Artist: Analog Priest
Release Title: Cult of the Machine
Release Date: 16 January 2022
Digital Price: Name your price
Length: 20min 26s
Little-known projects can sometimes be real gems. Found in the dark corners of Bandcamp, lost in the mix of an email inbox, found while rifling through shelves at a music store or perhaps shared from a friend who doesn’t normally send you music. However you found it, you know you’ve found something good that for some reason other people just don’t seem to know about it. Well, this January release called Cult of the Machine by a mysterious artist named Analog Priest doesn’t seem to have generated much buzz, which is a shame because it’s really an excellent release that stands out in the synthwave boom.
If you’re not familiar with it by now, Cult of the Machine will be a perfect intro. Synthwave is essentially a kind of electro-industrial music with an 80s film sensibility. Think back to the soundtracks of most any John Carpenter movie – those big synths and heady, adventurous melodies with a hint of guitar. It’s the sound of an era, and it’s what synthwave seeks to evoke while remaining modern in composition and concept. There are a lot of synthwave releases. Many do not stand out like I believe Cult of the Machine does – it’s full of dark, moody bangers.
Analog Priest has crafted something that sounds like a cyberpunk re-interpretation of The Terminator. Those sweeping high-to-low note transitions throughout, that slow and yet intense plodding sound – the workings of machines from the future coming to get you. Even the more modern sounding, heavier and more audibly electro-industrial type tracks like Street Mech have them. The first track you hear on Cult of the Machine is the title track, and you’re instantly hit with a speedrun flurry of keys, before the track settles down into driving bass, pounding low tones and anxious, higher pitched synth. The song picks up speed again and it feels like we’re trying to escape, to get away from some unseen, terrifying force as quickly as we can. Then a flurry of breaks and notes that sound like synthetic gunfire hit us briefly, before that slower, driving sound of the machine pursuer hits once again. It’s a thrilling ride of a song, and I keep coming back to it.
It’s 20 minutes long, and the longest track on the album is only breath more than three and a half minutes. For such a short release, it has to be damn good to bear repeat-listening, especially if you’re the kind of person like I am that tends to listen to whole albums when you’re listening to music. Well, it certainly holds up, and while this album released 11 months before the time of this writing, it’s worth noting that I consistently returned to it throughout the year, to finally cover it now and give Analog Priest his due. If you prefer to mix things up in a playlist, there’s enough consistency to Cult of the Machine that you’ll know an Analog Priest track when you hear it, but enough variety that you can sprinkle tracks like New Model and Seek And Destroy in there and they feel fresh when they come up. If all you want is some good, solid synthwave with a dark vibe to it, you’re in for a great listen. Give Cult of the Machine a listen – it’s more than worth your time.
I hope you enjoy Cult of the Machine.