Feb 2014 04

Blank - Dark RetreatBlank
Category: Electro / Futurepop
Album: Dark Retreat
Stars: 2.5
Blurb: While definitely hit with sparse moments of inventive vigor, Dark Retreat struggles to define itself as anything more than a slightly refreshed trip to the past.


After a five year lapse following the second album, Italian duo Blank finds its return filled with a reminiscent meld of dark electro and futurepop in the sci-fi influenced Dark Retreat. Emanating a sound that has the tendency to bring back memories of something that was released at the turn of this century, this accessible sequel tends to cater more to the electro-pop enthusiast with its catchy, somewhat danceable melodies and the occasional dabble in melancholia.

Squeaky radio frequencies, trance fluxes, and gravelly vocals slither to a bouncy chorus that conjures cybergoth motifs in the intro, “Subliminal Man.” From beginning to end, Dark Retreat contains the familiar sound of something that emerged with the futurepop boom years ago, which definitely has the capacity to appeal to its fans, but will more than likely be quickly disregarded as nothing more than an exhausted concept. As the album progresses, it becomes difficult to overlook the repetitive lyrics and drawn-out melodies in tracks like the overly poppy “Dio/Chemicals,” “Zero Tolerance,” and the more grounded and somber “Dreamscape” with lyrics that are almost too linear and emotionless to suit a decade long act. Moreover, fans of 2008’s Impact Zone may walk away disheartened that much of the emotional depth and distinguishable EBM tracks have been mostly disposed of for a tamed tradeoff lacking the same level of allure.

If there’s solace to be found, the energetic “Nothing You Can Say,” fairly exhilarating instrumental “Dusk Devil,” and lulling glacial ambience in “Ocean Greyness” seem to stand out for that reason, revealing some of the act’s creative growth that perhaps should have been delved into deeper. With a production team consisting of Front Line Assembly contributor Chris Peterson and Icon of Coil’s Sebastian R. Komor, there is undeniably a high level of polish, and, at times, auspicious atmospheric depth in Dark Retreat. However, those fleeting moments of innovation make it difficult to invest in this overall formulaic and frigid affair.
Track list:

  1. Subliminal Man
  2. Dio/Chemicals
  3. Zero Tolerance
  4. Nothing You Can Say
  5. Dreamscape
  6. Eigengrau
  7. Lost Symmetry (feat. Elena Alice Fossi)
  8. Dusk Devil
  9. Weak Machine
  10. Dead Roads (feat. Elenor Rayner)
  11. TimeSpace
  12. Ocean Greyness
  13. Fallen

Blank Website http://www.mechanoid.it
Blank Facebook https://www.facebook.com/blankinyourmind
Artoffact Records Website http://www.artoffact.com
Artoffact Records MySpace http://www.myspace.com/artoffactrecords
Artoffact Records Facebook https://www.facebook.com/artoffact
Artoffact Records Twitter http://www.twitter.com/artoffact
Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
Storming the Base
Zachary Locke (ZLocke)

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