Courtesy: Spartan Records
Ryan Clark and Randy Torres have spent the better part of their careers making some of the most intense music that the Christian music community has heard with Demon Hunter and Project 86. Now the pair has teamed up for a new project called NYVES (pronounced knives) that released its debut album Anxiety early last month. The music that makes up the body of Anxiety is unlike anything that fans of Demon Hunter and Project 86 have ever heard. At times it sounds like something straight out of the 80s new wave movement and at others like something akin to Daft Punk and others like a mix of both. Even with such sounds, Anxiety still maintains its own identity separate from its influences, resulting in eleven tracks that both electronica fans and those of Demon Hunter and Project 86 whose minds are open enough will enjoy. In listening to it, those listeners will agree that Anxiety is one of this year’s best new independent albums.
NYVES’ (pronounced knives) debut album Anxiety is one of this year’s best new independent albums. The side-project of Demon Hunter front man Ryan Clark and ex-Project 86 member Randy Torres, it is unlike anything that either musician has created. That is evident right off the top in the album’s opener ‘Fall Behind.’ In terms of its musical content, ‘Fall Behind’ sounds like something that could have been part of the soundtrack to Disney’s Tron or its sequel. Clark’s clean vocals placed over top of that sound makes it even more interesting. Listeners that are familiar with Clark’s vocal styling established in his time with Demon Hunter will enjoy it just as much here if not more so. That is because presented in this scenario, the deep tone of those vocals, with their powerful yet restrained sound give the song a wholly different emotional depth all its own. That is especially the case considering the song’s full-on metaphorical writing. Clark writes in this song, “When they have come to bleed us out/And the panic ascends/You take a look beyond this cold/For the light to blind/Unto a calm beyond our means/In the final divide/Where every hope collapsing in/Is a vibrant white/All I see is silhouettes/Try to close the distance/Hear your voice a fading thread/Don’t fall behind.” Even without a full, clear interpretation of the lyrics, Clark’s delivery gives the song such emotional depth. The lyrics taken into consideration, that depth is increased even more. It is just this critic’s own take, but this verse alone comes across as a statement similar to what Demon Hunter’s fans have come to know from that band, too. It almost seems as if Clark is commenting on a person looking for that sign of hope amid the most tying of times. The song’s second verse strengthens this argument as Clark sings, “If there’s a way to see this through/For the ever alone/To be a grave for our descent/I will find the way.” This critic could of course be entirely wrong here in interpretation. Right or wrong, the fact that its lyrics manage to generate so much discussion shows why it is such a great example of what Anxiety has to offer audiences. The combination of both the song’s lyrics and its musical content exhibits this even more. And it’s just the album’s opener, too. Audiences can hear the song for themselves online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQFV-ENL8g4. There are other equally impressive works throughout this record that show just as much what Anxiety has to offer listeners. One of those examples is the album’s second track, ‘Something Divine.’
Anxiety’s opener ‘Return’ is a great first impression from Ryan Clark and Randy Torres on the debut of the pair’s new project. The depth of emotion communicated through Clark’s vocal delivery coupled with the depth of the song’s lyrical and musical content makes it a song that is one of the record’s strongest moments. It is only one of those moments, too. ‘Something Divine,’ the album’s second track is just as impressive. In terms of its musical content, ‘Something Divine’ is the polar opposite of ‘Return.’ The sound established by the keyboards in this song is something more akin to works from Nine Inch Nails than anything from the 80s. Clark’s vocals set against that sound gives the song even more of an impact. In terms of its lyrics, it is just as deep as the album’s opener with Clark singing, “I want it all/The blood, the flesh, the soul/Give me the time/The guns, the peace, control/I wanna see/The tide begin to rise/Let me believe/The world within your eyes/Give me a sign/Something divine/I wanna feel there is something real/Down inside/Bring me the light/The words to bind the night/Keep me alive/To show the rest to die.” It is almost as if Clark is singing from the vantage point here of someone looking for that positive among all of life’s darkness and difficulties, much as with the album’s opener. He seems to be saying, “give me something to hope for. Something about which to feel good.” Again, this is just one person’s own interpretation. It could very well be incorrect. Hopefully it isn’t incorrect. Even if it is incorrect, such deep, thought-provoking lyrical content yet again shows just how much Anxiety has to offer audiences. That material set alongside the song’s musical content makes it even more of a standout work. And one more example of just how much Anxiety has to offer listeners. Audiences can hear the song for themselves online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhxMrlxOWao.
Both ‘Return’ and ‘Something Divine’ are prime examples in their own right as to just how much NYVES has to offer listeners in its debut record. Both songs exhibit true musical and lyrical depth that will have listeners talking quite a bit amongst each other. They are collectively just a glimpse into what makes this record such a surprisingly interesting collection of songs. ‘Idle Thoughts,’ is the penultimate song in this eleven-track record. But it, too serves as one of the best examples of how much it has to offer listeners. Just as with ‘Something Divine,’ this track sounds musically similar to something that one might hear from Trent Reznor. And that isn’t a bad thing. The fact of the matter is that despite the similarities, it still maintains its own identity separate from Reznor’s work and that of other industrial/electronic greats. The same can be said just as easily of the song’s lyrical content in which Clark sings, “When the call is all I feel/And the end it’s all I need/I embrace the coming bleed/In the void of disengage/I escape into my grave/Where the dream is all I save/Don’t let me violate your time/I will exhaust before you fade away/Fade away into the night/I was wrong to bring you here/But I can see/There is a place beyond the light for you and me.” He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “I await the silent draw/The erase of every wall/I embrace the coming fall/I’m afraid of all I’ve seen/In the darkest I have been/the eclipse of all I need.” From here, Clark goes back into the song’s chorus. There is one more verse included in the song. But there is no need going into that verse as it echoes the same sentiment echoed throughout the song’s first and second verse. The sentiment in question makes for just as much discussion as the song’s musical content. That same metaphorical language used in the album’s other songs is just as prevalent here. And once again it is the combination of that metaphorical language and equally interesting musical content that makes this song its own intriguing addition to Anxiety, proving once more why Anxiety is such an interesting and welcome release both for fans of Demon Hunter and Project 86 and for those that are fans of electronic music. Audiences can hear this work online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VvTkir-EXrI. Together with the songs noted previously and those not noted, all eleven tracks that make up Anxiety show it to be in the end one of the best of this year’s crop of new independent albums and potentially even one of the year’s best new albums overall.
NYVES’ debut album Anxiety is one of this year’s best new independent albums, hands down. It could potentially be considered one of the year’s best new albums overall, too. That is taking into consideration the fact that it stands completely apart from anything that either Randy Torres or Ryan Clark has crafted in the course of their career. The songs noted here clearly exhibit that difference, too. They also exhibit–along with the album’s other eight tracks–the thought and time put into each song. The result of that thought and time is an album that will grow more on audiences with each watch. In growing on audiences, those same audiences will agree that Anxiety is without a doubt one of this year’s best new independent albums and potentially even one of the year’s best new albums overall. Anxiety is available now in stores and online and can be ordered direct from Spartan Records’ online store at http://spartanrecords.limitedrun.com/products/550575-nyves-anxiety. More information on this and other titles from Spartan Records is available online now at:
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