Occams Laser – New Blood III
Release Date: 03/10/23
Running Time: 41:45
Review by Dark Juan
Score: Several Gajillion/10
It is a distinct and very great pleasure, as a music journo and critic, when you form relationships with record labels and artists outside the almighty review list so ably provided by Editor-in-Extremis Simon “None More” Black and Ever-Metal Mum Beth “I’ve Still Not Yet Come Down After Wales Beat Australia At Rugby” Morait. Dark Juan enjoys friendships and relationships with many bands and labels and considers it an honour to write about the music of people vastly more talented and intelligent than him. Even when I must be unkind about them. It takes rather massive balls to come up with art and have it released to a public that may be unknowing and/ or uncaring. Dark Juan considers it a duty, when it is an underground band (or project) that he really loves, that they are brought to the attention of the worldwide audience which Dark Juan is able to command through the auspices of Ever-Metal.com. This is the case with Occams Laser.
I’ll be brutally honest here, I only listened to them at first because I thought the name of the project was fucking stunningly clever. Mrs Dark Juan is sick to death of my banging on about them and has gone to have a protest bath and left me to minister the Smellhounds. This is not conducive to a decent workrate. For which I apologise if this review is even more disjointed than usual. Puppies spoiling for a rumble every 38 seconds will do that to you.
Finally, the little shit has settled for a nap.
The neon-encrusted Platter Of Splatter™ has been activated, it is resplendent in the shiniest yellows and blues, and it is currently spinning the latest release from Occams Laser, “New Blood III”, representing something of a concept record as there is a story behind it. I will not share it right now because you will have to wait for the release date for that sort of insider information. Dark Juan KNOWS, however…
One more thing for housekeeping purposes – I thank Occams Laser for the tremendously exciting opportunity to have the EXCLUSIVE(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Holy FUCK!!!) chance to listen to this album before release. Dark Juan is the only person in the world besides the creator of this music to have heard “New Blood III” before release and I would like to take the chance to offer my sincere and unfettered gratitude to Occams Laser for trusting your least-favourite ersatz rock hack with this singular honour. Thank you so much. I almost feel special. Mrs Dark Juan says I am already special before cackling in a most unnerving fashion.
Well, now that’s out of the way and Dark Juan has been suitably craven, we had better hope that this album isn’t a pile of foetid rat wank, hadn’t we?
It’s a total sack of rotting pig shite, friends.
I’M LYING TO YOU ALL!!! Don’t panic! It is a joyous romp through Futurepop, Darkwave, Vaporwave, Retrowave, Outrun and Electronic Industrial. It is neon tubes in glorious pinks and blues gleaming through sheet rain in a congested near-future city imagined in the 1980s. It is shady deals for designer drugs in rubbish-strewn back alleys a world away from the glowing main street a few steps over there. It is hovering cars and police in black leather armed with machine pistols, checking out the mass of humanity they are moving through with blank silver implanted, advanced targeting and identification sensors replacing their eyes. It is slinky, sinuous razorgirls in red latex catsuits operating as neo-ninjas for unscrupulous zaibatsus. Its mnemonic couriers fleeing across blasted industrial wastelands because the only way to retrieve the data is to cut off the fucking head of the courier unless you are the intended recipient.
Now, if you regularly read the nonsense I spew out, you will know that Dark Juan is a rabid and overly enthusiastic fan of that strange amalgamation of Electropop, Industrial and 80s nostalgia known as Synthwave. It just does something to Dark Juan’s backbrain and pleasure centres which you do not need to know about. Occams Laser is no different. Album opener ‘Bloodfall’ reminds Dark Juan of a more eccentric, significantly damaged Carpenter Brut, being extremely high fidelity and loudly produced to ably give the effect that you are leaving your mundane little world behind you, and you are entering a realm of cyberspace where up and down and left and right do not apply and data is everything. ‘Destroyer’ is something different again, the melody lines combining to produce an effect not unlike being stalked by a heavily armed killer mech, stabs of laser rangefinders, infra-red search and track and sonar pulses searching for your heat signature to release a swarm of autonomous micro-missile hunter-killers to seek you out. Effortlessly combining the Electronic Metal credentials of MASTER BOOT RECORD (‘Extraction’, ‘Hecatomb’ and ‘Antigen’ being the best representations of this) with the eye for melody of the likes of Lazerhawk and Timecop1983 (‘Flesh_Blood’, ‘Vital’) and the sheer Pop sensibilities of the likes of Ayria and VNV Nation, you have here an album that has something to please most adherents to electronic music. ‘Incarnadine’ could be the soundtrack music to a long, jet-black sports car being pursued down a dark motorway, orange sodium lights glinting on tinted glass, chased by half-a-dozen equally sleek cars driven by brawny, enhanced henchmen with amplified musculatures, weapons fire sparking from the tarmac and the bodywork of the car they are chasing.
Do not listen to ‘Incarnadine’ while you are driving. Your red Vauxhall Corsa 1.0 is not a long black sports car, and you are not being pursued by assassins or anyone else firing automatic weapons and the Constabulary you have just pissed off by speeding will not accept that as an excuse.
This is not to say that the whole record is composed of high tempo stompathons though. Occams Laser are quite capable of light and shade and ‘Cruor’ amply demonstrates this by being a slow, swooping, meditative piece that ends the album on a strong, navel-gazing, inward-looking note, a comedown from the percussive, artillery-like assault on the senses that comprises the majority of the album.
It is superbly produced as well. It is rather louder and more hi-fi than a lot of Synthwave or Electronic releases, and this harshness and sharpness of sound lends the album a rather more dangerous, psychotic edge than the work of say, Gunship, whose work tends towards a polished, easy to listen to sound. Occams Laser is polished, but not quite as easy to listen to, but that is to the credit of the music as it lends it an organic quality among all the machinery being employed to produce it. It is perfect for the album. It is brash and loud and in your fucking face, and there are few Synthwave projects who dare to do that, normally hiding themselves behind a wall of squelch and fuzzy-edged softness that befits a rose-tinted gaze back to Martian colonies that still use Cathode Ray Tube screens for communication yet have regular shuttle flights to and from them.
Occams Laser is what happens when you fuse retro-futurism with the contemporary, and that is what makes this one-man instrumental Synthwave project unique, and this is why Dark Juan fucking loves Occams Laser.
The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System is once more forced to disregard its own rules (normally, there would be an instant mark deducted for the music not being Metal) but “New Blood III” is too good, too SPECIAL to deduct any marks from, in which case the PDJBSRS is forced to offer several gajillion out of 10. An essential purchase if you are an intrepid listener or you just dig Synthwave, and well worth a punt if you just want to experience a new genre of music.
Buy it. Once more my Top ten list for the year is fucked beyond repair.
04. Long Forgotten
Tom Stuart – Everything.
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dark Juan and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.