Age of Legends is the second album by Ukrainian dungeon synth project Galdur, who weaves magical and haunting fantasy soundscapes through the great use of synths, and sparingly used distorted guitar giving it an eerie black metal atmosphere at points across the album. With variety throughout the pieces, and great synth work and production, Galdur have made a high-fantasy epic of the genre.
Lord of Iron Fortress starts with some dark and dramatic synths, with some slight choral aspects, and a low droning bottom end, with a piano sound carrying the main melody. The Burzum-esque wall of guitar that kicks in, along with the dramatic drum-machine gives it the cinematic feel of a dark fantasy film – a dramatic battle or the unleashing of evil. The layering is fantastic and each texture weaves its way through really well, the percussion and guitar being a nice addition to the genre’s usual synths.
There’s variety to the album too as mentioned above, it’s not all dark and evil on Age of Legends. Age of Battle is much more epic sounding, the soaring high pitched synth melodies evoking the green fields of Rohan, an atmosphere accentuated by the percussion; a militaristic, triumphant march. The Nine’s midi-synths could come straight out of your typical nineties dungeon crawling RPG, the eerie mysterious melody evoking that atmosphere perfectly, but the better production and the percussive element makes it sound much darker, and of course once the guitars and synthetic brass come in the sound embodies that of an evil videogame boss. Of course the difference between all the tracks on the album isn’t between those with guitars and those without, Visions of Ancient Times is another favourite, but different to the aforementioned Age of Battle, with high pitched fluttering keys that wouldn’t be out of place in one of the more tasteful symphonic metal bands, but the dramatic lower end synth tones with their brassy sound provide a great counterpoint in another cinematic piece evoking gorgeous fantasy soundscapes without the triumphant connotations.
It may not be the most unique album ever, from the not so subtle lord of the rings references to the runes on the cover, and the classic midi-keyboards, but Galdur’s Age of Legends is dungeon synth the way it should be, with a mix of gorgeous and dark keyboard tones creating the cinematic fantasy soundscapes that the genre does best.