Neontenic - Synthmonster
Synthwave Whether someone is referring to the genre as synthwave, retrowave, outrun, retro-electro, or dark synth, a majority of these throwback tunes are compiled into a similar sounding blender of neon soaked dreams. Despite this I still have a lot of love to give to the genre as every once in a while I find myself biting into a delicious morsel of synthetic cake that's worth it from beginning to end. While I did not realize it at first, neontenic's debut album "Synthmonster" served up a plate of yesteryear beats that I began to dig into. Posting the news of the album two weeks ago I thought nothing of it but I always had this creeping obsession to go back to the album and listen to it again and again and again - henceforth why this review is being written. 

I gave into my auditory lust and found that not only was "Synthmonster" an addicting album's worth of synthwave but one that was worth writing about. The introductory track '2084' sets the mood as rain pours down onto darkly lit city streets, with ambient techno-noise coming from below eschewing visions of an advanced future. An old school, VHS like note heightens its potential and drops us right into the thick of the album. 'Night Fury' basically tells the story of the album both thematically and musically; we'll be sitting through a clean cut, well produced album of dance worthy bliss. Those who play cyberpunk table-top RPGs may also want to look into this album as it can certainly set the mood for the evening. 



Scattered throughout the album are also several voiced over bits that give a glimpse into the story of "Synthmonster". While a lot of synthwave producers attempt to make a concept album I feel as if the story is sometimes lost in translation; there's an expectancy that just through short track titles the audience can gain a feeling for what the album is about. I like how neontenic approaches the idea of a concept album; the title of it shows what the protagonist is facing off with, the song titles introduce us to characters and set pieces, and the small voice over parts allow for a cinematic element into the story. My favorite one of these voice over bits comes at the end of 'Night Fury', whereupon news caster Sheila Gordon reports of the breaking in and theft of an electronic components warehouse with sirens and the like in the background. 

"Synthmonster" also showcases its cinematic elements in the pacing of the album. The fast-paced and fun tracks on the album have sandwiched in between them atmospheric pieces such as 'Wake Up' in between 'Call Jimmy Roland' and 'Another Monster?' in between 'Cody's Laboratory' and 'Road to Neon McCoy'. These small, pictorial tracks even out the album and give a break from song to song and keeps "Synthmonster" fresh and none too repetitive. 

The final impressive touches done to the album is the additional digital book that's included with the purchase of the album. While this in no way influences the score allocated to the album, it just would not be right to refuse to mention it. This small work was written by neontenic; each song on the album serves as a chapter in the book. Don't worry, it's not a huge or long read but serves as a short story to fill out the gaps in "Synthmonster". It's there if you want to read it (which I recommend) but you do not have to in order to enjoy "Synthmonster". 

neontenic's "Synthmonster" is a blazing and brilliant album among the synthwave community. From a no-name producer comes this phenomenally produced album with extremely well produced content and addicting beats. It a fully lush and complete project, thought out from the ground up as a concept album with enough hints and story telling within the music itself for anyone to make their own guess as to what's going on. This is a labor of love and one that paid off tremendously. Now I can just hope that neontenic releases a cassette or vinyl for the album! I would buy that in an instant.  
4
Brutal Resonance

Neontenic - Synthmonster

8.5
"Great"
Released off label 2019
Whether someone is referring to the genre as synthwave, retrowave, outrun, retro-electro, or dark synth, a majority of these throwback tunes are compiled into a similar sounding blender of neon soaked dreams. Despite this I still have a lot of love to give to the genre as every once in a while I find myself biting into a delicious morsel of synthetic cake that's worth it from beginning to end. While I did not realize it at first, neontenic's debut album "Synthmonster" served up a plate of yesteryear beats that I began to dig into. Posting the news of the album two weeks ago I thought nothing of it but I always had this creeping obsession to go back to the album and listen to it again and again and again - henceforth why this review is being written. 

I gave into my auditory lust and found that not only was "Synthmonster" an addicting album's worth of synthwave but one that was worth writing about. The introductory track '2084' sets the mood as rain pours down onto darkly lit city streets, with ambient techno-noise coming from below eschewing visions of an advanced future. An old school, VHS like note heightens its potential and drops us right into the thick of the album. 'Night Fury' basically tells the story of the album both thematically and musically; we'll be sitting through a clean cut, well produced album of dance worthy bliss. Those who play cyberpunk table-top RPGs may also want to look into this album as it can certainly set the mood for the evening. 



Scattered throughout the album are also several voiced over bits that give a glimpse into the story of "Synthmonster". While a lot of synthwave producers attempt to make a concept album I feel as if the story is sometimes lost in translation; there's an expectancy that just through short track titles the audience can gain a feeling for what the album is about. I like how neontenic approaches the idea of a concept album; the title of it shows what the protagonist is facing off with, the song titles introduce us to characters and set pieces, and the small voice over parts allow for a cinematic element into the story. My favorite one of these voice over bits comes at the end of 'Night Fury', whereupon news caster Sheila Gordon reports of the breaking in and theft of an electronic components warehouse with sirens and the like in the background. 

"Synthmonster" also showcases its cinematic elements in the pacing of the album. The fast-paced and fun tracks on the album have sandwiched in between them atmospheric pieces such as 'Wake Up' in between 'Call Jimmy Roland' and 'Another Monster?' in between 'Cody's Laboratory' and 'Road to Neon McCoy'. These small, pictorial tracks even out the album and give a break from song to song and keeps "Synthmonster" fresh and none too repetitive. 

The final impressive touches done to the album is the additional digital book that's included with the purchase of the album. While this in no way influences the score allocated to the album, it just would not be right to refuse to mention it. This small work was written by neontenic; each song on the album serves as a chapter in the book. Don't worry, it's not a huge or long read but serves as a short story to fill out the gaps in "Synthmonster". It's there if you want to read it (which I recommend) but you do not have to in order to enjoy "Synthmonster". 

neontenic's "Synthmonster" is a blazing and brilliant album among the synthwave community. From a no-name producer comes this phenomenally produced album with extremely well produced content and addicting beats. It a fully lush and complete project, thought out from the ground up as a concept album with enough hints and story telling within the music itself for anyone to make their own guess as to what's going on. This is a labor of love and one that paid off tremendously. Now I can just hope that neontenic releases a cassette or vinyl for the album! I would buy that in an instant.  
Nov 24 2019

Off label

Official release released by the artist themselves without the backing of a label.

Steven Gullotta

info@brutalresonance.com
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.

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