Tom Stuart, aka Occam's Laser, released the third part in his New Blood album synthwave series this week. Before we get to that, Tom has announced that in celebration of this release, New Blood, and New Blood II are available as free downloads on Bandcamp for 24 hours, which according to his post, ends at 6:50 or 7AM CST.
A Synth-laden Summary Of 'New Blood' Apocalypse
For this story, it just seems to get bleaker when it gets to the third release. The premise from the start isn't good. The first album already begins with the synthetic blood infecting from within and the changes succumbing the patient after a transfusion. We're not told who the patient is, but the album does include guitar playing by Kid Neon for one of the tracks, who I believe is on the cover with Tom. The reason for this is simple, I just like to think that they're characters in their own storyline, but as to who they are in it, I'm not sure.
New Blood II either has new characters, or the same ones and in a different predicament. The infection has spread worldwide, and survivors have a new weapon to fight back with. Those characters are perhaps a vampire and a masked hero or killer with a mask, a gun, and a Samurai sword because, again, they're seen in the cover art.
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The Synthesized Sounds Of The Darkest Of Three
Here's where we're at with the story in this third installment:
The synthetic blood known as ‘New Blood’ ultimately succeeded in infecting the world. All previous plans have failed yet a faint scent of hope lingers in the air. It has taken many years to gather enough information, but that quest has proven fruitful. Within these scrambled pieces of data a location is repeated several times. A location we believe may be the original source of the New Blood. This may be our only chance to cut off the head of the snake and end our plight.
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Since we're talking about the new release, I'll break it down the best I can. To begin, these tracks are doing what they need to do, which is setting everything up for this story. Much of it being the outrun subgenre style of synthwave. We have the theme with "Bloodfall" and an opening chase scene with "Destoyer"? I think that it's "Flesh and Blood" however that gets a bit more complex in its form. It goes a bit longer and has time to go bigger. Narrative-wise, this represents a kind of union of two forces, the hero and the New Blood rival? I've got nothing to go by visually other than the three New Blood covers, which always show a union of two characters.
"Long Forgotten" also goes big before the album tightens up again, as it started with "Antigen". Then we get to an immediate favorite, "Venous", because it starts off more dramatically. I imagine that with terms that refer to the vascular system, blood diseases and other medical conditions with these titles, one can piece together a good story from this series. The rest of the album keeps up a high energy, and I would be doing this release a disservice if I were to pick out favorites because that's not the point of this review. The story is likely darker, but the music comes across as hopeful.
Tom Stuart's musical approach has always been ambitious with all of his releases. Instrumental synth score to fictional story lines is a way to keep artists interested, so they don't run out of ideas, and the explanation for III seems open-ended for a fourth album. I might be looking too much into this, but it's the most I know what to do with this type of endeavor. In fact, I might actually try to put a story together for Stuart to infuse this score with because in my mind, an anime series or a green lit movie trilogy might be what we need to better explain much of this, if that's all it's missing.