Close your eyes, imagine a great, dark, and old forest surrounding you. Imagine the humid, hot, sticky air around you, filling your lungs every time you take a breath. Imagine the sway of the trees in the wind. It’s almost as if they’re alive, their movements are so slow and deliberate. Hear the great thrum of the forest and realize you don’t hear a single bird or squirrel, no bugs. Nothing. The air is close, you feel like something is watching you from the trees but every time you look you seen nothing but the trees and their gentle swaying in the wind. Then you notice it, one of the trees has eyes. It starts to move in ways that trees just shouldn’t be able to move in. It comes towards, you a hom hum coming from what appears to be a mouth.
If that image is a familiar one to you then Edoras’ latest dungeon synth masterpiece will feel like home to you. “Tree Shepherds” is, in my humble estimation, of the very best dungeon synth has to offer. The album has a beautifully rustic feel to it, a rural sort of atmosphere. Each sound conjures the image of the trees, the deep forests, and the ents. Each note, raw and gritty, gives you the feeling of claustrophobia as it begins to creep into the back of your mind and overwhelm you. The music feels very much like it rests in the trees, it’s not slow and plodding yet it’s not rapid either. It falls somewhere in the middle. The entire thing has an ancient feel to it, I don’t know whether that’s because of the sound quality, harkening back to the beginning days of dungeon synth, or because my mind is conjuring images based on the subject matter, but the album feels just right.
The melodies are soft yet vibrant, intricate despite their brevity. The music reflects the images. It flows like the stream that cuts through Fangorn, meandering through darker pieces before breaking back into the light.
The artist here took a lot of cues from the early days of dungeon synth, there’s a lot of Burzum’s ambient albums here. However instead of sounding as though the album is attempting to copy the sound, Edoras rather uses many of the same techniques, looped recordings and minor distortions, and put their own stamp on it so to speak. The result is a fantastic, and realistic, journey into Middle-Earth. Albums like this make me wonder, and crave, what a Lord of the Rings Soundtrack would have sounded like if it had taken cues from all of the dungeon synth that has been made in honor of Tolkien. Ideas for another day I suppose.
Listen and support!