The Black Queen
Infinite Games


3.5
great

Review

by Robert Davis CONTRIBUTOR (279 Reviews)
October 3rd, 2018 | 18 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist


It seems fitting that The Black Queen would be releasing a new album after the mostly expected hiatus of DEP and the way in which synthwave has infiltrated the underground music scene of late. Yet sophomore effort Infinite Games doesn't sound like hasty return from Puciato's most alternative-sounding project, nor indeed does it present the idea of a musician grasping at creative straws. Instead, The Black Queen's return is merely the result of a band's collective members deciding when the time is right, and that's perhaps why Infinite Games feels as close to the band's comfort zone as possible.Infinite Games is an album that often comes across as a piece of work confident in its delivery, both musically and with regards to the current evolution of other bands wanting to take synthwave into as many different conflicting styles as humanly possible. You don't ever get the impression here that The Black Queen are faltering in their footsteps or afraid to venture down darker musical paths should the occasion seem fitting.

Opener "Even Still I want To" sets the scene by flinging the listener headfirst into a hazy dream of shoegaze and 80s inspired industrial beats, but if it's more of the unapologetic pop sensibilities that you're after, Infinite Games gets going properly with leading single "Thrown into the Dark". The title suggests otherwise, but this song is simply accessible, pleasant stuff. The synthesizers stab at the recording but never seem to disturb Puciato's otherwise harmonic vocal work, and the same can be said for those brief albeit satisfying moments of ambiance towards the end of the track. "No Accusations" and "Spatial Boundaries" continue this foray into poppier territory, but the lack of over-indulgence and minimalist egoism is made up for by The Black Queen's inclusion of the right elements at the right time. With "Spatial Boundaries" for instance, you'll more than likely be feeling the urge to dance yet at the same time feeling spiky chills as Puciato's voice soars beyond the forthcoming synthwave elements, resulting in a very climactic feel.

It's been said before in this review that experimentation seems pretty rare, considering the musical direction The Black Queen have paved for themselves since day one. Yet if you are after versatility within Infinite Games, you'll have to look pretty deep. "Your Move" at first sets the comfort zone for the listener, before featuring heart-stopping shrills from the synthwave elements, increasing the volume of the song's first minute tenfold. With this, Puciato amplifies his vocal prowess but even so, doesn't sound like anything other than a gentle soul. Of course at this point in the album the listener will have made up their minds whether to continue or want to hear something else (such is the harsh and abrasive usage of Infinite Games' intended musical elements), but the experience for those intrigued gets even better. "Impossible Condition" is mostly cold and definitely the darkest cut of the album, but in its gradual progression towards a pretty abrupt end seems to explore ambient territory and then warp it into more disturbing moments of noise. Repetitive it may be, but its mesmerising qualities only become stronger with every growing minute and eventually it'll be hard not to hum the underlying beat in the background. Towards the end of Infinite Games the songs seem to be a little scattered due to changes in length and a hard-to-pinpoint musical direction, a flipside effect to what has been going in the first half of the album. "100 to Zero" feels more like a tacked-on outro to any of the previous songs, although it's strongly redeemed by the sheer beauty of "Porcelain Veins" and the appropriate closure of "One Edge of Two".

Infinite Games is an album of intent, one which states that Puciato is anything but "done" with his career as a musician. Furthermore, it's a reassuring glance at the fact that The Black Queen are now more than just a mere side-project. The Dillinger Escape Plan didn't have to split up for this to happen, nor did Puciato have much thinking to do: Indeed, Infinite Games has been a work in progress, active for longer than you'd expect. And on this album, it definitely shows.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
October 3rd 2018


2596 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Not sure if I'm happy with this review but I thought I'd give it a go on my day off work.



c/c welcome as always.

EvoHavok
October 3rd 2018


7690 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Review's fine.

I'm loving the album.

Digging: Deathspell Omega - The Furnaces of Palingenesia

Prancer
October 3rd 2018


957 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

you mentioned every song but the best one lol. lies about you is the jam.

also DEP are broken up, not on a hiatus

ckypro3
October 3rd 2018


182 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this really reads like a 4 though. but still good review.

Papa Universe
October 3rd 2018


21052 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I was really let down by this album, to be honest. I can't even really grip onto any song. They all just kind of swung by and straight into oblivion. It might grow in the future, but I doubt that by any high margin.

Digging: Rammstein - Rammstein

Prancer
October 3rd 2018


957 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I thought the album was pretty bland on the first listen, but there are a lot of subtleties that grew on me. Lots of great vocal melodies, darker atmosphere, and a more introspective experience compared to fever daydream.

XingKing
October 3rd 2018


14593 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I was really let down by this album, to be honest. I can't even really grip onto any song. They all just kind of swung by and straight into oblivion. [2]

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
October 3rd 2018


25289 Comments


Ice to Never is the only thing this band did worth a shit. Everything else is just a less good version of that.

Digging: Neckbeard Deathcamp - SO MUCH FOR THE TOLERANT LEFT

Jasdevi087
October 3rd 2018


5528 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This album opens so strong but damn does it loose momentum fast

OpenUpandLetMeIn
October 4th 2018


3 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

100 to Zero is beautiful but it ends so quickly. Accurate song title, I guess.

Faraudo
October 5th 2018


2926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

This album's probably in my top 10 for the year, great stuff.

Digging: The National - I Am Easy to Find

Sabrutin
October 16th 2018


6031 Comments


I dig this, much more solid than the debut even though there is no Ice to Never belter (Lies About You kinda?).

BenThatsMyJamin
October 16th 2018


2485 Comments


How tf have I not jammed this yet

jmh886
November 6th 2018


2349 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

man i just love greg's voice.

goblinilbog
November 20th 2018


684 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Great album to listen to at low volume on a night drive

jmh886
December 21st 2018


2349 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

thrown into the dark is a fucking jam.

TenSecondsToThink
March 13th 2019


1792 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

fuck this is amazing. i never would've thought they can create something like this after their previous record, which was more of an 80s synth pop album with some standout tracks and a lot of filler inbetween. this seems like only filler at first until you start to fully pay attention to it and begin to love its atmosphere. kinda similar to a circa survive album in that aspect.

goblinilbog
March 13th 2019


684 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

very strong grower of an album, might like this a bit more than Fever Daydream



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