Caladan Brood, Emyn Muil, and Summoning could learn a thing or two from Sequestered Keep. This guy has been able to put out album after original album at a mind blowing rate, at the rate of nearly a full length album a month. Honestly it’s quite mind boggling. How can each album have an original feel? How can this much music be produced so quickly? While I can’t answer these questions, that would be excellent fodder for a future interview though, I am highly impressed with Sequestered Keep’s output as well as the quality of those releases, especially the latest, “Magic Amidst the Falling Leaves” which came out this month.
Each Sequestered Keep album that I’ve listened to, and damn there are a lot of them, has a very Summoning, epic feel to it (thus the comparison that started the review). While Sequestered Keep doesn’t have any of the black metal of the previous three, it does have the same epic, medieval feel to it. It has a hypnotic feel to it, a sort of power that takes the listener back to the time of castles, knights, and epic quests.
While a lot of dungeon synth focuses more on the fantasy realm, Sequestered Keep’s music, especially Magic Amidst the Falling Leaves, has a very real world, historical sound. The music is the music of the bards and skalds rather than the ballads of elves and dwarves. While I love being taken away to a fantasy realm, there are times my mind simply needs to be taken back to the early days of our history. Sequestered Keep is the band to do that. That is not to say there are fantasy elements in the music, far from it, but the music is much more grounded in the styles of the music of the dark ages, the renaissance, and the enlightenment periods. Magic Amidst the Falling Leaves, in my mind’s eye, takes the listener to the Arthurian age, not the overly noble and chivalrous times of Excalibur and Camelot, but the dirty, historical times in Post Roman Britain.
The melodies are simple yet they are powerful enough to stay inside the mind after the album is done. It’s a peaceful, relaxing album. The synth is not overly synthetic, rather it has some feedback that gives it a great raw quality, much like the older days of synth. But it also has some of the great epic qualities found in Summoning. In fact, having listened to Sequestered Keep for the last few months, I can say that if Summoning were ever to make a non black metal album and maintain their epic atmosphere, it would sound a hell of a lot like this. The atmosphere on Magic Amidst the Falling Leaves is very cavernous, the echoing distortion feels very natural and uneven as opposed to some synth that has an overly symmetrical, mechanical feel to it.
Sequestered Keep has been putting out high quality albums at an impressive rate, how long that will last is anyone’s guess. In the meantime, Sequestered Keep is a rare talent and as such ought to be on everyone’s playlist. The albums are strong despite the relatively short time in between releases. Talent like this ought not to stay in the shadows.
Listen and support!