Enchantment of the Ring is one of the few Dungeon Synth albums where it seems like everything that could be said about this, has been said. While most people will talk about Depressive Silence II as the greatest Dungeon Synth album ever, loads of others would say that Enchantment of the Ring is a close second, or maybe even a true number one. Regardless, rather than retread history, I wanted to talk about some concepts that maybe hadn’t been brought up in regards to this album that I personally have noticed.
The first one is that this is truly one of the few Dungeon Synth records that sounds legitimately introspective. Normally introspective feelings can be expressed by minimalist sound designs, however Enchantment of the Ring is far from minimalist at all yet manages to craft so many contrasting, yet still melancholy emotions (see the transition between Collecting Primroses and Finvarra’s Chessboard) that there is a true sense of wandering and thinking about life, meaning, and various other things to do while thinking alone. It’s a very lonely album in a very deceptive way. Rather than feeling isolated in a dungeon, the listener feels like they are alone with an entire old estate with magical guardens and castles to explore. The album almost feels like an extended dream sequence, where you have all you can want but no one to share it with.
The second observation is that Enchantment of the Ring is squarely a product of it’s time. In a lot of ways, this sounds more like a new age tape than a Dungeon Synth tape, and frankly bears little resemblance to the scene now, or really the scene at the time as well. Matthew Davis was deep into the gothic scene, rather than the black metal scene, and his affinity for the ethereal wave and gothic doom scene craft an experience devoid of the stress of the black metal ethos, which itself was a totally unique atmosphere for the genre in 1997, and is doubly unique right now. Quite simply, there will never be another Enchantment of the Ring, and we just have to live with that.
This album is one of the greatest Dungeon Synth albums of all time, and to me it’s amazing that even as Dungeon Synth has exploded, only recently has the community truly seen it as a fair rival to Mortiis early work, or Depressive Silence II among other classics.