In the age of the trending song, computerized music and recommendations based on number of views, many crave a different sort of sound than pop music. In the spirit of Halloween, I present a gritty, industrial sound to counter mainstream music. A sound that is recognized by few, and seen as its own genre by even fewer. A sound that is unique, contemporary and critical. This is darksynth; the music genre for today’s counterculture.
So what is darksynth? It has a distinct auditory style that is synthesizer based, with many tracks in the genre also utilizing electric guitar, deep bass and sometimes saxophone. Lyrics are scarce and usually cryptic, but are sung in a very melodic way, as opposed to the autotuned vocal fragments of EDM or the screams of death metal. Darksynth sound is influenced by 1980s sci-fi and horror movies, (this is shown best in the roots of darksynth, as it was once a subgenre of synthwave, a music genre defined by its 1980s influences) and heavy metal (many metal fans have transitioned to darksynth), but darksynth is distinct from its influences. It creates a musical atmosphere with its emphasize on melodies, rather than just the drop or chorus of the song. Darksynth tracks generally portray emotions of terror, rage and similar adrenal moods widely forgotten by pop music, yet are integral to the human experience.
Despite its loud and nostalgic front, darksynth’s strength lies in its contemporary thematic significance. Particularly, it’s critique on pop music, and more broadly, modern mainstream culture. Darksynth’s visual aesthetic utilizes a lot of satanic and post-apocalyptic imagery. Darksynth sound often incorporates a dark industrial atmosphere and anti-indoctrinatory lyrics. These symbols are not used in advertisement for a specific ideology, but instead a criticism of specific aspects of modern mainstream culture. Satanic symbols counter corrupt Christian ideals. Post-apocalyptic settings suggest an unconscious yearning to abolish the current menial status quo and a return to more natural, primal state. The electronic industrial atmosphere present in many darksynth tracks helps portrays a dystopian audioverse of a very mechanized and soulless future society. The dark tone gives a negative and horrific connotation to this possible future. Anti-indoctrinatory lyrics are anti-fascist in nature and are meant to express concern for the gradual concentration of resources in fewer and fewer people. Additionally, the emphasis of adrenal emotions over the more Disney-esque hollow joyful emotions portrayed in pop music, suggests a humility and acceptance of the fact that people are -- despite how advanced our society may seem -- still animals.