It’s been a while since we recommended some good, meaty, fast synthwave and that’s exactly what I intend to do today. Allow me to introduce you all to Wraithwalker, an unapologetic addition to the exploding field of dark synthwave. His latest release, Hellscape 2X19, the kind of no holds barred, Judge Dredd invoking, bass busting escapade that we all need from time to time in this, our modern existence. It does a great job in capturing that unique feeling of being oppressed by technology, a collapsing urban space, and overall post-modern dejection and slapping it on to some sick grooves, great synth tones, and crisp but rich production. Go open your closet, find your flashiest pair of shades, dust out your leather jacket and let’s have some fun!
I think what I love the most about this record is its variety in tempo; I chose to highlight “Crackdown” here, a slightly slower and more ambient track but the track right before it, “Hyperlethal”, is much faster and more aggressive. The album does a great job of moving between these two paces, channeling the kind of pent up aggression and brimming lethality that makes synthwave so exciting to begin with. “Crackdown” also does a great job of showcasing the fantastic production on the album; every synth tone is rich and fleshed out, their meeting points in the mix well defined and articulated, allowing the listener to zoom in on whichever element they’d like and hearing it to its full capacity. “Splicers”, the track which follows, is even weirder, utilizing odd little sounds that belong in different electronic genres, like dubstep or techno, and coupling them with an off-kilter structure that immediately grabs your attention.
Put all of these together and you’ve get an excellent little album, hitting to the core of why this kind of dark synthwave works. It’s approachable but also deep, immediately satisfying with punchy tunes but also deep and layered. As always with these albums, it’s best consumed driving at night, with windows rolled all the way down, and the wind playing across your augmentations as you speed into Mega City 1.