Stairway Maze – Decision Fatigue (Album – ScentAir Records)
Genre/Influences: Electro-Pop, EBM, Cinematic, Tribal.
Format: Digital, CD.
Background/Info: Denis Tverdokhleb this released the third full length album of his Stairway Maze sonic brainchild. After two albums released by Aliens Production, the new opus has been released in his homeland, Russia, by ScentAir Records.
Content: After the great “Kelevra”-album Stairway Maze released a surprising work on which he collaborated with multiple guest artists. The main evolution is the addition of vocals, although some songs are still instrumental edits. It creates a diversified work which moves from Dark-Electro-Pop to EBM but also from Industrial/Tribal to the familiar Cinematic style. Human Vault, Martin Rudefelt (Cryo), Ryby (Disharmony), Bettina Bormann (Oberer Totpunkt), Peter Vercauteren (Pro Patria), Michael Roeder (A Spell Inside) and Emma Barson (Promenade Cinéma) contributed by vocals to this work.
+ + + : This new opus stands for a major evolution in this project’s history. I regretted there were no vocals featured on the previous album and “DecisionFatigue” brings a nice -and sometimes surprising selection of vocalists. It creates a varied work mixing different styles together. I’m totally convinced by the Dark-Pop approach on “The Final stand” featuring Martin Rudefelt which sounds a bit like Skinny Puppy going Electro-Pop like. I also recommend “Invisible Threat” featuring Peter V. and “Flames” featuring Ryby, both cuts sounding as harsh EBM. There also is “Conspiracy” featuring Michael Roeder which is a refined Electro-Pop song. But the absolute masterpiece is “Gaia’s Mantra” featuring Bettina Bormann on a Tribal-Industrial song with a true uplifting effect.
– – – : I can’t say there are songs to throw away but the final track “Neon Eyes” featuring Emma Barson sounds totally different from the rest and is a a bit like an antithesis to the rest of the work.
Conclusion: Stairway Maze remains a great and intelligent Electro format. It’s also surprising to see this kind of artist being released on ScentAir Records which definitely enlarges the sonic horizon of the label.
Best songs: “Gaia’s Mantra”, “The Final Stand”, “Flames”, “Invisible Threat”, “Conspiracy”.
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