Sheffield based innovative artist Pale Knight who describes himself as ‘A lonely knight travelling yonder through the forests and across the vale’ is upon the quest of making a mark on the spellbinding and otherworldly genre of music known as ‘dungeon synth’. Also referred to as ‘dark medieval’, this genre derives it’s roots from the atmosphere of black metal and sets out to exert such an atmosphere upon dreamier-feeling, ambient songs.
Due to the nature of the genre it is not one that spouts chart-entering hits and is relatively under the radar for most avid music fans, particularly those that stick in their comfort zone of genres and music they feel ‘safe’ and acquainted with. However, dungeon synth is nothing to be apprehensive about and can rather provide a listener with a much different connection to the music than is gained from bopping along to the latest generic but catchy-as-hell industry plant infusion of poor lyricism and society damaging and corrupting lyrical content over an alive and wavy production.
Switch the loud, obnoxious and un-inventive recycled chart music you over-saturate and simply frustrate your brain with for some soothing medieval adventures; this summer allow yourself to be whisked away to the mystical lands of dungeon synth, go on an adventure with the great Odin or ruminate upon glorious re-tellings of Lord of the Rings tales.
As a starting point into this magical land, Pale Knight is here to guide you safely through the mythical labyrinth of dungeon synth by providing a buffet of taste-testing with his enchanting array of ethereal compositions that has been dubbed ‘Aims of The Sage’.
There is a genuinity that is inherent within the genre, due in most part to the DIY and community nature of the scene, as those like Pale Knight who craft a work of art of dungeon synth are doing it solely out of the love of music, free of ulterior motives. This makes the genre organic and those involved retain focus on the most important aspect; the music – no thoughts are expelled or wasted on surrounding politics and typical bullshit that can really water down the artistry with a lot of popular modern acts.
The online platform Bandcamp that allows individuals to independently sell their music and is all about placing the power back into the hands of the artists, is hereby an ideal platform for the genre and has allowed dungeon synth to grow it’s home here. The website put up a focus piece discussing what dungeon synth is and exploring some of the various artists that have migrated to the website. The piece says this of the genre:
A cold wind blows the last of the dried leaves from the branches above. The fading light of the setting sun reveals a fissure in the sheer rock wall ahead. Entering the cavern, the dancing light of your torch reveals a staircase hewn from stone, descending into darkness. As you begin your descent, you hear faint melodies echoing from some unseen chamber. Unwilling to turn back, you continue into the depths, the darkness surrounding you. You walk along a seemingly endless corridor, searching for the source of the music. You couldn’t find your way out now, even if you wanted to. The dungeon has claimed you as its own.
Typically laden with medieval and fantasy references, with many projects serving as odes to and being built upon such mythical sources of inspiration ranging from ancient folklore tales to more modern and fantastical origins such as video games like Skyrim and Oblivion. The distribution of dungeon synth projects apart from it’s cosy home on sites like Bandcamp often utilises more retro and extremely collectable physical formats as vinyl and cassette tapes – which is something Pale Knight hopes to release ‘Aims of The Sage’ on in the future and we will be keeping an eye out for!
‘Aims of The Sage’ is out now and you can check it out at Pale Knight‘s bandcamp page here: https://paleknight.bandcamp.com/album/aims-of-the-sage