Nightlights first full-length album isn’t a new concept, as creating a real soundtrack for an imaginary film has long been a thing in synthwave, yet their take on it feels like a breath of fresh air as their more upbeat sound is welcomed in a subgenre which tends to be much darker. Their music, as well as their art, work together in perfect harmony to help bring this proposed animated feature to life and overall feels like rediscovering a childhood favorite which will bring a smile to your face.
“II” is an appropriate title for Flash Cassette’s sophomore effort and follow-up to their self-titled debut as, much like a finely crafted sequel to an impressive movie, this release not only builds off the sound that they established on their first release but proceeds to masterfully supersede it in the process with tighter production, catchier hooks, funkier beats, and impressive vocal work.
This album begs to be listened from start to finish as each track smoothly transitions into the next.
In honor of #NationalPoetryDay, I wrote a poem for this review:
The calendar declares summer over,
and that might be true,
but the feeling of summer continues
inside both me and you.
Sirens sing their songs,
and bards tell their tales,
while Wyndsrfr recounts that lost summer
and all which it entails.
Like the waves of the ocean,
coalescing with the sand,
so do dream-like synths
and sultry vocals go hand-in-hand.
“Burning Summer” is lightning in a bottle,
a whole season captured in a song,
like memories that can be replayed
as you inevitably sing along.
This album contains ideal mood music for the Halloween season and is also quite the nostalgic throwback to similar ambient releases of the past which were meant to be played outside your window for any trick-or-treater passing by to maybe think twice about knocking on your door. On top of that, it’s the perfect showcase of Vampire Step-Dad’s incredibly talented ability to easily “change the channel” on his music and deliver something entirely different, and unexpected, but welcomed all the same.
The Warhorse is one of the few truly unique synth-infused acts out there so it’s hard to classify exactly what they are in turn. Unfortunately, as a consequence to that, they’re often left out of the conversation when it comes to talking about the synthwave scene and its numerous subgenres. However, The Warhorse is unapologetic in this regard and simply sneers at such conventions by just doing its own thing and that thing is to release such a genre-defying album like Chubs which simply rocks.
If Amid Evil is New Blood Interactive‘s modern take and spiritual successor to the likes of Heretic and Hexen than Dusk is most certainly their own personal tip of the hat to the likes of Quake and Blood. Dusk might not look as pretty or polished as Amid Evil but that’s not the point; it’s supposed to be rough around the edges and be downright dirty. I mean, c’mon, let’s not kid ourselves and take off the rose tinted nostalgia goggles for a moment: games of the mid-to-late 90’s, which first began to utilize true 3D engines, were (for the most part) really quite ugly.
Now, before you grab your pitchforks and nail guns, read back that last sentence and realize I didn’t say they were bad games regardless of their graphical capabilities and presentation. After all, and I know it’s hard to believe in this day and age when people get all up in arms over puddles, but graphics are not everything. Early true 3D engine games were impressive back in their day, and for the most part still play great, but most of them have not aged as gracefully in regards to graphics when compared to their older and more pixelated brethren.
Yet that hardly seems to matter as long as the gameplay is still fun, which I honestly feel is the case with just about any game despite the genre or graphics, and much like how Dusk emulates the look of those early true 3D games it also successfully feels just like one as well. I know what some of you are going to say; “you mentioned it being like Blood before, yet Blood was not a true 3D game!” Continue reading
I must admit that I struggled with whether or not to write a review at this time due to the state of Amid Evil currently being in “Early Access” as of this writing and therefore not technically a finished product. I hesitated because “Early Access” has unfortunately become a dirty word in the gaming community, synonymous with games which are not only still in progress (yet are offered to the public regardless for better or for worse) and thought to be filled with bugs, issues, and a variety of other problems. Of course, like with anything of the sort, there are those games which indeed give the term of “Early Access” a bad name and then there are those often rare exceptions where one can turn to those who doubt the validity of such an umbrella term and say, “see? They’re not all bad!” Continue reading
Hexen is a game which makes a bold statement right out the gate when its subtitle, “Beyond Heretic,” is not only a somewhat subtle dig at its predecessor but, by proclaiming itself as such, also sets a certain high-level bar of expectancy to be a worthy sequel and an overall superior game. However, while it might in fact be two steps ahead of Heretic, in some respects, it unfortunately takes one step back in the process simply due to its own hubris. On the surface they look like more or less the same game, since they still utilize the engine that ran DooM after all, albeit with a few instances of some minor graphical improvements.
One of the absolute pleasures in following an artist ever since their debut is being able to watch and listen as they grow, perfecting their art along the way, thus hearing the subtle differences of improvement between releases. It might be cliche to say that the latest and greatest offering of any artist is their best yet but this album is proof of that as See Thomas Howl delivers the goods and then some; he’s truly come into his own.
Plus you can’t go wrong with GlitterWølf featured on vocals!