Synthpocalypse's 2020 Big-Mega-Turbo-Super Wrap-up
So I could start this off by waxing poetic about how "2020 wasn't the year we expected or wanted, but it had it's moments" but instead I'm just going to cut the shit and say that yeah this year was fucking nightmarish. Every single thing I had planned this year got thrown in the fucking trash and life basically turned itself upside down. Site updates here slowed to a crawl simply because I had so much other stuff to focus on, this place kinda fell by the wayside. I feel really bad about it, and while I'm not going to make promises that 2021 will be better, I'll just say I'll cover stuff as I want, when I want to do it.
THAT ALL BEING SAID:
The list of things that came out this year I wanted to cover was SO BIG, I'm going to do a quick and dirty run-through of some really awesome releases that came out this year that haven't been covered on the site already. Everything here was stuff that I meant to cover, but just never made it to the table. There are a few artists here that released multiple projects this year, but for the sake of fairness I'm only going to cover my favorite from that artist here. Consider this a "Best of 2020", but I'm not ranking anything because that's just too much rn thnx.
ALPHA CHROME YAYO - CHOKE
Alpha Chrome Yayo must have some kind of magic blood, cause like he crafts albums and projects at like breakneck speed. There was a lot from him I wanted to cover, but for the sake of fairness, I'm only going to mention one here, but they're all fantastic in their own right. Choke was ACY's first release of the year, this one filled to the brim with cold, hard, and unsettling tunes, blending synth and some jazzy flavors, this kinda goes all over the place, but in a really nice way. This project is FM galore, but just really twisted and strange in it's own amazingly unique way. If you want to check some really great stuff from a creative powerhouse, ACY is a great place to begin.
LORDNIKON - KVLT
One thing that happened in 2020 was that I met a lot more people than I expected I would just from endlessly scrolling twitter and shit. One of those people was LordNikon, and holy shit was I in for a surprise. Nikon's debut release, KVLT is a monster and absolute heavyweight in Mid-tempo, this thing absolutely RIPS, clean and methodical as hell, this album holds nothing back and just really tears. Darksynth in an interesting spin, If you haven't checked this out yet, do not walk RUN to this.
NEURON SPECTRE - THE SADIST
This has been sitting at the top of the list to cover since it came out, as this thing is BEYOND fantastic. Neuron Spectre blends Horror Synth with some of the heaviest elements of extreme metal, creating this incredibly heavy mixture of horrifying goodness, filled with atmosphere and blastbeats galore. It's so good, like next level shit. If you like your Darksynth heavy, hard, and aggressive, This should have your attention right now. Get lost in this horror.
VOLKOR X - THIS IS OUR PLANET NOW
King of Prog-synth is back with the follow-up to their monumental previous album, "This Means War", Sci-Fi Synthwave at some of it's best, and some fantastic Darksynth to boot. Blending aspects of progressive rock, Synthwave, metal, and Sci-Fi, this album has it all, and does not miss in any of it. Big, loud, immersive, "This is Our Planet Now" is monumental in it's own right. I would absolutely recommend this to any synth fan. Listen or die!
ELECTRONIC WARBEAR - THE OTHER SIDE
Bringing the energy down to a more chill/vapory vibe we have "The Other Side". this album is absolutely soaked in really chill and relaxed synths, creating a really nice and comfortable listening experience, but it's also full of depth and character, switching between lighter synth and some more dancier sounds. This is something really really special, and absolutely worth checking out for any Synthwave fan, but also anyone who is a fan of lighter, more chilled out synths. Overall a fantastic project!
MILLENIUM FALCK - NEO HELSINKI FM
This is a really unique project, but also really interesting from a conceptual standpoint. Falck has created this really fleshed out universe of 2080, blending some more modern music production with elements of the 1980's, and here on this project it's styled like listening to the radio in future Helsinki, filled with unique little skit fillers and other neat transitions between the full tracks. All of those are really great pieces of Synthwave, deeply blended with french house. A really awesome project to listen to from start to finish, this is highly recommended for any synth fan, and any fan of concept albums.
SEERSHA - METAPHORS
Seersha breaks the trend of the others on this list being instrumental synth, "Metaphors", blending classic synth-pop with more modern pop influences, making this a really unique and delightful inclusion here. Seersha's songwriting is top notch, every track brings something really personal and heartfelt, and her vocal delivery brings that to 11. A truly emotional experience, this is not to be missed by fans of Synth-pop, as well as fans of some beautifully crafted songwriting.
TERRORDYNE - HIGH TECH LOW LIVING
Terrordyne brings some of the cleanest cyberpunk synth I've heard, like these mixes are like surgically clean. The tracks themselves are quite the opposite, full of grit and heavy bass that absolutely rip. This album is a fantastic piece of Darksynth, like almost a textbook definition of what modern Darksynth should be. Mid-tempo pretty much start to finish, the atmosphere on this is thick and rife with some amazing tracks, I would absolutely absolutely recommend this to any fan of cyberpunk synth.
HOT DAD - NOW THAT'S WHAT I JACK OFF ABOUT
yes you read that right. Outside of being hilarious, this track is SO GOOD. Like its so catchy, the production is beyond fantastic, just really way better than anyone would think. Like tbh Hot Dad is SO slept on for his synth tracks, and I swear this was my jam of the summer.
ELAY ARSON - DUSK INCARNATE
After a year of work, Elay Arson brought "Dusk Incarnate" early this year, and it's been sitting on my list to cover for the entire year. This album is good. Like really good. Blending Darksynth with aspects of heavy/power metal, This has a really interesting flavor, but that's something Elay Arson does really really well. Reserved when it wants to be, and heavy where it needs to be, this holds no punches and really delivers one some absolutely fantastic tracks. In combination with some absolutely monstrous features, this album is huge, and absolutely worth checking out if you like your synth mixed with metal.
GREGORIO FRANCO - FINAL FANTASY VI: SELECTED WORKS
"Selected works" my ass this madlad covered the whole FF6 soundtrack. AND IT'S INCREDIBLE. Total honesty here, GF is one of my favorite producers in the scene, and hearing that he was working on a FF6 album (My favorite Final Fantasy) I was so psyched. And now that it's out I could not be happier. GF absolutely TEARS through this, bringing his flavor of Darksynth/metal to some of the best OSTs of all time, but also some unique twists on those tracks. That final Dancing Mad track still is a thing of glory. I love this so much and if you like Darksynth and or FF, you need this.
WRAITHWALKER - VISIONS
Visions is a breath of fresh air to some extent in terms of Darksynth. It's "dark Synthwave" yeah, but also it leans really hard into a more goth/nu-wave feel, giving it this very spacey/ambient feel, but not in like a outer space kind of way, but in a kind of witchhouse/hardvapor kind of way. It's wholly unique to this section of the synth scene, and I'm absolutely here for it. This is a truly unique project, and something I've been listening to again and again this year, it's really something to fall deep into again and again. I can't recommend it enough.
DIGITAL SEX - NIGHT MODE
This is far and away the softest thing on this list, but there's nothing wrong with that. Basically Vaporwave, but still with a little bit of that Chillsynth vibe, this is like an auditory comfort blanket. This is incredibly atmospheric, spacey, and perfect to listen to late at night as a light rain comes down, it's that kind of comfy. I really love this album, and It's been something I've put on to just unwind after a really stressful day. I would absolutely recommend this to anyone who likes their music soft and light. Do not skip out on this.
STRNGR & DESTRYUR - NIGHT AT THE GRINDHOUSE
Going from comfy soft to Horrific and heavy we have "Night at the Grindhouse", and when this came out, I heard so many people talking about it and how it was utterly fantastic. I was interested to see if it held up to all the hype and it ABSOLUTELY does. This thing is a beast. Absolutely gritty and aggressive, this album is BONKERS. The chemistry in this between STRNGR & Destryur is absolutely nuts, and this album kicks ass in all the right places. the bass on this thing is THICK and like a saw blade coming down, it's really next level stuff. Absolutely check this out of you like by the book Darksynth, you will not be let down.
PEACECRAFT - THE YEAR WAS STILL 2120
Before I talk about this one, I must disclose that I created a remix for this release. That being said, this album is chock full of some really good remixes covering a variety of styles, from traditional Synthwave to EDM to Darksynth, it's got a little something for everyone. I would absolutely recommend this to anyone looking for a taster for some diverse voices in the synth scene.
KOFIN - CYBER UTOPIA
Another album deeply soaked in cyberpunk sounds, "Cyber Utopia" is something really interesting all it's own. Blending elements of industrial, extreme metal, EDM, and a variety of other genres, This album has a lot of unique sounds in it, all of which are absolutely stellar. Aggressive as all get out and heavy all throughout, this album is truly something that stands out in relation to other synth/Darksynth projects, it's very much it's own, in the best possible way. If you like your synths heavy and your atmosphere thick with aggression, look no further than this.
VAMPIRE STEP-DAD - REMIXES VOL.1
And rounding out the list is a remix album from Synthwave's very own VSD, and this is an absolute treat. Filled to the brim with remixes in a variety of styles covering some of VSD's best tracks, This has something for anyone, and absolutely should not be skipped. From more traditional Synthwave to deep heavy Darksynth, every artist on here does a fantastic job and brings the energy here to 11. Do not skip this.
And with that, that is our 2020 round up. Of course there were plenty of other releases that came out this year, we have plenty of others with more in-depth coverage on the site as well, as well as so much stuff we most likely forgot about (but not in a bad way) while writing this. We just want to end this by saying thank you to anyone who has supported the site this year, and we can't wait to talk about some more awesome Synthwave in the year 2021.
#review #roundup2020 #synthwave #darksynth