Darkblue is Transport Aerian's second studio album after the debut Bleeding (see review), which was released in 2013. This new album has been released on Melodic Revolution Records label. This album is quite a journey when you listen to it, and it's a very dark and haunting journey. According to the website of the label, this is “a conceptual album, which is based on the surrealist self-penned story of exile, self-isolation and love”. The from Belgium hailing artist Hamlet plays all of the instruments, lead vocals and also did the production/mixing/mastering of the album, which is very cool. Contributing artist Rachel Bauer does a lot of lead vocals and spoken words.
The music is hard to describe, I think it would count as dark avant-garde with progressive rock twists and post rock/ambient themes. What I can tell is that it's very emotional driven music. In my opinion the vocals are a bit too loud in contrast to the music on the album, but it's not too disturbing. The album starts with Black, which has a soft but haunting intro. You hear spoken words by Rachel, followed by Hamlet singing. After three minutes there's a big explosion of (orchestral) music and vocals. Hamlet's vocals become a lot louder and he reaches the high notes without too much trouble. Second track Full Body Access has a catchy basic beat that's propelling through the song. This track reminds me of the band Gravity Kills, it's very industrial-like. The following piece Sand Horizon has a very cool intro that has a post-rock ambiance. Only Hamlet is singing on this track. I also love the sound of the bass halfway through the song. The next one Imperial also starts with spoken words from Rachel. The guitar solos at the end of the track are making this song complete and even remind me of David Gilmour's solos. Fifth track Crossbreed starts quite heavy with guitar riffs and drums with an odd rhythm. It's the shortest track on the album. Despite the fact that it's the shortest track there are still a lot of things happening, but it's not too chaotic. It is followed by Sniper which is one big and awesome guitar solo. The choir sounds in the background make this song extra haunting. Epitaph is the longest track on the album. It is a slow song, a bit too slow and lingering in my opinion. The soundscapes during the song remind me of Lunatic Soul and Edison's Children. The album ends with Happy With The Future. Just like Epitaph it's a quite slow and lingering track. This song contains a lot of emotion.
It's not a long album, only forty minutes. Don't get fooled it's short, because this album really needs to be listened to with your full attention. This isn't just a random album you just put on as background music while you're busy doing other stuff. It also leaves a slightly bitter taste in your mouth at the end, making you wonder: “Are you happy with the future?”
**** Iris Hidding (edited by Astrid de Ronde)
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