Saturday, March 26, 2011

Mistigo Varggoth Darkestra - Midnight Fullmoon

One enters a mystical forest and wanders dreamily. Thoughts drift in and out, the silent spaces carried by an unnoticeable thread of melody alongside the sound of ambient vintage keyboard effects such as water, wind, birds, and horse-gallops. This is the awakening of the ancient spirit, the long and pleasant meandering into the dreaming woods. One can sense that this place is confined despite its fantastic atmosphere, as if these woods exist in the darkness of an unconscious mind, one who has, for a brief relieving moment, forgotten the pain and suffering of the waking modern world. This is music best complimenting a creative activity, wandering contemplation, or some other imaginative distraction, as the music is too repetitive and dull for the foreground of the mind.

With the raining darkness the music takes on a more sinister edge, as if the dreaming woods have suddenly grown darker, and one senses hungry eyes peering in from the shadows. A heartbeat is heard in background, reminding the listener of his mortality, threatening him for daring to tread so deep into the inner realms. Possibly it is a warning to the dreamer, that if he continues through the dank lonely realm of 'dungeon synth' that he runs the risk of getting permanently lost, his sanity melting under the raining darkness.

Then the triumph comes in, and one feels they are in control of the place. The honor of the explorer, as he has comes to understand the strange fantasy around him... and yet those momentary feelings of triumph always seem to fade off into uncertainty. The wanderer has faced the darkness, and feels that within it they are given supernatural power, like the figure of Dracula, lord of the dark, the decaying, the dead: the lost nobility that remains proud despite being cold and lifeless in the black and musty castles, lit by moonlight.

And then we are given a glimpse of sorcery, strange and dark magic. It has a chaotic sound that makes satisfying use of the old synths, and one can certainly picture colorful spells exploding in the exotic chamber of some half-mad wizard. The musician was clearly experimenting with the magic sounds of 90's keyboards in the same way that a magician would experiment with the strange incantations and recipes found in a discovered grimoire, sometimes fitting the music of the character, sometimes exploding dissonantly and destroying what order is to be found in such a cluttered, relic-strewn abode.

Algol's Black Lights seems to be descending deeper into the psyche of the dreaming hermit, to the point where space and supernatural archetypes take larger form than the pictures of the dungeon fantasy. This is the dream within the dream, an atmosphere too strange to get a strong handle on. It's a weak experiment, not conveying the thick fantasy of the overall vision of the album with as much success as the other songs. Likely it was just a filler, added to reach the magic number of seven that completes the album. It is tolerable and easy to ignore if you listen distantly, but its weakness will be readily apparent to any close listeners. Perhaps it could function as a reasonably well-done interlude, causing the listener to lose his atmospheric bearing and thereby refresh his palette.

With the dying sun, we see the ending of time, the ending of the dream, the exit that all must take. It is a simple goodbye to both life and the fantastic inner worlds that can be created through it.

The majestic flight takes a somewhat more real-world stance, utilizing the image of "burning churches" in its title. Fleeing the churches ablaze, into the land of Oriana, is a statement of escaping the real world, or at least the real world that has been created through modernism. It is a clear decision that the morality and symbols of modern man do not satiate a longing spirit. Sanctuary can no longer be found in the house of God. In fact, it is the world created by those that live under God's roof that has sent us fleeing into the darkness of the inner sanctuary, the dream-fantasy, the only place where real magic still exists. And so the churches are burnt, literally or metaphorically, and we flee into new lands, literally or metaphorically, all that is certain is we cannot stay in the world of common man in the 21st century, in the dehumanizing land of a million granite phalluses honoring Jehovah and his dollar.

Overall, the album is a very good example of standard dungeon synth. It is lo-fi, made up entirely by vintage keyboards, is shrouded in obscurity, has strong themes of fantasy, and is driven entirely by atmosphere. It is not the best dungeon synth by any stretch, and it really doesn't do much that is new, but it has captured the vision perfectly, and contributed to the rather small catalogue of this unknown music in a way that could only be done by someone who truly understands what it is about.

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