Synth Album Review: "Flight of the Infinite" by Die Scum Inc.
With Flight of the Infinite, Die Scum Inc. has created a piece of sonic storytelling that combines their incredible guitar chops with synths that oscillate between singing loudly and growling with rough distortion. This creates an atmosphere that is both melancholic and full of danger. There’s a sense of a world that is full of threats and dark energies that seethe below the surface. There are also moments of bleak danger and the occasional feeling of sadness that touches the music. I was connected to this album by the way in which the narrative plays out through the music, without needing any words to delineate the auditory world that it creates.
Album Review for "Flight of the Infinite"
The first aspect of Flight of the Infinite that stood out was the guitar work by Cody T. on the album. There are moments of intricate playing, shredding passages and dark churning chords that rumble up and powerfully launch the music into an energetic charge forward. The solo passages are full of skillful playing and when the guitars perform a supporting role, they add depth and power to the other elements of the music. Clearly, Cody is a credit to the band and adds a great element to their sound.
That isn’t to say that the other band members should be ignored. Troy K. has done an excellent job of programming on this track along with adding to the synth work of the other band member Rory M. Die Scum Inc. forms a nice tight unit.
The creation of atmosphere on the album is accomplished by using many different elements in the music. Most of the melodies here are tinged with a certain pained ache or a tense darkness that flows from them. There’s a certain kind of hollow synth that makes an appearance and when it is combined with wandering melodies it produces a sense of mystery and hidden dangers which adds to this tale of a starship that finds itself in peril. There’s a driving energy that delineates moments of action or a twisting, turning soundscape that indicates other story elements are occurring.
Flight of the Infinite emphasizes drama and energy through its musical expression. The contrasts between ethereal and mysterious sounds and the more propulsive, thudding beats and rocking guitar lines add to the feeling of tension and a sweeping cinematic sensation as we move through soundscapes that are sometimes gentler and other times more aggressive. The way in which all of these elements combine and work together does paint a complete picture and tell a cohesive story.
Now I will move on to discussing the tracks that I enjoyed the most on Flight of the Infinite and talk about the various elements that made them work for me.
The Infinite is the spaceship around which the album’s story is based and “Infinite” is a great sound image of that spaceship in flight. The track opens with quickly moving minor key arps, shifting back and forth over dark rough-edged bass. The lead synth carries the triumphant but sad feeling main melody over the shifting guitars underneath. The whirling, churning section of guitar that shreds intricately through the track most definitely illustrates Cody T’s guitar chops. The overall impression that I got was of a process of exploration that is both hopeful and potentially dangerous.
Distress Signal is a track that combines a deep, steady beat and thunderous drums. The guitar plays slowly falling, rising patterns of notes that move out along with that distorted synth pattern, high and gentle despite the distortion. I enjoy the way the guitar and the high-winding synth act together in this track to intertwine and increase the sound’s intensity. The lead guitar melody has a yearning, reaching quality to it with those drums shiffting under it. I can feel the sadness inherent in the music, portraying the idea of a distress signal echoing out into the universe.
There’s an ethereal, strange feeling to “Atmosphere.” It has wandering, lilting background and warm-sounding layers of electric guitar drifting into that background with high synths playing glowing notes. The percussion sounds on the track are layered and interesting. I enjoy the feeling of mystery that this track imparts as the guitars cry out over it. There’s another flying electric guitar solo here by Cody T. I did get the sensation of descending through hazy layers of a new, strange planetary atmosphere in the track.
“Monolith” opens on deep bass, synths like cut glass and a wall of rough guitar growling out as a high synth yearns against those dark chords. There’s a foreboding quality to this track and a stuttering beat drops into the track. There’s a minor key synth melody that dances over the charging guitars and the whole track does seem to paint a picture of a great monolith rising up in front of the viewer, unfolding as we sweep by it and wonder from what civilization it came.
There’s the quality of a folk melody about the synth melody in "Vivisection." Extended notes of melancholy-sounding guitar flow out as that snake-like melody winds and twists through them. There’s a ghostly feeling to the synth here and the guitars spin out behind it, but this track is defined by its ethereal, spooky melody. In contrast the beat is driving and as the track closes there’s a guitar solo that is both mournful and energetic.
"A Glimmer of Hope" does indeed have a hopeful quality, but it is hope tempered by something sad. There’s a real cascading energy to the guitar playing in this track and I enjoyed the swirling maelstrom of sound that moves behind the grit of the driving guitars and then the ancient, flowing and mysterious synth melody flows over those guitars. The track closes out on a electric guitar solo that combines hope and the possibility of pain still lurking in the background.
There is a lost quality to the opening synth of "No Way Home" as it moves over the guitar churn of the track. The beat kicks and dances in, flowing easily as the guitars rock out, flowing across the top of the bass. The guitars here really make themselves felt as they dance intricately around one another, interlocked. There’s a sense of resolve about this track, as if the crew of the “Infinite” have accepted their destiny of exploring further into the universe with no way home.
As a whole, Flight of the Infinite does indeed create imagery and atmosphere to portray humanity taking its “first tenuous steps into intergalactic space” and produced engaging music that drew me into the tale that Die Scum Inc. wanted to tell.