If you’ve heard of Knjaz Varggoth, the mastermind behind Mistigo Varggoth Darkestra, then it’s probably as the vocalist for Ukraine folk/black metal band Nokturnal Mortum, and if perhaps you’ve heard of the now defunct side project Mistigo Varggoth Darkestra then it’s probably for his infamous sophomore effort, The Key to the Gates of the Apocalypse, a black metal album featuring one single seventy two minute track. Prior to this monster of a release though, the first album under the Mistigo Varggoth Darkestra name was Midnight Fullmoon, a dungeon synth album that pushes boundaries for the genre, incorporating elements of psychedelia and even hints of EDM into the dark and dusty avenues that we usually see dungeon synth go down. It’s an enigmatic release and one of the best of the genre’s early nineties output.
The first track is pure dungeon synth, eleven minutes of a choral synth melody taking the lead, with brooding bass tones and some psychedelic electronics courtesy of some analog synth knob twiddling. With the sounds of running water and various nature sounds it does have a naturalistic feel to it, and even before the aforementioned water the somewhat lo-fi production does give it an oceanic feel also. There’s some variation where an oscillating psychedelic drone takes center stage in a piece of dramatic music with a slight Dead Can Dance vibe to the choral melody and percussive beat.
Even with these psychedelic tones it’s still the closest piece here to the classic dungeon synth sound, with Raining Darkness of the Forestland Midnight experimenting with some string tones reminding of the classic days of Tangerine Dream’s longform experimentations on the brilliant Zeit album, with traces of Rubycon also in the choral synths, minus the modulated beats of course. Dracul – The Triumph of the Blooded Moon, returns to more of the dramatic brass synths evoking Dead Can Dance once again in another piece that combines the sound of early Tangerine Dream with that of the dingy and dramatic classic analog tones, whilst The Majestic Flight Above the B.G C.S of the Ancient Oriana Land has more freeform psychedelic tones against the fixed bright celestial sounding melody and fuzzy bass drones in a floaty spacey piece.
The weirdest and best track by far though is Algol’s Black Lights, starting of with some EDM style synth modulation and kicking into more of the floaty oceanic synth tones in the background before some strange psychdelic washes of synth oscillation float through also in a track that’s as far away from the dusty black metal intro sound as the genre gets in an energetic yet dreamy piece.
Midnight Fullmoon is not just another dungeon synth album, and with its psychedelic tendencies, and nods to Tangerine Dream and Dead Can Dance while still having that old school dusty dungeon synth vibe, it’s an album that’s a real standout in the early nineties scene.