Pastel Wasteland is a recommendation site. It was created to support and spotlight creators who we feel are most deserving of your time. Despite being a beloved and well-established act, Dance with the Dead still warrant a lot of attention.
The Californian duo is one of those acts. Legendary to those in the know. An act which pretty much anyone who’s into dark electronica can agree on.
Like The Enigma TNG (who they often remind me of), they seem like they’ve always existed. And hopefully always will. A reliable source of intense electro-industrial, who’ve never been afraid to assert their unique identity.
If nothing else, they provide a slightly less imposing introduction to dark electronica than Enigma. I would certainly try Dance with the Dead before plunging into Enigma’s marathon 6 Hours of Dark Electronic Music.
Despite my comparisons and their usage of tropes and techniques familiar to synthwave (even retrowave), they always manage to produce works which feel fresh and unique.
Their Blackout EP is no exception.
In fact, my only real criticism of Blackout is that it’s too short. It didn’t need to hit six hours of course, but still, three tracks of this quality doesn’t feel like enough.
“Scar” is a pulsating, racing joy from the very first second.
There is something seriously wrong with you if you’re not pumped up by this. It mixes supercharged retrowave stylings with crushing guitar chords. If you’re having a bad day and need pepping up, put this on. If you’re at the gym or subject to an alien invasion led by giant robots, then this is a good song to cue up. It has a really awesome solo that really opens everything up, somehow managing to make the whole thing feel even more epic.
The stomping beat of “Ravens in the Sky” draws you into another war march. It embraces clattering electro-industrial sounds and more glorious guitar melodies. I just love listening to this.
I think it’s tempting to call this retrowave, but honestly, it draws closer to EBM. One of its Bandcamp tags is ‘Experimental electronic.’ I wouldn’t go that far, but it’s certainly more ambitious than a lot of dark/synthwave out there. That being said, Dance with the Dead make this all seem so effortless and natural.
It feels weird to type this, but “The Dawn” actually reminds me of Eurodance. A harder form of that particular genre must exist, and if it does, it sounds like this. The same high-NRG hyperactivity is there. But “The Dawn” is more substantial and (naturally) darker.
If “The Dawn” is anything to go by, then Dance with the Dead lead the party-party faction of darkwave. Because this is just awesome. It makes me want to fling myself around my bedroom like an idiot. If it had lyrics, I’d be howling them into a hairbrush with ridiculous abandon.
Sometimes dark electronica can travel way too far up its own arse. But Dance with the Dead allow you to have a good time. We need records like this, so long live The Dead.
You can find Dance with the Dead here: