Like with any genre in the realm of music there exists a number of subgenres under the synthwave umbrella such as darkwave, chillwave, vaporwave, spacewave (to name a few) but one that not many are aware of is dungeon synth. Although not a new concept in many ways, as it can trace it’s roots back a couple decades now, dungeon synth has none the less seen a bit of a revival in the past few years thanks in part to the rise of synthwave.
Upon first hearing examples of dungeon synth one might conclude that it is a distant cousin of darkwave, which is true in a sense, although whereas darkwave tends to be heavy and aggressive the tone of dungeon synth is all around a bit more docile in comparison yet more brooding and atmospheric in turn. This video, which I stumbled upon earlier in the year when I first discovered dungeon synth, does a better job explaining what I’m trying to say:
After all, this is not an article all about dungeon synth but rather a review for a new side project by Gregorio Franco that delves into such music under the name of DRONN. While but a short three song album, each track nonetheless hits harder than the one before by delivering such an uneasy feeling that you can’t help but look behind you as you listen. The first song, “A Light in the Eastern Tower,” helps set the mood with long drawn out notes, reverbing against the walls of your ears, rising in relative speed and sound as it plods along with a sense of overbearing dread like the sounds of a church bell during a funeral.
“Infernalis Infinium” comes in fast, like a bat out of hell, with impressive organ-like synth work that sounds like it came straight out of a Castlevania soundtrack. You’ll be picking up a whip and hunting for vampires in no time with this truly epic song blaring in the background, so watch out Vampire Step-Dad because it’s a horrible night to have a curse! “One Thousand Generations of Woe” ends the album and it’s a real battle between the backing bass, the high pitched piano, the strings and wood like instrumental sounds but they’re done so elegantly that it’s less a war for attention and more an orchestrated attack.
It pains me that this album is only three songs long but I understand that, as a side project, it is relatively new and in the grand scheme of things may not get as much attention as Gregorio Franco’s main focus going forward. Even still, I hope that he continues to give it a little bit of love here and there because I am absolutely floored and in love with what he’s produced thus far. I personally look forward to hopefully delving deeper into this dungeon sooner rather than later.
UPDATE: It was brought to my attention late last night, after I had finished the above review, that indeed DRONN will be releasing new material sooner rather than later! September 1st, 2017, in fact and it’s available for pre-order RIGHT NOW!