Synthwave is very hit or miss. It can be very enthralling, where you find yourself wandering the pits of your mind, or it can be dull and drawn out. Acid Witch frontman Slasher Dave manages to pull off the former with his upcoming fourth solo album Frights, and it could not be more fitting for the Halloween season It’s completely horror themed, and to add even more fun to the bag, it’s super metal oriented too, with a title track that adds heavy, doom infused guitars to coincide the booming beats of the synthesizers. The synth tracks themselves are thumping and heavy.
Never is there a moment on Frights that lacks a feeling of terror soaking the atmosphere. Essentially, the whole thing feels like you’re placed in an early ‘80s horror film, being chased by ghouls and spooks that will inevitably trap you behind their walls. There are Rob Zombie like vibes as well as early Ghost key patterns that can be heard in comparison regarding song construction, but musically it’s totally different. Singing isn’t really to be found here either, but there are vocals. Most of the tracks sample voices. Whispers and ghostly voices can be heard, as well as scary narrations to go with the music, and sometimes it will have a rhythmic flow to it, or will loop and form a beat.
The way that the songs progress can either take an intense route, or an extra eerie one. Occasionally, both will be pulled off such as with “Death Chamber.” One of the standouts is “Shrieks And Creaks,” a short number that progressively slows down, ultimately ending with a very uncomfortable feeling of panic, as the notes teeter off and give off a deathly feeling. “Blue Labyrinth” is a another favorite, as the layers build off of one another. Simple beats create the foundation, as clicky, higher notes are piled on top, and finished off with more heavy guitars to drive this piece home. The icing on the cake is the horrified screams of a man sampled into it, flowing with the rhythm.
For metal fans that aren’t into synth but have thought about trying it out, there isn’t a better gateway album than Frights. It’s very heavy, it includes guitars, and it achieves the feel of being dropped in a terrifying situation very well. If nothing else, the song “Strobe Room” rides on a heavy guitar riff and includes a hard drum beat. This song alone at least deserves a listen from those intrigued, but I recommend the entire album. Frights will be out just in time for Halloween, dropping on October 26, 2018.