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Darksynth Album Review: "Dream/Decay" by Void Stare

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Karl has been a freelance writer for over 10 years. He's passionate about music, art, and writing!

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Initial Impressions

Void Stare’s Dream/Decay explores dark voids of bleak sound, brief moments of gentler respite and a lost, wandering feeling through the interaction between a wide palette of synth sounds, shadowy bass and punchy drums. There are also passages that seethe with otherworldly horror as the alien growl of Void Stare’s throat singing permeates the music. I was drawn to the strength of the unsettling, desolate imagery that Dream/Decay creates.

The feeling of vast, empty voids that stretch into zones of astral terror is strongly conveyed by a combination of bass that becomes extremely deep, jagged synth sounds that add a feeling of mounting danger to the music and nervous lines of higher synth that keep ramping up the tension. Taken together, all of these elements combine to put the listener into a state of heightened dread.

Void Stare’s intriguing ability to throat sing effectively adds to the album’s sensation of utter strangeness and powerful darkness. The disembodied, even frightening howling and basso profundo growling of his voice contributes to the feeling that some great cosmic evil is at work. The imagery it creates is intense.

In contrast to the darkness, there are also small flickers of light and gentle sound that occasionally make it through. They are like valiant points of light in a desolate wasteland that briefly lift the darkness before winking out again. The contrast they create heightens the emotional punch of the shadowy elements of this album.

My Favourite Tracks Analyzed

“Boötes Void” begins with a full swell of sweeping sound that grows into the vast openness around it. A seething synth pulse rises up through the softer sounds while the drums throb like a beating heart. Tension-filled, elevated synth patterns move over a militaristic drumbeat that adds more energy to the track.

A distortion of howling guitar noise is underpinned by the martial percussion. I enjoy how this track creates a feeling of building danger throughout. Higher, distant flashes of sound intertwine over the militaristic drums and a whirling pattern of medium-high synth cries out into the open void around it.

Rising, jagged bass and shadowy sounds start off “Collapsing Nano Expansion” as a drumbeat throbs in the background. The slicing edge of sound grows louder and the beat becomes more insistent as unevenly whirling arpeggios work their way into the music. The arpeggios are full of the feeling of threat as they rise and fall.

I am drawn to the way Void Stare’s terrifying, otherworldly throat singing adds a demonic feeling to the track. A momentary lull is touched by washes of shadowy sound before the track drives hard again. Tightly wound synth sounds ooze through as the drums pound forcefully behind them. As the track ends, there’s a drifting fall of piano notes wandering gently into space.

“Kaneda’s Lament” comes to life with a metallic sound and the dark swelling of bass. Chimes shiver and shimmer as they drift over the throbbing beat as quick arpeggios flicker. Starry synth light shines through in a wandering pattern while sweeping minor key notes glide around it.

Descending note patterns move over a steady, harsh pulse of synth and the drums become harder-hitting and deeper. A nervous-sounding series of notes introduce a feeling of something lurking as the drumbeat slams through the track.

A rapid pulsation of hard-edged sound oscillates into “Shamanic Trance 20XX AD” as wind blows through the track. A melodic pattern of raised, metallic, round synths calls out gently, feeling lost as it moves over the steady drums. Those drums are responsible for the trance-inducing feeling of the track.

The delicate melody disappears as a single note repeats in a steady, separated pulse. The hypnotic beat is joined by Void Stare’s supernatural moaning that adds a terrifyingly enjoyable quality to the music A shivering line of medium-high synth meets Void Stare’s moaning howl and is joined by insistent drums.

All of the musical elements become a layered wall of interlocking sound. There’s a climbing. warmer melodic line to contrast with the roaring grunt of bass and the soul-tearing sound of Void Stare’s howling cry.

“Neon Tears” kicks off with rainfall and a caressing medium-high synth. The bass is blunt and sharp against which the gentle sound of the melodic synth stands out. The lead melody wanders and moves over the black void under it. There’s a pattern of synth notes that feel quite alone and unmoored which I find effective.

More elevated synth sounds sparkle into the music as the melody becomes minor key and the rhythm takes on a marching quality.The track briefly fades to rain and delicate, floating curtains of sound. Another minor key twist of sound grows and reaches a crescendo before the track marches onward with determination into swirling shadows.

Piano notes with a light touch flutter over sirens wailing and a swelling throb of aggressive sound to launch “Skitchin'” as a rapidly propulsive beat supports equally rapid minor key, sounds.

A bouncing lead synth pattern dances nervously over a thick oscillation of bass and drums. The lead melody leaps out and shimmers, carried on a round sounding synth. I enjoy the way in which that melody descends and rises in waves of whirligig sound.

A lost-feeling pattern of quickly flickering notes and bass depth breaks into the track before drums speed in again with very quick arpeggios shining over that beat. The lead melody loses some of its tension, sounding ancient and melancholy. Once again, the drums shudder in and charge while vaulting arpeggios spin. A nasal, glittering synth howls out wild notes and fades away as the track ends.

“Digital Funeral” opens with a deep, almost soothing sweep of interlocking synthesized sounds that slide warmly together. The sounds flow in waves that wash through the track as an extremely deep bass sound thrums below them. A drum comes in, striking a single beat, falling silent and striking again.

A rising line of shining synth twinkles and oscillates up over the beat that becomes steady and smooth. Clouds of sound move all around it and a series of extended synth notes come together into a mournful melody that is carried on a medium-high synth. The beat is broken and stuttering as sounds float over it. I like the balance the hard-hitting weight of the beat brings to the track.

Cavernous bass rises and falls underneath the steady sound of a heartbeat as “Vajranoid” begins. Classically-influenced arpeggios start whirling, carried on a synth full of brittle brightness. The bass growls in a tumult of heaving sound as the much more delicate and gentle arpeggios spin and dance above it. There’s a deliciously evil sound to Void Stare’s harsh throat singing as it grunts over the slamming beat.

The drums seethe and the lead melody is touched with sadness as it rises over the ghoulish sound of Void Stare’s voice. It moves in time to the charging drumbeat while the bass continues to heave and roil. Jagged sounds cut in and the heartbeat returns while softer, more flowing sounds move in and through the music.

Conclusion

Dream/Decay is a seething, desolate and powerful darksynth album that also has moments that showcase Void Stare’s throat singing to good effect. The overall sensation that flows from this album is one of cosmic terror and the feeling of human insignificance in the face of an uncaring universe.

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