As a rule, all Synthwave should be as progressive as Volkor X. This Is Our Planet Now is the spiritual sequel to his 2016 album, This Means War, and has set the barometer extremely high for this genre.
The album begins with the beautiful ‘Stratos’, featuring an intricate guitar solo by Feather. It’s perfect escapism during a Covid-19 lockdown for those who want the perfect Bill and Ted-fuelled utopia.
We reach an early peak with ‘Beam’, the first single lifted from the album. A progressive science fiction journey that begins with melodic plodding steps builds into a crescendo and draws you in and out of its heavy structure with great curiosity. Some reminiscent elements of M83 are present here; the feeling of being dazed by a wave of Synth, but with a heavier impact.
The tempo shifts with ‘Crimson Clouds’; a short bout of relief, a respite, or perhaps a re-fuelling for what’s next? ‘Shoot Them Up’ does exactly what it says on the tin – it’s the “boss battle” of this album accompanied by heavier and memorable riffs.
When innovation should stagnate, it only increases. The rest of the album flirts with atmospherics and an incredible rate of layers and structures. It’s heavy at points and more mellow and atmospheric at others. Less eighties than most Synthwave, yet more progressive in the way it welds together with modern Metal.
In short, this record is a great soundtrack to your nightmares and dreamscapes. An ethereal experience that’s creative and innovative. It’s a bold genre-mixing effort that embraces contemporary Metal and Post-Rock.
Volkor X keeps moving forward and pushing boundaries and is not afraid to bridge the gap between synth and metal. His work is a vital addition to the Synthwave genre and enough to make others stand up and listen.
Release Date: 10/04/2020
Record Label: Self Released
Standout tracks: Stratos, Beam, Crimson Clouds
Suggested Further Listening: Dance With the Dead – The Shape (2016), Devin Townsend – Epicloud (2012), Perturbator – Dangerous Days (2014)