Coming to us from Iceland is the sounds of THORGNYR with their new release, Elven Rites. We did an interview last year with them so I was certain that this release would be good.
The album presents eight tracks in total. My first impression is the unique organic feel somewhat similar to The Soil Bleeds Black but with an obvious dungeon synth vibe as opposed to the Medieval sounds of TSBB
Elven Rites is a concept album about the death of an elven queen and the crown princesses struggle to solidify power in the aftermath.” I’m always intrigued by how artists approach painting pictures of concepts without the use of lyrics. THORGNYR does so pretty successfully as one can feel the somber vibe of tracks like “Entombment.”
THORGNYR predominantly makes use of traditional dungeon synth patterns but yields a slightly different end result. Obviously is the feel of a more cinematic approach which isn’t necessarily something you regularly see in dungeon synth. I’m not quite sure of the instrumentation used. For example, there are sounds that are reminiscent of hammered dulcimers (i.e. “Coronation”) without completely being obvious. I guess that’s suitable in adding to the mystery of the story in a way
I enjoyed the release because of it’s unique approach and its diversity. A track like “Royal Dance” maintains the somber vibe but shifts oddly into a slightly more hopeful feel. Emotionally diverse is this album which again, isn’t necessarily something often seen in dungeon synth.
Sometimes the artist makes more use of piano as in the aforementioned “Royal Dance” but then goes back to more traditional organ-like sounds as in the track, “Stabbed In The Back” though again, remains with the organic, intimate feel of the album.
Closing out the album is the track “A Queen Unbowed,” driven by piano and a hammered string sound. A great way to round out the album again reverting to the more hopeful sound and a sense of looking forward.
Speaking of looking forward, I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what THORGNYR comes up with next. I’m sure it will be unique to THORGNYR regardless.
“Elven Rites” is available digitally through Bandcamp. Go support especially if you are a fan of dungeon synth.