Title: Wandering to Nether World
Rating: 4.5 / 5
Genre: Dungeon Synth
Label: Paa Gamle Stier
I have been a fan of Morketsvind since the Morketsvind I release, which I reviewed when this zine was first created. Morketsvind I presented very strong militant Dungeon Synth, which felt like a siege upon a stone stronghold. With the next release, Age of Lord, Morketsvind expanded his sound to include more medieval atmospheres. With the latest Morketsvind album Wandering to Nether World, Morketsvind combines both atmospheres to create an album that is both warlike and medieval, and is supremely epic in feeling and composition.
From the intro Big Ritual of Gates Opening the mood is already set for the album with heavy brass melodies which remind me of the glory days of Basil Poledouris. At this point Morketsvind has the best synthesized brass sound I’ve heard; which sounds more like a synthesizer than a virtual instrument. These brass sections invoke images of mounted kings riding to glory over a desolate battlefield. The militant power of the early Morketsvind material is perfected here. Synthesized key instruments break up the warlike brass sections with adventurous medieval melodies, before returning to the crushing battlefield.
The Basil Poledouris influence is also present in the strings (the track ‘Nether World’ being a prime example). These string sections are both melancholic and powerful, hearkening back to an age of legend. The ability to create music that is both powerful and somber is no easy feat, yet Morketsvind constantly accomplishes this. Many of these melodies stay in my memory for days after each listen, each time bringing images of fortresses and ancient legends.
Not only is the music here excellent, but other aspects of the album are as well. The production is crystal clear and gives power to each instrument, nothing is lost in the mix and every synth is easily present. The CD version of the album (which this review is based on) also includes hand drawn letters and text, something rarely seen in Dungeon Synth today. The album also comes with a story explaining how the songs weave the tale together (I highly encourage everyone with any remote interest in Dungeon Synth to buy the physical version to get full appreciation of the album).
As RaevJager once said, Morketsvind is the siege weapon of Dungeon Synth. Completely original and crafted with excellence and mastery, Wandering to Nether World is not only the best Morketsvind album, it is one of the best Dungeon Synth albums that I’ve ever heard. Welcome to Hyboria.