I’ll be the first to admit that I know pretty much nothing when it comes to the Dragonlance series. It’s not that I’ve never been interested (I have), it’s that there have been hundreds of other books that have crowded my attention. I’m thankful, though, that someone has found the series and set some of the series’ events to a beauty score. The more fantasy that dungeon synth embraces, the more it grows. I love Tolkien, calling me a nerd doesn’t begin to do my love of Tolkien justice, but I do acknowledge that the genre of dungeon synth might depend a little too much on Lord of the Rings and Middle-Earth for subject material (not that any artist that uses it is wrong in any way). Projects that seek out other fantasy series, like Verminaard does for Dragonlance, a great breath of fresh air for the genre. Lorac’s Folly is Verminaard’s first full length foray into the world of Dragonlance. How did he do? Let’s find out!
A few stray thoughts from the album first though, of course. One, bands that do one long song as their album are incredibly brave or shortsighted, Verminaard is definitely the former. Two, knowing nothing about the Dragonlance series I had to stop myself from reading “Lorax” every time I would see Lorac’s Folly appear on my Facebook feed. Three, for as long as it took me to finally listen to the album I’m glad I abstained until I was ready to review it, the sound was pure and fresh that way. Four, the artwork and logo on this album are incredible, the colors and vibrancy therein are not oft seen in dungeon synth.
One song albums have a hard road ahead of them. They have to convey an entire story with a full range of emotions within a relatively limited space while maintaining a level of musical fluidity from theme to theme. Lorac’s Folly is the latest to give the one song thing a go. And it succeeds. The music is fluid from one theme to another without being clunky or awkward and the emotional range is perfect for the story. I had to read the story synopsis on the Bandcamp page to understand the themes of the music (good marks for that because I might have been lost otherwise), but thanks to that I was able to understand the emotional roller coaster, as it were. I won’t into the story itself because I think that would be unnecessary (though I do recommend you at least familiarize with the story if you aren’t already) but to sufficive to say the emotional range is pretty bleak.
The music itself is very keyboard and bell centered, the bells representing the elven culture, a soft yet resonating sound, a natural sound that lends itself perfectly to the mournful quality Lorac’s Folly is going for. Bells are some of my favorite instruments because depending on their physical make up they can represent a wide range of emotions. Lorac’s Folly is a deeply melancholic, sad album. The music is somber yet there are hints of ancient melodies, a foundation of nobility as it were.
As the music progresses, more themes and melodies come in. Terror, fear, and dread creep into the music until they completely overwhelm it, forcing the listener out of the idyllic state the music has put the listener in. It’s beautifully dynamic, Verminaard plays the listeners well, giving us one hell of a story and enriching the landscape of the Dragonlance novels in the way only dungeon synth can do.
I am glad I waited to listen to Lorac’s Folly until now because I have finally started to learn how to write about dungeon synth and this album deserved a good review. Lorac’s Folly is a beautiful, quiet, subtle album detailing a story that is full of sadness, terror, and pain. Even though I’ve not read any of the Dragonlance books yet, I feel like I have a better understanding of the stories and the characters within them. Give Lorac’s Folly a listen and tell me that fantasy world is not enriched.
Listen and support the music!