Artist: Secrets of Maya
Label: Dark Sorcery Records
Country: United States of America
Written by: Aaron Michael Kobes
In the past few days we have celebrated the ingenuity of Dark Sorcery Records commitment to small batched, shortened releases. I have made the case in both these opening paragraphs as well as the subsequent track descriptions, respectively quite literally and figuratively, how this younger label is quickly carving out a niche within the genre with solid release after solid release. 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 our final installment of the series (read Heartless and A Blaze at Sunset), we have the simply titled, yet complex Dame.
Beginning the final demo in the trilogy we have Velvet Dress, in what sounds like exultant reverie that is just this side of outright celebratory. Returning from Heartslayer is a measure of grandiosity that feels more well earned having traveled through A Blaze at Sunset, rather than seemingly regally or soldiers bestowed in Heartslayer. There is a heavy reliance on stringed synths with long moments of drawn-out notes to fully flush out such feelings. These moments are then sandwiched between quicker-paced stabbings of strings, as if in a regalling of an adventure.
Following Velvet, The Castra feels, to a large extent, a seamless extension of the preceding track to the point of wondering why there is a track separation at all. However, Castra, in all its brevity, still manages to create space in a moment that extends beyond the brevity and acts as a palette savor of sorts, holding onto what was created in Velvet before the beginning of the final movement.
Winding things down in the Secrets Of Maya trilogy is Dame, which follows the ilk of Velvet Dress, from the perspective of its reliance on drawn-out notes. Unlike its predecessor however, Dame is composed entirely of these notes and moments. This seems to run antithetical to not only the demos and tracks released this far, but to the label that it hails from. The potential reasoning behind this is to create an instance of beholding, that this track is singularly different, not just from the demo, but the trilogy, giving us one conclusion; that this is the conclusion. The dissolution of an unrequited love creating togetherness, the restoration of a fallen kingdom, the return of a hero or some moral injustice set right by a warrior beset with trials and tribulations; whatever the reason conjured up by the listener thus far, the instrumentation given over seems to all point to such. The repetitive components of this pieces that create a cyclical event, all feature the same structure-rising action, be it from a fliting down octave, or a emergence from, the action ends on higher and longer held note (excluding the final moment of restrained rest), a reassurance of sorts that whichever path the listener chose to take, it ended well and peacefully.
If Dame was the conclusion, Sapphire is the epilogue. In a return to form of the grandiosity established way back in Hearslayer. Using the same synth style that kicked off this entire experience, Sapphire seems to scream of a “cut-to” temporal jump into the future where there is a restoration or betterment of the originality. In another clever move on the part of Secrets of Maya, this song serves as a juxtaposition of the entire demo, and even more so to the preceding track, especially when it is nearly jarring at the triumphant upstart followed by a rather quick ending that leaves more to be desired. Seeing how this is a bookend or coda to the very start of a beautiful and whimsical journey, that just so happens to be efficiently paced under the run time of most shitty tv sitcoms or latest Netflix craze, it would hardly seem overly indulgent to binge it “just once more”.
I truly hope that you have enjoyed reading this varied/ adjusted approach to these releases as much as I had in listening to them and writing about them. I wholly encourage, each and every reader who had their curiosity peaked even remotely to check out Dark Sorcery’s Bandcamp page and explore their varied catalog.
Be righteous by listening to Secrets Of Maya on Bandcamp: https://darksorceryrecords.bandcamp.com/album/dame
And by supporting Dark Sorcery Records: https://darksorceryrecords.bandcamp.com/