Review Summary: Now this is a blockbuster I'd pay to see...
The year 2088 in Nocturne City: a decaying metropolis looms in a frozen state of hellish dystopian reality. In the brutal underbelly of this cyberpunk future, The Perturbator serves vigilante justice to the dark forces who operate in the seedy urban landscape of this nightmarish era of human evolution.
In Dangerous Days
, technological entities have become a threat to all of mankind and the half-man/half -machine Perturbator wages a personal vendetta against the machines who created him and their tyrannical leader, a super-computer codenamed: ”SATAN.”
This is the concept behind the music of French Synthwave/Darkwave producer James Kent aka PERTURBATOR. And yes, it’s f***ing awesome.
Inspired by a passion for ‘80s sci-fi action movies and metal music, Kent’s latest LP takes all of the successful elements of his previous releases and amps up the intensity. From start to finish, this album excels at immersing the listener into the world of Nocturne City.
The album opens with “Welcome Back,” a chilling introduction that nails the tone of the record and builds to a climax in the form of “Perturbator’s Theme.” “Raw Power” showcases the ominous atmosphere of Perturbator’s world, glitching and looping the listener into a nostalgic trip into a world akin to Blade Runner and Akira. Next track, “Future Club” is a brilliant interpretation of what rave culture might sound like in 2088. “Hard Wired” is easily one of the album’s standout tracks, calling to mind artists like Depeche Mode and Purity Ring with its chilling vocal melody from Isabella Goloversic and Kent’s glitzy electronic passages. It is one of the few moments on the record that could be considered a “ballad” but ultimately serves as one of Perturbator’s most endearing and stunning compositions to date.
The next couple of tracks thrust the listener on an intense roller-coaster thrill-ride through Nocturne City. “She Is Young, She Is Beautiful, She Is Next” is a sonic chase sequence that features some creative layering of arpeggios and drum machine sampling that thrusts the listener on a sonic journey through an 8-bit nightmare. The tension builds and continues into the next track “Humans Are Such Easy Prey,” which cleverly samples Kyle Reese from the original Terminator film in its opening moments. “It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with… It absolutely will not stop ever until you are dead.” It is a genius way to begin this perilous descent into a sonic onslaught of aggressive synthesizer progressions. The tempo speeds out of control at the 4 minute mark, providing one of the most frenzied moments on the entire record. The epic 12 minute title track, “Dangerous Days,” ends the record with a final showdown between our hero and the supercomputer known as SATAN.
Whether you buy into the gimmick or not, PERTURBATOR’s music accomplishes exactly what it sets out to do in spades. It captures the listener in the clutches of Kent’s fictional world. It succeeds as a well-produced, synthwave album that not only harnesses but also refines the usual tropes of the genre. And above all it’s a joy to listen to, especially for fans of retro ‘80s sci-fi films, metal music, and video games. As a composer, Kent has an immaculate attention to detail in the layering of his songs and it truly seats him well above his peers in the synthwave genre. Dangerous Days
is the culmination of all of Perturbator’s sonic achievements, a soundtrack to a time when movies were still, above everything else, fun.