Album Review: Markus Schulz / ‘Scream’ (Armada Music)

★★★☆☆

Scream is a rock solid trance album that for its mechanics deserves to cross over. “Love Rain Down” is the EDM sound that’s on everyone’s decks right now in Markus Schulz’s latest blanket coverage. It’s about the surges of acceleration and chord changes, and how keyboard scales that have been played a million and one times over can dominate arenas. Actually this is key, the German’s hooks operating in blocks of sound with a laser-guided sight that compared to its riff-heavy rivals, comprehensively avoid flimsiness as they rock your head back. “Caught” and “Soul Seeking” cradle you in a clutch of euphoric security, with streamlined 8-bit projectiles on “Sing Me Back to Life” and “Digital Madness” refusing to be knocked out of their stride.

Vocally it’s the same old same old — “Nothing Without Me” creating trance nuptials, “Until It’s Gone” trying to reason with you, etc., and that’s a problem given 90% of the album is a sung collaboration simply sitting on the track. Not engulfed, not dominant, just perched. Set up to play to trance’s strengths and conventions, Scream is either a slave to fashion dressed up as being trance by numbers, or with a finger on the pulse until knuckles go white. If you decide it’s the former, that doesn’t mean that the latter is any less true.
File under: Dakota, Ferry Corsten, Michael Woods