Synth EP Review: "R.O.A.D.S" by 7DD9
There is a sensation of danger and threat that pervades 7DD9’s R.O.A.D.S. It is definitely an EP that has a cyberpunk sensation to it. It seems appropriate in the current climate to express feelings of tension and anxiety while painting a portrait of an uncertain future. The combination of edgy synths, deeply throbbing drums and the sweeping darkness that flows from the music.
One of the first elements that I noticed about R.O.A.D.S is the way that edgy, tense sounds move through the music in contrast with pulsing bass that adds another layer of shadow to the music. All of these elements combine to produce an atmosphere that adds to the dark, cyberpunk world being described on this EP. The open, expansive feeling of the production only emphasize the bleakness that moves through the EP.
Another part of the EP that I found compelling was the strength of the drums and bass. R.O.A.D.S has interesting rhythms and throbbing bass sounds that interlock to provide a strong foundation on which the other segments of the album can sit. This steady underpinning serves to emphasize everything moving over the top of it with the weight that it brings to the music.
7DD9’s use of angular, edgy and metallic synth sounds further delineates the imagery of a dark and tense world into which we move with uncertainty. The distortions that sometimes occur along with growling electric guitar and segments that feel a little glitchy keep adding layers of nervous energy to the music and do serve to heighten the shadowy feeling of much of this EP.
I feel like this EP needs to reviewed as a whole so I’ll make comments on each track and what I found interesting and compelling about them.
“Requiem For Humanity” is a track full of shaded, twisted moments. The steady pulsing bass pattern that echoes out into space along with metallic chiming synths has a feeling of emptiness to it. The high rising synths and that continual bass pulse create sensations of tension and darkness while the choir sounds and a distorted piano have an aching feeling of requiem about them.
The medium high synth in “Omen” plays slow patterns that rise and fall over the heartbeat of drums and bass. There is indeed an ominous feeling about the pounding throb of the beat and there are technological sounding “bleeps” along with wandering extended synths that move in tense patterns over the weight and darkness underneath.
“Apatheia” is characterized by angular, edgy synth sounds with a slighty rough edge. They play a heavy melody over a thick, oscillating beat that shudders through the track. Over this powerful drum and bass beat, a higher synth winds around and through. There’s also some electric guitar that adds a powerful thunder to the track.
The beat on “Disclosure” hits you right in the chest as synths pulsate out into the track. The lead synth has a hypnotic, repetitive quality to it that moves over the depths underneath it. There are also moments where high flows of twisting synth move over that spinning beat and ramp up the feeling of tension that pervades the track. I’d say that the hypnotic part of this track was what drew me in most of all.
“Salvation” has a slow melody full of sweeping power along with a pounding beat that has a quality of depth to it that seems to create vibrations in the body. The melody moves through the track, tinged with hope and sadness, as the dark weight underneath sweeps the track along and onward to a conclusion.
At a time of uncertainty and some very dark moments, R.O.A.D.S acts as a cathartic listening experience. It allows us to get in touch with that part of ourselves that is under stress right now and gives it relief through music. Emotional expression is one of music’s greatest powers and 7DD9 harnesses it on this EP.