Slade Templeton aka Crying Vessel has had a brief yet prolific career as an electronic producer. His first album Necrozine quickly got recognized by magazines, blogs, etc. and found its way to the airwaves. After gaining some momentum and exposure with his talent Templeton suffered from a near-death experience which later propelled him to start working on his second release entitled Selfless.
Selfless is an electronic album that can fit snuggly into the sub genre of darkwave. It contains dark overtones, sometimes Industrial-inspired dance beats; other times more complex patterns present themselves as well as manipulated and varied vocals. The production is top-notch here as Templeton himself is an experienced engineer who has mixing/mastering credits.
Templeton is the ringleader but he also has some assistance along the way from Sara Laske (vocals), studio drummer Ian Ballard as well as Dean Garcia and Ani Stazzi. The additional vocal work from Laske and Stazzi helps with the fluidity of the album. At 14 tracks long, it is beneficial to have varied vocal performances, which keep things moving.
The album opens with “Above The Sun,” which starts off with a simple bass line and manipulated male vocals that require a lyric sheet to understand what they are saying. Layers multiply quickly as drums, various synths and guitar make themselves present. It’s a hard-hitting song that I could see being featured in an action scene during a sci-fi flix. “Nose Dive” exudes an ominous almost sensual fog of ambience that sits well with the female vocals. Once the heavy drums enter the picture the music contorts itself and morphs into an Ecstasy-laced tribal dance.
One of the highlights of the album is the title track “Selfless.” The track reminded me a bit of The Faint (remember that band) and also had some great vocal work. Catchy, a tad bit poppy and not too over processed. I was digging the intricate drum programming on “Jovian” as it created some nice ear candy throughout the song. As with the previous songs Templeton manipulates the vocals in a different way again. This time they are heavily processed and laying low in the mix. “Back In Time” might be painting a post-apocalyptic future with synths that sound like circuits of a mainframe computer and vocals that sound like our robot overlords. Not sure if that’s what they were going for but the song was certainly badass.
Crying Vessel is a talented producer who surrounded himself with more talent to make a good album. His songs are varied and showcase proficient programming as well as compositional skills.
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