Electronic music has become a refresher for my mind. I’m sure most prog fans are aware of “prog fatigue” where you really just need something different for a bit to recover from the onslaught that can be progressive music. Well, hearing as many albums as I do, that can happen quite often. Electronic music, especially progressive electronic, just provides a completely different experience, and I relish it. The latest earworm in this genre for me has been Afterform’s debut album “Talcon Industries”, which released back in April.
The band hails from Maryland, USA. The band consists primarily of band members of The Tea Club, that being Patrick McGowan, Dan McGowan, and Joe Dorsey (also the keyboardist for prog metal band Ocean Architecture). Their names are not readily evident under the band’s social media, though, and that kind of secrecy seems fitting for the nature of the music.
The music here is progressive electronic through and through. The band themselves advise that they are influenced by video game soundtracks, which I happen to love, and that is a good way to introduce someone to this genre. So, while you will hear deep influences from Vangelis’ Blade Runner and probably Tangerine Dream, you will probably also hear plenty of Deus Ex inspiration, and maybe even some Halo, among other video games. The music is full of synth and texture, as well as sweeping melodies and climactic song structures.
I realize that electronic is not for everyone. Maybe you don’t like the synthetic sound or appreciate the flowing and odd song structures. I get that. If you have an open mind, though, I know that most progressive music fans will find something to love in this album and genre.
“Talcon Industries” is one of those albums that rushes by you, and you almost wish there were more tracks. Some of the songs are only a couple minutes in length, and, while I admire bands who aim for quality over quantity, sometimes I do find myself wishing that a song could have lasted longer, if only to explore the central melody more thoroughly. Still, the music is varied across a wide range of textures and ideas, and so definitely feels like a debut in which the band is simply experimenting with ideas.
I have several favorites here. “Cybgz” is upbeat and melodic to the core. I absolutely love the feeling it gives. “Vessel” has this sense of nostalgia for me for some reason, and I love the twisting and turning synth lines that weave around each other. “Sentinel” has undeniable groove, and has plenty of little rabbit trail accents that really make it feel alive. “Mossy Graves” has some vocal tones to it, and it feels creepy and dark. The texture here is disturbingly real. “Root Node” is a pleasant lead up into “Hero Slave”, which feels bold and full.
The last two tracks might be the best, though, and they happen to be the longest. “Sign of Greatness” is gentle and flowing, and reminds me of Vangelis. It feels purposeful and grand. “Verticalibration” ends the album with electronic oomph and a fading finale. I love it, and I love the illustrious ending that these two songs provide.
Afterform might not be for everyone, especially if you just like rock or metal. More power to you. However, I continue to find myself getting lost in the progressive electronic genre, and I have no apology for that. I hope you find this album interesting.