There are times when listening to a particular band or project that you can tell exactly who their influences are, it’s not a copy but there is something in the feeling, in the emotions of the music that unmistakably points to something else. This is a double edged sword, as it can lead the artist to putting so much of his or her influences into the music that they themselves are lost, and in the process lose what makes them special. There are some projects though that avoid this, they sprinkle breadcrumbs throughout their music so the listener is not even aware of the influences. Draug Dae’s release “Tales” is such an album. There are some great Tolkien and Conan-esque sounds in the album but the sound is still distinct, it borrows from the epic nature of Tolkien and Middle-Earth to create its own epic atmosphere.
I think this album qualifies as both a dark ambient and a dungeon synth release, the music paints a vast picture of an ancient forgotten land while the beautiful soundscapes ground this world is realism. As I listened I could feel the mud and the wind, I could smell the horses and the rain. It’s paced well, in places the music is sweeping, mapping wide swaths of land and other times the music slows to a crawl, exploring the tiny creeks, crevices, and streams, the quiet places that don’t see much adventure. Another part of the music takes the listener through the air and into the stars with themes reminiscent of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The blending of sci-fi and fantasy is difficult through any medium (as I writer I should know this) and Draug Dae is able to blend it together just enough to show that it can be done without either sacrificing too much of what makes each genre unique.
Another influence that is strong through the album is that of Burzum, the granddaddy of all dungeon synth. A lot of the sound is vast and repetitive with an unfinished, raw quality similar to the Burzum releases. It adds a layer of meaning to the music without relying too heavily on Burzum’s influence.
Having listened to this album at least half a dozen times I would say this is an album best listened to as the sun is setting or rain clouds are covering the sun, the ambience is perfect for this style of music.
Listen and support!