Druadan Forest is an ambient side project band helmed by the multi-instrumentalist musician V-Khaoz of Vargrav. The sole member released three demos with his project band in 1998 and 1999, the demo titles were taken from the oeuvre of J.R.R. Tolkien. The collective works of V-Khaoz are heavily influenced by the fantasy literature. Relatively he composed obscure and overtly symphonic soundscapes to create a beautiful and magical soundtrack which are similar to video games. The highly anticipated 3rd album present the dark visions of this sole member who demonstrates his instrumental work on a larger scope. Dismal Spells from the Dragonrealm is genuinely crafted to create atmospheric and mystical soundscapes.
The latest work is only composed by keyboards/synthesizer and it’s devoid of any other instruments like guitar and drums. This is a purely orchestrated record and it’s nowhere close to the previous ones. The composer took further steps on his side project band and his obsession with keyboards/synth became a medium to depict themes from the medieval age. While many black metal bands use synth on their music, dungeon synth (sub-genre of dark wave) provided escapism to many musicians to contemplate through darker side of music. Dismal Spells from the Dragonrealm borders across mystical and magical realms of black metal.
Druadan Forest draws its aesthetic from black metal, however dungeon synth is expanded to cover many wondrous worlds of fantasy. Many themes on the new album are reminiscent of bands such as Summoning, early Mortiis and Burzum. These imaginative four tracks are surreal and set a darker mood for the listener to meditate. It all begins like a thematic fantasy soundtrack so gloomy, majestic and well structured. The opening track Unsung Spell of No Solace is surrounded with foreboding atmosphere and spoken words. Like a sorcerer who waves his magical wand to cast spells, V-Khaoz uses the synthesizer and church organ to generate an ominous air into the music.
Dismal Spells from the Dragonrealm is very expressive and medieval. It evokes the desolate landscape of ancient and haunted castles. The artistic and musical composition of the album evokes the essence of dark fantasy music. However the sound here is different from the cinematic work, although the composer embodies rich textures and ominous themes. Each of the four tracks have a transitional process to grasp the feeling of pure dungeon synth style of music. The dreary background on the second track Enthralled by Majestic Winters Eternity surely conveys the crestfallen picturesque of a fallen kingdom into your mind. V-Khaoz also incorporates the elements of horror in some parts of the tracks.
The use of the trumpets has been long used in the visceral works of many bands like Summoning. There are moments which can be described as epic and ethereal, but they are soon to be surpassed by the dark and frightening tone. Each of the four tracks meanders gradually and becomes attached to the main theme of title track. For example The Seizure of Power in the Luminous Lands by the Hands of the stalking Fiends evokes the fantasy story of a monarchy and the battle against the forces of evil.
Middle of the track the aura becomes majestic as you can hear the clamor of swords and crushing thunderstorms echoing. Dismal Spells from the Dragonrealm is a medieval sounding record. V-Khaoz intelligently incorporates the elements of fiction to form many ambient soundscapes. The beautiful artwork of a tapering towers overshadowed by soaring dragons and clouds shows the Tolkien influence. While the thematic aspect of Druadan Forest is close to bands such as Summoning, the musical context is more based on fantasy aura.
It’s almost impossible to compose such aural art without being obsessed with dark and gloomy music. From all the previous instrumental tracks on the album the final cut is the most memorable one. The ambient entry of No Stars upon the Black Sea of Macrocosm drips with pleasant tones. On this 12 minute track the sprawling atmosphere is more hypnotic than any other track. The final piece is more ambient and features a passage of spoken words. With hovering symphonic textures and drum beats that brings this epic track to closure. Dismal Spells from the Dragonrealm is crafted with passion and shows the creative abilities of V-Khaoz in creating ambient music.
Release Date: September 27th, 2019
Label: Werewolf Records
- Unsung Spell of No Solace
- Enthralled by Majestic Winters Eternity
- The Seizure of Power in the Luminous Lands by the Hands of the Stalking Fiends
- No Stars Upon the Black Sea of Macrocosm