ElixiR is another one of the many young dungeon synth bands that have popped up in the past few years. Hailing from Bordeaux in France, they have put out three albums since their inception in 2015. Queen of the Silver Stone has been out digitally for a while, but was published by Obscure Dungeon on CDr a very short while ago. We’re talking synth based, quasi-epic and (on average) rather happy/adventurous music of a fairly lo-fi variety. It is not overly technical, but also less loop-based and a bit better composed than many other projects of this type. ElixiR utilizes VST renditions of pipe organ, flutes, strings and the entire usual ensemble. Some tracks, like “Sacredstone sanctuary’s” (sic), even contain low-key percussion.
A problem for this album is that in failing to go either full-on lo-fi or next-level, it can come off as a little bland. Listened to with hostile ears, it will simply sound as a sketch for soundtrack music that hasn’t been fully developed, but stayed a first draft drawn up in some MIDI sequencer. Like many contemporary dungeon synth artists, ElixiR would probably benefit from balancing the intense composing and album publishing with some serious experimentation and development of production, sound and perhaps even instruments.
On the positive side, Queen of the Silver Stone contains some truly beautiful melodies, whether simple or more complex. “Elvenpath, the queen’s village” is really quite haunting, if you can get past any thirst for higher (or lower) production quality. Some of the tracks make you think more of computer RPG segments than the castles and medieval themes they intend to summon to the listener’s mind, but as is well known many dungeon synth bands go for that exact effect on purpose. All in all, this is really very pleasant music – positive, beautiful in its simplicity and full of promise.
Connected to all of the above is one of the major advantages of ElixiR: in the long run, a genre founded on escapism and a “spirituality” of sorts can’t subsist on teenage nostalgia for computer and tabletop role playing games. And even if it can, it could be and do so much more. ElixiR is inspired by the castles and scenery of Perigord, thus reviving the old black metal side project tradition of connecting to actual, if romanticized, history and tradition. The potential for such source material is of course vast, and if complemented with folklore and mythical tradition it wouldn’t even mean giving up the trolls. It would be a welcome development indeed if more dungeon synth artists started looking into ideas like this – Erang does a fine job with his Fantasy world building, but that doesn’t mean everyone can or should do it. Queen of the Silver Stone grows on you the more you listen to it, and makes you wonder what the future may hold if the music and theme of ElixiR keep developing over the years to come.
A very few physical CDs from the absurdly limited edition of 20 remain from Obscure Dungeon, but it can also be downloaded for pay-what-you-want from the band’s Bandcamp page.