I don’t think dungeon synth gets enough credit in the music world, I don’t even think it gets enough credit on Resounding Footsteps sometimes. It’s hard, sometimes to judge whether an album is good or bad, or how exactly to articulate how the music makes me feel or how the music actually sounds. This is not to say I don’t like it. That’s absolutely false. It’s a recent addition to my personal musical cabaret but I have thoroughly enjoyed my trip through it. There is a lot of Tolkien influence, as with black metal, in the music and that is never a bad thing. Too, there is a lot of sound and music melded together, as with ambient music, but the production is very different.
While I’m still new to the show, I believe there are things I can say about the music. “First Age” by Dagor-Nu-Giliath (Quenya Battle Under Stars) may not look like much from the album cover but the music is solid. The sound quality is excellent but what really grabs me about the music is the connection it has to the world of Tolkien. As the name of the album suggests all of the stories are from the First age (roughly 7,000 years before The Lord of the Rings takes place for any Tolkien newbies) when Elves took up a great percentage of the population and Sauron’s master was running things on the evil end of the spectrum. Dwarves and men were involved too, but they were largely secondary characters (with a few standouts) to the main events.
Dagor-Nu-Giliath use similar sounding themes from the Lord of the Rings movies but the themes for Dwarves and men are more primitive and less vibrant than they are in the movies. This is because in the First Age, they are fledgling races, still finding their footholds in Middle Earth and the world at large. The Elves though, the Elven themes in “First Age” are breathtaking, the melodies are rich, deep, and complex. Multiple instruments woven together like a tapestry. It’s something to behold. I was not sure I was going to like it, given that the themes bore such a striking resemblance to the movies but once I really began to listen I felt depth to this music that a movie soundtrack, no matter how bloody good the conductor is, cannot reach. The medium of dungeon synth allows the artists to take more risks, explore facets of story that visual and written media cannot. A good dungeon synth collection I think ought to be a staple for fans of fantasy and role playing games. My collection is starting with “First Age.”
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