Crypt of Carmilla – Master’s Chalice (Review)


Title: Master’s Chalice

Artist: Crypt of Carmilla

Rating: 3.5 / 5

Genre: Dungeon Synth/Dark Ambient

Year: 2017

Country: USA

Label: Self-released


A rotting castle in an ornate Victorian frame is perched upon a hill, the sunlight dulled into shades of grey by the black and white filter resembling an old Xerox cover. Dissonant organ lines creep in the wind and lightning strikes crash as a voice echoes in a deep chamber to drink the blood of the Master. Whispers fade with the wind, as haunting strings sparsely crawl through the speakers at the pace of fog enveloping a corridor. An evil presence is lurking near…

Crypt of Carmilla is a new Dungeon Synth/Dark Ambient project taking influence from the works of Lord Byron, Sheridan Le Fanu, and Charles Baudelaire, as well as the music of Lamentation, Depressive Silence, Old Tower, and 90’s black metal intros. While the opening paragraph of this review may seem as if Crypt of Carmilla is just another lo-fi blackened synth project, what sets this demo apart is atmosphere. From the one minute intro until the end of the demo, the mood is immediately set and never ceases, engulfing the listener in Crypt of Carmilla’s romanticized vampyric darkness. Powerful narrations reverberate as if coming from deep caverns, wolves howl within the wind, deep gongs and percussions crash, and organ lines carve ghastly images into the listener’s mind. However, none of these elements are performed at random. Each narration, each organ line, each percussion crash enhances the atmosphere and feels deliberately planned, giving the demo a cinematic quality. While countless projects strive to create this sense of darkness, Crypt of Carmilla feels authentic in it’s approach. The gothic theme is explored in a way that is not cheesy or feels like a cheap gimmick, much like Lamentation’s early material (especially As Shadow Kingdom Comes To My Sight). While listening to the demo I actually feel as if I’m in the presence of some form of immortal malevolence, from years long past, buried beneath centuries of lore and legend. I’m sure this is the composer’s intention, and this demo was a refreshing new presence in modern Dungeon Synth.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, the rating system used on this zine is strict, and a 3.5/5 is a great rating for a 15 minute debut from a new artist. The demo will also soon be available on tape for those who seek analog copies. Fans of old horror and dark dungeon music that isn’t plastic and insincere, come forth and drink from the Master’s Chalice.