Synthwave Sunday: Synthwave Metal Covers Album Altars of Synthness
The connections between synthwave and metal often run beneath the surface — dark aura, dystopian worldview, “heavy” tones — but sometimes they’re front and center: like when a bunch of artists in the genre get together for an electronic covers album of Bathory, Opeth, Gorguts, Death, Slayer, Carcass and more.
Werkstatt Recordings, an independent electronic music label that’s been at it long enough to own the perfectly appropriate synthesizer.bandcamp.com domain, put out the Altars of Synthness compilation in 2014 and it’s all the proof you need that half the dudes making synthwave are diehard heshers who decided to put down their guitars for keyboards. Synthness delights without being cheesy (no hokey chiptune covers here): Antroid Aubroid’s cover of Gorguts’s “Nostalgia” is just as skronky and off-putting as the original; Dan Terminus’ version of Carcass’s “Genital Grinder” gets the latter’s eery vibe just right; and Denovomutans’s interpretation of My Dying Bride’s “The Cry of Mankind” replaces guitars with robotic clunks that may hit even heavier than the original. But the real standout here is Nitelight’s take on Death’s “Crystal Mountain;” sure, the source material may’ve been ripe for the picking, but there’s something about the dry production and paper snare that bring the track a whole new personality. Mach Rider’s version of Slayer “Dead Skin Mask” is pretty gnarly, too.
Stream Altars of Synthness below via Bandcamp. More from label Werkstatt Recordings here.