Category: Music (Page 2 of 19)

The Darkness and the Light

When I reviewed Monochrome, I wasn’t exactly enthused with the sophomore release from Scandroid, whose debut album set an extremely high bar to clear. At the end of my review, I wished for the next album to “take a little longer” as well as “we get something just a little more evolved”.

Well, I’m very happy to say that was mostly accomplished with the long-awaited release of The Darkness and the Light! While it was always his plan to release this album, there were two previous releases: The Darkness, and The Light. Both have original tracks as well as remixes and instrumentals. While I really enjoyed listening to those original songs, I was holding out for the full third album that would combine them.

Along with those thirteen previously-released tracks, there are an additional six on this album, making for an incredible amount of music. As mentioned above, I wanted a Scandroid album that took its influence and development in synth-/retrowave and go further with it. It’s very clear Klayton has indeed dug deeper and worked more on this material, with so many standout tracks (I have to mention I Remember You and Purified) so unique to show for it. There’s also some tracks that are closer to classic synth-/retrowave, such as The End of Time and Onyx.

One of Scandroid’s unique features when the first album came out was putting vocals to these kind of tracks, and I honestly can’t think of a single song that would have worked better without vocals. His singing voice is unique, along with guest singers as well as any additional processed vocals he puts into the songs. While there may be a few artists where I enjoy just listening to the music, when I put on Scandroid it’s as much about the words he sings along with the glorious synths and booming 80s drums backing them.

If it already wasn’t clear, I am very happy with this album! I am very curious to see where Klayton goes from here, whether he continues to evolve, tries for something really out there, or possibly reigns it back in to get closer to what the debut album had, as different as it was from other releases at its time. I have a pretty good feeling that no matter where the music of Scandroid goes from here, I will be glad to hear it and will be in my regular rotation for a very long time.

Bandcamp find: Delmak-O

Browsing Bandcamp for new dungeon synth and ambient music, as I do quite often these days, I came across Delmak-O’s Cerulean Tomb. First off, if I’ve ever judged an album by a cover, this is perfect! It fits the music perfectly, lending to an atmosphere that is dark, vast, and solitary. Delmak-O has crafted an album that is easy to play in the background, even at a louder volume, as it envelopes the listener, each time discovering something new in the layers of sounds that will wash over you.

Conspiravision

I’ve been a big fan of Deus Ex for a long time, and probably the biggest reason for that is its soundtrack. Yes it has an amazing story, lots of fun weapons, level design, etc. but it was always the music that stuck with me after playing the game, and I still listen to the soundtrack on a regular basis.

Last month, original composers Alexander Brandon and Michiel Van Den Bos worked together to bring a re-imagined soundtrack: Conspiravision. At 17 tracks, this is a sizeable collection, taking familiar themes and combining with modern instruments and production techniques. For me it will never replace the original, but it is a fantastic addition to the family of great soundtracks this series of games has produced!

Bandcamp find: Heimat Der Katastrophe

In my further searches for dungeon synth artists on Bandcamp, I came across KOBOLD, an outstanding artist utilizing chiptunes. While I was going to make a post for this musician, I checked out the label, Heimat Der Katastrophe, and my goodness there is a LOT of releases! While I still haven’t listened to all of them, I’d like to highlight a few of my favorites so far:

BASIC DUNGEON

GNOLL

KOBOLD

KORMORG

Female-Fronted Doom Metal

While I normally post a single band I discover on Bandcamp, sometimes I get sucked into a genre and find so many that I need to occasionally post a “compilation” of Bandcamp finds. I actually didn’t notice until I started the draft for this post that the three bands I’ve included all have a female singer. While I’ve always enjoyed female vocals more than male in general, it wasn’t something I consciously sought after, especially in doom metal.

Note: I am sticking to purely doom here. Bands that I’ve highlighted in the past, such as Ruby the Hatchet, are more psychedelic rock than metal. Also, it can be hard to sift through Bandcamp’s tags, as apparently most artists will just add on whatever tags they want to increase exposure (understandable), but are obviously misleading and/or downright incorrect for their music.

Godsleep

While Godsleep’s first release was with their original singer, their follow-up Coming of Age is the debut for replacement Amie Makris. I don’t know what her experience was coming into this band, but listening to this album you’d swear she was a founding member, or at least this ain’t her first rodeo! Her vocals complement the music perfectly, and overall this is one of the best doom albums I’ve listened to, period.

Smoulder

Ohhh yeah now this is my kind of metal! The debut album for Smoulder, Time of Obscene Evil and Wild Daring, lets you know immediately with the cover art what you’re in for. This is certainly the grooviest of the three bands, definitely showing that Black Sabbath influence.

Windhand

Windhand has been making a name for itself in the Virginia area for a long time, and its previous release, Grief’s Eternal Flower, in 2015 garnered even more attention. In October 2018 they released Eternal Return, and it’s quickly become my favorite release from them. Out of the three I’d have to say Windhand is certainly the heaviest, almost dreary, with a sprinkle of black and funeral doom in the mix.

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