do really enjoy these kind of ethereal drone/ambient albums!
My rating: 3.5
68Witch Haunt
A Full Moon Shone On Hallows Eve

The best halloween dungeon synth album of the year award goes to Witch Haunt!
My rating: 3.5
69Forest Shrine
Forest Shrine

Very relaxing dungeon synth (and a bit of atmoblack) release. It was a very enjoyable listen, I liked the production but most especially the overall (kinda old-school) atmosphere of it.
My rating: 3.5
70Deorc Weg
The Chateau of Unrest

I really liked this one, probably the very best by the artist behind Deorc Weg. It has a very modern sound, and perfectly demonstrates the latest trends within the dungeon synth genre lately - and moreover, it executes it with a very elegant way.
My rating: 4.0
The Emerald Disk of Eternity

Diverse and has so much in it! I mean, it reminded me to lot of things, like videogame and movie soundtracks, other dungeon synth albums... so all in all, the overall atmosphere felt very mixed, but mixed from the best components, I'd say: a bit from everything, yet the combination is something new, fresh and adventurous.
My rating: 4.0
72Ontrothon, Saga of the Ancient Glass
Ontrothon, Saga of the Ancient Glass

The artist behind Spectral Lore really proved his talent with this release: enchanting, calm yet exciting piece of medieval ambient mixed with dungeon synth. Maybe this could worth a better rating as well, but hearing the same VSTs again and again with so many artists is getting a bit boring... at least, the fusion of different elements in this release could create a different atmosphere. Also, this would be a great soundtrack to a DnD game too - which is always means some bonus points for me.
My rating: 4.0
Haunted Lands

Good stuff, it has that lovely Fief-ish vibe, but with more dynamic and dramatic / kinda cinematic sound. If there is an album which wound be perfect for a Diablo-copy, then this is it.
My rating: 3.5
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