Any Dungeon Synth fans?

Fri, 12/01/2018 - 15:33

over the past month or so i have been starting to get into dungeon synth music... found many cool projects on bandcamp and have ordered some stuff from DS labels like Out of Season and Dark Age Productions....not sure if this has been discussed before in the forums here but was wondering if anyone else here is a fan of this music and if so would like to share their recommendations?

VoodooChild's picture

Yeah I Like it occasionally but don't know too many projects. The ones I listen to now are Sysyphus, Fief and Hedge Wizard. I would like some recommendations too hah.

Cenobite99's picture

Yes and the above mentioned Fief and Hegde wizard are great! Also check out Sequesterd keep,Lord wolf,Lamentation, Verminaard. They are all awesome! Lamentation has a truly beautiful dark sound.I'll mention more when I think of them.

judascrust's picture

i have a cassette of fief and purchased one of sequestered keeps releases on bandcamp... will check out the others you mentioned

Cenobite99's picture


Cenobite99's picture

I think so. I found it all on youtube.

VoodooChild's picture


Can all be found on bandcamp? Wanna try em all hahah

judascrust's picture

bandcamp has a TON of stuff to search thru, its a bit overwhelming seeing how much stuff is out there... plus it seems like its not like other genres where theres a lot of reccomended/essential starting points... this article really helped me get the ball rolling as far as finding a place to start searching and hearing the different ways/moods/ atmospheres that can be expressed with this stuff... hope it helps you!

Corvus Corax's picture

Moloch (Ukraine) tends to do some dungeon-synth stuff as interludes between songs.

judascrust's picture

I've heard some of molochs straight black metal stuff but since ive become more interested in ds i want to look into his ambient stuff as well!

Corvus Corax's picture

It's always subjective but, I appreciate it.

paninithyphallicmirth appears to be a deep wealth of knowledge on the subject. Take advantage. Kudos to Pan...

zushi's picture

Check out Abandoned Places

judascrust's picture

just gave them a quick listen, definitely has the gloomy sort of feel i prefer in this kind of music

satanachist's picture

Forgotten Kingdoms is the only one that caught my attention

judascrust's picture

will be looking more into this one, just listened to a bit on their bandcamp, i liked it!

pan_in_ithyphallic_mirth's picture

That 'guide' you were given is really really piss poor, only addressing modern projects and some who are of a very bad quality. Let me give you some more about the original stuff and some better new stuff too. Ive seen too much attention being given to some artists who spend their entire lives on bandcamp and probably are not that experienced with other genres of music or metal music and never actually grew up playing DOS operating computer games, tabletop D&D roleplay, and spending hours in the woods every day.


First of all we all can kind of agree that Mortiis is credited to have the genre. So im sure anyone knows of Mortiis and can find his work no problem.
But here are some classic and a few modern dungeon synth artists whom are important to pay attention to:

Dungeon synth general:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cC_jkB9xT6U --- from 1995 probably the big #1 ultimate dungeon synth hit song
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_O-VfAx9xoU --- from 2000
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1JS0K8BilM --- from 1995 members of the band Summoning
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDzqT5COJ20 --- from 1997 by the infamous Riddick brothers
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7MEEcUQRCI --- from 2006 Uruk-Hai kept dungeon synth alive in the early 2000s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UQfAyS0I6g --- from 1995
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-EpQysxbzo --- from 1998
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0uu3XfB9XpY --- from 1997 the first dark/anbient dungeon synth artist I ever heard and one of the best
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0Y4jyGVNKk --- from 2015 a modern group I kind of like the album of
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZzXjyyrK0c --- from 2006 'pop' dungeon synth by a well known halloween artist and painter
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXTGR6OzWQk --- from 2006 very heavy fantasy themes part of Spanish 'fairy music' genre
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GECwLdzGXk --- from 1995 another famous act has some black metal parts
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYzBLIdlJSU --- another of the Spanish fairy music genre, EXTREMELY fantasy themed with folk music, this lady is the Mortiis for celtic music and like him lives in a fantasy world 24/7

This genre of music is very personal to me and I was a big fan of it well before it came to be called dungeon synth. And there is one thing that I feel is extremely important that most new artists and fans fail to notice about the original stuff:
Traditional 'dungeon synth' was very commonly mixed in and associated with gothic darkwave and neoclassical music in the 90s. At that time their was no clear distinction between synth music about fantasy and those about gothic classical themes. And as dungeon synth has become very popular now, many REALLY good artists whom also wrote this music with a gothic aura have still gone completely forgotten. Here are some I feel are vitally important examples of gothic dungeon synth:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6QHbn0Seow --- from 1995 I cannot express how good old Penitent was
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gxbtbkoq8Y --- from 1991 sort of a neofolk band but very heavy synth based
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvHXRJ5pD94 --- from 1995 metalhead who founded the most important neoclassical artist of 90's
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGF0MDY2j6U --- from 1998 totally unknown american act
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxmKqpnFt8k --- from 1998 with fantasy themed subjects
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXpl2VgDWNU --- from 1995 satantic gothic/castle music with a violinist
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zb_3l66uZZY --- from 2000
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VofQaOyWQ2Y --- from 2003 very intimate personal stuff about emotions
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQnmHLaIDew --- from the late 90's has a very militaristic medieval feel
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QanY66DdYLc --- from 2003 medieval themed neoclassical aritst
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_r8DpzlL6t8 --- from 1999 former doom metal artist. very good music medieval darkwave artist
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZR0NauErnD4 --- from 1994 Norse experimental gothic ambient artist who were friends of Mortiis
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdp7KjBF2Z8 --- from 2005 famous gothic metal band's soundtrack to an unmade fantasy epic film

Another thing about dungeon synth was how it was a deviation for metalheads back in the 90's. Starting first with Mortiis. In many ways it was an extension of the synth and folk arrangements black and doom artists were using at the time... and another key part of dungeon synth is the artists working in the 'black ambient' genre.... ambient and synth music with cues exclusively from black metal. This is what Mortiis was and it also is very important to preserving dungeon synths underground feel. Sometimes this music is less about fantasy and more about the occult, death, Satanism, and crypts. This is the darkside of the genre.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rVciiaRP90 --- from 1996 one of the best black ambient albums every written "Abandonment"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NttHRjexDYc --- from 1995 the man who invented 'black ambient' in 1991 during the time of Mayhem
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owRMJNK5Og0 --- from 2017 dungeon synth from a metal artist working since 1998 very good
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4d9qFDhads --- from 2000 some diehard Satanic ambient art, very grim and frightening album again with the Riddick brothers participating
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-aQvpgosjs --- from 1995 very infamous all female Satanic black ambeint project music of tombs
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZhHfyBDsp7k --- from 2006 existential black ambient centered around night wilderness in the pacific northwest
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67gD6eH7w7A --- from 1996 another heavy Satanic black ambient project with human bone percussion
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BY0Sa-eT2dw --- from 2010 good Russian female black ambient / neoclassical project

Another thing is where dungeon synth has synched up with ambient, drone, and dark ambient music. Most artists in these other genres tend to make music without a core visual subject. But some albums I feel touch up on the mystical or medieval and fantasy feel and also the isolation associated with dungeon synth and ill add a few examples here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGzos6_SSuw from 2000 side project of Penitent genius.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YigkgrVBGE from 2005
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygvLqIGf-Vs from 2002 Norse project his more mystical album
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9nZtA6SiBc from 1999 utterly terrifying noise ambient about ancient wind demons and gods
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JpHt1alr6QM from 2013 obscure neofolk landscape experimental art with classical instruments

Finally as a little add on... before dungeon synth even existed well beyond metal and dark music there were in fact a few artists who inadvertently created art that dungeon synth fans should be aware of for its method of sound and its focus on creating a fantasy escapism atmosphere. Some of these artists without any way to define their music came to put it in the world of New Age or progressive music. And a lot of it has been forgotten (admittedly new age and prog rock subjenres are very daunting to explore). This is something new I am trying to explore and im still trying to find other exciting things from very obscure forgotten prog and new age that can be called dungeon/fantasy themed keyboard music.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dadlyy2wTew from 1993 new age dungeon synth intersection about druids and Stonehenge
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0c-rDolN84 from 2001 Tolkien themed album very famous prog rock keyboardist working since the late 60's
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sN7zONJfAQ from 1993 the one true proto dungeon synth master whose been recognized lately


Finally a note about all these samples. The songs come from specific albums of the artists mentioned in the videos. Those albums get my recommendation for what you are looking for. But I cant say that each artist always created dungeon synth like music with all of their albums. Not all of them stayed in that genre though some did.

The feelings and essence behind Dungeon Synth is actually a lot more diverse than what we currently think it is as these artists prove. Back when many of these classic artists were working there was no such defined genre. But all that they have in common is how their music in these songs were designed all on keys and made to help the listener escape into an ancient and mystical place in their minds far away from the sickness of the modern world. I hope people discover some really fantastic things here and that as this music becomes a defined genre, it rediscovered the roots that it came from while still looking forward and expanding its sonic landscape. Ditch the WoW and Skyrim online stuff and pick up a Moorcock and Le Guin book or some tabletop pen and paper game Study mythology and get out into natural spaces. Create fantasy worlds and have a deeper experience.

judascrust's picture

THIS is some excellent feedback!
i have to say this is one thing i've noticed getting into this stuff is that a lot of what i'm seeing available to purchase/download is fairly recent and i really want to find out more about the roots of this music and hear the older, more obscure projects that existed before "dungeon synth" became a thing.
i will definitely be looking back to this post as a reference point as i continue to delve deeper into this kind of stuff

pan_in_ithyphallic_mirth's picture

Thank you :) this is music is very important to me and im very glad that it apparently is getting a lot of attention. But there are a lot of new fans and creators but no old guard hanging around to give people advice, and you have a new scene developing that feels disowned from the older artists many that still go on unknown... especially where dungeon synth and gothic neoclassical music intersect. I dont think there should be much difference from music about castles full of ghost knights and music about old churches haunted by vampires and demon cults. haha

And I do wish that more of these newer artists get out a bit and experience the natural world where one can get the inspiration that is behind the music too. Too many people live insular these days dreaming of being away and modern life is so ever-present. People should do a lot more hiking, ive done it in the snow and also practice some rituals in the woods. I think if these new artists would do things like this it would also help to drive their music to be more intense and powerful and the best they want it to be.

DeathRipper's picture

I've bought a few cds from Swamp Kult.

Cenobite99's picture

Lamentation is classic

Cenobite99's picture


pan_in_ithyphallic_mirth's picture

I have to make a note to everyone so people are aware. Lamentation was the creation of the hardcore nazi behind der sturmer. Lamentation was very much a nazi synth project. I have a copy of Savage Garden zine issue 1 where they were interviewed and he would not stop talking about how great he thought hitler was and oi bands. Also it should be noted their interview they didnt talk much about fantasy subjects.

Personally they are a synth project which I feel should remain unknown...

Cenobite99's picture

Well i was unaware he was a Nazi.I geuss thats where they get that truly evil sound.

pan_in_ithyphallic_mirth's picture


You should try out Hexentanz and Aghast for some good sounds

Cenobite99's picture

I'll check it out thanks!

pan_in_ithyphallic_mirth's picture
Cenobite99's picture

Cernunnos woods,Grim,Lunar womb. check them out. Great stuff!

judascrust's picture

i have the cernunnos woods anthology tape, i liked that one... will check out the other 2!

thjxith's picture

Definitely check out Thangorodrim, some of the most enchanting and epic dungeon synth music I've ever heard

pan_in_ithyphallic_mirth's picture

This guy....

Well he does cite some of the first artists who played in this genre. But then goes on to recommend only 5 or 6 new artists and makes a big wind about the same old 'hipster' menace once more. He is right in that the inspiration for new fans of the genre needs to come from more creative outlets than open-world online games. I personally feel that he doesnt need to be super elitist about it with the obligatory rant on the newer generation. That kind of attitude turns away a lot of potential fans while at the same time making new ones who want to stick to it overcompensate for it. Finally he narrows down what he thinks the genre is to something exclusively as a sidearm of the black metal scene. That cannot be. Thats a massive disservice to the art of people like Jim Kirkwood and other musicians in the genre that have never played black metal.

The big thing though I have about so many people discussing dungeon synth is that between 1993 and 2016 there absolutely have been a vast underground of still unrecognized artists and albums of escapist fantasy or mystical synth music and no one knows anything about them. Dungeon synth cannot have possibly existed for just the early 90's and only now.

Vectrex's picture

What is dungeon snyth? exlpanation plz?

pan_in_ithyphallic_mirth's picture

You know Mortiis? Old Mortiis? Former bassist for Emperor?

pan_in_ithyphallic_mirth's picture

thought Id mention this to anyone...
Im currently selling one of my Golden Dawn / Apeiron original split tape on the count of getting a CD version. One of the most critical dungeon synth projects.

You can check it out here on ebay

or better yet just send me a message here on TSS and we shall arrange something outside of ebay id prefer that!

DarkValkyrieofDeath's picture

Asmorod is the only thing i know of and like so far in this genre


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