The Synthwave Radioshow
Best track: nephilim
click album cover to listen
It's here. The prolific dark lord of synth, Occams Laser, has officially drawn his Occult series to a close - releasing the final in his long running demonic (now) quadrilogy. And this time it's literally apocalyptic.
Opener 'The Rapture' immediately puts us through a stomping and torturous wringer, like Tim Curry's Darkness relentlessly slapping you about the face at hell's disco with Meg Mucklebones' skeletal torso. 'Chaos' sonically delivers like Ronseal, before (a personal favourite) 'Nephilim' kicks in - most closely resembling recent album 'Tension', particularly around the change at the three minute mark.
In fact 'Occult 89' feels like a musical meeting point between OL's four year opus and 'Tension's arguably more accessible B-movie vibe. Which I think is not only a logical direction, but also indicates an evolution in Occam's own approach to his sound over the years. Fourth track 'Invocation' follows this lead and for a moment we sense some wise-cracking, battle-hardened humans might just be delivering these cenobite hell-beasts a decent pasting when - hold up - 'Beyond Pure Reason' soundtracks a bone-crunching battle...and I think we homo sapiens could be losing.
'Hellfire' pounds our eardrums, sounding like we're under attack from a fiery shower of meteoric debris, as we attempt to seek shelter. Guys, I don't think we made it, as the sinister 'End of Days' dramatically slows things down as we face the hopeless new reality of our scorched earth. This *could* be the end of the final act, but then along comes 'Heaven's Gate' - a dark and dirty piece of funk which sounds nothing like the rest of the album tonally, but does carry a lead signature that is unmistakably Occams (it also happens to be his favourite of the new work).
Just when you though it was over, things kickstart again with a high quality trio of tracks, which act as a coda for the entire series; 'Grimoire', the moody 80s-horror inflecting 'Redemption', and 'Eternal Deceiver' - which plays out as the credits role on this satisfying smorgasbord borne of satan.
If you like your dark synth dramatic, driven and melodic, Occams Laser's seriously impressive new record delivers. As this reviewer has said before, you always know you're listening to Occams as he clearly has an authored sound. In the current spate of synthwave, where prolific producers playfully dabble with a host of genres, this listener appreciates an artist who thoughtfully constructs an entire world - consistent with an evil master plan to make us bop our heads into oblivion. rob dyson 9/10
a visual representation of the album: