Synth Album Review: "Anno Domini" by Polytaem

Updated on July 16, 2020
KPM2017 profile image

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

Initial Impressions

Anno Domini by Polytaem Is the musical tale of time travel gone wrong with horrible consequences. It’s an album that is drenched in atmosphere with moments of darkness, bursts of light and a feeling of driving energy throughout. The imagery generated by the music suits the feeling of tension and danger that it seeks to convey.

One of the ways in which Anno Domini generates a feeling of darkness is through the bass. There is a great deal of weight and depth to the bass on much of the track, those dark rumbles and drones add to the sense of shadows moving through the music, always there in the background. It cloaks everything with a feeling of omen and foreboding.

The energy of the album is driven by the drums. There are many hard-driving, rapid pieces of music on Anno Domini that are propelled by thundering, rushing drum parts that really give the listener a feeling of being energized and add to the relentless feeling that moves through the music.

Another way in which Polytaem ratchets up the tension is through tight, tense synth sounds. There are tracks where the synths are high and rapid arpeggios spin out. The result is to create a feeling of everything becoming tighter and more intense. There’s a feeling of nervousness that those parts create which helps sketch out a sense of danger.

There are well-written melodies on Anno Domini. While some of them are predictably minor key and dark, others contrast with that by adding a feeling of uplift and more major key feelings of positive energy. There are often several melody parts in each track which adds to the variety and some of the lead synth solos are quite unique and full of a great deal of feeling.

The choice of synths is also interesting on the album. There are many that have rough and dark sensations about them, but also some that glow and sparkle. Polytaem chooses well in how they deploy those synth sounds. If darkness is required, the synth has suitable weight to it and if something lighter and more uplifting fits, the synth choice adds the right level of shimmer.

I also feel that Anno Domini is particularly well-produced with sharp, clearly delineated parts that all interlock without any one element overwhelming another. The sound quality is good and that always contributes to the overall listenability of an album.

Track by Track Breakdown

“Into Darkness” starts off with a feeling of tension and danger generated by electronic bleeps, dark and distorted synths and a hard driving beat with real force to it. I enjoyed how the track evolved and created a sense of energy and forward motion with a bright lead synth that shines out over the weight and energy underneath it.

The synths on “Revolution” are high, tight and nervous feeling. They feel full of tension and danger as they move into the track. The throbbing beat slams into the track and there’s a twisted, minor key lead synth solo that has a feeling of doom and foreboding about it. In fact, this whole piece of music is laden with the ominous feeling of things on the edge. I also enjoyed the bright synth patterns that made me think of Baroque harpsichord music.

“Leather Apron” begins with sinister washes of dark synth that are joined by arpeggios that also feel touched with shadow. I liked how the steady mid tempo drive of the beat supports the arps and sparkles of chiming synth that move through in bursts. The lead synth melody is bright and has the feeling of progress and adventure about it over the smooth throb of the beat. There is a feeling of discovery in the way the melody shines but under it, there’s still the promise of danger from that dark bass that continues to rumble underneath it.

There’s a pounding, almost trance-like beat that jumps into “Zombie Renaissance” and the feeling of danger is amplified by the lead synth that plays minor and nervous sounding lines over the rapid beat of the drums. The beat has a relentless quality that I thought was effective. The dark synth swirls provide a Stygian feeling to the music as they press onward. I liked the secondary melody that has an ancient and folk-like quality it. It’s played on a synth that reminds me of a hammered dulcimer.

“Black Mass” nails the overtones of religious choral music that contrast with dark, heavy bass. The melody is blocky and thick as the energetic drums propel it, adding a sensation of triumph and shadow in combination. I was drawn to the whirling organ pattern and bright chimes glowing over that unstoppable beat. I think that this track was effective at generating the sensation of a dark ritual being performed.

Everything about “Zodiac” generated a feeling of velocity from the beat that sends the track into overdrive, the hefty feeling bass and spinning arps that flicker out through the music. The melody has a feeling of driving and racing forward that I enjoyed. The high synth patterns that circle over the driving beat add to the feeling of the highway rushing past as that lead melody sings out. There’s a cinematic feeling to this track that I liked.

"Dealey Plaza” has some unique percussion sounds in it that add a dramatic feeling to the music. The melody has a high, drifting quality that imbues the track with a mysterious feeling as it floats over the moving beat. I like the sense of deviousness in the melody and the way a slowly rising series of notes adds tension to the whole track.

Verdict

Anno Domini by Polytaem is an album that creates atmosphere through a wide variety of musical elements. There’s a definite sense of danger and tension that lingers, leavened by bright and energetic melodies which add some contrast and by doing so make the darker moments seem all the darker. This is a brand of cinematic synth music that I like to hear.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, spinditty.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)