There’s a name that has become synonymous with darkness in sytnthwave, and that name is Hexenkraft. GosT, for me, has been the gatekeeper for the underbelly of this genre, but as Hexenkraft keeps pushing things closer and closer to the dizzying edge of the pit, I’m starting to rethink things. With the release of The Infernal Schism EP almost upon us, I got the chance to preview it from start to finish. All I can say is that if you thought Hexenkraft was hitting hard before, you’ve not heard anything yet.
At five songs, The Infernal Schism EP feels just right. It kicks off with Hellfire Assault Battalion, which is actually the first song I heard by Hexenkraft. I discovered it as a recommendation on YouTube after watching the Turbo Killer video by Carpenter Brut. I loved it so much I wrote up an article about it! Needless to say, I was very excited once I discovered there was more Hexenkraft to be had. Technomagick Sacrament follows, and this one find us exploring newer territories. This track is an exploratory soundscape that builds to one hell of a climax, but before we get there we’re treated to some of the best harmonies and structured layers Hexenkraft has laid down. At the mid point we get the title track…The Infernal Schism. If you’ve not seen the great video yet I’ve got it linked here in the article. This track hit like a jackhammer and has to be one of the heaviest, darkest synthwave tracks on the market. A Flame in the Void keeps the descent going, almost as if we’re going downhill after kicking the door to hell open with the last track. It’s a fast paced burner and I especially like the war drum-esque percussion and soaring solos. The Infernal Schism closes with Diabolus ex Nihilo, and you couldn’t pick a better way to close this gateway to parts unknown. It’s a devilish closer, wrapped in infernal majesty. Did I mention it has a well placed Hellraiser samples? Icing on the cake.
You can pre-order The Infernal Schism EP right now on Bandcamp ahead of its April 8th release date, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. The Infernal Schism is the darkest, meanest, synthwave I’ve ever heard. That’s about the highest compliment I can give it. Hexenkraft has taken what he’s done already and built on it in ways that far exceeded anything I was prepared for. What are you waiting for? Buy it. Buy it now. Besides, if you pre-order you get the title track early!
But wait! Don’t go anywhere…I had a chance to talk with Hexenkraft this week and he answered a few of my questions about the new EP.
Echosynthetic: The Infernal Schism is finished and it’s your darkest work yet. Are you ready for everyone to hear it?
Hexenkraft: I am absolutely ready to unleash this beast upon the world. It represents a significant step forward in my musical journey, having some of my heaviest and most compelling dark art while simultaneously treading into territory that can only be described as transcendental.
Echosynthetic: This is the closest I’ve heard synthwave get to metal. Are you trying to forge new ground in the genre?
Hexenkraft: I think so. It’s not really an ultimate goal of mine to break new ground, but it is incidental to my musical approach and something that feels a little bit of an inevitability. I have a rather long background in metal music, having played in various bands for over a decade. During my years in metal, I was also making music with synths and learning how to design sounds and become a better producer. I’ve got pieces of music dating back to 2008 that are what I’d describe to be proto-synthwave. The convergence of these two genres for me is as natural as a hellfire spouting geyser, erupting glorious death onto the world.
Echosynthetic: Is there a story being told through your music or are we staring into the dark looking for truths that aren’t there?
Hexenkraft: There’s no specific story that’s been written or dictated, if you mean something along the lines of that. However there are bits and pieces that hint towards a larger vision that I’ve been incubating in my mind and manifesting through my art since Hexenkraft has started. All I can say is to keep paying attention and you will see how it all unfolds!
Echosynthetic: What can you tell us about the video for EP’s title track?
Hexenkraft: The video functions more as a pastiche of all the aesthetic influences behind my work. The artist that made the video goes by MekaSkull, look him up on Twitter. He’s currently developing a retro indie game that looks extremely cool and fun. I can’t say *too* much about it at this point, but you may or may not be seeing the demonic figure again in the future.
Echosynthetic: Something tells me this is just the beginning of what we’re going to see in 2017. Any clues?
Hexenkraft: No Rest For the Wicked.