In past dungeon synth reviews, we have expressed reservations when it comes to certain tendencies of modern dungeon synth. One of these is that while CRPG and pure Fantasy concepts may have their charm, they aren’t really inspiring in the way that realistic, or perhaps rather quasi-realistic, subjects can be. Another is the exaggerated tendency to make the music somewhat sterile by programming too much and playing to little. Along comes a fine young Fenian from the city of Cork, Ireland to remedy at least one of these ailments.
Argonath’s Lugnasad is conceptually based on Irish mythology, which as they point out on their Bandcamp page is rarely touched upon by modern dungeon synth. For fans of Absu, the song titles feel strangely common though – or try to tell me that “The Destruction of Dá Derga´s Hostel” doesn’t sound like an Absu 7″ B-side with lyrics by Emperor Proscriptor Magikus McGovern? Another track, “In Preparation for War – Moytura” even has a battle introduction very similar to the one in Absu’s “The Coming of War”, minus the thunder. Whether this is a direct influence, pure chance or perhaps some underlying blood mysticism at work (there is a Burzum cover on here), we know not. We love Absu, though, so we don’t mind either way.
The music is pretty much in line with what you’d expect from current dungeon synth, but there are Irish folk elements which are clearly original, and the instrumentation is generally quite imaginative. Choices include both synthesized flutes and lutes and such, and pure electronic sounds. At times it does feel a tad too computerized and programmed, but there are in fact several instruments played rather than programmed, and overall the music is constructed in such a way so that it conjures up a pleasant mood even when it’s less convincing. There’s a lot of ingenuity here, and if Argonath keeps on putting this much creative effort into each track, we see greatness ahead.
And now for the awesome part. Argonath has chosen to actually listen to the angry old white men of dungeon synth (or perhaps come to the same conclusion all by himself), and decided to make a proper physical release out of this, with a reasonable limitation. One hundred cassettes, in two batches of 50 to be on the safe side, will be pressed and sold to the world. Today, or soon hereafter. One hundred taperoonies should sell, no problem, if only people make sure to put their wallets were Archaic Triad’s and Bard Algol’s mouths are and actually buy it. Updates on this matter will most likely be posted on the band’s Facebook page. Until then, check out the digital preview and/or buy the download on Bandcamp. Argonath is one of the more promising new acts we’ve encountered, and we highly recommend that you support them.