This project is the brainchild of solo artist Forrest Avery Carney. The project goes back pre-dating the first release in 2011. Since then he has released a new album each year packed with great music. As of 2015 the fifth album was released marking a great milestone in the band's history. Throughout all of these years and while creating this excellent music and releasing new albums year after year and in spite of all that he still finds time to play live shows including a fall tour this year (2015) with IAMX.
Almost immediately after appearing on the pages and airwaves of Gothic Paradise the fans have shown great interest and the music has become a definite favorite here. Including several tracks that have graced our weekly top 10 playlists and positive feedback from listeners, this project has been a great addition here. From the first moment the listener hears the style of somber, melancholy yet melodic synthpop, they're hooked and that's definitely been the case here. Featuring reviews and selections from three of the five albums here with more to come in the future, listeners and readers have plenty to enjoy from this band. We look forward to more great things to come.
Fragments - Review
With a release coming out each year, we know we don't have to wait long for great quality music. The nice thing is that each album isn't just a short EP with teasers and remixes, but each one is presented with at least ten great tracks. This latest album is no exception with ten more melodic, melancholy yet moving synthpop tracks.
Kicking off the intense moods and pulsating rhythms mixed with dance-friendly beats right from the start is "Hell". The heavy synthesized strings lay the foundation for this harsher, broken piece that sets the mood and introduces the album's dynamic nature. This drifts off to the somber, melodic piece "Mother" which features a little more flowing rhythms and the softer vocals. This leads us to a definite new favorite from this band and highlight on the album in "Entwine". The pulsating synths come out strong at the start and gradually mix and flow with the somber moods and give way to a more flowing rhythm through the chorus. This mix creates a pulsating composition that drips with emotion and intensity though the music itself is simple and flowing. "Shanghai" follows closely after picking up the intensity and pace with driving synths and layers of pulsating electronics over heavier percussion create a definite club-friendly hit. Wrapping up the first half of the album, the driving beats and fast-paced rhythms continue over the softer, more somber moods, vocals and synths on "I Lost You".
As the album progresses we're treated with this same formula, though each track stands on it's own easily. The homogenous feel of each piece makes it so that you can pick just about any one and it's a stellar piece, yet the diversity and unique signature of each selection allows the listener to pick up favorites and pick out elements that stand out amongst the rest. There are definite patterns in each piece whether it's the somber moods on "Discolored" over a subtle, yet moving beat or next as we revisit some of the classic synthpop styles appearing in "In Your Blood". The heavy, pulsating synths are definite a favorite element that serves as a common thread that runs through many pieces. However, the melodic and soft vocals that are almost a dream or a whisp on the wind of layers of pulsating and looped synths create the definitive moods and trade mark sound and style that we enjoy so much across each piece, show-cased perfectly in "Flowers For Boy". "Cycle of Violence" brings the oppressively bleak elements together over dark and brooding moods of pounding, heavy percussion and equally heavy synths. This sets the stage for the lighter fare presented on the excellent finale to the album "Spirt of the Forest". The soft, melodic, whispy vocals caress the listener as we drift off with the heavy, driving rhythms and pulsating electronics. This brings together all the favorite elements from this project into one track for a great way to wrap up another excellent album.
Time - Review
Hot on the heals of his previous release, we already have the latest great work from this talented artist. Building on much of the same moods and styles as his previous album, we have a nice collection of emotionally filled tracks. The album spans fifteen tracks lasting nearly an hour for a great selection of music.
Emotion-charged, melodic synthpop is the foundation for this album and so each track builds on that. Some really emphasizing analog synths while others bring out the throbbing bass or heavy beats creating several dance-friendly pieces. The dynamic and diverse vocal styles also add a lot of variety to the album, keeping the listener entranced and interested throughout the album. Again, there's no way we can possibly review each track on the entire album, so I'll touch on a few favorites that can hopefully give the reader a taste of what's in store on this stellar work.
From the beginning we're faced with heavy, dark synths and moods on "XIII" taking a pattern from "Sacrifice" with the spoken word vocals on each verse and then the high-pitched distortion added on each chorus. This gives way to another dark and heavy piece in "Rats" which brings together heavily layered, pulsating synths with more distorted and vocoded vocals taking on a dark and harsh tone. These harsher pieces start the album off with a bit of an edge, but as we move along the diversity of the other tracks bring out the broad range of styles and moods present on this album. "Glow" has become a true favorite as we're presented with something of a classic new wave sound with the heavy percussion and melodic synths while the moody vocals bring the somber lyrics to life. A bit later we're presented with another new wave influenced piece, though much heavier and more dance friendly, "Devour" sports some heavy percussion that moves the piece along with the catchy rhythm that gets the listener moving no matter the mood or where they are.
Just over half-way through the album we hit a nice melodic, yet somber piece in "Pathogen". This selection features all the great synthpop elements, layered electronics, heavy pulsating bass and a nice dance-friendly beat, this all mixed with melodic vocals dripping with emotion creates an excellent piece. A bit later we get a real gem that easily finds it's way onto my repeat list with a touch of hypnotic trance elements with "Into Nothing". The melodic synths mixed with highly processed vocals come out in such a way that they just become something of an added electronic loop layered in with everything else. This dreamy piece is captivating and provides a segue into the final few pieces of the album. "Shadow Dancer" is the second-to-last piece on the album and really sets the stage for a great finale. This piece slowly and steadily builds with a dynamic heavy loop that creates a solid backdrop for the melodic mix of synths and vocals on this appropriately named selection. This brings us to the stellar finale of the album with "Child of the Earth". The deep and heavy bass is the foundation for this piece and really comes out strong mixed with heavy, club-friendly percussion weaving a soundscape and tapestry for the melodic, slightly processed vocals with just the right reverb for an excellent somber mood to bring the album to a close.
While maybe there isn't anything new and mind-blowing here, we have just a solid and dynamic album of emotionally drenched melodic synthpop. This is definitely worth seeking out and picking up for your collection, it's a great addition here.
Life - Review
This young artist has been going strong for a few years with a few albums under his belt. Releasing a brand of dark, emotional synthpop, this album is his latest work and is a great addition to our collection here. Spanning seventeen stellar tracks, we run the gamut from dark and brooding, heavy hitting beats and throbbing electronics to more upbeat "pop" style synthpop. It's a nice, diverse album that should please fans of various styles and has become a quick favorite here with our listeners and personally as well.
This artist has a knack for churning out great music with several other albums already released. This is my first exposure to this project and I'm glad I was finally introduced to it. The album kicks off with a brand of dark and heavy synthpop with "Insects", a definite favorite for fans of this band. In this piece and others we get to experience the classic synthpop and new wave styles mixed with vocoded vocals. The moving beats create a dance-friendly style that keeps the listener moving. This sets the stage for the album as we review a few favorites here. While the majority of the album is on the darker side, there are some fun, upbeat tracks as well that I think most listeners can really enjoy. The first of these that stands out as a treat is "Heaven" with a syncopated rhythm, giving it a bit of a swing and upbeat feel. Another track along these lines that stands out is "London" which sports an excellent analog synth style with high vocoded vocals for a real melodic, moving style as a good backdrop for simple "feel-good" lyrics. I think most readers here will probably enjoy some of the heavier, darker more brooding, yet equally moving pieces. Again these pieces start right off from the beginning and "Unstable" and "Holy Death" are excellent selections with some heavy, modern synth structures and deeper vocals along the lines of class new wave artists Depeche Mode. However, the real gem comes in the form of "Sacrifice", starting off with a slow, pulsating electronic loop that slowly builds to a heavy beat and somewhat spoken word on each verse and then building to a dynamic crescendo of distorted, intense vocals for a masterpiece dripping with emotion you can really feel. "Choke" appears a bit later with a style similar to Mind.In.A.Box, with the dynamic electronic loops and heavy beats backing robotic vocoded vocals for a dark and dynamic piece.
With seventeen solid tracks we can't possibly cover them all here. I've touched on just a few favorites but the reality is that I've listened to this album easily a dozen times in a couple of weeks and each time another track or element stands out that is catchy and mesmerizing. It's a great work spanning such a dynamic range of classic synthpop and new wave styles that are fun and dance-friendly. As I've been reading and digging a little bit more into this artist and discovered there are other albums, I feel I'll have to go back and pick up much of the back catalog. Fans of emotional and melodic synthpop definitely need to pick up this album, it is a real treasure.