Review Summary: An epic and colorful dungeon synth album.
Hailing from Finland, the story of the dungeon synth act, Old Sorcery
, has started on the verge of the genre’s ”renaissance”. Realms of Magickal Sorrow
from 2017 was a great success, especially due to the wide range of instruments and sounds used in the making of the record. For example, similarities to the music made by Klaus Schulze
, the sound of the ambient Burzum
albums, and probably many great video game soundtracks are parts of the essence of Old Sorcery’s
sound. Later on, in the extension of Old Sorcery’s
repertoire, the Sorrowcrown
LP from 2020 was the first atmospheric black metal album released under the project’s moniker. (Even though Vechi Vrăjitor / Juuso Peltola already has a solo black metal project, Warmoon Lord
.) Dragon Citadel Elegies
is the third part of the “castle trilogy” (basically the third strictly dungeon synth LP), which is another brilliant dungeon synth release, and definitely the most epic piece in the project’s discography.
After a mysteriously sounding short intro (which is extremely similar to the start of Bathory’s
self-titled with the rain sample and the bells), Dragon Citadel Elegies
shortly gets to the point, and welcomes the listener with grandiose epic dungeon synth melodies, in the vein of no other, than the mighty Thangorodrim
. This style reminded me especially of Taur-nu-Fuin
LP (from 2016) here, which is one of the most influential releases of the dungeon synth genre. This kind of epic, dynamic and cathartic style gets even more dominant in “Oglaz, Raven of Occult Knowledge”, thanks to the quite neo-classical-dominant instrumentalization, and that’s why I believe this song is seriously addicting. First impressions aside, Old Sorcery
remained true to its nature, since the album is filled with those charming and playful melodies that always makes me think of pixies and fairies roaming around - thanks to vibratos and other interesting effects in creating this strange and arcane “vibe”. (To experience this feeling, my dear reader, just jump to the end of “Towards the Mana Shrine”!) Other interesting elements which are worth mentioning are, for example, the main melody and the instruments used in The Inn on the Borderland
. It is definitely something that I’d expect from an Enya
song, which is… actually impressive, in my opinion. Or there is something even more odd: the first half of the song, And Only I Have the Key
might invoke the impression of listening to a blend of horror movie soundtracks at once. Principally, the haunting piano melody could make the listener think of The Exorcist, for example. Going through all the possible influences I’ve heard in this record would make this review quite lengthy, but I hope I could portray (in general) what to expect from this record.
Dragon Citadel Elegies
is an epic and colorful, a truly brilliant dungeon synth album for all fantasy fans. This could be a good entry album for those who might be interested in digging into the dungeon synth genre, but even for the “veteran” followers, this is an album which shouldn’t be slept on.