dark smoke signal

'the antipope resurrection'

Best track: priest runner

click album cover to listen

Albums are always more interesting when they have a concept, and for Dark Smoke Signal to create an album that plays on his name is a splendid idea! ‘The Antipope Resurrection’ is the debut album for Alex and it’s certainly an eye-opener, dripping head-to-toe in gothic synths, gore-laden tones and some harrowing vocals to add to the horror! The intro does little to hint at what’s to come but we’re immediately thrown in to the deep end with the track ‘Ad Infernum Crowley Diabolus’ (I don’t know either) that can only be described as fast-paced and in your face. The flourish of cascading synths adds an EDM element to the track that might appeal to anyone that can remember the good ol’ rave days of the 90s.

‘Fallen Idol’ highlights a real capability within Alex to change the dynamic of a song without much effort. The track initially kicks off with a glimmer of hope for Mr Idol and the familiar vocoder we’ve come to know and love from DSS makes a welcome appearance. But all does not end well for our protagonist as the song descends in to the depths of despair with some pure-blooded darksynth…which takes me back to that brief period where I used to enjoy ‘Rammstein’…thank god that was brief!

‘Chaotic Pendulum’ gives Alex a chance to showcase some shredwave which is becoming a mainstay of his, so heavy-metal fans…stop what you’re doing and listen up! ‘Tearing The Wings Off An Angel’ might have a spine-chilling name but it’s one of the more mellow tracks off the compilation…I use the word mellow lightly. This was the first single to be released and it’s the only time we get to hear the raw vocals from Alex.

The first respite you get from all the dread comes in the form of ‘Night Terrors’…or is it! You’ll feel like you just walked in to the mind of Brian Eno on a good day. And then begins the feeling of impending doom. This is quite an intelligent track that manages once again to do so much with so little. ‘Burn The Vatican’ is as grotesque and unthinkable as the title suggests. It’s so unthinkable in fact that the only suitable way to say it is by making your voice sound like your vocal cords have been ripped out of your throat and stuck onto the neck of Satan’s guitar, which Alex does a stellar job of doing.

One thing this album does well to avoid is revisiting earlier sounds and ideas and you certainly don’t ever hear the same thing twice. The tracks all seem to have their own identity and play an important role in his story. ‘Purgatory Waltz’ is without a shadow of a doubt, one of the most f**ked up songs I’ve ever heard! Without any visuals, it’s hard to even begin to comprehend what this track is. Where do those ungodly screams come from?! And why are they accompanying such a beautiful piano piece? What the hell are my ears bearing witless to?! Juxtaposition at its finest.

The best song on the list is ‘Priest Runner’ and will appeal to those that like their synthwave on the lighter side of the spectrum. It starts to hint that we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel for the character of the story and this is then reaffirmed in the outro track titled ‘End Credits (A New Hope)' which sounds like a conglomeration of loads of different influences from many a 'game completed' score. It’s a nice way to end the album and gives you real sense of relief. it does also leave things on a bit of a cliffhanger as there’s real scope here to follow this up with a sequel. And if instrumentals are more your thing, then you get one last prezzie from ‘Dark Smoke Signal’ in the form of a vocal-less version of ‘Tearing The Wings Off An Angel’. What a nice man huh?! Well he needs to be after beating us to within an inch of our life with his sinister and twisted mind that is ‘The Antipope Resurrection’.

For the faint-hearted and for fans of dreamwave and upbeat popwave…you won’t want to touch this if your life depended on it. Appreciators of Beelzebub and all things fiery…this may be one of those albums that you remember for the rest of your life. Alex has tapped in to some truly evil influences throughout this compilation and for you proper goths…you’re really gonna want to get in on the action! I'm scoring this based on the fact that I tend to avoid darksynth because i'm a sweetheart, but i can truly appreciate how well done this album is. 8.0/10 Joe Ward

a visual representation of the album:

if you're in to this, you'll also like:

the goondock saint, dance with the dead, Carpenter Brut and Perturbator