The first of a two part concept album, “The Darkness” is a collection of six new tracks, exploring the darker aspects of Klayton’s psyche, manifested within this neo-futuristic post-retro style…with “The Light” coming out in 2019, this is very much a case of Yin and Yang; opposite forces and ideals coexisting symbiotically through music. Does the warm neon glow mask something sinister, or will a blinding luminescence guide you through the darkness itself? Let’s find out…
We begin with “Into The Darkness” which, as a brief intro piece really only sets us up for the crepuscular journey ahead…a simplistic piece of sullen synths and a deep, intimidating electronic pulse, gradually building until it transitions into first track proper “Phoenix” and what a shift in gear this is. Erupting out of your speakers with a crunching, classic metal riff entwined with the trademark synth hooks, this is a style more akin to CELLDWELLER and you can feel immediately that this is a different Scandroid. While conceptually the winged creatures are completely different, this very much makes me think of Rodan’s emergence in the recent trailer for “Godzilla: King Of The Monsters”, and given the tracks almost, 80’s bad-ass movie montage tone, (I mean, THAT solo) the two could coexist brilliantly; this is entertaining stuff
“The End Of Time” awaits us next and here we find a more traditionally presented Scrandroid track musically, with it’s upbeat, dance-inspired rhythm, pop-infused electronica and retro throwbacks…what’s interesting however is Klayton’s vocal delivery here. On one hand typically clean and melodic, but there are traces of something deeper…the course yet hushed vocal elements give this track more of a darkwave aesthetic and highlights the conceptual darkness intended. Recent single “Onyx” opens up with a semi “Stranger Things” vibe and though it initially has a more restrained tempo, it picks up for a more energetic second half. Essentially the title track to a degree, the idea of this black, shiny little gemstone offering the darkness and the light, as it’s lyrically name-dropped pushing the concept home and it’s delivered nicely, before we round things up with “Red Planet” and closing piece “Out Of The Darkness”. Continuing with the more darkwave inspired approach, we’re given two primarily instrumental pieces resuming this journey through the vacuum of space and time…the former with its aura of foreboding, while the latter acts a continuation of the intro, taking things full circle.
While there are more tracks on offer here, they come in the form of four remixes (The man does love a remix) and while VOLKOR X, 3FORCE and HEXENKRAFT do indeed inject some additional flavour into some of the tracks, they’re more like bonus tracks on a mini-album than actually being officially canon, neither truly enhancing or detracting from the albums overall original quality. The six new tracks here however do take the listener on an interesting adventure as Scandroid really has channelled more an underground, alternative club influence into his otherwise nostalgic brand of new-wave synth pop, but without straying too far from the projects core sound, and it’ll be interesting to see where he takes things on next year’s follow-up. Until then, embrace your inner Sith lord and feel the power of the darkness flow through you, for the mean time at least.