Confrontational – Cut [NewRetroWave]
Sardinian producer Massimo Usai a.k.a Confrontational offers with “Cut” a varied and very personal view of synthwave music, informed by darksynth, oldschool dance music, electro-industrial and even some industrial-metal influences.
The atmosphere is crepuscular, edgy and highly energetic – horror themes and action flicks seem to be the main inspiration for the whole soundscape, and cryptic lyrics enhance the experience and “world-building” of the album.
We start our dark journey with the title track “Cut” and its minimal, throbbing basslines soon violated by hard kicks and seedy, creepy vocal deliveries. 80’s dance and contemporary techno tropes are intelligently infused in the song, while eerie choruses complete the ending climax.
“Replay” introduces fast-paced synth-lines and pounding bass sounds perfectly orchestrated in a cinematic songwriting underlined by nocturnal atmospheres-sharp riffs give us even a harder edge “Tempatation” is a well done pastiche of italo-disco vibes and sampled guitars recalling the soundtracks of 80’s action movies, while “Black Glasses” returns to darker electronic influences with epic choruses and nervous, crawling basslines.
“Cold Hard Silver” is championed by giallo-disco superstar Anton Maiovvi, whom enriches the track with his effected vocals. An obsessive, dissonant motif moves underneath the hypnotizing sounds and monumental effects of this short, but sweet, episode. Johnny Marr’s collaborator Doviak helps the moody pastiche “The Chase” in giving us an apt synth-wave instrumental interlude, while “Possession” is an “electro-metal” ride with inquisitive sampled strings and heavenly choruses that work in contrast with the malevolent main vocals.
“No Respite” ends the work with another strong effort, a militant rhythmic march sporting French guitarist Adrien Grousset from the progressive/groove metal band Hacride. In some way a culmination of many elements of the album, the track even features elaborated guitar solos while maintaining its electronic core.
“Cut” is a very well produced, written and conceived album that builds upon synthwave and darksynth tropes in order to achieve a coherent, but highly personal sound. The various features never meanders too much while fully benefiting of the artists involved, and the guitar elements are tastefully and intelligently used and placed. A very good album from a not too well known artist deserving more exposure.
Release date: September 1st, 2023.
Text by: Davide Pappalardo.