Sometimes a story needs more than just a voice telling the story. Sometimes we need to hear more than just what the author is telling us and hear the heartbeat of the world we are in. We need to feel the natural pulse, the ebb and flow, the rhythm of the world. This is the same for every branch of “literature” when it really wants to be effective, whether that literature is books, film, or music. To make a truly all encompassing, vibrant story you must let the world the story is set in to tell as much of the story as the narrator. Would Lord of the Rings be as good and timeless as it is without the depth that Middle-Earth has? Would shows like Luther be as engaging and dramatic if we did not see London in all her grime? Many people would never think to call music a form of literature but it most assuredly is. Music tells us stories that we are not always consciously aware of and, until about six years ago, I was unaware of that as well. However, once I did become aware of the fact that music tells stories (the quality of those stories is questionable) I could not listen to an album without trying to discern the story I was being told. Sometimes the musician is not even aware of the story but that makes the whole thing that much more organic and natural. Dungeon synth, in my less than humble opinion, has some of the best, and most underrated storytellers in the business of music. They do so in relative obscurity, toiling onward with honest, epic stories that need to be heard. I would argue, and I’m sure many of you would agree, that they need to be heard more so than the oversaturated pop music scenes and their inane and banal tales. Dungeon synth can tell a deeper, more poignant story with a keyboard and pieces of field recording equipment than films can with a two hundred-million-dollar budget. A perfect example of this Elador, a relatively young but very prolific project whose most recent work “A Wanderer’s Tale” touched my heart is a most profound way.
Combining the field recording elements of dark ambient and the epic keyboard melodies of dungeon synth, Elador tells us the story of a wandering man, maybe a knight, maybe just a man on a journey. It is the typical tale of a man caught up in war and all its horrors and tragedies but sounds and music is so personal and so vivid that the listener has no choice but to feel something, apathy is not an option when listening to an album like this; it is simply too fucking good. The keyboards are as epic as Summoning or “Dusk and Her Embrace” era Cradle of Filth. There is a magic to them that stirs the heart. Images of war, death, and loneliness are conjured in an all too real way. The visceral sounds of wolves, swords, and wind dominate the whole of the album, never relenting for a second. I loved it. Absolutely fucking loved it. I felt that I was not just a listener but a partaker in this adventure, in this journey. I have never felt like that before. I have always felt, with the stories in music, that I am just a listener, but with A Wanderer’s Tale I felt as though I were walking with the protagonist, I could feel the bitter cold of the wind, the mud on my boots.
It takes more than just musical skill and know how to pull off something like that, it takes a goddamned storyteller. It takes someone so devoted to the story that they will go to any lengths to tell it. And that is exactly what Elador has done with A Wanderer’s Tale. The story is so rich and encompassing that when it’s over you feel that same sort of depression you feel when your favorite book is finished or a 10-year TV series has finally come to a close. You want more, you crave it.
This is a beautiful album, one of the best dungeon synth albums I’ve ever had the pleasure to hear. I want the novels, the six seasons and a movie. I want it all. Until then I will settle for A Wanderer’s Tale, hoping and praying that a follow up album comes soon to continue this story. I love this album, I love it more than most black metal that I’ve heard, that’s a bloody lot!
Listen and support!