Premiere: Hexencraft – “Nightflame Eternal”
Synthwave? In my metal? It’s more natural than you might think.
It’s strange to me that we don’t hear more crossover between metal and synthwave; the two styles feel tailor-made for each other, and yet there’s not a whole lot of genre intermingling. Both tend to be dark and a little abrasive, and acts like Carpenter Brut really lean into the hokey 80’s slasher movie aesthetic (perhaps a little too much if you ask some people). But aside from acts like Gost experimenting with screams, Dance With The Dead’s metal-influenced synths, and the occasional shreddy video game soundtrack (F-Zero and Mega Man X in particular love this), the offerings are fairly sparse, especially when it comes to synthwave-influenced metal. You’ve got a lot of power metal acts adopting a retrowave veneer lately, but that rarely plays into the music itself.
Enter Hexencraft, a true fusion of metal and synthwave. Their music is equal parts pulsing synths and chunky heavy metal, chock full of leads of both flavors, and catchy as all hell. Our premiere for you today, “Nightflame Eternal,” cuts a little closer to the metal side of the project’s sound, which makes sense given its influence. Per the artist:
“Nightflame Eternal” is my personal love-letter to high energy shredwave, taking influence from classic game soundtracks like F-Zero and also epic power metal such as Lost Horizon or even Jag Panzer in the case of Phil [Tougas] (he is hugely influenced by the guitarist Joey Tafolla). The greater context of this track within the album is that it serves as an emotional contrast of triumph and power that is embedded within a larger monument to pain and suffering that is the entirety of Permadeath.
That contrast of triumph and power is perfectly expressed through exultant leads and that climbing chorus riff, emphasized by big 80’s-ass tom fills (you know the kind). Each individual element works great in concert: the synth drums feel right at home along the distorted riffs, and the lead guitar tone is a natural fit for its digital counterparts. It’s some fun stuff, and I definitely want to hear the rest of the album’s dark fiction influenced stuff- think Doom, Berserk, and the like.