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HDK 99 † HDK Dungeon​-​synth magazine #1

by V.A.

The Count of Balsorano was an educated and controversial man. Creator of great political feats, the legend tells that at one point he went mad and retired in a castle that he had built in the dark forest of Solvay. The manor, however, was not just an old building but a labyrinth of sumptuous rooms, stairs and incongruous places with an absurd and unpredictable geometry. In that tangle of rooms the guests ended up getting lost. Their disorientation was heightened by the Count’s hallucinated behaviour, which insinuated a subtle discomfort that would soon turn into real terror. It seems that no one has ever come alive out of the intricate maze of rooms and that a few are still trapped in there for immemorial time. People say that whoever dares to challenge this mad creation of the Count’s mind can conquer the enormous treasure that is locked up in there... From the secret diary of the Count of Balsorano: 0:00 Shelter A weary patron from the storm? Oh my! I must warmly welcome him in! He looks most promising! I must greet him when we gets to the entry of my humble quarters. 0:32 The Pendulum As I lead my guest for slumber, my shadowing clock is delightfully effective! Do not fear my precious clock, although it seems to... follow... It has not moved. It’s all part of my brilliant print! Utilizing the most advanced marvels, each strike tethers him tightly! Poor fool... nevertheless, my studies leave no space for pity. 2:28 Delirium Now that he’s delirious, I can perform my work! The copious corners will seem as though he’s lost, but I’ve masterfully created my maze to end where I wish him. I’ll slyly pass the torch to my dizzying specimen then I shall simply... slip away into the shadows and...watch. Watch the hypnosis take effect like cider to the jammiest bits of jam... oh how exciting! 7:00 Fifteen Puzzle When he opens this door, the look of his gigglemug will be memorable! Oh my scathing heart is beating faster! Like a mouse to cheshire cheese, he cannot resist but to sprint for the light. Little does my pet know the mirrors will have him scurrying in circles. All the better, I prefer to examine hearts while beating at a faster pace! 9:30 The Coin I am a gentleman, a good master. I always give my pets the illusion of hope. I would not be a proper experimentalist if I did not! What would the townspeople think of me? Here... you must be tired... lie here... these ties are to calm you. Don’t tense up, you’ll bruise! Now, let’s witness your fate. 10:26 The Experiment Please... stay awake! I must witness your gaze! 13:30 All Good Things Must Come to an End I long for you, dear guest. When will you discover my quarters? Until then, I shall recline here patiently, reminiscing wonderful times with my generous patrons.
You are in the dungeons of a castle whose name you can’t remember... on the upper floors, the celebration for the defeat of the army of the Counts Bishops have gone on longer than expected and the silence that reigns all around seems unreal. Next to you the chains that perhaps held you prisoner are broken: well, you can escape! The only way, however, is to enter the dungeons which, at least in the beginning, are dimly lit by a few torches. As you go on, the stone walls get wetter and wetter and the rock that has replaced the floor at some point seems to move: you have just stepped on something alive... it is a gray slime looking for food (it is a Gray Ooze)! If you defeat it, you continue in what is a real huge dungeon, with crossroads and sudden cracks in the ground. You decide to follow the flame of your lit torch, driven by dark drafts. Further on, a strange phosphorescent liquid lights up the dungeon: somewhere there must be a pale yellow amoeba (it is an Ochre Jelly)... Now you are sharper and wiser, so you get ready for the fight not to be caught off guard. In the end, you see a glow in the darkness: a little further on, the tunnel seems to widen, is the exit close by? You continue with the last torch you were able to take and in fact the glow gets bigger, but... the opening at the end of this damp tunnel seems to come from a translucent vision. Pieces of broken weapons, coins and partially digested skeletons are visible almost in mid-air: it is the inside of a flickering cube of mucus standing still in front of you (it is a Gelatinous Cube) and behind which a half rusty old grate separates you from the exit...
When the dark spell hit him full in the chest, stopping his breath, Thongor already knew everything: he knew that pain, he knew his destiny. In short, he knew death, because he had already lived it. For some time, he had been waiting for the end, knowing that it would be a new beginning, yet another. He was ready to face the challenges of the Hades: he knew that he would find himself in the presence of the Gate between the Worlds, that he would cross it to access the Land of Shadows, to face the tortures and impossible quests. And at the end of all this, he would have been thrown into the world again, unaware, a naked child in the face of misfortunes and bad weather, he would have seen his father and his mother massacred and, with the memory of blood on the snow, he would have wandered alone. Like a wolf between moors and deserts, he would have fought desperately first to survive, like a wild beast, and then, many years later, as a king covered in gold and precious fabrics, to defend the welfare of his people, with the weapons of diplomacy. And every day he would have been more aware of that destiny that was inside him, because he had already lived it. He knew that if the heroes want to be true heroes, in the end they die. Through the years, he would have remembered slowly his doom of death and rebirth, because he was as the seasons, that always follow each other identically. He, Thongor the Mighty, the predestined to thousand winters and thousand springs, condemned to misery and glory. 0:00 Not dead, but dreaming 2:00 An abyss full of stars 4:31 River of fire, wall of ice 6:08 Titanic jewel 7:45 The throne of thrones 10:10 The lord of astral wisdom 13:08 He rises from the grave
In the distant future, Earth has indeed become a strange place. Millions of years have passed and the world, now a vast super continent - Pangea Ultima, has regressed civilization after a cosmic superdisaster, turning everything back into an medieval state some might argue. Beings from other worlds came and went and what is left is but a sheer clutter of bizarre and strange realms. But at the bottom of the vast ocean that surrounds the land masses, mysterious godlike beings have created a bastion of knowledge for themselves. Once they came from the stars, the last of their kin, to find refuge from the ongoing intergalactic chaos. At one of the deepest points of the sea, the underwater bastion Nineveh has been created, a temple, a refuge, an archive of incredible cosmic knowledge. Knowledge that could at any time propel the universe into a new age of chaos. Knowledge that could easily turn the minds of known species into madness. But who could possible ever descend down there, to see all these wonders with his own eyes?


Dear dungeoncrawlers, light your torches and sharpen your swords!

Welcome to the first issue of HDK DUNGEON-SYNTH MAGAZINE! What the hell is it? A cassette? A fanzine? Another ruse to pollute the planet earth with a useless amount of plastic? It's all this: four dungeon-synth artists shared the tape of a C60 and each of them created their own music, imagining it as the soundtrack of a fantasy story that you can read on the mini-magazine attached to the cassette/digital download.

DS music on tape, weird literature and old school RPG culture: is there anything better? NO!

Many DS artists write to us proposing to release their records and we say: aaargh! Your music is cool, but we cannot publish all the albums of the world! So we decided to choose four artists among the most interesting (but they are not the only ones!) and put them on this tape; this first issue is an experiment: if you think this experiment was successful and you like the format, our idea is to publish HDK DS MAGAZINE quarterly, to offer you new DS artists and a world of bizarre fantasy literature! What do you think about it?


Cut the crap now, here are the protagonists of this issue: the first is the vigorous FURCIFER from the United States who accompanies us in the hallucinating exploration of the Castle of Madness of Count Balsorano ... Furcifer's music exudes horror and dismay and reminds us of the immortal Goblins of the soundtracks of Dario Argento's movies. Wow!


Then we venture into a smelly dungeon filled with jelly-like creatures with ASTARIUM, a dungeon synth artist from remote Siberia. His dungeon-synth is martial and distressing, pure poetry for us lovers of the dark corners of the earth.


On the second side, an old acquaintance of HDK: THONGOR! With "At the end of time", the barbaric musician devoted to 1970s Conan-esque literature transports you to the pages of Lin Carter's novel of the same name, in which Thongor even fights against ... his own death !


Closes this issue CURSED MIDNIGHT from Austria: his music transports us to the bottom of the ocean abysses to tell us the story set in a medieval future of humanity. A perfect ending. Nuff said!



released December 25, 2020

ⒽⒹⓀ dungeon-synth magazine vol. 1
Published in December 2020
by Heimat der Katastrophe, Milano, Italy

Cassette cover art by Eugene JAWORSKI

Mini-book cover by Matt RAY
Illustration licensed to Heimat der Katastrophe by Dungeoneer Games & Simulations. The image cannot be passed on to third parties without the consent of Dungeoneer Games & Simulations.

Additional art by Alan HUNTER
Courtesy of Mike Kenward, Proteus Magazine, UK 1984




Heimat Der Katastrophe Milan, Italy

DIY label focused on ambient punk, minimal-synth, dungeon-drone, wartime music and post-nuclear wave. Managed by a creative punx collective from Milano city.

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