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Synth EP Review: "Thunder Radio" by Severum

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


Severum’s Thunder Radio is a shadowed exploration of intense atmospherics, ear-grabbing synth interactions and an overall feeling of heaving power that permeates the music. It’s an album that paints dark pictures in synth sound.

“Thunder Radio” comes to life with deep hard-hitting drums moving below a vocal sample talking about concealing information from the public. A shadowed line of slowly oscillating, hard-edged synth wriggles through the track.

A wandering, angular melodic line begins to form over the gigantic drum beat and the bass weight below it. A bright, brassy synth that comes in carries a repeating melodic line that is full of tension and drifts across the continual pulse of the drums and bass.

The dense, oscillating bass seethes with an ominous feeling as the drums keep driving on. High, flashing synth repeats a slow pulse over the heaving depths. The roaming, freely wandering lead synth melody flows and forms another angular pattern before returning to the "A" section melody. The beat changes in character again, becoming more staccato and we return to the vocal sample.

Medium-low, full lead synth carries a minor key melodic line that repeats hypnotically over the slow, shifting drums and rapidly oscillating bass to open “Night Owl.” A rising series of gentler, warmer chords flows below the solid drum hits of in a gliding drift. The chords swirl and rise as the oscillating slow bass throbs onwards with insistent force. The minor key melodic pattern has undeniable tension in it as the synths rise, feeling more discordant.

The drums throb unrelentingly and steady, quick bass oscillation returns over the thick drums. Minor key synth swirls around and adds a vague sense of unease. A medium-high, distorted series of arpeggiating notes shifts and moves through the track over the drums that refuse to quit. They spin and whirl before that minor key pattern shifts through.

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“Campfire Amplifier” begins with brief pulses of buzzIng synth moving against a deep bass background before the cutting electric guitar forms a thick wall of sound. A dark, solid pulse of hard-edged bass drives a steady, slamming pattern of notes as air sweeps in and grows in intensity over that relentless pulse. Buzzing, shifting synth pulses and the fuzzy guitar fill the, track’s sonic space, moving over a skittering sound below them.

A dance-floor friendly beat pushes the track on along with a rising series of metallic synth tones that climbs up over a horn-like sound. The beat is unrelenting as it charges onward. A secondary percussion element adds a softer brushing sound before a distorted, trembling synth expands and moves in indistinct swirls. The track goes out on a delicate, melancholy guitar melody that is in complete contrast with the rest of the track.

The steady pulse of bass into open space is joined by equally steady drums to kick off “Siren Head.” Metallic, brittle chimes repeat an angular pattern that begins to vary slightly over the bass oscillation before a buzzing, medium low synth takes up the sharply angular melody. The chimes come in carrying a tense, ominous-feeling line that still has a jangling brightness to it.

The shinier line trades places with a buzzing, shadowed synth for a moment before the two sounds double each other. Chimes glitter with threat and the bass and drum heartbeat presses on. The percussion sounds like metal softly sliding on metal here. Quick arpeggios arc upwards, as the tension and minor key shadow move in again before a return to the main melody.

“Frail Curse” starts out with a rapid, classically influenced synth part with a full, glowing quality. It gives way to bursts of sharp-edged sound. A synth that sounds like a harpsichord gone mad carries a melodic pattern. A whirling, dark sounding series of notes carries a repeating melodic line as the oscillating bass and pulsing drums keep driving on. The classical feeling, cutting arpeggio keeps up the feelings of worry and tension. A minor key synth line cuts and twists, darkness and heaving energy filling the track.

An elevated, sparkling lead synth dances and whirls above the solid drum and bass weight below it to open “King of Arcades.” A slow, broken arpeggio pulses with glowing light over the oscillating bassline and the tick of the drums. The pulse doesn’t stop as a minor key, twisting lead synth plays a pattern that surges dangerously.

The dominant bass heaves and pulsates while the drums shape the track. There’s something distorted and dark about the repeating synth pattern that comes in. The tense arpeggio shines and turns as echoing, delicate sounds move behind it. There’s a return to the dark, swirling "A" segment, that adds even harder hitting drums, adding more power to the proceedings.

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