Ah, Dance With The Dead, we meet again. For those of you that follow Epitome of Epic, you’ll remember that I’m currently not on the best of terms with these guys. I saw them in London back in April, and well… I was less than impressed. My main issue being, the heavy focus on the Metal sound within the mix, over electro. Don’t get me wrong, I do love Metal music, but the genre they’re part of is called Synthwave, the key part of that word being ‘SYNTH.’ With this in mind, I was a bit concerned. Would their new album, Loved to Death, focus more on Metal?

Thankfully, the answer to that question is a definite no; the electronic elements that help define their sound are still ever present here. If anything, they feel more prominent than ever! I guess the reality is that their music works best recorded, and not in a live setting. As you can expect, the 80’s retro feel is prominent throughout the record, contrasted by some more modern dance tropes. The synths are as atmospheric and mesmerising as ever, whilst also being addictively catchy, plus the guitar melodies and solos are as awe-inspiring.

The album gets to a high-octane start with “Go!” as speedy synths and chugging guitar drive the music forward. Whilst there are moments of ambience, it doesn’t let up, keeping the high BPM going (with the exception of a fantastic solo towards the end), giving a sense of urgency to the track. A pounding rhythm signals the start of “Into the Shadows”. It all starts off minimalistically, adding in elements and layers as the track progresses, making it feel very dynamic. Sweeping synths and excellent riffs compliment each other extremely well here. “Salem” has a nice electro melody to it that is highly catchy. The hooks are fantastic, frequently skewing in tone to create different moods. Guitar is less prominent on this track until the latter half, and it helps to bring diversity to the overall sound of the record. “Portraits” has a constant rhythm and a simple beat. It’s more basic in approach than some of the other songs present on the album, but that makes it all the more satisfying, especially as all the different elements come together. “War” is quite aggressive sounding, with bulky synthwork, almost sounding dubstep inspired at times. This is complimented by melodies that have an ominous tone, as well as heavy guitar. An ambient section at the mid-way point creates an eerie mood, before returning to the chaotic soundscapes. The intro to “Red Moon” has a creepy atmosphere to it, then it bursts into a cavalcade of guitar and synth goodness. The different aspects of the music constantly switch in prominence, and it feels as if there’s a lot going on. The chunky synths from “War” make a resurgence for “Creep”. However, this track is nowhere near as aggressive, feeling a lot more relaxed in tone. A light melody and changes of pacing help to aid in this mood. It also contains a glorious guitar solo, which I’d argue is the best on the record. “From Hell” has a quick build up, and is fast-paced, it’s rhythm is extremely energetic and uplifting. I’d say it’s the most danceable song on the album, at times feeling euphoric. “Oracle” turns things down a notch, with a much slower pace. This track opts for a more atmospheric ambient style. A slow drumbeat, combined with the layering of synths makes it easy to become drawn into. It has a reflective style, and has some beautiful moments. “Become Wrath” is a complete contrast to the previous song. It has a slow harsh sound to it, and a constant chugging tone. This is broken up nicely with some melodies and lighter riffs, but it ultimately has a darker feel. The last 20 seconds really ups the ante, and it sounds absolutely chaotic, which makes for an superb way to end the album.

Loved to Death is a brilliant record, but it’s pretty much standard affair. It’s your typical Dance With The Dead album, it doesn’t really do anything original or break new ground. But hey, is that really a bad thing? Anyone that fell in love (pun intended) with their music in the first place, because of their blend of atmospheric 80’s electro ambience and godlike guitar work, is going to love this. Personally, I think it’s great album, and an enjoyable listening experience. Sometimes it’s all about sticking to a style that works, and this is exactly what the duo have done here. As the old saying goes; ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!’

Final Verdict: Loved to Death doesn’t do anything new or original, but the duo have stuck to their guns, and it’s still a great listening experience. If you’ve loved what Dance With The Dead have done so far, then you’ll love this.

Tracklist:

  1. Go!
  2. Into the Shadows (feat. Nick Hipa)
  3. Salem
  4. Portraits
  5. War
  6. Red Moon (feat. Elliot Sloan)
  7. Creep (feat. Nick Hipa)
  8. From Hell
  9. Oracle
  10. Become Wrath