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Synth Album Review: "Sacred Order" by Terrordyne

Karl is a longtime freelancer who's passionate about music, art, and writing.

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Overall Impressions

Terrordyne’s Sacred Order is a horrifying voyage through the tale of a man with a damaged, paranoid mind which may hold disturbing prophetic truths about a future dystopia. Terrordyne creates hellish synthscapes that surge with shadowy power and fill the listener with unsettling feelings of dread and tension through his music.

One of the most powerful aspects of Sacred Order is the skillful evocation of atmosphere that Terrordyne indulges in. He weaves together sepulchral, ragged bass with synths that are tense and horrified sounding and shapes the album’s sound with massive drumbeats. I also enjoy the moments in which he uses delicate synths carrying gentle sounds to create intense contrast with the shadowy miasma that cloaks the album.

Another strong factor in my enjoyment of Sacred Order is the melodic writing on the album. The melodies that emerge from the sea of seething darkness are often mournful or haunted sounding. The melodies leaven the rough, heavy power of the other musical elements to produce a certain sympathy for the suffering of the tortured soul whose story unfolds here.

There are many interlocking sonic elements on this album that might muddy the musical waters, but Terrordyne manages to avoid that happening. He is able to balance all of the different musical building blocks to weave a rich tapestry which allows each distinct sound to stand out while combining them into a cohesive whole.

My Favourite Tracks Analyzed

“Visions” sets the stage for what’s to come on the album. Creaking, harsh, crackling synths sweep in and wash over smoothly expanding, flowing synths that slide through the music. An elevated sound cries out over the harshness and roughness below it as a quick scraping sound moves in and fades.

Heavy, snarling synths slide downwards and mechanical sounds cut in and reverberations spread to open “Night Watch.” The bass weight shifts while heavy drums begin to throb and now KingOsiris’ rhyme cuts in, effectively adding to the music’s apocalyptic feeling.

The words speak of dystopia as the harsh grit of the music slices around the words and the nervous synths drift. Darkness cloaks the music and ominous mechanistic sounds twist and drop down through the track.

The narrator in this song speaks of having “one in the chamber, two for the savior” and “three for these fucks, I’m at war with my neighbor.” The shadows that have appeared for the narrator are what “made me a slayer” and he talks about how his blood thirst’s “iron taste came with the flavors.”

Our narrator talks about the people who wield power in society from their “towers of steel and concrete” as watching from “god’s reach.” He calls them “cold androids” who have poisonous tongues even as they “talk sweet.” There are “plots without rest for schemes we all dream.”

The narrator refers to himself as “a beacon” as he spreads light through “the fog of deception.” He says that he’ll “test if the pigs fly, if ya’ll get the message.” He exhorts people to stand their ground and “claim the future is yours.”

The people in power about whom the narrator is speaking have sick programming that “burns to the core.” He talks about how in a world “ever fractured” their lies become absorbed by people.

However our narrator talks about how the “cogs of revolution won’t grind to a halt.” Even if they “control all sunlight” people can still make plans to attack and “tear it down as we strike from the dark.”

“Hunted” begins as distant, twisting sounds vibrate in the open space of the track while a sharp-edged notes slip and tense, elevated synths intensify the thrumming musical tension in a wandering line.

The drums pound heavily while the melancholy melody flows above trumpeting synths moving in extended drifts. I enjoy the contrasting sadness in the medium-high, floating while the drum and bass weight pulses on into open space. Elevated synth cries out in a writhing line that has a surprisingly tender element to it.

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High synth soars above the shadows below it as the ominous voiceover is cut by sparkling arpeggios. Broad, glowing sonic blocks move as the drums throb hard. The synth wash adds a desolate feeling along with the aching emotion inherent in the melody. Sharp weight moves underneath and the track ends on gliding, soft synths fading into quiet.

Void-deep, rough-edged bass growls below a mournfully descending synth to open “Revenge.” Broken sounds twist through along with a dark voice as the hard-hitting, jumping drums and bass smack into the track.

The bass has a slightly stuttering, insistent throb as a high drift of sound and vocal whispers move in the background. The dark energy and heft of the rhythm is addictive to me. Brassy synths cry out as they carry bursts of sound that give off a sense of endangerment.

Tightly wound notes pulse in cutting lines through the reverent, drifting background. The drums’ jumping throb is joined by quick vocal bursts and rising, angular synths moving in a distorted line. The lead synth trumpets out its dynamic but dangerous melody over the guttural roughness and weight below it. The drums and bass have a leaping throb that continues to smash into the music before fading out on climbing, groaning sound.

“New Breed” commences with swelling, siren-like sound cries out as razor-edged synths form a clashing, slicing pattern over a smoother, round sonic flow. The contrast between the two sonic profiles creates a compelling balance of competing emotions. The siren screams while the raised, sharply shining synths are broken by guttural bass.

The medium-high synths tremble out a melody full of unsettling feelings while the powerful drums judder. A dark voice moves portentously and round, flashing synths play a tightly wound line over the growling grit and jumping drums. There’s a glassy sound to the drums as they tap in squirming lines while the bass snarls and the high sounds scream out.

A growl of miasmic, drifting bass is cut by flashes of worried-sounding, high synth to open “Ex Infernis.” A twirling, broken synth pulse and broad, glowing chords rise and flash out with harsh light while the massive drums throb. Shining, elevated synth carries a ghostly melody as the wide synth blocks move in slow waves.

The melody has an achingly haunted quality that captures me as it drifts above the throbbing beat and deep bass. The music floats into the wide open space around it as the lead synth cries out in nasal-sounding, medium high notes tinged with a feeling of abandonment. Thick, gritty bass sweeps in with echoing voices and the slightly stuttering lead synth carries the wandering melody before it fades out with bright synth bursts

“Sentinel” begins as metallic, bell-like sound echoes out into a shadowy atmosphere that is full of emptiness. An oscillating, rapidly pulsing synth line is underpinned by slamming drum power and surrounded by reverent sounds that flow delicately.

There’s a dynamic flow to the music that draws me in. The lead synth has a distorted, interwoven feeling as it carries a strange-feeling melody as it wriggles and gyrates over the angular bass and drum pulsation. Distorted sounds writhe and skitter in a broken line.

The slicing bass supports a brightly glowing, chiming synth that floats in before a high, twisting pattern of rapidly shifting synth notes arpeggiates through. A broken melodic line roves over the cosmic float and flow as elevated notes disappear into silence.

Shiny, chiming synths carry agitated notes over crypt-deep bass to open “Sacred Order.’ A threatening, evil voice speaks as the rapidly charging drums and sharp-edged bass slice along with an inchoate, vaguely human croaking sound.

The track has a limping, insistent beat that lacerates through a profusion of unsettling sounds that form a hellish cacophony. I enjoy the uncomfortable sensations that the music creates in me on this track. A vibrating, medium-low synth moves in active lines while the higher synths cascade and shift together.

A worshipful vocal chorus echoes around a tight synth line that trembles in the distance as a demonic voice warns that “we are coming for you all!” High synth plays screaming notes over the pounding drumbeat as it jumps along. A constantly shifting synth twirls and the track fades out on distant, warmer sounds.

Conclusion

Sacred Order is an album drenched in atmosphere, tension and emotion. It unfolds in a terrifying mixture of shadow, rage and fear as the different synth elements interact and mingle. Terrordyne has real talent when it comes to evoking the darker emotions and human experiences through music.

© 2022 Karl Magi

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