Hello again and welcome to another album review!

It’s Zero Ash again with music news and reviews! Today we’re going to make an album review representing the genre that rarely gets reviews from me; therefore, you can rarely see or hear any of such reviews on my YouTube channel. Actually, there’s currently not much you can see on my YT but we’re going to fix that in the nearest future. More are coming!

I rarely review electronic music because of a quite simple reason: there’s not much interesting stuff happening in this genre. The only exception for this is SOPHIE’s album, which appeared a really interesting and valuable piece of musical content. Even the latest release of Deadmau5 did not impress me that much because it did not even seem like a full-blown music album. Still, I’ve enjoyed a couple of tracks from that album, nonetheless. Another example of this trend is the latest activity of The Prodigy with a couple of their singles, which were mediocre at best. As a result, I did not even want to make an electronic album review.

Anyway, today we’re going to talk about really interesting guys, which will definitely be interesting for all the fans of heavy music, both of electronic and metal genres.

[bandcamp width=700 height=472 album=347068474 size=large bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5 artwork=small]

If you never heard of the American duo Dance with the Dead, then you’ll definitely need to check them out, especially their latest album Loved to Death.  Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered and will try to briefly tell about them in this album review.

These guys play retrowave, which is really aggressive electronic music, generously complemented by distorted guitar sound. As a result, such approach gives the listeners a significantly new perspective on how electronic music can actually sound. It’s even despite the fact that this music is heavily inspired by the electronic bands of 1980’s. All in all, the very purpose of retrowave is to reinvent and re-represent this old sound.

[Album’s title and cover art]

Due to the fact that this album is fully instrumental and there’s not a single word spoken or sung in any of these songs, there’s actually no point in trying to interpret the meaning of the album’s title and cover. Just because of the fact that any interpretation won’be be confirmed by the songs’ lyrics. Nonetheless, it’s necessary to understand another thing. It’s important to know that these guys’ music has always been infused with the atmosphere of action and/or horror movies of 1980’s. Basically, that’s why the guys always used the pictures of monsters chasing their victims as their albums’ cover arts.

[Lyrical content]

So, as you can imagine, there’s nothing to discuss in terms of lyrics and their meaning; therefore, this album review will be rather short, as a result. However, there’s much to talk about besides the lyrics.

[Musical content]

What do we have here? 10 music tracks highly infused with the spirits of aggression and ferocity. I don’t know about the “horror atmosphere” but during the listening of this album I was imagining a scene from “Terminator” movie, when a huge killer-machine was chasing its victims and there’s no salvation from its murderous nature. Something like that.

  • Rhythmic patterns

As for the melodic structure, each and every track from this album follows the same approach. Here we’ve got the “4 to the floor” rhythmic, with the kick drum playing each fourth beat, further layered by a snare or a clap with each second beat. You can hear such rhythmic pattern in each and every track of house/trance/any other EDM genre. Such pattern creates dancing rhythm, when played on fast tempos, while it makes the track sound more similar to march or industrial music.

  • Synths

By the way, this album also has an array of musical elements inspired by industrial music.

For example, here we can hear the synthesizers based on saw waves. I’m not a huge expert, but to me these synthesizers often sound like some power drills on a certain note (if that makes sense to anyone). In majority of cases, the bass lines of the track consist of these waves (if my ears define them right), which makes them sound really huge and powerful, while also preserving this feeling of groove that you can hear in the track “GO!”, which opens the album.

Leads here mostly feature various arpeggiators and loopers. An example of this can be found in the track “Into the Shadows”, where the synthesized leads are being used as a fast and upbeat intro to this track. Plus, let’s not forget about the fact that this album (like any other EDM album) features the “Stack the layers” approach. In general, this means layering as much synthesizer parts, as possible, to make it sound thick and heavy. This also complements the track’s arrangement because it creates more than enough space for good transitions between tracks’ sections.

  • Distorted guitars

But we’re not done yet!

The album’s cherry on top is the use of electric guitars. Of course, there’s nothing new in using distorted guitar sounds in retrowave; however, these guys do it really great. They don’t use a guitar just to spice up the sound or to play a solo between the sections. Instead, they use the rock/metal approach, when one guitar plays groovy riffs, while the second plays arpeggios. You can imagine, how many musical elements and instruments there are in each and every track of this album. Still, it sounds really good because there’s no clashing between all these sounds and textures.

This is also because of a good songwriting, despite the fact that it’s rather traditional for both electronic and metal music. Each and every track has a clearly defined and rather standard structure with intro, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus, solo etc. This even makes enough space and time for someone else to compose vocal parts above them. For example, some rappping or extreme vocals would sit nice here (IMO).

[Final thoughts]

That’s basically all you need to know from this album review before listening. Despite the fact that the songwriting and performance on the album remain approached the same way over and over, this album offers a really pleasant listening experience. And yes, someone (me) might argue that by the end of the album you can become somewhat bored by it. It means that adding some transitional tracks with slower pace and with less aggression in sound would have made the album even better. Still, I’d rate this album 4,5 out of 5 and I definitely recommend you listening to it!

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