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Wake the Dead: Night Machine's Themes of the Dead - Music Review

 Original Synth

Night Machine: Themes of the Dead

Maybe it is the choral voices that makes the chill of the introductory track, “Themata Ex Mortuis” so effective or perhaps it is the slow burn of “Old Dust (The Crypt)” as an environment is unleashed for our imagination to prowl upon.  Whatever it is, there is something ghoulishly festive in the 11 tracks that make up Night Machine’s Themes of the Dead.

"Brimming with incredible sounds that Night Machine has layered each and every track with, Themes of the Dead won’t leave your skull anytime soon."


Indeed, it is a dead man’s party when you just press play. Nashville might never be the same place in my mind again thanks to this twisted concoction from Tennessee native, Night Machine.

The truth is that Themes of the Dead is all about old-school horror theatrics.  Taking his cue from John Carpenter and the works of Goblin, Night Machine – a one man producer of synthwave sounds – offers fans of horror jingles, especially those from the VHS era, something NEW to sink their teeth into.  He even has a song for the occasion: “Countess (The Vampire)”, complete with its percolating synth attack.

Themes of the Dead is a combined attack of melodies, chiptune blips, and hard-hitting drum fills. One listen to “Camp Killer (The Maniac)” and you will see that, truly, there is no choice but to run and run again TOWARD these spooky sounds.  And, as this release lands the day AFTER Halloween, I can think of no better way to shake off that post-pumpkin beer hangover than with the haunted melodies creeping about here.

Night Machine: Themes of the Dead

Each song, whether it be “Black Magick (The Witch)” or “Menace (The Stalker)”, has a subject with which the music surrounds.  Pick a gothic or urban figure of traumatized terror and you will find its theme.  Maybe you already see the trend here?  With titles like “Menace (The Stalker)” and “Hookhand (The Hitcher)”, there is a promise made to deliver epic songs and Night Machine, working to combine genres with glittery loops and blood-dripping beats, delivers on that.

Whether about stalkers or vampires, the subjects provide the subject and Night Machine provides the atmosphere here. Working with a variety of synthesizers and beat pads, he gives us the score that plays behind each of their tales of terror.  You want the scenery for rotting corpses to spring forth from?  Check out “Dead Party (Zombie$) and prepare for the field to clear of its fog before you even think of dancing your ass off.

Night Machine: Themes of the Dead

Things don’t cool off for long either.  The intensity of “Chapel District (The Ripper)” is never completely hollowed out by ANY time away from it.  EVER.  If there is one memorable moment from this release of madhouse melodies, it is this fierce track as the blending of sonic atmospheres separates into a head-nodding stroll through the shadows of the night.

The best is, as it often is, saved for last.  The electro-bounce of “Pods (The Invasion)” will turn you manic, endlessly looking over your shoulder, and the summoning of "Old Scratch (The Devil)" will leave your ass essentially deaf and stranded in a ditch somewhere alongside Roaring Folk Motor Trail. Doubt me?  Fasten your headphones and close your eyes, son.

Brimming with incredible sounds that Night Machine has layered each and every track with, Themes of the Dead won’t leave your skull anytime soon. . .

. . .because these block rockin’ beats are going to WAKE THE DEAD!

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