Genre: Future Pop / EBM / Synth Pop
Release Date: 4th October 2019 (digital) / 11th October 2019 (physical)
Label: Not A Robot Records
Alright. Here it is, the 10th FADERHEAD album in just about 13 years since the debut came out. If you listen to all of them, from the debut ‘FH1’ in 2006 to this latest one, ‘Asteria’ that is going to be released this week, I promise, you’ll be impressed and probably surprised by the growth, variation, change, yet still find a recognisable FADERHEAD stamp on all of the songs while they all are so different. The accompanying tour to the release of ‘Asteria’ will take place in March & April 2020. For more info check FADERHEAD’s homepage, you’ll find the link below.
The last album, ‘Night Physics’ released almost two years ago in November 2017, was, no secret, one of my favourite albums in 2017 and for sure by FADERHEAD in general. Many, many nights listening to it on repeat and it’s still an album I enjoy so much. Some of you might know that feeling that when you liked something so much, you might feel almost “nervous” to listen to the newest thing as it’s hard to imagine something else being even better. So, here it is, ‘Asteria’ on my headphones for the first time ever. How is it? Keep calm, take a breath and let’s see.
‘Asteria’ kicks off with the energetic ‘From His Broken Bones’ that is also going to be the first single from this album. ‘From His Broken Bones’ is also one of two songs that FADERHEAD already performed live at Amphi Festival in July and just recently at the NCN Festival in September. The song kicks in fast and should be able to wake up every listener in no time, I believe. The mix between fast music and slower, smoother vocals is quite a thing here that makes it to me difficult to put a song in any style or genre, which is actually great, I think.
‘The Other Side Of Doom’ is the second song that was already performed live and yes - that one is actually doomy. The intro is starting groovy and growing to the “yelly” start of the chorus. Dude, there are so many details to recognise. I could listen to the songs ten times and still find more new things, I guess. ‘Watching The Watchers’ is completely new to me and caught me right away. When EBM and Future Pop melt into each other on a high level, you get ‘Watching The Watchers’ that should totally get the chance to conquer the dance floors. Darker, moodier, with such a catchy note in it that is standing out - could become one of my favourites, probably already did. But let’s go further. So here is the next one - ‘With A Borrowed Knife’ - a devilish dark ballade. Already seeing the abyss? Just two more steps and you are there. Or you just came out of it. I don’t know. Is there even a difference?
Ready for some Acid Techno? Surprised? Get used to it - I mean the surprises. Hell yes, can all the DJs out there please play this one at least once per night? I could write a lot about the strong techno bass line, the cool vocals, the endless energy that this track is spreading around and makes one wanna have an endless party night - or you just listen to it on your own. No chance to step down the game with ‘Slowly We Inch’. Another Dark Techno inspired song, yet so different, the vocals once more quite melancholic while the music pervades every tiny bit of your body. While listening to the songs for a few more times, they create that strong suction into the gloomy, kind of end of the era atmosphere, that is first spreading, than shrinking tightly around you and finally pervading every single part of your brain and body.
‘Murder’ - there is this “cute”, futuristic melodic detail in the background (I see Sami right now shaking his head about my attempt to describe it) that feels like tiny Electro drops that get stuck into your head - here we go, all the music once more doing things to the mind that no “traditional” drugs ever could, I believe (not that I have the experience to prove that hypothesis). ‘Asteria’ fits really well, in my eyes, to ‘Murder’. The transition appears smooth. The song catches the mood of the album well, so I get why it was chosen to become the album title song. The title ‘Asteria’ itself has so much mystic in it, I really loved that name from the first time when I heard it. Also just for the possibility to be misspelled by German auto correction into “Astrein” - it was totally worth it. So far I think that adjective might fit that album very well, too, to describe it in just one word. A little side joke here as it really happened in one of the event announcements, but is also fitting great.
‘Mistakes And Pain’ spreads a spherical soundscape around the listener. The vocals feel like an extra layer of soundscape in that composition - like a universe of its own. Almost too relaxed? Here we go with the one which basses will give you the beat. If you are looking for a “Harsh” song, that could be the one that will make you happy on this album - ‘Neophobiac’. Speaking for myself, It makes happy with the explosion of aggression that feels extremely liberating, indeed. A pinch of Aggrotech never fails to spice things up. ‘Halo’ on the other hand is carrying around a Dark Folk Electro “Halo” as a light carpet that is holding the strong basses, clear vocal samples, and the danceable melody. There is even a touch of Orient in it. Orient Techno Bass Future Pop song? Well, we already talked about surprises.
‘The Bottom’ - one thing - shivers all over from the first second. The lyrics are great as in actually all of the songs and create that deeply spooky space in your head - the hidden, female vocal details in between appear dangerous, like they would speak a curse on you. When the album is described as probably one of the darkest that was ever made by FADERHEAD - I see what you meant here. The final song ‘Dancing All Alone’ literally dissolves the tension that was created by ‘The Bottom’ and is that melancholic dance song that you are wishing for at a Goth / Dark party - “dark smile, dark mind” - these repeated lines are dominating the mood of the song and say Goodbye to the listener in a bittersweet way.
An extra appreciation line for the very creative, mystic and beautiful artwork. Great idea, implementation and job in general. Remember, I wrote honestly at the beginning about being “nervous” to listen to that one as the expectations hardly could have been higher? That feeling gave way to that tingle of excitement and the realization that I really want & need to listen to it one, two, many more times to be able to discover all the details that create the fragile, yet so full of energy and gloomy abysses world of ‘Asteria’. When you listen to the album for the first time, take the time to get lost in that universe.
01. From His Broken Bones
02. The Other Side Of Doom
03. Watching The Watchers
04. With A Borrowed Knife
05. The Acid Witch
06. Slowly We Inch
09. Mistakes & Pain
12. The Bottom
13. Dancing All Alone
Sami Mark Yahya
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