When someone says 80s inspired or synthwave or new retro usually metal does not come to mind. However metal was one of the most important genres of the 80s and is still growing strong today. The sound of the 80s synths right now is taking a wide variety of different directions and producers are mixing all sorts of style and genres with the “80s sound”.
To write this, I was inspired by Meteor and his track Destroyer and the whole Parallel Lives album. It sounded like something bikers would listen to in a bar on a side of a dusty highway in the middle of the dessert. In other words face melting and awesome.
The mix of synths, epic drums and distorted guitars works brilliantly. Disonant chords create a dark atmosphere which is very close to the heart of every metalhead. There is a great balance of rhytm and lead which creates tension and release, simply put it is one of those albums that gives you goose bumps the whole way through
Speaking of dark atmospheres there is a great band called Dance With The Dead. Their sound is very cinematic and it is easy to dive into it fully and get lost in the sea of dark, heavy and slightly horrory atmosphere. Their new album The Shape is something very fresh sounding however still holds a lot of traditional synth sounds.
Both Meteor and Dance With The Dead have both heavy distorted rhytmic parts as well as epic, giant, huge melodic solos. And you can hear the inspiration from metal as the heavy cascades of heavy synths and distorted guitars blast through your speakers.
Perturbator‘s The Uncanny Valley is by far the heaviest, the darkest, the meanest synthwave (if you can even call it that) album I have heard by far. There are no distorted guitars but their place is taken by an orchestra of face melting synths. Dark atmospheres and satanic imagery on the album cover art is adding to the metal side of it. I would recommend putting this on full blast and playing some Doom or Duke Nukem
As well as the artists mentioned above there is a great V/A compilation put out by Werkstatt Recordings titled Altars of Synthness. With a goat skull and such a badass name this is also cover album. Synthwave covers of metal. To me a highlight was a Raining Blood cover by The Deathless. Even though the idea, the art and the concept of this compilation are great the tracks are not as heavy as they could have been it lacks the punch and the drive that are so essential to metal.
Overall, I am very excited to see more and more mixes and blends of synthwave with metal. The heavy and dark side of synth music is here and it melts faces off.
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