I have a confession to make today. I haven’t ever listened to Mortiis before. I know, I know! It’s kind of insane that I haven’t listened to one of the founders of the genre of dungeon synth. I’ve heard the Burzum albums of course but somehow I never got around to listened to Mortiis. At the same time, I feel like I’m missing part of dungeon synth’s history and I’m unsullied by the “clones” that inevitably populate any genre. When I began to listen to Goblintropp I read up on them and found that people believed that they are very reminiscent of Mortiis in the early days. Being fresh and unaware, this made me pay closer attention to the themes, sounds, atmosphere, to analyze it and understand what “Tunnels under the Forest” is really about and what the story is.
First of all, I knew about dungeon synth’s sort of love affair with goblins and trolls and elves and fantasy beasts, but I’m glad I didn’t find something that went overboard with the imagery. Goblintropp has just enough imagery that the listener knows what the music is about but not so much that the imagery suffocates the narrative. The sound is natural and lyrical with a sort of meandering melody that we might find in forest synth yet it’s dark and epic and monolithic in the same way that dungeon synth is. At times the music has a sort of mythical epicness to it. What does that mean? Well I am going to assume that you’ve at least heard of Wagner (if you haven’t then you really need to listen to it once you finish this analysis). The music is about mythological themes, events, and people and the music mirrors that, it swells with atmosphere and significance. Tunnels under the Forest has that same sort of atmosphere and epic feel. Is it about mythological themes and events? Maybe. I think that the album takes places in its own world so maybe it does have a mythological feel. On the same hand though, this world that Goblintropp is creating music for is our own, just for a perspective that we have never been able to see before. Either way, we are being shown things in the music, in the melodies, that we haven’t experienced before.
Tunnels under the Forest only has two songs but the album still lasts for nearly forty minutes. Both songs are structured classically with melodies and themes that grow and mature and blend so that despite the fact that songs are at least sixteen minutes a piece there is not a lot of repetition. The music is never dull. It doesn’t sound synthetic or over produced. In the notes I can sense other instruments, despite the fact that the entire thing is played out on the keyboard. It doesn’t have the epic scale of say Summoning, the music isn’t quite as full but the power of the music Tunnels Under the Forest is not any less. If this is an imitation of Mortiis, then Mortiis is apparently pretty damn good.
With this album alone, these two songs, I’ve become a fan. Goblintropp is really fun and Tunnels Under the Forest gives me more than a sense of nostalgia. It gives me hints of feelings and emotions that I haven’t really experienced before. It’s a familiar feeling but at the same time it’s not. It’s something new and exciting and epic. I love it. Goblintropp is a beautiful homage to folklore and nature seen in a million different ways.
Listen and support!