UltraKiller’s “Death Trap” receives a Darksynth album review.

Karl has been working as a freelance writer for more than ten years. He’s a music, art, and writing aficionado!

First Impressions

It’s an auditory horror film that’s dripping with dread and unleashes an unrelenting barrage of aggressive, slashing guitars, battering drums, and synths that drown in anxiety and fear on the listener. UltraKiller’s Death Trap evokes terror and desperation, taking listeners on a disturbing journey into the twisted mind of a homicidal slasher. There are also spoken word segments that add to the album’s storytelling element.

The album’s raging tide of growling guitars and pounding drums adds energy and menace. The solos are impressively fast and intricate, and the guitars and drums’ sheer aggression evokes the murderous rage of the killer on his bloody rampage. Death Trap is undeniably influenced by metal.

As UltraKiller delves deeper into the murky recesses of the murderer’s twisted psyche, the feeling of terror grows with each track. The twisting, writhing lines of high synth that appear throughout the album help to heighten the feelings of threat and lurking danger that pervade the tracks.

I also enjoy the album’s sound design as a means of telling the story. I’ll include the spoken word portions of this comment because the voice acting is excellent, and the music enhances the story by fleshing it out and interacting with it as the story unfolds. At times throughout the album, atmospheric sounds and noises add to the feelings evoked by the music.

UltraKiller

The soft rush of rain gives way to undulating waves of synth with a sharp edge and rising, tension-filled chords in “Night Hunt.” As a steady, sawtoothed pulse synth moves and a door creaks open, there’s a terrifying sounding twist of high, chiming synth over the roiling, grating sounds that swirl beneath it.

It has an ominous quality to it, as if it foreshadows what is about to occur in the horror story that is about to unfold. I’m including this track in my review because I think it does a good job of setting the tone for the rest of the album.

Over the firm, steady drums and throbbing bass, a hard hitting beat and throbbing synths that pulse in a synchronous pattern are joined by the churning howl of the electric guitar and wandering, glowing chimes to open “Destination Hell.” The guitars cut through the music in knife-like bursts of rough sound, while the intertwining pattern of arpeggiating synth adds a classic horror vibe.

This section, where wild, shimmering synths arc and dance over the jagged-edged guitars’ aggressive charge and a pipe organ sound plays a Baroque pattern of notes, is one of my favorites. The guitars’ mad rush has a brittle harshness to it, while the drums slam with ferocious intensity. As the guitars surge and pulsate, a bright synth leaps in arcing cascades of sound.

Over the twisting guitars and massive drums, gleaming, chiming synths carry a tight melodic pattern of notes. Over a flickering sonic backdrop, “The Smell of Prey” begins with a headlong rush of throbbing drums and driving power chords of the electric guitar. The music has a tense feel to it thanks to the high synth sounds.

As it progresses, it is filled with a frantic, hungry feeling. The track is energized by the charging metal guitars and battering drum assault. I like how the guitars rip over the relentlessly pounding beat and worried, elevated synth with a mad rush of soaring and interlocking notes.

Rapidly rushing drums with a full, thick feel join the oscillating, charging bass line. Over the energetic percussion, a nasal, round synth carries a wandering melodic line. As they throb in time with the drums, the hard hitting synths feel barbed. To begin “Fear,” tight, medium-low synths climb upwards in rough-edged patterns, accompanied by a rush of air and arpeggiating synth patterns.

Over the urgent bass throb and the charge of the drums, the rising, lambent lead synth carries a rising melody. As it batters into my ears, I find the rushing power and growling rage of this track compelling. Before the aural assault of heavy guitars churning beneath tight, nervous arpeggios, whirling, medium-high synth arpeggios dissolve into a moment of sweeping air.

The guitars snarl and lacerate, while the fast drums propel the song forward at breakneck speed. Massive drums build in intensity before exploding into an auditory assault accompanied by a wall of raging guitar. As arpeggios that radiate fear spin through the music, a rapid, medium high synth wriggles in agitation over the slamming beat. Before seething synths and choral voices rise, “Blood Ritual” begins with the sound of dripping water and a dank, cavernous feeling.

As the track accelerates again, the drums batter and the guitars thunder. Hard pulses of gritty guitar close the track, which burst more slowly over the powerful drums. The ritual alluded to in the title is evoked by the combination of darkly reverent choral voices and rising pipe organ. A jagged guitar fills the music with gruff notes that rise and fall over the hard hitting drums during a break.

Below an elevated line of synth that does a good job of creating apprehension, a bleak tide of snarling guitar attacks. A hypnotically repeating medium-high, writhing synth pattern joins the violent surge of the guitars and the relentless drums. As a shadowy, sweeping synth flows into “Dismembered” over the shattering aggression below, the dark roughness of the guitar is joined by slamming drums. There’s a brief pause as the hypnotic synths’ grating static pulses shift.

The smoother sounds that slip over the top are underpinned by a shift to quickly pulsing synth with a grim feeling. The sense of impending doom grows as the guitar’s tidal power increases. As the drums pound hard into the music, sawtoothed guitars swirl in the shadows. The leaping, raised synths also contribute to the track’s terrifying atmosphere.

“Violent Delights” explodes into life, with arcing, intricate synth sounds soaring above the unrelenting guitars crashing into the music in a torrent. The drums pound and higher arpeggios flicker and dance over the angry tide of hard-hitting guitar before an elevated synth cries out in a roaming, nervous pattern as the drums pound and higher arpeggios flicker and dance.

It shreds and skims across the track, taking wild leaps as the beat propels the music forward with leaping patterns and slicing guitars that rock hard as the music progresses. This track’s intricate, vaulting guitar solo, which whirls out in a line of richly toned sound, is one of my favorites.

Before the battering charge of sound resumes, a piano plays an interweaving melody with classical touches. Then there’s one more lonely bell, rain, and silence. “Dead Silence” begins with the sound of rain and a distant piano. The imagery created in this track appeals to me. Over the shadowy tide of gritty sound below it, a rebounding line of jagged noise and a disturbed feeling line of medium high synth repeats. The piano has a shaky delicacy as it flows out over a deep well of bass. Soft rain falls as a bell tolls, and indistinct whispers shiver in the background. The slow piano notes barely skim the surface of the music, while a bell-like synth adds to the terrified feeling.

Final thoughts

Death Trap is a ferocious, dark album that uses sound to tell the story of a deranged killer. I like the album’s heavy horror film vibes, and I like how UltraKiller hasn’t pulled any punches with their auditory choices here, creating a fitting sound for this chilling story.

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