Review Summary: A familiar but satisfying release from a master of his craft.
In 2015 alone there were three very different projects released under the Neurotech banner. The first (“Stigma”) was a great but somewhat predictable electro-metal album that followed in the footsteps of earlier material, but it also built the foundation for his following release. “Evasive” was a varied and exciting collection of instrumental electronic tunes that saw the prolific Slovenian delve into new territory, while “The Ophidian Symphony” was a 19-minute symphonic metal epic which was the third in a series of annual instrumental pieces, each released on Christmas day.
While some releases are more memorable than others, Neurotech has never released a dud and the somewhat sudden release of “In Remission” had me excited. Given Wulf's diverse (but consistent) catalogue it was simultaneously easy to predict the sound of the album and difficult to anticipate which direction he'd go with it. If one were to compare “In Remission” to a previous outing, it'd be fairly accurate to say that it's a synthesis of all three of his 2015 releases. The anthemic quality of “Stigma” is combined with the electronica of “Evasive” and the dynamics of “The Ophidian Symphony”.
is full of Hollywood grandeur, with explosive drums and soaring strings. Wulf's airy vocal delivery is both understated and dramatic, his voice adds to the urgency of the track without sounding overbearing. The percussion steadily builds and builds, the mix sounding absolutely gargantuan until the pummeling drums come to a halt and the track fades into the next. In around three minutes the sound and scale of the album has been excellently established, avoiding the trap of self-indulgence countless other musicians would fall into when opening their albums.
The rest of the album isn't particularly groundbreaking for Neurotech, but his sound has been polished to a mirror shine. As Will Ascends
is a particularly dynamic track, ranging from delicate ambient textures to expansive walls of sound. Quiet verses and loud choruses are hardly anything new but the skill in which Neurotech can transition from one level to another makes the approach distinctly his own and while it may be predictable, it never sounds contrived. In the middle of the album is the trance epic The Lost Hope
, which instrumentally sounds like it could have fit on “Evasive”. The driving bass and thumping beat give the track a great forward momentum as the surrounding synths rise and crash. The insistent energy of the song is balanced by the following track Reprogram
, an ambient piece with very minimal (but effective) percussion that provides an interesting mixture of trepidation and blissful respite.
It's hard to really categorise “In Remission”, like much of Neurotech's work. There are hints of industrial, metal, trance, ambient music, synthpop and orchestral music, no particular style overshadowing any other. It's not uncommon for musicians to have diverse influences, however instead of a grab-bag of different musical ideas “In Remission” feels like a smooth blend where none of the elements are contradictory. Some songs may have chunky metal guitars and staccato rhythms, but their absence on other tracks feels completely natural. In fact “In Remission” is possibly Neurotech's most diverse LP to date, despite it also being the shortest.
When it comes to “In Remission”, its bite-sized length serves as both a benefit and a crutch. For newcomers it can provide a fantastic introduction as it is both more diverse than previous Neurotech releases and easier to digest. However for long-time fans it may sound like business as usual, a perfectly fine release to satiate listeners until Wulf's next endeavour. Also while the sound of the album is great, it must be said that the overpowering snare and relentless bass synths on songs such as Divided Bliss
can prove to be exhausting.
While “In Remission” is far from Wulf's strongest work, it provides a concise and comprehensive summary of his sound. It's as good a time as any to delve into not only this album, but his whole back-catalogue. While it might not be an album that challenges or excites his fans, it is certainly a satisfying and solid addition to an amazing discography.