Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Minas Anor "Helm’s Deep"

    The writings of J. R. R. Tolkien have been used as the inspiration for numerous recordings. Black metal bands and dungeon synth bands have literally taken the stories of Middle-Earth and created some epic albums. Minas Anor is a dungeon synth act from Ukraine that may not use words to narrate the world of Tolkien, but instead allows listeners to create their own mental imagery based off of the sounds from the band’s 2010 release, “Helm’s Deep.” 

    I have a very selective ear for dungeon synth music. There are bands who I think provide listeners with dynamic and fascinating landscapes of atmospheric brilliance. However, there are some dungeon synth bands that don’t put that much thought into their recordings and the music sounds like cheap video game music that offers no strong emotional appeal. So, where does Minas Anor’s, “Helms Deep,” fall in the world of dungeon synth? 

    Honestly, I am going say right away that this could be my favorite dungeon synth recording of all time. The compositions are cinematic and the music tells a compelling story without words. I find myself closing my eyes and following along to the sounds from the synths and the pounding of the drums. There are moments where you could imagine yourself standing upon the walls of Helm’s Deep as the rain begins to fall and the Uruk-hai army is approaching. 

    The opening piece, “Approaching,” perfectly sets up the album with a synth arrangement and the pounding of epic sounding war like drums. Compared to other dungeon synth projects I have heard, the recording of the instruments does not sound to cheaply done. Following the first piece is, “Storm,” where the sounds of rain create a soothing effect. Midway through the album, “Sunrise,” changes the music’s emotional tone for a short period of time until it reaches the last part, “Departure.” Throughout the entire release you find yourself locked-in as the synth dictates the direction of the album's overall sound. As I said before Minas Anor isn’t just another stereotypical dungeon synth ambient band, because there is just such attention to detail with each sound and how the music progresses until the final note fades away. 

    Minas Anor released, “Helm’s Deep,” in 2010 and I have not heard much about the band since its release. I really hope that this album is not the only recording we get from Minas Anor, but if it is I think the release definitely stands out within the world of dungeon synth and ambient music. For people who enjoy this type of music, I think you will be instantly hooked by Minas Anor’s music.

Listen to the full album below and if you can find a copy... buy it and support the artist!

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