Scandroid - Monochrome

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Scandroid - MonochromeDetroit based Scandroid is back with his much anticipated sophomore album, “Monochrome.” This album follows close (less than a year) on the heels of his lauded breakout self-titled album, “Scandroid.”

Scandroid is the brainchild of the multi-genre multi-instrumentalist Klayton. Outside of Scandroid, he has produced under a wide variety of names, the most successful of which has been the unique genre bending industrial-electronic-alt-metal “Celldweller.”

“Monochrome” shares many similarities with Klayton’s debut album – relentless, chugging synth basslines mix well with major to minor melodies, friendly, sometimes fiendish guitar riffs and vivaciously vocoded vocals.

However, “Monochrome” does not rehash the original album. Klayton has managed to update this particular sound with more layered synths, a touch better production and an overall darker cyberpunk-not-quite-darkwave feel that suits the Scandroid sound well. He also merges Newwave and synth into a fantastic blend that somehow works well with the cyberpunk feel.

The intro and hooks to “Afterglow” and “Rendezvous” are insanely catchy and the interlude and bassline in “On the Face of The Deep” (Biblical reference, anyone? Genesis 1:2) makes for some fantastically dark synth. Because it was produced primarily on vintage gear, each track on “Monochrome” is intricately layered and definitely worth a few listens - as each listen will uncover previously unheard synthesizer intonations – it truly a brilliant work.

However, the album’s composition and flow does seem to have suffered a bit from the quick turnaround. Although the sound is on-point, this album comes in at a short thirteen tracks – especially when you realize two of them are remakes (one released all the way back in May) and one fantastic remix from Pylot. That makes the number of original tracks under ten!

In addition, although the remakes of “Thriller” and “The Force Theme” are solid tracks on their own – they seem to really break up the feel of “Monochrome,” jarring the album out of the cyberpunk soundscape just as it was beginning to really get into a flow. This tends to make the album feel more like a collection of singles than a cohesive whole.

The vocals also present another problem. In the synthwave genre many fans despise vocals and I often count myself among them – the “Woah oh oh oh” on “A Thousand Years” is just comically campy….Many fans who enjoy vocals might not like the particular alt-metal 00’s style either.

BUT - just as with his last album, Klayton well aware of this genre’s purist tendencies and has released an instrumental version alongside the main album – bravo Klayton! I’m happy to report the instrumental doesn’t lose any of the appeal of the original, and makes for a wholly unique listening experience.

All in all, the production and mastering on “Monochrome” is better than his debut. The Scandroid sound is updated, darker, deeper – but this success is short-lived and leaves us wanting more.  Top Tracks: “Monochrome,” “On The Face of The Deep,” “The Veil,” “Afterglow.”

 

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