DEADLIFE “Dark Nation” – Full Album Review
DEADLIFE has released another heavy hitter from beyond. In this album review, we’ll be unveiling his latest release “Dark Nation” and its synthesized variances that will broaden our imagination beyond the confines of our current reality. I think we’d all eagerly step outside of ourselves
DEADLIFE has released another heavy hitter from beyond. In this album review, we’ll be unveiling his latest release “Dark Nation” and its synthesized variances that will broaden our imagination beyond the confines of our current reality. I think we’d all eagerly step outside of ourselves and become encapsulated by what Dark Nation provides. Join me as we decipher each track and its perceived meaning from the fingertips of your newest reviewer, myself; Jessica Jaxx!
Old World Death:
The prelude of Dark Nation, a track called “Old World Death”, is a culmination of effects that I can only describe as dystopian demolition. Whether it’s from this world or the next, this track certainly prepares us for departure with a suspenseful lead by way of ominous keys. The bombing of bass gives us a reason to be wary of what’s to come. An unintelligible voice breaks through and provides little comfort. A monolith of sound and untraditional influences of what we know as Dark Synth is no longer present. DEADLIFE introduces us to the landscape of a grim future that is inescapable, and the theme of discord emanates throughout this track. It certainly gives me an appetite to discover the entirety of Dark Nation and what more is left to uncover.
The howling winds accompanied by a showering noise-fry surround us. The coaxing synth serenades us deeper into calm. However, all mystery and sense of safety is temporary once the chords take over. We’re blasted away by hefty bass and a sequence of synth keys alongside an adrenaline-inducing arpeggio. The chimes are well met with the shatter of each clap. The climax of “Complete Meltdown” is fueled by the fire of a fantastic ladder that dissipates back into the calm before returning to the action. The track itself gives me the impression that DEADLIFE has more in store for the remainder of the album, and there is a bit of pep in me to tread forward enthusiastically.
Out of Anger and Avarice:
The glitchy nuances are something I can’t help but have a taste for now that we are three tracks into Dark Nation. “Out of Anger and Avarice” opens with a tone in mind just before the loop takes over. It carries us full throttle into a fury of modular keys, creating an impactful dive into a choir unbeknownst to us as anything less than the occupants of the Dark Nation. The bass and I are past the friend-zone and it’s all benefits from here. DEADLIFE creates a world that we can not only see ourselves in, but we’ve seen before. The apocalyptic scenes from Terminator, the horrors of Dead Space, and the gruesome memories of Operation Dark Storm from Animatrix.
All of these references and more come to the surface as I listen on. Behind each rhythm and melody is an unseen force of influence, and we as the audience can only assume what they are for the artist.
This track harbors many emotions, and within them lies an undeniable sense of self-absolution. The climb and pacing of the synth make way for a robust acoustic that sets the stage for the monologue in between. “Drift” shares with us the precipice of a new chapter with the percussion leading us by ear. The distortion delivers within it an emotional resonance. One of poignant memories and distilled disturbance. This makes for a slower arrangement than the previous few we’ve encountered so far, but also the most consistent in mood throughout its duration. Whether it’s in the synth keys or the pronounced beat of the heart on the bass – DEADLIFE knows how to set the mood and significantly change gears for their audience to follow.
Health is a Currency:
I love this track title because it reminds me of not just the ethos of video game mechanics but also life itself. There are elements of music that give me life, however, and it’s the usage of a choir and bells in electronic tracks. DEADLIFE uses these details to raise the stakes and offer an ethereal anguish from one thread of sound to the next. The delicate, industrial strings of what sounds like a shamisen eloquently introduce the cryptic discorded notes being played ominously. Like a haunted music box in space, or a futuristic house of mirrors. I’m astounded by the whine of soundwaves as they fill my ears and direct my attention to what lies beneath the bridge.
Her Broken Smile (feat. Tessa Hedrick):
Sometimes there’s one track that beats them all. There’s always a toss-up situation between tracks with lyrics and tracks without. Tessa delivers a hauntingly angelic vocal ambiance to “Her Broken Smile” that makes for a showdown of chronic satisfaction. Mixed with the synthesized vibrance from DEADLIFE, the lyrics only further highlight the polarizing emotions we’ve picked up with every track leading up to this moment. Heartbreak devoid of healing and an overall demise of character mirrors the words that Tessa sings, and an unraveling of personal resonance has us thinking, “Yes, I’ve felt this way before.”
Dreams of a Variant:
As we dial into our next track, the first thing we hear is mechanical feedback, followed by an ascension of keys as it smacks us into the new reality of Dark Nation. The chasm of curiosity has led us into a traditional 80’s drum kick, inevitably rushing time forward through dazzling chimes and bass. There’s a gradual climb from one pillar to the next, and the choir returns, ushering us into their pilgrimage of sound. Discordian keys guide us back into the calm of the storm. I relish in this transition because it doesn’t last long enough for me to get comfortable. We’re slammed again by that beauteous bass and synthy-goodness. DEADLIFE recreates a resurrection of old versus new, and I’m here for it!
A foreign planet awaits our arrival as we listen to this next track, “Modern Gestalt” and beyond its atmosphere, are heavenly arpeggios, and distorted choirs. If one could call themselves human at this point, it’s only because you’re not focusing on the world-building going on. I could call this album a soundtrack to the future at this point and moving forward. There are introductions, climaxes, and fight-scenes. There’s renewal and there’s ruin, and despite this being an album review, I’d like to consider this as more of an opportunity to imagine a world that DEADLIFE created. The satisfaction and seduction of sound and its varieties, some familiar, and some unique, offer the imagination to reach beyond the limitations of mere mortals. Something cybernetic lingers, and the future is nigh.
Drenched in Dead Wires:
If I’ve learned anything it’s not to get too cozy in the lingering lullabies and interludes of gentle melodies; not while DEADLIFE is in control. Always brace for impact and embrace the unrelenting interruptions of drum kicks and bass-heavy leads. It’s coming for you, and there’s no escaping it; not while you’re trapped in Dark Nation. Alas, the choir is back and excites the senses. There’s an underlying serenade of synth, and it turns into a futuristic Eldrich horror track before you realize it. Beyond words, the ladder reveals the revelation of the differences between electronic sound. The artist alone holds their individuality, and this album reaches those heights as it ebbs and flows from comfort to chaos.
Ah, the delicacy of gaming samples and all the fruit that it bears encompasses this introduction. I feel as though I’m viewing my own inventory, except mine is not as badass. A phone, a laptop, a bottle of water, and Dark Nation. Okay, maybe the album in my arsenal makes it a little kick-ass. This dancey beat uploads a variety of visions aside from the game-like, “first-person shooter equipping the big gun” details in the beginning. I find myself enjoying the reload of rhythm, and once we meet back at the base of the calm, it’s light and airy with the 8-bit companion of keys. The choir welcomes us and the rise beckons us to continue the good fight.
The beginning of this track takes us back to the dimly lit alleyways of the ’80s. A nostalgic serenity is interrupted by the thrilling escalation of a threatening vibrato. This track is a bit of a playful amalgamation of what we’ve heard so far from Dark Nation. Within “Displace Anomaly” are subtle reminders of our desire to remember the eras of old. A ballad that bursts into a final form of freakish discordian sequences. The progression escalates into a feeling of moving forwards and backward through time simultaneously as the modern and darker approach to synthwave mingles with and disrupts the sounds we recognize. I’m eager to find out what awaits beyond as we near the end of the album.
“Outlier”, and the surprises that lie within it blossom from the way DEADLIFE arranges the transitions. The moment you feel comfortable with the keys, they shift the sands beneath you. Soon enough you’re traveling through a futuristic version of Conan the Barbarian if he suddenly walked through the neon lights of Tech Noir. A true parallel universe that would surely be the furthest from mind had I never mentioned it – but now that I have – I need it. “Outlier” would be a great soundtrack to hear through Arnold’s battle cries. We can’t help but engage in the way the bass carries us through each synthy solo, and the unapologetic progression begs for our attention.
New World Birth:
DEADLIFE’s great unveiling grants us passage to a new world order. We hear a delicate voice, and as it emerges, we’re barraged by the ongoing kick-drum and mimicry of the underground deliverance of bass. It’s a habit at this point to gauge when and where DEADLIFE will plant his chorus or verse, and I’ve gotten fairly good at depicting it. Knowing what details are used to shroud them, however, are where they differ from each track so far. The cascade of thunder and rain accompany the calm before the storm, and I’m reminded of Outlier, the track ahead of it. This ending to Dark Nation is albeit, an interesting one. The story of Dark Nation will trigger the imaginations of many and announce itself aggressively in any quiet room.
Now that we’ve reached the end, I’d gladly revisit the realms of DEADLIFE time and time again. So long as the soundtracks hit as hard as they do! I’m extending the invitation for you all to listen for yourselves and tell us what your own imagination cooked up! What lurks within the depths of your fantasies, and did any come to life while listening? Deliver us the details, and venture past the boundaries of your mind!