I was pretty hyped for The Black Queen’s debut full-length after seeing the “Ice to Never” video a couple of months back. It was a straight-up banger. The rest of the album does not disappoint, skyrocketing “Fever Daydream” to my favorite release of 2016 thus far.
So dark, so sexual, so passionate, so cold. I have said for a long time that Greg Puciato (of Dillinger Escape Plan fame) was the best/most versatile frontman in metal. His transition to brooding synthwave front-god was seamless. Synthwave as a genre had been on my radar a bit more lately due to an unlikely weekly column from MetalSucks of all places, so “Fever Daydream” happened to catch me in the right place at the right time. [Editor’s Note: I don’t know if this actually can be classified as “synthwave” because quibbling over subgenres is a pointless circle jerk, but if you want to have a go, I’ll see you in the comments section.] As soon as my ass hits the seat of my office chair each morning at my soul-crushing office job, the first thing I do is start spinning “Fever Daydream” just so I can hear the drums come in at the beginning of “Ice to Never.”
I actually expected “Fever Daydream” to wear a bit thin by the end. Nothing against the record or the genre, but in my mind’s eye, I saw my interest waning by the back half due to my own personal tastes. I was mistaken. This is a wholly enthralling record, start to finish. My favorite parts sound like Terminator sex. Not copulating with the machines, mind you. [Editor’s Note: Has Futurama taught us nothing?] But rather the sound that Kyle Reese helped create by traveling back in time to make love to a beautiful woman in a 1980s cyborg action movie. If the premiere synth producers of that decade were to take a page from the digital book of a time traveler that has survived the techno-apocalypse, they could have crafted “Fever Daydream” for the night club scene at Tech Noir, giving the world the gift of such sweet tunes over 30 years earlier than The Black Queen did. [Editor’s Note: Nothing against Tahnee Cain & The Trianglz. You did what you could do back in ’84.]
Listeners of impeccable taste might liken “Fever Daydream” to some of the better Depeche Mode albums. The Black Queen has simply bottled the fire of early Depeche Mode and repackaged it for the modern setting, to unexpectedly great results. Grab your PowerGlove, put on your shutter shades, paint your nails black, and get ready to dance to the sexy sounds of the forthcoming techno-apocalypse.
5/5 stars = Excellent
I’ll see you in hell, Miles Dyson.