Premiere: Spectral Kingdom
Glamour of Mercy

12/3/21 | N.B.

<i>Glamour of Mercy</i> cover art

Virginia’s Spectral Kingdom was one of the artists heralding the dungeon synth boom of the past few years, and one of the first that I discovered personally when solidifying my interest in the genre a few years ago. The minimalistic cover designs of the SK demos are truly iconic emblems of true modern dungeon synth, as are the artist’s melancholic, ghostly, slowly unfurling tunes that have been growing ever more ornate with each release. 2018’s Demo III and 2019’s My Doom Was Foretold can absolutely be seen as a buildup to the release we have the pleasure of premiering today, entitled Glamour of Mercy.

In exploring this particular corner of its namesake realm, Spectral Kingdom displays a noticeably matured sound but absolutely keeps true to its tried and true aesthetic, marrying the forlorn starkness of their earlier material with the grandeur of more recent opuses. The gloom that typically envelops the artist’s material has lifted ever so slightly here, and both the tone of the album and its constituent titles hint that things are happening in this ghostly medieval world. Perhaps it’s the use of higher quality strings and synths and large, reverberant spaces Glamour of Mercy inhabits, or the increasing complexity of orchestration and harmony, but we are of the opinion that this is everything one could possibly ask for in a new Spectral Kingdom release.

Read on for a brief interview with the artist, and stream Glamour of Mercy in full below:

You’ve been making DS since at least 2016 but this is your first full-length. How did you know the time was right to go for the long player?

I wasn’t really aiming for full length territory when I started putting the songs together but after working through the concepts of the album it became clear that the release was going to be much longer than anything I had done before. I don’t really view a full length as a pinnacle or zenith musically so there wasn’t any motivation to do anything longer than what the songs required. However, it does feel satisfying to have a release this long coming out after so many shorter ones.

What can you tell us about writing for Glamour of Mercy? How was it different than your previous releases?

The process was fairly similar to the previous releases, though I feel there was more experimentation with spacing and textures. Though I am strictly against artistic progression in a visual sense, at least for Spectral Kingdom, I wanted to expand the range of what the previous releases had established. I did not set out to reinvent my sound as the motivations for Spectral Kingdom have never changed, but I felt it was time to incorporate more into the compositions.

Care to divulge any of the machines or programs used to create Glamour of Mercy?

Unfortunately that is something that I’d like to keep obscured.

Spectral Kingdom promo photo

Over the past five years what’s the most surprising thing about the DS scene from your perspective?

The recent popularity of the genre has been surprising as well as the seemingly endless amount of newer projects that exist, though I can’t say that I feel positively or negatively about either of those things. I’m not particularly interested in the vast majority of dungeon synth as my attraction to the genre was through black metal and a lot of newer bands seem to be coming from a far different place than that, so my opinions or perspective might be out of focus with whatever the dominant trend is concerning the scene. That being said, with the growing popularity of the genre, it is very nice to see a lot of older and obscure bands finally being given the credit they deserve.

What’s Glamour of Mercy all about? What feelings are you hoping to convey with This release?

As with all of my releases, the song titles are chosen to invoke specific feelings in the listener. When the song titles and music are paired, the intent of the compositions can be discerned. Some of the titles may seem nonsensical but they are very deliberate. I don’t necessarily view the concepts as subjective, and I would rather let the listener find their own way through the material rather than explain it away.

What can you tell us about the new label Forbidden Keep Records?

They contacted me fairly recently about releasing some material and after a few conversations we agreed that Glamour of Mercy would be released under their banner. As they are a fairly new label, I do not know much about their upcoming releases but some information has been shared with me. Based on what we have discussed, this will likely not be the last time we work together.

What message do you have for our readers who are listening to Glamour of Mercy right now?

Thank you for the interest.

Thanks for your time! Any final shout outs?

No shout outs but thank you for the interview and eternal support to The Call of the Night!

Follow Spectral Kingdom on Bandcamp.

Limited physical release forthcoming in conspiracy with Forbidden Keep Records.