Album Review: Fixions – Genocity

Listening to Genocity is like spending an hour inside the mind of a cybernetic soldier whose circuits are corrupted and inflamed by an aggressive alien virus. It’s a digital fever dream of an album, pulling listeners into its surreal, synthetic world with moments that feel briefly and tantalizingly concrete before dropping them back into a hallucinogenic sensory flux.

The recording refuses to play by any conventional songwriting wisdom and never attempts to emulate or identify with outside influences, instead delivering a self-contained darksynth fantasy that is one of the most deeply enjoyable listening experiences available in the human reality.

In terms of style, Genocity falls cleanly within the realm of the darksynth genre, though comparing it to prominent artists in the style like Perturbator or Carpenter Brut would be a disservice to the hyper-detailed, cerebral creations on the album. Although Fixions’ music fits within a larger stylistic pattern of music, it holds no direct comparisons and exceeds nearly all of its contemporaries in terms of its depth and overall quality.

Genocity flows so naturally from one song to the next that there’s barely any sense in breaking down the album into its individual components. Playing through the recording feels more like experiencing an unbroken, 56-minute instrumental concept piece with each track serving as a new scene in Fixions’ glitched-out audio theater.

In one moment, melodies punch through the speakers like short bursts from a fully automatic plasma rifle, accented by exhilarating percussive blasts and inspired effects that generate images of futuristic urban warfare. In the next moment, a lucid series of notes play out a heart-wrenching melody with cold indifference, drifting through the composition like a quiet stream of liquid melancholy pouring through the black wounds of an inter-dimensional rift.

An occasional voice clip gives human identity to the abstract array of digital information inundating the listener, though even those contain reality-bending concepts and references. A perfectly chosen Total Recall clip appears on “Terrorwave,” in which Dr. Edgemar informs Hauser that he is “experiencing a free-form delusion based on our memory tapes…a paranoid episode triggered by acute neurochemical trauma.”

The frenetic tone of the accompanying music draws an emotional parallel to the tension of the scene, and like Hauser, who must choose whether to take the red pill (the symbol of his desire to return to reality), listeners of Fixions’ Genocity will likely find it easier to embrace their violent fantasy and remain fully entrenched in the simulation.

Every apparent corner or tangible boundary of Genocity leads only to new and increasingly mystifying sections of the digital maze, and the pieces of humanity represented by the voice clips spill across the soundscape like memories of a fractured and distant reality.

Incredibly, the album’s hefty running time rarely runs short of new ideas or memorable moments, alternately delivering gentle gratification and masochistic delight in its unrelenting cybernetic nightmare. Halfway through the recording, the firestorm of musical data becomes something of a virtual extension of the human body, granting power and pleasure to its host body with potentially habit-forming consequences.

Of the generous 16-track offering, only a few songs slip from excellence, though the album’s densely woven compositions may cause first-time listeners to turn away without taking the time to fully connect with the nuanced and rewarding songwriting gems hidden within. But for those willing to make the investment and accept the visions granted by Fixions’ corrupted neural implant, Genocity is likely to become a staple in their music rotation.

Genocity checks the boxes on the list of requirements for an outstanding album, delivering deeply inspired songwriting choices through peerless execution and production with an artistic style that couldn’t be mistaken for any other music creation. The journey across its tenebristic audioscape becomes more engaging and irresistible each time through, making it one of those rare and coveted achievements that shifts from agreeable on its first spin to a joyful indulgence by its tenth. It’s easily one of the best darksynth albums ever recorded, and it deserves to be in the ears of every fan of the genre.

Rating: 98 / 100 (Outstanding)

Songwriting: 10
Execution: 10
Production: 10
Song Variety: 9
Consistency: 10
Memorability: 10
(Click here for a full explanation of the grading scale.)

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For more info on synthwave, check out What is Synthwave? 2018 Edition and Why Darksynth Deserves its Own Genre

Enjoy Fixions and related artists in Iron Skullet’s Darksynth playlist.

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