'no god's land'
Best track: war propaganda
click album cover to listen
Hazmat is a retrowave artist hailing from France, the birthplace of 'Valerie collective' who eventually gave way to the rise of the modern synthwave genre. What we have here is No God’s Land a war themed extended play release.
'Tension Rising' kicks off with a squelchy bass and hi passed kick drum providing you with a musically- foreboding atmosphere. Raw and grungy rhythm guitars soar into action, ripping through the track instantly setting the tone for the war-themed EP. As you make your way through, the track rolls through kick drum flourishes and bouncy riffs materialise, accompanied by assaulting tom fills amid the musical carnage. There’s a definite darksynth vibe to be enjoyed here with a heavy late 90’s nu-metal flavour to be revelled in.
As we move on to the next track stirring samples of old world 'war propaganda' lead us into a synth-based number. The bass is hypnotising and as a synth lead rocks my ears, ghostly voice samples skulk in the background. The aptly named 'War Propaganda' breaks down and the samples become much clearer, hauntingly announcing that “government lies to you every day” and “They do not care for you”. It’s very thought provoking stuff, and still relevant today. The ‘break free from lies’ message combined with the bouncing rhythm, makes this the stand out track on the record.
Next up we have a beautiful rendition of a classic anti - war song; 'Enola Gay' originally by Orchestral Manoevres in the Dark. Introducing us to his cover, clean chorused guitars sing like angels as air raid sirens give connotations of sadness, anxiety and fear of the unknown. As Hazmat’s voice opens up and glides into the track, he conveys the desperation of a generation in his vibrato. this is undoubtedly a great choice of song to cover as not only does it fit with the theme of this EP, it also fit’s with the atomic implications of Hazmat’s name.
As acoustic arpeggios and soft delayed vocals emerge through gunfire we're into the EP title track 'No Gods Land'. It radiates sadness and there are pleasingly filtered poly-synths flowing in between the acoustic guitars. The track suddenly elevates and bursts into an emotional medley of distorted guitars, pained vocal flourishes and huge sounding drums. Theres no mistaking this is the climax to this war themed outing steeped in sadness, hopelessness and defeatism.
Thought provoking and politically charged 'No Gods Land' is a depressing view through the looking glass into the past, the unspeakable destruction and pain we as a human race are capable of committing.
It’s a view that encourages us to look inside ourselves and think about our own future as the world continues to devolve around us. Whilst this EP is a departure from synthwave and retrowave in the traditional sense, it also caters to those that are fans of dark synth, indie, grunge, and nu metal. The horizons are broad on this one, so if you’re a connoisseur of genres this four track release has a lot to offer. 7/10 Jack Alexander Gregory
a visual representation of the album: