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Synth Album Review: "Disco Aggro Sessions" by JNNY COBRA

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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

JNNY COBRA's Disco Aggro Sessions is an aggressive, entertaining and musically rich album that combines with excellent retro vocal samples, a robotic voice that adds a new melodic element and many layers of synth all interacting to produce a unique sound.

The theme of the “Satanic panic” in the ‘80s is explored in a fun way through the vocal samples that JNNY COBRA uses on the album. They are well-chosen and integrated into the music and they suit the aggressive energy and quirky nature of the album well. I got a good laugh out of some of the more over-the-top choices too.

Disco Aggro Sessions is a good title for the album because the full-on growling synths, battering drums and seething musical attack are certainly aggressive. I enjoy the lacerating lines of gruff synth that cut into the music under the computerized, robotic voices and the gigantic drum sounds propel the whole album forward with surging, raging power.

I also appreciate the well-written melodies on Disco Aggro Sessions. Some of them are angry and shadowed, others feel more uplifting and there are even moments of gentle light washing through before the aural assault resumes. The melodies are well-considered and add the right element to each track.

Despite the aggression on the album, there are a whole variety of synth sounds working together along with that robotic voice. They shift and slide together, combining and separating, but always creating engaging sonic landscapes that keep me listening and interested in what’s going on.

“Satanic Yo Yo Tricks For Dummies” starts off with a fun vocal sample about satanic messages in backwards recordings and bell-like sounds echoing out into a cavernous audio space. The bells start to form a hollow pulse before gritty synth chords and a heavy drumbeat grow into the track. A line of lacerating synth pulses out over the rising chords and a robotic voice comes in. The buzzing, medium-high synth carries a jumping melody that’s full of energy and the drums provide a solid backing.

A second melody leaps into the track and climbs over the unrelenting, gruff synth pulse as the drums add more energy. The robotic vocals double the rising melody with a triumphant brightness. The bells from earlier in the track return and delicate notes drift as hollow, swirling chords flow. Organ-like notes rise and the drums grow behind the sweeping chords. A quick, descending line of synth drops in and repeats over the gruff flow of sound below it.

Rapidly oscillating pulses of thick, jagged synth cut in as “We Have Come” begins. The dynamic, charging beat kicks off on massive retro drums that slam into the music. A shadowed, dense, medium-low synth carries a dynamic, angular melodic line over the jagged pulses of sound and the powerful beat.

Distorted vocals carry a cascading melody with sharp edges and flaring brightness. I enjoy the ferocious aural assault of the synths before they move into a smoother section without the slashing edge. The harsh attack growls again and adds a hard rocking edge before a twisting, bending solo cascades madly in wild lines through over that heavy, propulsive drumbeat.

“Overload” comes to life with pulses of round, grunting synth that jerkily move over bursts of driving drums with the same jarring, stutter stepping feeling of the synth. A melody begins to grow as the quick pulses accumulate. The robotized voice also moves in those same broken bursts before a flourish of drums establishes a fully driving beat.

There’s a sawtoothed buzz to the synth as the melody rises before the music returns to the jagged, twisting sonic pulses. Cohesion returns before the track breaks apart and the slicing, battering melody adds extra power to the track. As the tense lines of synth rise, we get a classic sci fi vocal sample.

The vocal sample about teenagers being exposed to “hardcore Satanism” that kicks off “Super Duper Jam” is a hell of a lot of fun. The sonic space of this track has a hollow, echoing feeling to it that I enjoy. A throbbing, edgy synth line bounces through the music and the massive drums hit hard. The melody is bright over the rough edges of the synth underneath it.

A rising glow fills the track while the percussion adds aural interest and boosts energy levels further. I am especially drawn to the section in which twisting, howling synths and a wall of dense, jagged sound accompany the massive, battering drum sound. Softer flowing sounds rise through the track and the melody shines gently and again we return to the “A “section.

“Don’t Underestimate Destruction” opens with a floating, hypnotic line of ethereal synth and a drifting vocal sample. There’s an airy sonic rush and the gigantic beat throbs into the background. The bouncing lead synth melody wiggles over the bursting, energetic drums and a repeating line of ethereal synth moves through. I liked the funky touch of the bass here while the drums shudder and clash.

Dense synth chords climb and quick shining arpeggios cascade before the heartbeat of the track moves with the airy, drifting lead melody. There’s a break to floating, easy synth washes and stuttering beats that tick into the open air around the music. Growling, deep synth and clashing drums move together as the minor key melody shifts before the track ends.

An elevated, rapidly pulsing line of synth is joined by flashing synths that cry out in bright notes over the throbbing beat and bass as “Intruder Alert” begins. The beat pounds on aggressively as the the robotic vocals join a leaping melody full of glowing light. Dense bass adds more weight and the shining synths rise in triumph and burst over the hard drums that batter into the music. It is a combination of sonic elements that I find quite pleasing.

There is a huge feeling to this music as the majestic melody keeps arcing upwards. Heavier, more shadowed synths move in thick slabs over which a drifting flow of warm synth floats out. The beat slows and pulses as a whirling line of coruscating synth cascades in a writhing solo. The hardest hitting part of the song yet assaults the ears with a barrage of percussion and aggressive synths.

“Backbone” comes to life with twisted, shivering vocal samples and computerized sounding synths twist with tension as the powerful drums move in. Thick walls of gritty synth carry extending chords over an oscillating bass pulse and slow, heavy drums. Robotized vocals and shimmering synths contrast with the slamming drums in an ear-grabbing way.

A broken stutter of synths roars in and then breaks as the robotic voices climb and climb over the lacerating, grunting deep sounds. The blocks of synth are gigantic and rise in crushing notes along with the drum beat and a high, tight sound that climbs and fades out.

Conclusion

Disco Aggro Sessions is a hard-hitting slice of synth music that is complex, retro and full of a sense of fun. I enjoy the unique approach that JNNY COBRA has taken to the music and I will be interested to see what he creates next.

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