"It's not a comfortable ride, but it is an electric one": GosT's Prophecy brings the synthwave pioneer back to his roots

James Lollar has been on shaky ground with GosT's most recent material, but a return to the darkest edges of synthwave re-energises the project

GosT 2024
(Image: © Tracy Lollar)

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Gost have always occupied the darker side of synthwave, but throughout a decade-long career of releasing twisted disco music, it’s sometimes felt like progenitor James Lollar has never quite settled on the perfect recipe for his electro-metal concoction. 

2019’s Valediction, with its split-personality approach to genre-mashing, didn’t tickle everyone’s tastebuds, and 2021’s Rites Of Love And Reverence, James’s account of witch trials through the ages to a backdrop of electro-goth, felt languid compared to the ear-wormy party atmosphere of earlier material like Skull and Behemoth

Finding James at a crossroad in his career, he’s approached this latest creative work with a heavy dose of self-awareness. “I [also] wanted to reconnect with some of my older fans who maybe didn’t feel that album so much,” he says, referring to Valediction. “I wanted to go back in time and bring some of the older shit back.” 

Indeed, on Temple Of Tears, one of Prophecy’s biggest bangers, there’s the familiar throb of synthwave sprinkled with Gost’s signature malevolent tones. The track’s bass-driven strut is shared by Golgotha’s pulse-quickening synthwave, reminiscent of 80s video game soundtracks. And yet it’s what happens in between classic synthwave that sets Gost apart. 

Obituary fuses rave with terror, as the glitchy beats and harrowing half-tempo passages evoke a disco-inan-abattoir aesthetic, while the title track’s intro of blastbeats and screams catapults the listener into slasher-flick territory. Deceiver toys with a similarly torturous setting, flooding the track with black metal screams and atmospheric wails that are also prominent on the caustic Through The Water

If James wanted to go back to the “older shit” he’s semi-succeeded; the synth is pumping hard. With so many stylistic tweaks and some proper bleak moments on the table, it’s not a comfortable ride, but it is an electrifying one.

Prophecy is out March 8 via Metal Blade. 

Holly Wright

With over 10 years’ experience writing for Metal Hammer and Prog, Holly has reviewed and interviewed a wealth of progressively-inclined noise mongers from around the world. A fearless voyager to the far sides of metal Holly loves nothing more than to check out London’s gig scene, from power to folk and a lot in between. When she’s not rocking out Holly enjoys being a mum to her daughter Violet and working as a high-flying marketer in the Big Smoke.