Review Summary: Welcome to the digital war.
The beauty of the internet can be shown through its appealingly strange works. The fact that we live in a time where we have access to any kind of information or entertainment we want on is astonishing. As a result, weird genres such as Vaporwave and Witch House can become topics of discussion, because the internet gives them a platform to trumpet their sound. For SurgeryHead, the story is not much different. This 80s horror inspired electronic project roots itself heavily in ghoulish and nasty imagery, shown in both its art and its music. If it weren't for a place like the internet, a project like this would probably only be passed off as one man's strange art. But this is no simple art project, this is the sound of a digital war.
Delivered through legions of grimey synths with pounding drums and melodies; this almost hardstyle sounding record puts you in the middle of this warlike atmosphere. The album opens with this exact tone. With the opener B-Movie King, the opening arp sets the stage with a massive building sense of intensity making way for the pummeling synths and bass that follows. And with tracks like Bike Fist and Bone Zone, the revving and active synths create absolute viciousness, while the glittering, bright melodies coupled with it evoke great euphoria of the adrenaline of the moment. Although a war, it never feels necessarily violent, but more an grand experience that you feel enchanted to be a part of.
Although tending to stay in this warlike, active sound, the album has enough variety to create a full adventure. After the intense onslaught of the first three tracks, Revelations is a pleasantly surprising shift in tempo; a moody, ominous track that feels like a buildup to the energy, rather than the energy itself. Using a slowly building drum with glinty synths being tastefully peppered on, it provides a primer for the rest of the intensity to come. And even in the more warlike tracks, like Shocking Dark and Pit Face, they incorporate liberal use of vocal samples and effects to add character to each song, stopping it from feeling stale, even if it can get a bit repetitive. But the repetition never feels like negative thing, as it creates slowly create abrasive atmosphere that predominates rather than stagnation.
And atmosphere is something this project excels at. With the downright danceable and sexy She's a Runaway coupled with the chilling and celestial Please God, Help Us, it shows SurgeryHead's ability in coupling pieces of atmosphere that mesh well together. And this strengthens the album as a whole, considering the more album's more abrasive side. And with an album of such abrasiveness and atmosphere, the greatest track is the one that embraces them both wholeheartedly – Witch. Gorgeously epic, with its choir and primal drums closing the album, the brings the best of SurgeryHead to the forefront; intensity and the richness of the euphoria it creates.
And with this track's beautiful scene, we are placed once again in this great war, a gorgeous scene of elation that never would been possible in other time. This is in no way the internet's achievement, though. This is SurgeryHead's, fully embracing the time, and allowing their vision of this wasteland to whisk us away.