Review Summary: Trollmannens KryptCrypt of the Wizard
is a title wholly befitting for what is essentially the final resting place of Mortiis the dungeon synth artist and the compilation accompanying him to the grave. By the time of its release Mortiis had already tucked a trio of highly influential synthesised classics firmly under his belt, each one establishing the craggy foundation upon which a micro-genre was built. Future endeavours would begin fulfilling entirely separate quests, a process which began gradually once Stargate
introduced the first signs of deviation from the path, and then grew increasingly experimental beyond that point. Before abandoning this style altogether, however, Mortiis sequestered away the remnants of his signature sound for avid dungeon crawlers to explore.
Upon exhuming this compilation of 12 inch singles and clearing the dust from its cadaver, the reality of its composition sets in. Rather than containing lengthy dungeon synth journeys like the albums that precede it, this Frankenstein’s monster consists of ten separate tales stitched together. Its earliest moments re-animate the fanciful cinematic atmosphere Håvard Ellefson is known for, opening with a tripartite of imposing, monolithic pieces that entirely dominate the soundscape they’ve been allotted. Rhythmic synths steadily establish a marching procession from track to track while epic melodies hang above like a cloud of ash. Crypt of the Wizard
is not all doom and gloom though. Elsewhere more optimistic stories are interwoven and playful anecdotes are recited. These lighthearted odes continue to bear all the hallmarks of classic material, but offer a more tranquil balance to the darker moments spread across this release, dominating the runtime in fact. After exiting the mausoleum, Crypt of the Wizard
is assurance enough that there is no cause to mourn Ellefson’s evolution beyond dungeon synth, for as long as the artefacts remain, this era will never truly die.