So labelling this ‘dungeon synth’, according to the PR, is ‘revisionist ‘ and sells short the man’s work. Well only is you think dungeon synth is something to be sneered at, and I most certainly do not think that. Dungeon synth. There. Said it… Well, actually, joking aside it is maybe a fair point as some music shouldn’t be reduced to a simple genre definition. But it’s a fair starting point.
This is kind of a second wind for Druadan Forest as the mastermind V-Khaoz only got to demo stage in the late 90s. Thankfully now he has a full head of steam and for the last three years has been world building and spellcasting and after two albums this is the latest. As you might guess from the name this is Tolkien inspired but rather like Mortiis Mk I also more than a little of the world being created within the songwriter’s head.
Four lengthy passages create this world. It is a sombre place no doubt; stepped into easily with the gentle opening harpsichord like tones but immediately the mist envelops you and the sparse but enthralling music has closed the door and you can only go onward. That in a sense is the key to this style; the ability to conjure swiftly but smoothly, to isolate you in the composer’s land and to allow only their landscape define the journey.
We are brought to a still, silent kingdom by V-Khaoz. A place of long deserted spires and desolate land. He does this with such minimalist tones but such a deft and elegant talent that you are twenty minutes into your seventy three minute odyssey before you notice he has been softly moving you along. It has a way of entrancing and leading the internal eye with such subtlety that even the thought of resisting is never birthed. The land is still and desolate but not empty and moments of awe-inspiring poise rise through the mists in passages in ‘Enthralled by Majestic Winters Eternity’.
The sound is a lovely weave indeed; Mortiis Mk 1 an obvious reference but with the robes of the darker and reflective aspects of some Vangelis circa Heaven And Hell and the sumptuous, confident, deceptive simplicity of a Midnight Configuration atmosphere.
This is dark, ambient music from an auteur. It is breath-taking in its scope and its thought and its ability to evoke. Music for meditation or inspiration or a good glass of wine on a quiet evening. The musical equivalent of a fine study with all the books and ornaments you need to create.
Mesmerising. I shall be delving deeper into the world of Druadan Forest. It is a land I want to travel well.