Best known for his work on Ponies at Dawn, bank pain has just unleashed The Long Defeat, a concept album that had been in the works for a year. Accompanying the 11-track release is a booklet containing a lengthy story. Track 1 – “and our hands are…” is a nice lo-fi track that begins with an acoustic guitar with some atmospheric ambient synths behind it. There’s a small build up with light percussion and what sounds like wind instruments before things break down and we hear the sound of a marching drum. Right off the bat, the sound design for this album is something truly amazing. peacekeeper 2020, a remake of the original from 2017, sees a heavy yet atmospheric drumstep style. The juxtaposition of the soft strings and rain sounds combined with the strong bass and hard-hitting drums – especially when it speeds up halfway through – makes for something truly spectacular. The next track is fog in the treetops which features violin from Koron Korak and a continuation of the amazing sound design we’ve seen so far. This track slows things down and lets the instruments breathe. The other songs with guests also stick out, especially shellshock cafe with SDreamExplorerS and nightmares in iron with Burning Gryphon. The latter track features a slightly wonky beat which gives it a chaotic edge. Overall, The Long Defeat stands as one of this year’s best releases, and will leave you wanting more once it’s over. We’ve been through a lot this year, but I guarantee this will lift you up just a little bit!