What I love about dungeon synth, and likely I am not alone, is the sense of nostalgia that permeates the music. When I hear artists like Argonath, a new Irish project and good friend of mine, I am brought back to my first introduction to fantasy and RPGs. There is an atmosphere in the music, a mysterious force that calls to the listener. Dungeon synth could be called escapist music and why not? Dungeon synth takes the listener away from the real world and brings them to a world they somehow remember yet have never really seen. Look at Argonath’s first album “Lugnasad” for that. Every single time I listen to this album, literally, I feel as though I am listening to an Irish Final Fantasy game, something that I can imagine yet I have yet to see.
Lugnasad is originally a festival in the summer in the Irish, Scottish, Briton traditions and the album really takes that Irish feeling, that connection to the ancient, and runs with it. As I said, every time I listen to Lugnasad, I hear the music of the old Final Fantasy games come alive. The music of Argonath is vibrant, even though the music is rudimentary, there is something in the melody that melds itself with my thoughts and memories and makes it even more real in my head. I can hear the sounds and notes and my mind translates it into images, but it’s more than just images isn’t it? There is something deeper than the images, they evoke emotions. The music evokes nobility, power, pain, and tragedy in different songs. It all blends together to create a real saga without needing to speak a word.
Argonath, the name of the project, grabbed my attention, believe it or not. It’s not an overly archaic name from the Tolkien legerdemain but it’s an important one, it’s the statues of Isildur and Anarion (if you don’t know who they are then you need to read Lord of the Rings, I’m not going to tell you about them here) raised as the boundary of the kingdom of Gondor at its height. But by the time of The Lord of the Rings that realm has shrunk, the Argonath now stands as a painful reminder of what once was. Through all my research of Irish mythology, culture, and history, I see a very strong parallel between Gondor and Irish culture. Maybe it’s just me but I felt like it made the music of Argonath, who uses a combination of Irish mythology and Tolkien literature, all the richer and more heartfelt. If you haven’t already looked into Argonath, then you must do so now. Yes, must. Argonath has a richness and emotional draw that a lot of music doesn’t have today. Listen to Lugnasad and start the RPG in your head.
Listen and support!