Druadan Forest – Portals

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Multi-instrumentalist and vocalist V-Khaoz quickly earned his reputation for being one of the most active and creative composers of all time, with more than a dozen bands and side projects coursing his musical domains. His passion for black metal and ambient music made him explore deep sonic emotions and soundscapes via Druadan Forest. Formed back in 1998 with three demos and two albums to its name, this one man project's third full record, 'Portals' offers an awe-inspiring voyage to the dark universe of dungeon synth.

The six instrumental cuts center on deep musical textures, glacial tones and ambient passages. The synth continuously creates a majestic environment, enhanced specifically with various tones. The eight-minute opening cut ‘Ethereal Eternity Reflects the Images of Vast Eerie Pasts’ will make you aware that you are navigating the astral path to the cosmos. The synth is highly imaginative and produces different elements that come to life from the deep void to invoke cosmic forces. Listening to Druadan Forest immediately transports you to another world,probably because the music and the melodies are both composed on the concept of atmospheric soundscapes.

The lush synth arrangements on the following track ‘In Between Transcendence and True Endless Sleep’ descend into the shadowy umbra and progress slowly into cold chilly drones. Of course, this is not the first time V-Khaoz emphasizes unease as he finds creative links between grim soundscapes and the horror of deep space. The album cover art draws on the influences from symphonic black metal bands like Limbonic Art. Therefore, the music itself feels quite wondrous. The slow ambient passages are pushed to unfold the eerie patterns of the synth and there are manifold tones that evolve across the run time of forty-four minutes.

The Infinite Forest of Galaxies’ presents the cosmic monotone of space as you become aware you are no longer roaming around the earthly ocean. ‘Portals’ slowly evolves toward the eerie sounds of ambient music. There is so much menace used as an element to add different moods and atmospheres. For example, the eerie undulation of the synth patterns reflects the main theme of the albumn, but it somehow focuses on creating various sounds that are produced by the synth to grasp the effect. On other tracks, V-Khaoz perfectly installs the right textures that seemingly piece together the range of emotions in which he seeks to convey a spellbinding, cosmic scape soundtrack.

Enraptured by Esoteric Fiery Storms’ resonates in magisterial beauty even though the whole album is solely based on the synthesizer. V-Khaoz assembles different passages leaving you in a hypnotic mood. For as long as you wish to stay in such a place of visual colors, these captivating soundscapes will haunt your senses. ‘Portals’ is awe inspiring. The subtle elements of the dungeon synth give a deep sense of inspiration throughout the album. The gentle sounds of the synth ebb and flow, sending chilling melodies that make the journey to space full of thrilling moments.

Spirits of the Great Void Abyss’ conjures the ghastliness of the glacial spectacle. The synth produces a dark panorama of the void. As the music shifts from the somber passages, the shifting music forms unpleasant imagination in your mind. It’s an exercise in creativity to listen to the musical composition of such talented composers like V-Khaoz, ‘Portals’ turns out to be the soundtrack for the cosmic spheres. In this sense the third album has many relaxing moments, the shape-shifting opus provides an exceptional sensation. The closing track ‘Paint My Demons Black’ gradually reveals dark sonic vibes that slowly come to full effect during its final moments. It somehow feels more expansive than the previous one. ‘Portals’ is suffused in the ambient sense of cosmic complexity, but in my opinion, the album lacks the orchestral synth style of black metal.

REVIEW SCORE

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

All in all, the third album sounds like an unsettling fusion of ambient music and dungeon synth. Through all six tracks V-Khaoz pulls you into the darkest spheres.

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