For many metal fans, the success of the synthwave movement within our world is a bit of a head-scratcher. Listening to metal as they were growing up aside, it’s hard to really be able to pinpoint exactly what many of these artists actually bring to the world of heavy metal. Gost would be the outlier in that respect, as the American DJ certainly appeared to be the heaviest member of the synthwave club when he dropped 2018’s Possessor, complete with extreme metal and Satanic references. Following it up with 2019’s Valediction may not have heaped on the heaviness, but the dark, gothic edge that he was leaning on was also strongly associated with the bleakest parts of the metal realm.
It’s fair to say that Rites Of Love And Reverence builds upon that idea, whilst also bringing a few more influences to the table. A Fleeting Whisper rides along like prime Sisters Of Mercy while marrying its goth romanticism with a propulsive dance beat; the opening of Embrace The Blade slows down Killing Joke’s Eighties before giving it a turbo-dubstep throb; The Fear takes Depeche Mode’s landmark 1986 Black Celebration album and pumps it full of energy drinks; and every song is almost impossible to not move to. But it’s when Gost does decide to go super-heavy, such as on the brutal white noise and chiming creep of the second track, Bound By The Horror, that he’s really at his best.
Gost isn’t the only artist to have rejected synthwave and taken up a more post-punk feel in their music over the last couple of years, but on this evidence he might be the most successful artist in making that transition thus far. This is still not really a metal album, but you’d be advised to forget that right now – it’s a killer record, regardless of genre.
Rites Of Love And Reverence is out August 13 via Century Media. Pre-order the album on Amazon here (opens in new tab).