Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of reviewing the debut EP Done With You from darkwavers, Confrontational. At that time, I described my musical introduction to the band as “vibrant, full, and undoubtedly addictive.” I continue to stand by that opinion, but upon hearing the forthcoming full-length LP, A Dance Of Shadows, I now have the daunting task of attempting to convince you that there are even more marvelous sounds on the way.
As Done With You echoed to a close A Dance Of Shadows reached out and took the mantle, moving forward with hammering beats, atmospheric turbulence, and synthetic corkscrew melodies. At least, that’s the opening track, “Shadowdancing,” which envelopes the listener immediately and draws them into their very own 80s-inspired movie soundtrack. But this time mastermind Massimo Usai is not alone, being joined on several tracks by some very remarkable and respected musicians. On the burgeoning “Like A Curse” we are treated to a searing guitar solo by Monte Pittman (Madonna, ex-Prong), which tips the song over the emotional breaking point and takes it to new heights. Sadus vocalist, Darren Travis, lends his voiceover skills to “Script,” which honestly had me convinced it was an excerpt of some David Lynch movie before noticing the track credits. Finally, Cody Carpenter (Ludrium), son of famed John Carpenter, joins Max on the tune “To Live And Die On The Air,” taking lead synth duties that provide a lively, retro video game-esque overtone to the darkened layers below.
When I make references to movie and video game soundtracks it is quite a compliment. The songs of good movie soundtracks flow together as seamlessly as the air, providing emotion, suspense, and levity to the scene long before an actor even makes it on the screen. It can fluctuate through dynamics with ease and is far from a flat, monotonous line. Classic video game soundtracks are much the same, full of captivating melodies and memorable moments that recur to us long after we’ve grown. Confrontational is not only aware of this, but it embodies it. With the sounds of this release in my ears, I feel as though I am passing from one scene to the next, playing out some unknown part which is manifesting before my very eyes. This is a release to listen to from start to finish, but I can already imagine that upbeat tracks like “Shadowdancing” and “You’ll Be Mine” could find a welcome home in a dance club as standalone tunes. A Dance Of Shadows is no ordinary album and Confrontational is no ordinary band. It’s a violent scream, a staggering silence, and a smirk upon your lips. It is completely infectious.