When I first heard that Ryan Clark (Demon Hunter) and Randy Torres (ex- Project 86) were collaborating on something, I was suitably excited. Demon Hunter’s albums have always had a special place in my music library and I’ve got all bar one of their albums. So it’s safe to say that I’m quite a fan of them. When I listened to the first single from the album, it left me intrigued. I don’t normally listen to electronic music, but it had a completely different sound to anything else I’d heard before. So without further-ado, let’s get on the album.
Production wise, It’s one of the best produced things I’ve heard in a long time. Punchy drums, clear and audible vocals, instruments clear and it’s not been overly compressed. Music within the electronic area can sometimes be overly compressed resulting in a album that is harsh to listen to. This on the other hand, is really easy to listen to and I actually really enjoy it.
Opening up the album is the track, “Return”. Opening with a suspended string chord before bringing in the percussion and synths really sets the feel for the track. Couple that with Ryan’s superb clean vocals and you’ve got a recipe for a masterpiece. Which quite frankly it is. Having sections where it strips back to just percussion and vocals gives the whole track a feeling of despair and sadness. It’s a standout track for me, simply because it opens the album so well.
“Something Divine” opens with suspended synth chords echoing around the stereo field whilst Ryan recites his lyrics. Adding in the percussion and other synths at the 0:45 mark opens the track up and further helps continue the feeling of sadness introduced in the previous track. Having a similar vibe to the track “Dead Flowers” from True Defiance it has a similar rousing section around the 3:29 mark which helps lift some of the sadness.
Opening with a harsh kick drum before introducing the other instrumentation is the track “Smoking Gun”. Having a more upbeat feel that the previous tracks helps create a more desperate atmosphere which at the same time also has a sense a triumph in the choruses. Having a slightly different sound to the previous tracks helps keep the variety and also makes it a standout track for me.
“Just Give Up” opens in a similar fashion to “Something divine” but has a completely different feel. Driving bass and percussion along with a synth melody gives the track a more happy atmosphere. Chucking in a church organ style sound around the 2:44 mark changes the feel of the track slightly but it still retains it happier feel. Cutting back into an Abba style section makes for an interesting but enjoyable listen.
Opening once again with suspended synths before bringing in the other instruments and choir “aah’s” is the track “Parasites”. Having a reflection style of atmosphere gives it a total different feel to the rest of the album makes it one of the standout tracks for and the piano section from 2:19 to 2:45 is the icing on the cake for me.
Having an Abba style opening once again is the track “Love my Way”. Creating a happier atmosphere than the rest of the album but having a dark undertone adds a bit of suspense to the track. Couple this with the lyrics and you get and suitably interesting track.
“Fools” brings back the dark mood with a sad piano and synth layered melody with a huge reverb on Ryan’s vocals. Keeping the dark feel throughout the whole track provides a nice contrast to the previous track and makes it another standout track for me.
Opening with a driving kick drum and short synth stabs is the track “The Exit”. Having a nice vocal harmony in the pre-chorus and more driving pace than the previous track makes for an interesting change. This track also features some superior drum sounds which honestly sound like they have been recorded especially for it. Even if they were not, they give the track a nice driving edge and fit well along with the rest of the track.
The first track I ever heard from the project plays next. It sounds a little different from when I first heard it but it still has the same feel. Mid-paced percussion, driving bass lines, suspended synth chords, short piano melodies and the vocals of Ryan really make this track one of the best on the album.
“Idle Thoughts” opens with an electric piano melody before bringing in the rest of the instruments. Having a calm section with all but the vocals placed in a low pass filter creates yet another dark tone in which the rest of the track remains. I’d say it’s one of the darker tracks on the album, merely due to the choice of chords and production techniques used. Coming with another quiet section this time with vocals and piano clear but the rest in a high pass filter at 2:53 creates a feeling of sadness experienced in some of the other tracks. As with a lot of the other tracks on the album, it’s a standout track merely due to it using some superb production techniques.
The final track of the album, “Light” then plays. Having a similar feel to “Something Divine” but with a heavy reverb on Ryan’s vocals, it creates a sort of dark uplifting atmosphere. Having a heavy synth chord presence in parts with the superior drum samples in parts adds to the feeling of the track.
Now this review is a little bit unorthodox. Mainly because this album is neither Rock or Metal. It’s Electronic. However, this album has done something which a lot of albums I’ve listened to haven’t. It’s made me feel part of the music, it created unique feelings within me and made me feel part of the story. And that’s something which not many albums can do for me.
In terms of a recommendation, fans of Demon Hunter and Abba might like this. I can’t honestly say whether you will like it or not, but I encourage you to give it a listen.
Standout Tracks: “Return”, “Smoking Gun”, “Parasites”, “Fools”, “Fall Behind”, “Idle Thoughts”
- Something Divine
- Smoking Gun
- Just Give Up
- Love My Way
- The Exit
- Fall Behind
- Idle Thoughts
Anxiety is out now via Spartan Records. You can watch the music video for Return below.