God of Love
God of Love
February 14, 2012
Buy at Official Site
Christopher Tin, most known for his contribution to Civilization IV contribution, “Baba Yetu,” and his Grammy-winning album Calling All Dawns, will release his latest album God of Love in February 2012. Whereas Calling All Dawns was a worldly orchestrated score, the music featured in God of Love is very contemporary with many modern influences; however, at the same time, the lyrics are all adaptations from famous poems dealing with love and death, from poets in the Renaissance and Romantic eras, such as Lord Byron, among others. Rather than compose everything solely, as he did with his previous album, he and a person by the name of Kametron collaborated under the moniker Stereo Alchemy. How does their debut album turn out?
The album opens up with “A Rapture” and really sets the tone for most of the album with its dark, gritty industrial electronica nature with some rock influence. It is quite edgy and complex, with a multitude of musical harmonies and accents, and the vocalist gives off a seductive tone that really matches well with the music. It’s a very different sound from Christopher Tin, but no less compelling than his music on Calling All Dawns. Similar in style, “Unbound” features a larger focus on rock elements and heavier beats. The dark and gritty industrial soundscape in this track feels much stronger overall and the male vocals really help add to the edginess of the music. In some ways, this track really reminded me of groups like Nine Inch Nails, no doubt an influence on the soundscape of this album.
“God of Love,” the title song, is an interesting combination of sounds. The sultry vocals with industrial beats and some light electronic tones helps to capture both a dark atmosphere, but at the same time, the addition of xylophone and other light percussion helps give it a nice contrasting sound. However, what I really enjoyed the most in this track was the distorted synthesizers used during the bridge sections. Compared to the first three tracks on the album, “She Walks in Beauty” is quite lighthearted and cheery, although some of the percussion used definitely keeps that industrial flair and the guitar riffs help retain that feeling of edginess. My favorite parts of this album however, are the amazing synthesizer tones, particularly the ones during the instrumental interludes. They reinforce that bright mood.
This sound is also captured in a few other themes on the album. “Is it Possible” has an electro funk sort of sound and is quite fun sounding overall. Some of the highlights for me include the distorted synth that seems to have a filter applied on it, making it sound a bit more retro in sound. “Young Lovers” has very pop rock sound that definitely gives off that feeling of young love, as if there is nothing else that really matters in the world. The distorted guitar work is quite nice while the drum work manages to really impress, adding quite of musical texture to the piece. While upbeat and jovial, I find that this track, while enjoyable, to be one of the weaker themes on the album.
“To Eternity” is an upbeat electronic rock track that really manages to impress on an atmospheric level. The combination of gritty guitar riffs and industrial percussion combined with the more ambient synthesizer tones makes for an almost mechanical paradise in terms of soundscape. The vocals also help to elevate the overall experience, coming off as powerful and airy. “My Heart’s Fit to Break” also has a bit of an ethereal sound combined with darker industrial tones. The combination of wispy vocals, lighthearted synthesizer and glockenspiel really give off an inspirational vibe, while the electro house beats, distorted synthesizer, and electric guitar in the accompaniment really give a nice duality to the track. As the track comes to an end, all these elements are pushed to the forefront, creating a very satisfying climax.
“Monster of the Sky” is definitely the highlight of the album for me. The wispy vocals really give off a feeling of desolation, but as the track progresses, they become much more powerful in tone, but I find the combination of rock and dubstep to be the star of the show. The electric guitar provides some more of the emotional aspects while still remaining edgy, while the dubstep helps lend itself well to the industrial and mechanical tones featured on the album. The album closes with “Love is Love” and it really manages to close the album perfectly. Rather than end with a powerful, energetic track, the minimalistic electronic approach featuring contemplative vocals and light piano accompaniment really manages to mellow the listener out, especially after the previous track on the album, “Young Lovers.” I’d love to see some more of this style by Stereo Alchemy, even more so than some of the other styles present on the album.
The God of Love album is quite a departure from the Christopher Tin that most of us know through his work on his previous album Calling All Dawns. While this album may not be for everyone, those who appreciate darker, industrial soundscapes, with the occasional upbeat and jovial tunes, all featuring some contemporary electronic styles, should definitely look into checking it out. For those on the fence, you can check out some samples of all the music on their official website. It’s a very good debut album from Stereo Alchemy and in the future, it’ll be interesting to see how they will utilize their style, whether along the same lines as this album or in a more refined manner.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on August 1, 2012.