Today’s edition of The Sunday Dungeon takes us to the catacombs of Italy courtesy of the Italian label, Heimat Der Katastrophe. Our offering today is Gnoll’s regarded release, The Citadel Of Evil. As is the case with many of our dungeon synth reviews, the background of the artist is steeped (perhaps appropriately so) in mystery.
From Bandcamp: “Beware the powerful percussions, the blows of icy and sharp sounds, the brutal attack of analog synthesizers! This first release of GNOLL is the the soundtrack of an epic descent into a dungeon populated by weird creatures and unfathomable threats.”
“The Citadel of Evil” is the soundtrack of the homonymous OSR module for “Strange Magic” RPG, an old school dungeon crawling classic written by Stuart Robertson and edited in italy by Dungeoneer.”
The Citadel Of Evil contains 14 tracks in all. It is darkly whimsical and fantastically diverse for a dungeon synth release. Old Arp and Moog analog sounding keyboards and organs often blend with dark ambient tapestries and the occasional rhythmic pulse in the back. Even a theramin sound appears (i.e. “The Cult Of Mud”) giving the listener an old Dark Shadows cinematic vibe.
Light is not given much welcome in this album as the listener is given the vantage point in different scenes that conjure up visions of cobweb-covered subterranean paths, echoing spectral voices, keyboardists who aren’t actually there….. Some of the tracks, “The Face With The Knotted Tongue” for example blend an old synth-based sound with organic quality as if someone is playing a harpsichord-like instrument live. Even a somewhat modern cinematic affect is occasionally (though perhaps inadvertently) achieved with a track like “Skirmish In Hobgoblin’s Headquarters.” Such is a reminder of something like Leaether Strip’s masterpiece “Serenade For The Dead.”
The Citadel Of Evil is available as a digital download only. A very nice dungeon synth release indeed.