Boring, short and unprofessional album reviews. Who even wants to read these?

  • bandithedoge

    MINI ALBUM REVIEW: Crystal Mad - Exposed (Hardstyle, 2019 - Nightbreed)

    Crystal Mad - Exposed
    folder.png, Spotify, YouTube (can't find a playlist)

    Well hello there. This is the follow-up to my latest review of Crystal Mad’s debut album, Whilst We’re Young. Today we’re taking a look at Matthew’s latest 6-tracker named Exposed. I was pretty hyped for this one. Not as much as Contagion (mostly because Contagion was constantly being shoved up my ass by SZP, Dirty Workz and Q-Dance) but at least Crystal Mad didn’t disappoint. Yeah, you heard me. Still underrated as hell, Exposed is better. Special thanks to Crystal Mad for positive feedback on my WWY review and somehow not getting (crystal?) mad at that annoying guy (me). This review was supposed to be written much earlier but my headphones failed me yet again (fourth time in the span of a goddamn year!) and I had to wait 2 weeks for them to come back from warranty service. At least I got very familiar with the album. Anyway, let’s finally get into the review.

    Cover art
    After the amazing cover art of WWY, I’m left somewhat disappointed. This time we see a generic press photo of Matthew slapped on a tiled black background with the usual names and logos. Thankfully, this is the only part that doesn’t really feel that good, since musically, this is the good melodic raw we all expected.

    1. Next Generation Style - Are you ready? I wasn’t. The track features a psystyle mid-intro. I think calling it Next Generation Style is pretty accurate since, like it or not, psystyle is still here and it doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. Oh, and there’s a mandatory “This is hardstyle, bitch, you best remember the name”. Speaking of lyrics, they’re as generic as hardstyle standards get, basically boiling down to “yo, this is hardstyle, this is what hardstyle is, hardstyle is the revolution or something, did I mention you’re listening to hardstyle?”. I find that oddly charming. The melody is nice but doesn’t really stand out. The kicks kinda remind me of Sub Sonik but less heavy.
    2. Hypnotized - If someone told me this is a MYST collab (pleeeeeeeease make it happen), I would believe them. Not that Matthew is copying Eugen, it’s that the structure and melody don't really feel Crystal Mad. The intro jumps straight into chilly female vocals. These are the vocals that fit melodic raw perfectly. Very good choice. And then we get to the melody. It’s not very complex but really good. Probably the most melodic and closest to euphoric track here. The kicks are close to the previous track but have noticeably different punches.
    3. I Will Find You - The lyrics are the best on the album, hands down. Let’s talk about the melody. First time I heard it, it seemed familiar. So I did what everyone would do and… imported it into FL Studio and sped it up 2 times. What did I find out? Probably the least interesting thing ever. It’s oddly similar to Plata O Plomo by Gunz For Hire. Probably a coincidence but I just had to mention it anyway. The kick punches are more mid-heavy than the others.
    4. XTC - Freaks on E, that’s where we-- oh wait wrong track. Anyway, this, along with Settle The Score was released as a single before the album and I listened to it on repeat a lot. It has just so much energy and the kicks are some of the best I’ve heard this year. The melody makes everything even better. Easily the best on this album.
    5. Settle The Score - Second track released earlier as a single, this one I didn’t listen to as much as XTC. I didn’t like it at first but now I can say it’s damn solid. The mid-intro features a punchy-ish kick that reminds me of some Phuture Noize tracks (Drift Away, Circles And Squares for example) and gets followed by a short bridge and a sick anti-climax. I wish Crystal Mad made more anti-climaxes like this one. Obviously, the main climax isn’t any worse, I quite like the melody.
    6. Run These Streets - Stepping into the “criminal” theme started by WWY, that mid-intro is… decent? Obviously mandatory cringy “we’re so badass criminals” lyrics just make it feel even better. And I really dig the screech melody. It’s so good. Not much to say about this track. It’s good.
    Top 3
    1. XTC
    2. Hypnotized
    3. Settle The Score
    Worst track: Run These Streets

    I really like this album and think Crystal Mad really did his best. It’s equally as good as Whilst We’re Young and that should be enough for you to listen to it. Maybe the charts weren't absolutely smashed but that's kinda what we're used to.
    TheMrIron2 and Hmed like this.
  • bandithedoge

    MINI ALBUM REVIEW: Crystal Mad - Whilst We're Young (Hardstyle, 2018 - Nightbreed)


    Crystal Mad - Whilst We're Young, Spotify, YouTube

    ‘Sup. I was going to review Contagion but there was a problem. So, I was about to write the last sentence, right? Then I pressed something and the tab closed. I was writing directly in the blog post editor and, well, GBAtemp doesn’t have a confirmation prompt when you leave the page. I’m dumb, I know. That’s why I’m writing this in a proper text editor. Also, u/Album_Dude already reviewed Contagion. He had pretty much the same opinions as mine (except for the super overrated Darkest Hour) and it’s written much more professionally. I absolutely don’t want to write that again since it’s one of the most difficult albums for me. But here we are. In hype of Crystal Mad’s new album releasing on Friday, I’ll review his latest one as a warm-up.

    Whilst We’re Young was released in early 2018 on Nightbreed. It contains 4 solo tracks and 3 collabs. The tracks belong to the melodic raw subgenre of hardstyle. In my opinion, the album is terribly underrated. Crystal Mad aims for quality over quantity. We get 7 absolute masterpieces instead of 30 rushed and lazy attempts at low-effort bangers. This is why I prefer smaller albums over huge ones. They are essentially the best the artist has to offer and the quality is much more consistent.

    Cover art
    The cover art obviously meets the Nightbreed standards. It’s no Alchemy of course, but it’s still something I’d like to have as a poster. It shows a 5-part crystal on a grid background, with subtle label branding. Everything is kept simple. The blue-on-black color scheme is just perfect for this kind of aesthetic. Hits all the right spots for me, definitely one of my personal favorites last year.

    1. Higher (w/ Kutski) - This one pretty much came out of nowhere. Kutski is probably the last person you’d expect a raw collab with. He’s mostly a DJ, not a producer. Anyway, this track sets you in the mood for the rest of the album. The mid-intro features an experimental, punchy kick which later goes full-on rawstyle which Nightbreed is known for. After a downtempo bridge section, the melody is fully revealed. The screechy lead sound fits perfectly with the simple structure of the melody. Although I seriously can’t spot Kutski anywhere, this is a great album opener.
    2. Louder - The second track on the album starts with great vocals, followed by a melody similar to Higher. Overall, it feels like a sequel to the previous track.
    3. Whilst We’re Young - For some strange reason, the mid-intro of the title track of this album reminds me of Ran-D. That means a polished kick and various screeches. The vocals are great to sing along and the lyrics are a mix of “you only live once” and “keep fighting no matter what”. And guess what? It doesn’t feel forced at all! The melody is a bit more complex than the earlier two and really fits into the theme set by the lyrics.
    4. Number One Gangstaz (w/ Endymion) - The title and lyrics are so ridiculous that I genuinely had a laugh. Anyway, this might be the most aggressive track on the album and this is made by both the kicks and a simple, hard melody. Might be the punchiest kick here as well.
    5. Drug To Me - The track starts pretty smoothly with pads, a piano melody and chilly vocals. The build-up is very satisfying. The melody follows the vocals pretty closely and gets backed by a great kick.
    6. Killers and Drug Dealers - Another pair of ridiculous lyrics and title. But no worries, everything else here is alright. I really like the kick, but the simple screech melody might be too simple to me. The climax is actually an upgraded version of the mid-intro and the second climax is basically climax 1 but twisted. Generally this track is just a little bit below the others.
    7. How You Feel (w/ Destructive Tendencies) - I admit, I’m not really a fan of DT, but this track is very good. The mid-intro features a tweaked vocal chop on every beat which feels just great. Then we get to the least melodic climax of this album, but the second part of it introduces a simple melody with short notes that fits perfectly to the rest of the track.
    Top 3
    1. Higher (w/ Kutski)
    2. How You Feel (w/ Destructive Tendencies)
    3. Whilst We’re Young
    Worst track: Killers and Drug Dealers

    This is probably one of the best melodic raw albums ever released, yet the artist and the album are just so underrated. Honestly, I’m hyped enough for the Friday release and I’ll probably review it once it comes out. That said, I really want to see Crystal Mad absolutely smash the charts this year.
    Hmed likes this.
  • bandithedoge

    DOUBLE ALBUM REVIEW: MYST - Prophecy (Hardstyle, 2017 - Nightbreed) / MYST - Alchemy (Hardstyle, 2018 - Nightbreed)

    Hello again! In today's album review, we have a special treat - 2 albums, specifically Prophecy and Alchemy by MYST (Eugen Boorsma) They're both mini albums/EPs, containing 6 tracks each. And, let me tell you, these 12 tracks are absolute masterpieces of the melodic raw (sometimes referred to as rawphoric) subgenre of hardstyle. Wait a moment ya cuck, what the hell is melodic raw? For those who aren't really into hardstyle, let me explain. Hardstyle has a bunch of subgenres, the main ones being euphoric and raw. Euphoric hardstyle is more melodic and emotional, while raw hardstyle (rawstyle) is less melodic and much harder (think of it like a sweetspot between hardstyle and hardcore). Melodic raw is a combination of these two, with euphoric melodies and raw kicks. That's the simplest explanation. MYST is one of the most popular melodic raw artists and probably my favorite hardstyle artist right now. That being said, let's get to the albums.

    for a more professional overview, check out u/Album_Dude's reviews of Prophecy and Alchemy

    The first album is MYST's 2017 masterpiece by the name of Prophecy. You can listen to it on YouTube, Spotify or buy it.

    Cover art - The cover here is literally nothing special. Eugen's generic ass press photo slapped on a pretty cool background + the 3 symbols. What are they? MYST makes mainly 3 styles of raw/melodic raw (yes, he broke down a subgenre of a subgenre to 3). Honestly, I have no idea which is which, but you'll know the 3 when you listen. The cover is okay, but doesn't really stand out. He can do much better than this (as you'll see in a few minutes).

    1. Before You Go - M-M-MAKE HISTORY BEFORE YOU GO! This track is absolute fire. Starting with the mid-intro, the kick is hard and represents what MYST can do with raw. The break comes with a great atmosphere and the melody begins. It's one of MYST's best melodies and words can't really describe it. You just have to listen to it yourself. The track features 2 samples - Made You Look by Nas and Life Is What You Make It by Nas & DMX (he really likes sampling rap, as you'll see later). I'd say that Eugen really made history with this one, except he thankfully didn't go anywhere yet
    2. Young And Reckless - Sampling Don't Give A Fuck by Blaq Poet, this takes us to the harder side of MYST's raw. The mid-intro alone sets you to the track's mood with really good screeches and a typical MYST kick. After the break, we get the first glimpse at the melody which is almost as good as Before You Go. When the climax finally hits, it really makes you wanna dance. One of the best tracks on the albums.
    3. Creatures Of Destruction - After the beautiful Before You Go and Young And Reckless, this track kinda feels like a disappointment. That doesn't mean it's bad, it's just not as good. The kick is what you'd expect from MYST, except with a very simple melody that almost feels too simple for this kind of artist. Unfortunately, I couldn't find the sample.
    4. Hear My Breath (feat. Snowflake) - Okay, honestly, I have no idea who Snowflake is. The track starts with spoken female vocals and a piano intro. After that, the melody kicks in and, boy, it's equally as good as Before You Go. The kick sounds almost exactly as BYG too, because this track is the sequel/companion to it. That's pretty much all I can say about it.
    5. The Greatest Nightmare - review it. No, seriously. Okay, let's try. The intro melody is very good and the melody is decent. Kick is, again, very MYSTypical (ha!). Sample is from Soulcalibur 2. Not much to say about this one either.
    6. Cut Your Nuts - The moment I heard the good ol' "m'kay", I chuckled. This is the second time MYST sampled South Park, the first one being 2016's Man Bear Pig. The kick is on the aggressive side with a lot of bitcrush. The screeches aren't as important here. But in the second drop, they're awesome. There's also the needless triplet drop being needless because it sucks.
    Top 3:
    1. Before You Go
    2. Young And Reckless / Hear My Breath (feat. Snowflake)
    3. Cut Your Nuts
    Worst track: Creatures Of Destruction

    This is MYST's second album from 2018. Listen to it on YouTube, Spotify or buy it.

    Cover art - Okay, this one is quite a piece of art. It used to be my wallpaper. Why? It's absolutely beautiful, with no generic press photos or heavy branding. There's a big, futuristic city colliding with some rocks, with super shiny and reflective floor. A huge hand (statue?) holds a ball with the artist name. Under the hand, we see the same 3 symbols from Prophecy. The 5 people might reference 5 MYST tracks on the album (there are 6 tracks but one is a remix). They probably don't, but overanalysis is fun. Either way, this is great poster and wallpaper material.

    1. From The Ashes - Mate, 3 different vocal samples! I-Gittin by Blaq Poet (oh shet he cut out the dreaded n-word!!!1111!!1!1!), Lose Yourself by Eminem and Love Sensation by Loleatta Holloway. With this amount of sampling, you'd expect the track to be pretty damn groundbreaking and, fortunately, it is. The melody is executed perfectly, while the kick is pretty experimental with a lot of bitcrush. Not everybody likes this, but I sure as hell love it.
    2. The Wickedest One - The melody is simply a dream come true. Hands down one of the best melodies of 2018, with a great kick to back it up too. Sample is The Grand Leveler by Apathy.
    3. Opinions Of Me - Sample is Bulletproof by Attila and, lemme tell you, I really love this track. Weakest on the album? Hell no, it's one of the best ones by Eugen ever. It's an absolute dancefloor smasher with a really aggressive kick and a simple but fitting melody.
    4. Find My Way - The sampled vocals from Where Are You Going? by Katdrop fit the theme of this track perfectly since it's the most melodic on the album. It really feels like a continuation of Before You Go and, well, that's all you need to know.
    5. Echo (feat. Sound Rush, Elyn) - I never expected Sound Rush to collab with a raw artist and, well, the only Sound Rush you can hear is like 1/4 of the melody. If this was released without SR, nobody would complain. But still, it's a really solid track with a great melody and perfect vocals by Elyn.
    6. Before You Go (High Voltage Remix) - Can the BYG monster be remixed and not ruined? Let's see. This remix by HV starts with a long ass intro featuring a sample from Prison Break. The mid-intro kicks in with this really experimental kick but it gets back to the trusted and safe raw territory. The main climax is breathtaking, featuring an almost-melody (?) and the main, unchanged melody from the original. Honestly, it's just as good, if not better than the original, mostly because of the way cleaner and more professional mixing and mastering
    Top 3:
    1. The Wickedest One / Before You Go (High Voltage Remix)
    2. Find My Way
    3. Opinions Of Me / From The Ashes
    Worst track: None. Like, seriously, I just can't pick one. They're all too good.


    So, which one should you listen to? Both. No, really, go and listen to both. If you're a fan of MYST's melodic raw style, you'll love it. If you're not, you'll love it too. Which one is better? Your opinion may be different, but for me it's obvious - Alchemy is way better with cleaner mixes and more consistency. But, seriously, listen to both.
    Hmed, VinsCool and TheMrIron2 like this.
  • bandithedoge

    Album Review: Zyce - TIME (Psytrance, 2019 - TesseracTstudio)

    Buy the album, stream it on Spotify or listen to the official album mix

    Yo, got more psytrance for y'all.

    TIME is the latest album by progressive trance legend Zyce. This one required me to spend more time (pun intended) to learn to love it, and now I can surely say it's probably the best psytrance album of this year, and January isn't even over yet. But does it live up to the standard set by The Fifth Dimension, Zyce's previous album? Look at how the time flows! I was pretty hyped for this album and when it released, I kinda forgot about it. Then I listened to it once and said "screw it, I'ma go back to The Fifth Dimension". And now, Zyce himself told me to give it another shot (through a series of puns obviously) and I did. Therefore, here I'm writing my totally not biased thoughts.

    Cover art - Can we have a minute to appreciate how detailed and a e s t h e t h i c c this thing is? Zyce ain't no joker when it comes to cover art, which we already saw in The Fifth Dimension. In fact, both of these were featured on my super creative and original cover art gallery on my Instagram (uh oh that smooth advertisement). Let's analyze this piece of art. The background is somewhere in space. The big circle is a solar system shaped like a clock. The system has 12 planets - each one representing a track in the album. The clock's face has incredible detail. Just like The Fifth Dimension, each track is a symbol somehow related to the track's name. But instead of the track names in a weird font, here we have the... BPM? I guess it could be useful for DJs, since they can just look at the cover to find the BPM, except only 5 are readable. It's a nice touch and I like it.

    1. Nightfall - A nice, chilly introduction and warmup before the psytrance goodness waiting for us. Think like a follow-up to Sweet Ocean from The Fifth Dimension. Obviously, it's sampling the ticking sound of a clock, in case you expected something else from the intro to an album called TIME with a galaxy-sized clock on the cover. Whatever, let's move on.
    2. Desert Storm - Forget the introduction, this is simply some of the best straight up psychedelic porn. The ambiences in the beginning are getting you in the mood, and the bassline takes you on an express ride to that world. Of course, the light guitars and pan-shifting percussions accompany you on your journey, which gets wrapped up in the snap and the later hihats and claps, and I'm getting way too poetic here. Then we have the bridge section, with that lead following the melody of the guitars. And it goes back to the psychedelic porn from earlier.
    3. Cosmic Order (ft. Waio) - I thought it said "penis". It was "Venus". The ambience in the beginning of this track is basically the previous one on steroids. And dammit, Zyce, you just had to sample the Facebook Messenger notification sound. As he told me, this sample closely represents today's sounds of Earth (notice that it comes after the word "Earth"). Pretty close attention to detail. This track is more plesure for the ear, mainly because of the eargasmic ambiences (though not as eargasmic as Veni Vidi Vici, but that ain't no surprise) and that great bass. I could talk all day about this ambience, but I really can't right now.
    4. Strawberry Moon - I'm telling you, this might just be the best solo track on the album. Obviously we get the classic ambiences that make Zyce's music so good, but the bass that comes is pretty interesting. Honestly, I didn't expect this kind of pattern to work so well, but Zyce nailed it. Obviously, the drop ambience is just so pleasant to the ear, but that synth lead is pretty cool too.
    5. I See You (ft. Liquid Soul, Solar Kid) - I could listen to that duo all the time. After what they pulled off with The Protocol, my expectations for this one were pretty high. Thankfully, they managed to deliver, and this is even better than The Protocol. I'm keeping silent about the ambiences because by now you're probably bored of how much I praise them, but this bass is just pure psytrance goodness. The bridge section has that good uplifting buildup, which drops into a classic overly punchy kick.
    6. Slava (In Dub To Trance) - Oh shit that cinematic intro. I love it. And then it's... reggae? Whatcha been smoking Zyce? Thankfully that lenghty intro is saved by a wonderful psytrance bass, albeit with less ambience... Ah, no, it's back, we're safe.
    7. Anahata - Uh, yeah, that beep in the beginning? Pretty annoying, wouldn't listen to it in a car, but whatever. We get another juicy kick and bass with that weird ambience. It's good overall.
    8. The Music Box Of Wonders - That music box sample in the beginning is... confusing? Rhythmically confusing, that is. And the drop, honestly, I don't know what to think about. It's got that signature ambience, but the offbeat bass isn't really that great. If you read my review (uh OH that smooth advertisement) of Vini Vici's Future Classics, you know what I think about offbeats in psytrance. It has to be executed perfectly to work fine. Thankfully, we break down into a more standard pattern which saves the track. Waaaaait, that ambience... Didn't a sample from Witchcraft get reused here? Sounds like it, fortunately it's a good pick since that sound is really good. Might not be the same though, my ears are probably tired because of my long GPF listening sessions.
    9. Interstellar (ft. Sonic Species) - OH JESUS that bass, I love it. Even if you don't care about the whole album, you just have to listen to this track for the bass alone. The ambience really reminds me of Infected Mushroom, though that's a good thing, since they nail ambiences too (well, between Vicious Delicious and Head of NASA and the 2 Amish Boys). The voice sample is from... somewhere. I suck at identifying samples other than "I AM THA ONE WHO KNOCKS!!!1111!!!1!1!!!11" so I can't help much here.
    10. Orion (ft. Static Movement) - Probably not the cat, but I like the bass. Not as much as the cat, but what did you expect. The ambience is pretty nice too, with a chilly synth. The bridge section manages to put you to sleep and wake you up again, but does it smoothly. Near the end, we're back at the IM ambience, but it's good again.
    11. Planet of Zycon (ft. Ticon) - Oh geez that track name, pretty creative. Yeah, I guess we have a new DJ ship, this time it's in psytrance. The track starts with more ambience and the bass is really good again. But wait... OH SHIT THAT'S A 303! I just love how the 303 can work in every genre, especially psytrance. Such a trippy and classic sound. I love this track because of this 303, which only lasts like a few seconds. But I suppose the arps are nice as well.
    12. Sunlight - Got an intro? Well, got an outro as well. This one closes the album really well and blends in with Nightfall, so, in theory, this should make the album great repeat material.
    Top 3:
    1. Strawberry Moon
    2. Orion (ft. Static Movement)
    3. Planet of Zycon (ft. Ticon)
    Honorable mention: I See You (ft. Liquid Soul, Solar Kid)

    Jesus heck damn we're at the end. This is the biggest review I've ever written and I'm tired and going to sleep good night 7fmrt6uhdl6t587ou9oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo56y

    (that wasn't my best joke ever)
  • bandithedoge

    Album Review: The Satan - Hell On Earth (Hardcore, 2018 - PRSPCT Recordings)

    Buy the album, stream it on Spotify or listen to the preview mix

    Hey, shitty album reviewer here. Remember what I said about reviewing something normal? Well, forget it. Today we're taking a look at the Dark Lord's first LP - the hardcore masterpiece which is Hell On Earth. Let's jump into the review, shall we?

    Cover art - This one is... uhh... satanic? On a stained paper background, we see the Dark Lord himself using the Earth as a puppet with an inverted cross. Let me tell you, this sets a good atmosphere. Also, I don't know why the artist and album names are Cyrillic-like, but whatever.

    1. Bass Feeling - Ahh, the good ol' satanic Hardcore-DnB mix. If this was a standalone track, I wouldn't love it so much, but it makes more sense in the album context as a good intro. Think Intro from LFO's Frequencies, except hardcore.
    2. Bombs - Skipping all the bullshit, we get to the rave-smashing hardcore part of music. The kick is always good, but this one is one of the seriously better ones. Of course, there are the iconic high-pitched, bitcrushed kick punches already seen in Bass Feeling, except nailed even better.
    3. You Are Sick - Short intro and a more aggressive kick make up for a go-crazy hit, except, uhh, I dunno, it could be a little faster? I honestly don't like it as much as the others, but I see the appeal.
    4. Cyborg - Now this is something I'd be more likely to rave my ass off to. The kick itself is something I've never heard before, but it's great. But it's the kick pattern and screeches that make this track so good for, say, hakken.
    5. Our Hell (ft. Thrasher) - Fasten your seatbelts, this is the big one. It's the hyped collab with Thrasher, a long-time PRSPCT legend. Another genre mix-up, this time with 2 Satan-worshipping (lol) genres - hardcore and metal. With Satan on the guitars and vocals, this is one hecc of a hardcore track. And then we get to the kick, which is pure eargasm.
    6. Black List - Another pretty experimental kick by Satan, and yet again he nailed it. Not only he nailed the kick, but the weird-ass effects make it even better. Love this.
    7. Enemy - Ignore the chilly-ish intro, this is bait. The way Satan handles atmospheres is great, because this track is fucking BRUTAL. You don't even know how difficult it is for me to keep my head still while writing this. The kick is, once again, pure eargasm, with the wide tail and high punches. Play this on any party, the crowd will go wild and eventually die from over-intense body movements. I'm not kidding, I almost made a hole in the wall. If you haven't noticed already, this is one of my favorite hardcore tracks ever.
    8. Kicks Up - This track was featured on Thunderdome Die Hard III, and it was a damn good bet. I wish this was invented on Thunderdome 20 years ago, because this track is wild, albeit less brutal than Enemy. Still good, especially the later kick.
    9. My Game - This is one of the 2 CD and digital bonus tracks and let me tell you, while this is far from perfect, it's a damn good party starter. The kick is a bit experimental and again pretty good. Wouldn't put it on repeat, though.
    10. I Am The Darkness - The second bonus track. I don't like it at all. Sure, it's a nice bonus, but it just straight up doesn't fit, and that's all I can say about it.
    Top 3:
    1. Enemy
    2. Bombs
    3. Our Hell (ft. Thrasher)
    Worst track: I Am The Darkness

    I really don't want to review normal stuff.
  • bandithedoge

    Album Review: Vini Vici - Future Classics (Psytrance, 2015)

    Listen to the album here or just stream it on Spotify lol

    Good morning there. After the amazing response on my first review (one whole like!), I feel I should do another one. Since nobody gives a shit about hardstyle, I'm going to cover another genre nobody gives 2 shits about - psytrance. Vini Vici's debut album is full of psytrance (future) classics, and the whole package is a (future) classic itself. I believe it's the future now (2019 is more than 2015, right?) and we can legitimately call these future classics actual classics. Or maybe modern classics? I'm getting lost and I have no idea what to write, so let's just get to the review.

    Cover art - I'd really love this to be a poster in my room. It appears very detailed, but on closer inspection you can notice it's split mostly into 3 elements - the planets, the astronaut and the megaphone (?). This is what I really like about this cover - it manages to look both detailed and minimalistic. Plus it perfectly fits into the tribally-trippy atmosphere of the album. And the texture over the thing makes it look even more retro.

    EDIT: I looked closer and realized the planets are a vinyl record. I literally just noticed it. I suck at cover art analysis.

    Sooooo let's take a look at the tracks.
    1. The Tribe - This is one hecc of a classic. The tribal samples are perfect for the overall tribal feel of the tracks (triplets, fucc yah), which might be the reason this track feels really Vini Vici. Honestly, I think triplets are pretty overrated here. I like the last 4/4 drop the most out of all the ones here. It feels kinda like a prequel to Great Spirit (which is great by itself), but The Tribe might be a little bit better in my opinion.
    2. Namaste - I'm not into yoga, but for some reason I love playing THUG Pro listening to this. It tries to keep itself less complicated which works very well for this genre. Overall good, but I wouldn't put it on repeat.
    3. Alteza - I love the singing-ish (?) samples on this track and spoken vocals over. The bass is very nice and wide, accompanied by the effects and percussion slowly getting introduced. One of the more memorable tracks.
    4. Anything & Everything - Oh, look, an offbeat bass. I'm not really a fan, but the effects once again come to the rescue. Psytrance isn't all about the bass - just like hardstyle isn't all about the kick. The later part gets the bass better. It's good, but far from perfect. At least the effects are fun to listen to. It's my least favorite track from the whole album. Don't get me wrong, I don't hate it. I think there's not a single "bad" track on here, I just find this one the least impactful. That last drop though - I dig.
    5. Talking with U.F.O's - It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it could only be one thing, a UFO! The track starts with some UFO report samples and goes into a trippy alien melody before transitioning into a great drop. This bass is just damn good. Then we get into another offbeat bass, but this time they really did it right with the effects. The same samples from the beginning play over the breakdown. Offbeat bass again with a nice beat. This is the offbeat psytrance bass done right and I love it. The track ends with one last drop and they nailed it.
    6. Liquid Soul & Zyce - We Come In Peace (Vini Vici Remix) - I love both Liquid Soul and Zyce and I'm grateful that this remix exists because I didn't really like the original. Thankfully VV saved it and fixed everything wrong with it by giving it the VV feel. Works really well.
    7. It's Here - When a colorblind person goes to a church and takes acid... nah, forget that. We got another collab - this time with Major7. The atmosphere feels a bit darker than the rest of the album, but it works out really well. The effects are less complex which is no issue at all. Then we get to the melodic effect thingy and it's damn awesome. And more VV effects. I'm in love.
    8. Veni Vidi Vici - An even darker and cinematic atmosphere is what makes this track my favorite psytrance track that has ever hit the planet. I mean, they made a riser from a cinematic hit sample! Buildup, buildup, buildup... OOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH MY GOOOOOD THESE EFFECTS. As you can guess, I'm experiencing a legit eargasm. The bass is good - not that eargasmic but it's supported by the awesome atmosphere which makes it actually sound really great. Break, buildup..... JESUS CHRIST I LOVE THIS EFFECT. The variation in the second climax is even better than the first one. I'll leave the next half of the track without that much detail. This is something you really have to experience yourself.
    9. Ticon - Hops of Hades (Vini Vici Remix) - Yet again, it's very good that this remix is here, since the original is pretty underwhelming for me. This is one of the best basses I've heard, I'm not kidding. Effects are obviously top-notch. Nothing to say really, this is just more VV goodness.
    And now, we're at the end of this review. The most important question - is the album worth it? Unsurprisingly, yes, it is. If you haven't experienced the pleasure listening to this album - go listen to it and come back, you're wasting your life. And now the most difficult thing for me - the top 3. All tracks are top notch and worth a listen. It's impossible for me to pick only 3, but here we go:
    1. Veni Vidi Vici
    2. Talking with U.F.O's
    3. It's Here/Ticon - Hops of Hades (Vini Vici Remix) (I really can't choose one)
    Honorable mention: Alteza
    Worst track: Anything & Everything (shut up, it's still good)

    I hope you enjoyed this highly professionally written (u mom g*y) review. Stay tuned, maybe I'll review something normal next time.
  • bandithedoge

    Album Review: Wasted Penguinz - Elysian (Hardstyle, 2018)

    Buy the album

    Hey there friends! After reading album reviews on r/hardstyle and my dude TheMrIron2's review of Rick Astley's "Beautiful Life", I decided to write some reviews as well. Since hardstyle has a special place in my heart and WP are the kings of euphoric hardstyle, we'll start with "Elysian", the latest album by the legendary duo.

    yeah I know nobody gives a shit about hardstyle but I'll do it anyway lol

    Let's start with the artwork. It's a nice glitch photo of Pontuz and Jon. Honestly, they look much better than they used to, but that's not the point. The artwork itself isn't very complicated, with the duo in the front with a forest blended into them, the artist name, album name and the logo of... Dirty Workz? The listings say the album was released on either Dirty Workz or Toff Music, but I'll assume it's Dirty Workz because it's on the cover art and WP aren't even on Toff Music anymore. In short, yeah, the cover art is cool and I like it.

    So let's jump into the tracklist.

    The album starts with "Afterlife", a smooth piano intro. It gives the vibe of a long journey that's over. They're here and there's no more roadblocks. Nice introduction, although I always skip it.

    "Evergreen" - Very hyped, but was it worth it? It starts with a long intro which could signal it's some pop shit with female vocals. The vocals are really nice. They suddenly get distorted and the melody starts playing. Let me tell you, this is is one of the best melodies WP could ever come up with. Then we get to the climax of the track - a weird melodic raw drop. Don't get me wrong, I love it for the melody alone. In my opinion, melody is key. You can have a shitty kick but you can save it with a great melody, but you can't save a bad melody with a good kick. I like the raw kick here, but it feels kinda out of place. Overall great track, great repeat material.

    "OMG! That Bass" - Honestly, I don't like it. Remember what I said about saving a shitty kick with a good melody? Forget about it for a second. This is another raw kick, but it doesn't have that power of the one in "Evergreen". The raw-ish approach breaks it for me. And honestly, the melody isn't that great.

    "Wide Awake" - Once again, some smooth vocals and a nice build up. The melody - awesome. And the drop? OH MY GOD I LOVE IT. They finally nailed the kick, which is perfect. Amazing track.

    "A Lifetime Of Memories" - We get a nice, smooth intro with some strings and glitchy spoken male vocals. Then it breaks into the buildup. Yet another beautiful melody, although with a different approach. Dreamy supersaw chords coupled with a pluck melody + a really good kick.

    "Simulation" - The nice, atmospheric arp with strings. Aaaand the drop. Honestly, I'm getting mixed feelings. The kick is good and the melody is good too, although the simplistic approach doesn't really work here. Other than that, it's just decent.

    "Escape" - Plucky chords, I like that. Then the drop. The kick simply doesn't work. I get the idea - a darker melodic raw, but the execution is... meh. Second drop gets it a bit better though. Pretty average.

    "Not That Easy" - WP trying to experiment once again, this time with psystyle. I like the idea of psystyle, but this track doesn't really feel that powerful. The second drop is melodic raw again! I don't hate it, but it's pretty forgetable.

    "Nowhere To Be Found" - Oh finally something I would put on repeat. The melody is simple but good at that - another supersaw + pluck combo. And the kick is really good. Vocals? Decent, nothing more.

    "Stranger Things" - Melody right off the bat, and it works. Pretty oldschool, which I dig. Then we get to the... uh, whatever this is. A reverse bass kick with a raw punch? Never heard something like this but it's pretty okay, albeit the reverse bass lacks the power of some oldschool reverse bass kicks. And yet another melodic raw drop, but this time they nailed it. I really dig this style and would love to see more of this.

    "Melancholia (Elysian Edit)" - Now, the original "Melancholia" from 2011 is one of my favorite hardstyle tracks ever and the single best track by WP in my opinion. If they screwed it up, I'd be super mad. Thankfully, it's not bad. Another reverse bass kick but it has that power. Sounds very early-2010s and has that raw punch. I like this. Then we get to the triplet climax. Honestly, this melody could have as well been used by Wildstylez and nobody would notice anything. And Wildstylez = good. Except, after the buildup we get more raw. The structure of the track reminds me of D-Sturb for some reason. And we get to the final drop which is really good. This is how you do melodic raw.

    "Losing Myself" - A simple, relaxing beat that makes for a great outro. I like it.

    Now, is the album worth it? I'd say mostly hell yeah. Go listen to it, it's an amazing album, even with some bumps in the road.

    Top 3:
    • Wide Awake
    • A Lifetime Of Memories
    • Evergreen
    Honorable mention: Melancholia (Elysian Edit)

    Thanks for reading my wall of text!
    TheMrIron2 likes this.