For an album that's barely half an hour long, the debut release from Neon Synthesis debut packs a lot of punch. The Italian band comes on strong from the get-go with "Future Plague," starting off with pummeling techno beats before bowling you over with energetic power chords and mechanized bellowing vocals. "Solitude And Fear" is more melodic, but no less intense, while "Eden" is quietly creepy at first but in the end can't restrain itself from bursting into a flamboyantly heavy chorus. "Stolen By The Wind" is the closest Neon Synthesis comes to quiet, with the guitars uncharacteristically subdued and singer Johnny Thyper's vocals restrained to a funereal baritone rather than a death metal bellow, but it's grim nonetheless, with pianos trailing moodily over a mid-tempo drumbeat. Stylistically, the band is all over the board. Though each song is driven by the same basic structure of pumping electronics and tight, heavy electric guitar, the production flourishes and vocal effects range from guttural and thrashing on "The Prophet" to gothic melodrama on "The Last Dream." At times, the spooky theatrics come perilously close to overwhelming the album with camp, as on the vampire-styled spoken intro of "Astral Coil," but the brutal industrial metal that typifies most of these offerings manages to keep any cornball leanings in check. It's a pity this album isn't longer, but even at 30 minutes it feels like a solid, well-constructed effort from start to finish, which is no small feat, especially given the fact that Neon Synthesis put this whole opus together with no label support. Fans of melodic industrial metal in the vein of Zeromancer and Razed In Black ought to particularly enjoy this.
Visit the band online at www.neonsynthesis.com.
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