So here we are, a new year, which means new music, and what a way to kick start 2019, with Soman’s brand new album “Nox”! This one has been a long time coming, his last full album release was “Noistyle” all the way back in 2010. After eight years of very little new music from this artist, “Nox” has been quite an anticipated album, especially here at EoE HQ. The wait is finally over, so how does it fare?
For the majority of the record, it’s pretty damn good. Soman is no stranger when it comes to blending together many different aspects of multiple genres, to create hard-hitting club beats with an unpredictable nature. This is prominent throughout “Nox”, and proves that he can craft tracks with a finesse that guarantees dancefloor fillers.
“Blue Flame” instantly makes you pay attention, with echoey synths and a deep pounding bass. This distorts into complex layers, building up to a huge drop. It’s all stitched together by a catchy melody, that holds it all in place, parts of which remind me of VNV Nation (but better.) The opener alone spans what feels like a ton of genres. “Growler” charges up to a gritty, heavy bass line, with a dirty club feel. An assault of sounds from all angles attack with an unrelenting pace and rhythm. “Bace” utilises chunky distorted sounds to great effect, as catchy drums kick in. At times it’s very reminiscent of “Robots” by Modulate, only making this even better. It transforms into a melody that echoes that of 90’s rave anthems, complimented by some dub elements. The pulsing bass is hypnotic. “Impact” truly lives up to it’s namesake. The track is glitch-laden landscape that delivers an absolute belter. War like drums add to the intensity, making the synths feel all the more euphoric later on.
There’s so much going on in some tracks, that it’s difficult to pin-point the exact highlights of a single song!
Meanwhile, “Parking” has a chugging rhythm that melds well with atmospheric electro, to generate a dynamic mood. The way in which synths are skewed and distorted give this a sinister feel at times. The drums echo like gunshots in the background of “New Lead”, as the bass builds to a ferocious intensity. It ends up completely throwing a curveball, with a mesmerising electro melody that is incredibly addictive. The synth arrangements in “Phlux” are fantastic, and this has all the hallmarks of a dancefloor filler. There’s a slightly exotic tone to the drums and bass here, which is a nice touch, making it stand out. Raw sounding tribal drums kick off “Triballistic”, to an aggressive mix of distortion and harsh electronic sounds. It’s heavy in it’s presentation and never lets up, complete with electro gunfire. It ends up becoming a Hardstyle anthem. “Moltone” has a catchy start, and the texturing of different electro elements makes this feel chaotic. There’s a ton going on here, and it feels like there’s many new things that can be discovered with each listen. Synths introduced later on have an almost 80’s vibe to them, with small sneaky dubstep tones. It feels like a contextualisation of old and new. An ear shatteringly distorted beat aggressively jumps out of nowhere in “MIda”, completely changing the mood and pace. It’s enough to leave an impression and has a great atmosphere, but doesn’t feel as diverse as the other tracks. “Seitenkette” closes off the album. Scratchy backing tones and synths that progressively become more layered give this a slightly sinister edge. It feels injected with energy, and keeps up a high-octane pace up until the very end. However, it doesn’t seem to go anywhere and just ends abruptly.
It’s certainly an enjoyable ride, and pretty much the entire album is excellent. There’s tracks on here that are bound to be remembered for a long time. There’s so much going on in some that it’s difficult to pin-point the exact highlights of a single song! I will say that it ends with a whimper, rather than with a bang, however. The last two songs aren’t bad by any means, but with the rest of the record having so many interesting, creative and well-crafted layers, these feel a bit dull in comparison. They each show early promise, but ultimately fall flat. I was honestly satisfied by the time “Triballistic” ended. As stand-alone tracks, I can’t fault them, but context of the entire record, it just feels slightly off. Maybe had they been placed at different points, they would have been more effective.
Alas, I may just be nitpicking here, because overall, I’d say “Nox” is more than worth a listen. Not only that, but I’m sure it’s going to be playing through sound systems at club nights for a long while to come. Just listening to it alone is enough to evoke the feel of being in the middle of an epic rave at a gritty venue. Soman has once again taken an array of influences and styles, moulding them into his own. He sure took his time and made us wait, but the wait was very much worth it!
Final Verdict: Soman is back, and once again proves that he can mould genres into his own. For the most part it’s absolute gold, evoking the feel of being at an epic rave. Well worth the long wait!