Today, we take the inclusion of electronic music into metal for granted; after all, we live in a post-Genghis Tron world. But before the madmen at Tron could make their (way too short-lived career) burst across our eardrums, countless of other innovators, trendsetters, and experimenters were needed to bring the musical/technological innovations of the 90’s to the metal style. Perhaps one of the most important names who made that marriage happen is Next Life. Founded on the cusp of the millennium, Next Life were the first band to use 8-bit computer synthesizers in metal. Today, you might know the style as “chiptune” but back then, it was a DIY experiment filled with a new flair and style. And now, Next Life are back!
“Guru Meditation”, the first, self-titled single from their upcoming release (which drops on August 21st, via Fysisk Format), shows that that style is very much still relevant today. Even though the market is now saturated with these glitch-like sounds, Next Life use them in a way which is still wholly fresh and unique. Instead of evoking nostalgia and a pastel palette, the electronics on “Guru Meditation” amplify the punk, almost grindcore, aggression on the track. They lend everything a sense of urgency, never far away from the blistering drums, buzz-saw guitar riffs, and plain old fury that makes up the core of this track.
In short, Next Life’s music still feels essential. It doesn’t waste its time on gimmicks or experimentation for the experiment’s sake; it’s all about delivering fast-paced, direct, and aggressive music, “simply” channeling those themes and emotions through their own circuit-board and style. Do yourself a favor and head on over to their Bandcamp page to pre-order it. You won’t hear anything much like it for a while.