Floating behind a veil of gothic perspectives shadowed by a fanfare of high intensity leads, Toxic Aeon’s album Synthetic Senses is not a bad collection of tracks but it falls heavily into the gimmicks that turned industrial dance music into the viral videos of Cyberflaring (a term I’ve just made up to describe industrial dancing) to silly tunes.
With the album veering into a weighty slaughter of melodies and bouncing bass lines it plays gleefully on evil sounding hooks, modulating without heart to appropriate a sense of darkness. Its lack of tonal dissonance is disturbing as it becomes saturated in samples straight from the make yourself an industrial group kit.
Generic is another word for it but even that won’t prepare you for yet another air raid siren being thrown in for good measure. What good measure you may ask. The bottle of vodka that by the second track I was inspired to invent out of potatoes and cheese. Fermented in a puddle of my own sick.
A more pressing question would be ‘what is the purpose?’ Toxic Aeon have the aesthetic and they’ve understood the theme of the gothic industrial movement but they’ve neatly missed the point. The anti-authoritarian sentiments have been done to greater effect by bands and artists with real conviction dripping from their defiant tunes.
While the pianos and church organs do work to set a nice gothic tone and looking past the facepalm-able use of samples the music itself is sweetly cold and it’s not unpleasant to listen to. However the standard bold leads don’t do much for the overall expression on the album instead drowning out the atmosphere in hopes that the hooks will carry the song.
The overuse of samples is distracting to the point of becoming frustrating but the instrumentation does give a very gothic inspired touch to an album that suffers from too much to say. The band has potential as their hooks are neatly woven throughout the structure of the album weaving up and winding down to a good effect. The sounds (an important part of why industrial music is considered as such) are unoriginal and could use some personality. Instead it’s just another cybergoth album with a cyberpunk theme.