Spanish electronic guru DéFago’s follow up album to 2013’s outstanding debut, Call of Darkness is set to be issued by UK horror label and firm UKHS favourites Graveyard Calling on the first of April.
Roots of Evil, 9 tracks of eerie and melodic EDM is much of the same style and frantic pacing which DéFago is known for and on a whole doesn’t disappoint, the tracks feel a lot more experimental than the first album with DéFago coupling and layering familiar synth sounds to create an alien yet inviting world which encapsulates around the music.
The simple, robotic opening track, Bag Full of Nightmares lures the listener into a false sense of security before unleashing the familiar and haunting sounds found in a spate of 80s horror opus’.
Hardly allowing the listener to skip a beat before the aural assault continues DéFago delivers a shorter sequence of tracks ( the first three tracks have a relatively short runtime) all of them offering something different to hear and plenty to discover on repeated plays, the tiny nuances on the layering and different musical equipment delivers a fresh and interesting sequence of compositions that reward the effort that is put into them.
The fifth track, The Uselessness of 4am is an undoubted highlight of the album, starting slowly and pulsing, a shallow rise luring in the listener until a third of the way into the track it evolves perfectly from a frantic paced sequence to a subtly haunting finale showcasing DéFago ‘s talent for composition and storytelling through music.
Our Lady of Shadows is a complete 360 from the previous track, isolation and desolation are created with the use of negative sounds and a really creepy extended loop, sounding harmless at first but suddenly mutating into the crying and desperate sobbing of a woman; this is a completely unsettling song, harshly throwing the listener into the peril and tightly grasping them with sonically weird, yet compelling sequence.
The final two tracks are the closest to his first album, 80s horror synth mixed with an psychedelic, pulsing pace that could be placed directly into Escape from New York and become part of that world.
The aptly titled Epitaph closes the album perfectly bringing back the dual layered synth working as a round would bringing an upbeat and catchy loop to end the journey perfectly. The woman (presumably) from Our Lady Of Shadows is back yet this time not screaming but harmonising washing a calming, angelic feel over the track closing the album and with it her journey.
Futuristic, scary and strangely inviting DéFago is carving a name for himself in this sonic landscape and the comparisons to Carpenter and Howarth are undeniable; as is the magnitude of influence they left in the 80s horror soundtrack world but look to DéFago to see the evolution of the style as he manipulates the commonplace into a whole new creature, using the familiar to alienate and astound, shattering preconceptions as the runtime winds on.
The album swiftly passes and If there is any quibble to be had is that some of the earlier tracks feel as though they could’ve been revisited and expanded allowing more time for the audience to soak them in, yet this also helps the middle section of the album come into its own.
The Call of Darkness was a highlight of 2013 for me and to compare this second album to it is unfair, both showcase the talent that DéFago possesses but also his ability to utilise his influences to his own effect, creating two different entities using the same instruments is outstanding.
Part of the fifth double feature cassette from Graveyard calling with label-mates Werewolves in Siberia second album the other and presented on an transparent purple tape; Roots of Evil comes highly recommended and has plenty for horror music and horror movie fans alike.
Graveyard Calling and its bands are laying down the gauntlet for the horror music community and every double feature is perfectly coupled. The limited nature of the releases and the resurgence of horror labels over the past few years makes this home-grown label one to keep an eye on.