Two thousand twenty-two seems like it will be a great year for music, judging by the music in my inbox right now. One such album is the new offering from Dance of the Dead. The record is called Driven to Madness, and it released on January 10th.
Dance with the Dead is about as stylish as bands come. The band is a duo made up of Justin Pointer and Tony Kim out of California. This record also includes a cameo from John Carpenter and his son Cody.
It may seem obvious already, but Dance with the Dead is a horror-influenced project, specifically that of John Carpenter. But they might not sound how you think they might. The band plays a riffy and heavy synthwave instrumental music, combining 80s nostalgia with spooky themes and head-banging walls of metal goodness. And for what they do, they combine those things almost flawlessly. Oftentimes, it feels like there is no division between the metal and synth elements whatsoever, as the grooves are seamless.
I would point to their primary strength as their writing, however. Sure, the mix is great, the stylish anecdotes are fun, and the entire album is a blast to hear; but I think there is something more masterful and mature beneath it all. The duo simply knows how to write good songs. A good example of this is the song “Firebird”. This track has multiple incredibly strong hooks, not just one major one. And so the song can feel like being tossed from one catchy rhythm to the next, and it just never lets go. Much of the album is exactly like this.
The album has so many great moments, like the songs “Hex” and “Start the Thaw”, for instance. The former is one of my favorites overall with its gritty synth and interesting song structure and its palpable horror vibes. It isn’t as straightforward as the melody in “Firebird”, but it is still brilliant. “Start the Thaw” is different, though, with its cinematic sound and heavy nostalgia. That song is so comforting, for some reason.
Other great tracks are the hefty “Sledge” with its big payoff chorus, or “Kiss of the Creature” with its sinister synth and wonderful chorus. In fact, that last one is pretty damn amazing with how it transitions from eerie to glorious, back and forth. I also really like the longest track on the album, “Nebula”, for its abstract aura and gorgeous colors. It has plenty of ambient and thoughtful moments, plus a dance beat in its energetic portions, so it is quite a ride.
As I mentioned on Facebook, Dance with the Dead is a fantastic experience. Sure, their music will never take the place of riveting concept albums or the life-changing, emotional records out there. We all have a list of those in our minds that will probably never be beaten. However, that isn’t Dance with the Dead’s niche. They provide fresh, colorful, and energetic music that is simply fun to hear, and it is more rewarding than it may seem at first glance. That is how I have felt with some of their past albums, like Loved to Death or even their B-sides collection, and I think it will be so for this album, too.
Find Dance With The Dead online: