Desolation Plains - The Pillars of Ruination
Released: June 28
Following up from last year's Kingdomfall, synth wizard (or mage?) Nick Wolff revives his dungeon synth project Desolation Plains for a new adventure in The Pillars of Ruination. Compared to his previous project, this album swings widely away from the bass and percussion-inflected sound of his last and into the direction of ambient, though the energy it gives is similar. Here he revisits his FM synth tones and light arpeggios with a bit a percussion here and there just to add a bit of extra meat to a track, but quickly returning to the solitary and foreboding synth tones.
While much of the story this time is an adventure of defeating the evil night lord, Wolff gives much of the sonic offering to the build-up, bringing a sense of anticipation to and preparation for the journey ahead. With this, we don't hear the first bits of drums until well into the third track, "Shrine Maidens of Blight Hallows," and even then it's only a bit. It is only once we get to "Endless Gem Cavern//Relentless Pit Worms" that Nick lays on the drums heavy giving us an aggressively over driven lo-fi beat that works well to amplify the tension present in the synth lines. Afterwards we get the hilariously named "May the Knight-Lord Bathe in Acid Piss with a Sword in his Chest," which opens up in slightly ambient fashion but quickly picks up with a springy delayed synth tone and another lo-fi beat of snare and kick. Even with all of this energy, we close the album out on an uplifting note with "Hymn of Companionship," a bit of a slower track absent any drums and an air of perseverance.