Arkham Sunset – The Noise Divine

Gerry Hathaway is the solo member of Arkham Sunset, a Portland, Oregon based project which he describes as both industrial and darkwave. However, he is so much more than that as, like the tags may suggest on Bandcamp, he draws from a range of genres and inspirations such as soundtracks, disco, synthwave, synthpop, and dark ambient music. Arkham Sunset has a plethora of releases on ranging from the album “Dystopian Pleasures” to singles like ‘The Condo’ all the way to EPs such as “No Safe Distance” and “Primordia”. His latest release, “The Noise Divine”, has just come out in January of 2022 and is a rather wonderful little piece. Despite a rough start, “The Noise Divine” is an analog album made up of the very depths of space and electronic music. 
‘Razor Line’ begins the EP but is, unfortunately, the weakest track on the album and might put some listeners off. What’s a shame, however, is that it has an extraordinary build up. We’re given some 80s sci-fi synths that wouldn’t sound out of place in a film score. Industrial drums hit hard. At the twenty-five second mark, however, all that goes down the drain. The awesome score that was building up is replaced by a rapid and rather minimal track that practically shoots out in a straight line for the remainder of the course. It’s quite a letdown and the digitized vocals attached didn’t appeal to me. 
That being said, once I got into ‘Portal Into Shadow’ and beyond I found myself in a blissful state. ‘Portal Into Shadow’ is this awesome synthwave-inspired single attached with industrial kicks. Computer noises a la a futuristic spaceship complement the tone of the song. However, the stand-out element is Arkham Sunset’s collaboration with Anastasia Poirier. Her spoken word tone broken into small phrases with the slight bit of echo to her voice is gorgeous. This collaboration extends into ‘Black Flame’. While not as meaty, ‘Black Flame’ hits in with synthesized drum pads and further science fiction inspired sound design. Poirier’s vocals don’t change up much from ‘Portal Into Shadow’, but they don’t need to. She does a great job once again. This is a collaboration that needs to happen on future releases.
Arkham Sunset has two more original songs on the EP, those being ‘Lifeforms’ and the title track. ‘Lifeforms’ can best be described as a minimal, analog dance track that takes queues from EBM. What’s nice about this song is that it doesn’t have a whole lot of variety to it, so producer Gerry Hathaway knew to cut it short. The two-minute and four-second length is absolutely perfect. The title track, and coincidentally the last song on “The Noise Divine”, begins off as a dark, space ambient track. It’s as if something glorious, like a derelict spaceship or a lost planet has been rediscovered. This phenomenon lasts for around one-minute and ten-seconds before Arkham Sunset brings in an electronic dribble. From there, bright and spacey synthpop track is formed. The digital vocals are slowed down and, unlike on ‘Razor Line’, are not a nuance. Instead, they fit well within the tone and theme of the song. 
Arkham Sunset’s “The Noise Divine” is simply a delightful EP with science fiction written on its sleeve through the use of analogue synthesizers. Hathaway’s love for the genre is alive and well, and it pays off in the end. His collaboration with Poirier is stellar and I really do hope these two combine their efforts on a future release. Despite how much I love “The Noise Divine”, the single blemish that is ‘Razor Line’ does put a scar on the overall release. However, I can’t let that be the deciding factor when everything else is so expertly crafted. Seven-and-a-half out of ten! 
This review was commissioned through our Ko-fi page.
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