Volkor X – This is Our Planet Now
Coming from a distant planet in the depths of the universe, Volkor X marked himself as one of the most innovative and interesting acts within the synthwave genre. After a flawless “This Means War” delivering a perfect sense of songwriting filled with progressive elements, our Galactic Overlord is ready to strike again with his new release, named “This Is Our Planet Now”, which appears to be a sequel of his previous album released in 2016.
The album opens with the previously released single ‘Stratos’, and one thing grabs my attention: the Volkor touch is still there, but the Synthwave influences are practically gone, traded for a more modern style, with heavy, distorted guitars and a big “wall of sound” type of production. There’s a big emphasis on buildups, leading to a mind-blowing final guitar solo by Feather – whose debut album “Convalescence” is undoubtedly one of the most interesting instrumental albums from last year.
Volkor X – Stratos (feat. Feather) (click here if the video doesnt play)
The second track, ‘Beam’, is the first single released for the album, and pushes the emphasis on buildups even further to the point it almost feels like a Godspeed You! Black Emperor song in the style of Volkor X. The chord progressions are evil, the tempo is very low and the sound gets more and more massive as you progress slowly through the song, leaving the impression that something huge is about to happen, which is beyond your control.
Volkor X – Beam (click here if the video doesn’t play)
The album also displays softer songs such as ‘Crimson Clouds’ which is considered as the aftermath after ‘Beam’ according to Volkor X. This track has similarities to the slow section of the 13 minute epic ‘This Means War’, title track from the debut album, and serves as well as a transition to the next, fast-paced ‘Shoot Them Up’, a tribute to the video game genre of the same name.
Volkor X – Shoot them Up (click here if the video doesn’t play)
Another example of a softer song is the slow-paced ‘Gravity’, the song structured in a very similar way as ‘Crimson Clouds’, but differs in texture as the sound is much louder and grand with a more oppressive atmosphere. To add to this soundscape, some speeches are thrown to the song, in a similar way to ‘The Bomb’ on the previous record. These speeches can also be found on the next track called ‘Atomic Dust’ which actually can be linked with ‘Gravity’ as one big song separated into 2 tracks.
Thus, ‘Atomic Dust’ feels like the logical follow-up to the previous song, where the slow-paced rhythm reminiscent of the Metal Gear Solid soundtrack build-ups for minutes, for eventually morphing into a gigantic climax filled with post rock vibes. This leaves us only with the final track ‘This is Our Planet Now’: A guitar-driven banger, filled with callbacks from both albums, in which Sylvain Coudret from Soilwork makes an appearance by throwing a spectacular guitar solo, just before the final keyboard melody finally takes over and marks an end to the album in the exact same way as its predecessor from 2017.
At first glance, ”This is Our Planet Now” might shock as the retro, 80s aesthetic has been traded for a more modern type of sound blending electronic music, post-rock and progressive metal. But as a whole, the music is catchy, the production is top-notch as every track sounds perfectly clear and couldn’t be mixed better, and the album structure is perfectly coherent. Finally, Volkor X managed to do justice to its predecessor by landing a fatal blow, which appears to be one of the best electronic albums of these past years.
- Stratos (feat. Feather)
- Crimson Clouds
- Shoot Them Up
- Atomic Dust
- This is Our Planet Now (feat. Sylvain Coudret)