Secrets Of Maya- Ablaze at Sunset (2 of 3)

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Artist: Secrets of Maya

Album: Ablaze at Sunset

Label: Dark Sorcery Records

Released: 3/19/2023

Country: United States of America

Oscar Wylde was famous, among other things, for stating that “brevity was the sole of wit”. Although not typically applied to music itself, one could make the argument that Oscar Wylde would probably be cool with such an adaptation insofar as it was intellectually derived and applied appropriately. Another shining example of brevity being the sole of wit, and the reason for my potential juxtaposition of the quote, is Dark Sorcery Records, and their brilliant, albeit risky commitment to the condensed release. Thus far, it has paid quite well for the young label, boasting over 30 releases and several big scene names to boot. The latest triumph in a steady line of them are from the Secrets of Maya, giving us a trio of releases that embrace and explore the influence of RPGs and fantasy on the genre of Dungeon Synth. In the spirit of brevity inspired by Dark Sorcery Records, I will be reviewing each release on as brief of terms possible (after this verbose intro of course), and do my best to give these unique releases their just dues. For the second installment of the series (read the first here), we have A Blaze at Sunset.

Blossoms

Setting the tone for the rest of this demo is the first track Blossoms, which, unlike its predecessor Heartslayer, is rather subdued. There is not the feeling of grandiosity and pomposity either, which is not necessarily a bad thing, rounding out the trilogy in its subsequent releases. If anything it feels more like a continuation of a story arc, wherein there is a space and time for opposition to drive character growth. A Blaze feels like that opportunity, working through Blossoms and it’s wonder-like beginning through the use of plodding bass lines and dancing strings to create a balanced effervescence and depth that causes one to wonder about the other.

Vampire Romance

In a dramatic break of tradition thus far of progressively longer tracks, Vampire Romance gives us the longest effort on the demo. With sweeping organ melodies and theatrical, albeit striking, bridges this track is the very definition of melodramatic delivery and overindulgence, and it’s brilliant. Vampire Romance plays on both the inspired source material of projection, to a degree, of self or imagined virtuosity/personality onto the character being played/interacted with and the repetition of the musicality to draw the listener in, enveloping them experientially much like a classic RPG or good fantasy novel should. The self referential title is simply the unironical icing on the cake.

Pomander

Pomander is the low point of a hero’s journey, the veritable humdrum of defeat. The representative track is a plodding of simplicity, with only a marginal moment of inspiration in a swaying uptick of melody that feels more akin to one shaking off a bad lob to the head then any overly triumphant casting aside of shackles. Much like Vampire, the artistic choice was inspired, and goes a lengthy ways to prove excellent craftsmanship in not only song construction by Secrets Of Maya, but demo construction as a whole, because even if it is not apparent straight off, there is both good purpose and reason for such a song to be placed thusly.

A Blaze at Sunset

Finishing off this demo is the titular track. Continuing in the vein of the restrained form, A Blaze at Sunset is less trepidation or ominous and more strengthened resolve, a warrior resigned to their own difficult road or fate. Though tinged with melancholy, there is a purposed intent that drives the track, giving its muster by the metered thrumming of the bass line, giving the impression of one sorrowful and heartfelt step after another towards some inevitable conclusion. Played atop this is a repeated oscillation of melody and refrain that is the only reason that the track does not sink into utter despair. Not light-hearted or up lighting in anyway, the chime-sounding synths only serve to echo the earlier sentiment about a strengthen resolve giving small doses of purpose.

Log on tomorrow to join us in our next installment and conclusion of the Secrets Of Maya trilogy, where we take a rapid look at Dame.




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