Druadan Forest – Dismal Spells Part II: The Night Circus

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Wrought by the imaginative and the wizardry of V-Khaoz (Vargrav, Embryonic Slumber, Olio Tähtien Takana, etc.) whose talent in exploring vast sonic works in the realms of symphonic black metal and dungeon synth requires no further introduction. For years now, the unique fantasy world of Druadan Forest has been rooted in the sub-genre of epic black metal and dungeon synth but with the fifth installment “Dismal Spells Part 2 - The Night Circus” V-Khaoz invites us to traverse through his sonic creation, the album is set for a release date on February 23rd, 2024, via Werewolf Records.

At 37 minutes Druadan Forest refreshes the memories drawing closer sound to the likes of Dargaard and Arcana, often magical and mystifying the music is brimming with medieval themes of sorcery, darkness, and alchemy. The fifth album allows us to cascade through the sonic medium of V-Khaoz, although I am not surprised to say that the synth palette encompasses orchestral soundscapes of brooding majesty, epic atmosphere, and the interplay of the sound effects present well-crafted music in the opening song “Moonlight Sorcery”.

There are plenty of spectacular moments where the cold dreamy synth gives the music a hypnotic feel and the sonic craft keeps the themes together like a hanging canvas of an ancient castle. V-Khaos broadens his composition displaying a wider take on dungeon synth on “Witches Lake” with the fantasy-like ambient sounds overflowing gently to our ears like the soft sound of the cascading waterfall. The shimmering of the orchestral melody is catchy, as each song has a different synth arrangement that would remind many fans of Burzum. Still, V-Khaoz showcases his incredible abilities by laying instrumental brilliance and yet you may come across some somber melodies and woeful opulence emphasizing the atmosphere through gradual repetition.

The fantasy settings in this release are vast and yet it is profoundly constructed, the slow pacing of the synth drifts like a dark apparel only worn by wizards and warlocks. The synth-ridden majesty of “Summer Night Orgies” delivers wondrous vibes and harmonies with the magical fusion of chilling ambiance the mesmerizing music creates fantastic worlds of the past eons.

Take for example the song “The Devil’s Gate” where the church organ draws the listener into the cobweb vaults in some cave. The haunting opening of the music is another fascinating experience of what you might expect from the newest album. The heavy palette of the upbeat church organ instruments this time is accompanied by drum patterns as the chilling ominous tone ebb and flow. It is then followed by another darker and hauntingly moments on “Spells and Magic Potions” to create a frightening atmosphere.

You get to encounter plenty of eerie synth sounds through ominous effects and wrapping your ears into a spooky gothic enchantment. With eight tracks, the album remains consistent, displaying different influences from dungeon synth to dark ambient music, but there are songs like “Raven and Dagger” which are full of menace and cold suspense. However, it is quite impressive how these elements work together, as they provide a haunting backdrop and add a mysterious cadence.

The synth arrangements emit eerie sounds like an owl hooting at twilight fall, with an accursed melody that freezes the blood and gives you the kind of creeps that you have never experienced before.

Wizard’s Hut” has a similar atmosphere to the previous songs the sonic arrangement of this song takes similar themes of medieval style of dreamy dungeon synth, and the album concludes with “Black Towers of Kharanos”. Which builds visual fantasies and conveys a sense of classic sound that pertains to the art of dungeon synth. In this release V-Khaoz has managed to keep the listener captivated by the parallel realms of the unseen through the medium of his dark mesmerizing music.

The magical journey ends with the medieval conclusion that combines epic soundscapes that would appeal to fans of Abigor and Summoning.


  • Music / Songwriting 9/10
  • Vocals / Lyrics 8/10
  • Mix / Production 9/10
  • Artwork & Packaging 9/10
  • Originality 9/10

“Dismal Spells Part II: The Night Circus” is a worthy album in the discography of Druadan Forest. Its sonic stream and beauty keep you hooked in a surrealistic mood sometimes it is majestic, and slow because the layers of the music have a hypnotizing effect makes it perfect for daydreaming.

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