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Abstract Void - Back to Reality [Flowing Downward - 2018]

In the past decade or so, many new, synthesizer based genres have spawned, covering pretty much any type of synth music one could want. Usually ending with the postfix "wave," these styles have a fun take on current music and often times a loving nod at the synthesizer music of the late 70's and 80's. Many of these acts find their way onto bills at metal and noise shows, showing the openness of influences and the ability for fans to cross over genres. While a handful of acts have done their version of blending genres (Gost's Possessor, for example), none have been as pure in this mash up as Abstract Void on his latest, Back to Reality.

On paper, mixing synthwave and black metal sounds about as viable as mixing orange juice into one's coffee, although given some time, one might say, "some black metal acts incorporate synths, so maybe this isn't that far off," and the Tropicana gets placed next to the Folgers. However, paper and practice are completely different. Enter Abstract Void. Eschewing the obvious orange juice/coffee blend of playing death metal with synths, Abstract Void instead highlights fun, upbeat synthwave with snarling, grim vocals and metal drumming. The winning secret here is in the mix, and the black metal elements play like one instrument accentuating the neon ride of synthwave. Opting for opulent synthwave instead of Dataclast like levels of synth-shred and programmed blast beats, Abstract Void creates a really intriguing blend using two seemingly disparate styles. Still retaining the neon shimmer of synthwave, but highlighting passages with black metal, Back to Reality feels like anything but reality. This soundtrack to a near future is unexpected, very fun, and very well done.

Abstract Void boldly blends synthwave and black metal on his latest, Back to Reality. Putting goofy metal and pop mash-ups in the rear view mirror, this album steps into the future with its well thought out, genre bending composition. Deftly mixing two opposite styles, Abstract Void shows that his vision is clear and his skill is strong.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Paul Casey
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