Aquamaster’s “Step Into Something New” is a synth album worth checking out.

Karl has been working as a freelance writer for more than ten years. He’s a music, art, and writing aficionado!

First Impressions

With massive drums, shredding guitar work, and melodic, shiny synths that cascade and fly, Aquamaster’s Step Into Something New is classic synthwave in some ways. However, elements as diverse as reggae and spaghetti Western soundtracks contribute their own distinct flavors to the album.

Aquamaster is able to paint auditory pictures throughout the music by balancing different tones, timbres, and feelings. Each track has an interweaving of layers that creates a strong sonic image. One of the strongest aspects of Step Into Something New is the level of detail and integration of the wide variety of synth parts.

On the other hand, he also knows when to slow down and smooth out the tracks. The guitar work on the album has an unmistakable aggression and power that comes from Aquamaster’s metal influences. There are sections of flying, shredding guitar and growling attacks on the ears that give the music a satisfying bite.

“Welcome to the Blast Zone” has a strong reggae groove that gives it a fun vibe, and “Cyborg Cowboy” has a spaghetti Western sound and sensation that adds to the track’s listening pleasure. I also appreciate Aquamaster’s unique touches in Step Into Something New.

The new generation of songs

With a steady pulse of sharp-edged synth and sparkling chimes full of glowing light, “Human Stain” emerges. Over the throb of the bass weight beneath it, shifting lines of medium high synth are joined by a growling guitar attack.

The slashing guitar lines that cut in are enjoyable, and the distorted electric bass adds another unique voice to the music with a rich tone. The guitar growls into the track, which has an airy, open background and lyrics that are almost chanted.

“Would you still pretend?” he asks if there was a chance for a fresh start. “Everyone is gone, it’s breaking my heart,” the narrator says. The lyrics of this song are dark and depressing.

“When you break it down, the people I know are gonna tell you just the same,” the narrator muses. He comes to the conclusion that the people he knows and the places he visits “leave a human stain.”

To begin “Silver Shamrock,” gleaming synths with bell-like and chiming sounds twinkle and dance over sampled sounds and voices, before a rapid, aggressive throb of synth bass with jagged edges is joined by an echoing, crying guitar.

Along with the guitar, a rapidly shifting flowing line of elevated synth enters to wander over the bass. The reverberating and echoing guitar is joined by cascading medium-high, thickly stacked synths in this track. I’m drawn to the leaping, glowing melody, which has a mix of uplift and darkness.

“Campground Killers” kicks off with a slamming beat and a hard, oscillating synth pulse, moving through the track with big drums and interesting percussion sounds. As a twisting minor key synth line wriggles over the top of the hard-hitting, deep beat beneath it, there’s a satisfying layering.

The guitar also calls out with an energetic howl through the mixed layers of interlocking sound around it, and an elevated, nervous line of sparkling synth arcs upward in over the power and drive below it. Another moving line of lower, deeper sound enters, and the beat and bass continue to push the track forward.

To begin “Cyborg Cowboy,” quickly pulsing synths with a high tech feel move in uneven groupings of notes as a hollow, open synth throbs and a rising, airy synth glows above it all. As the lead synth whirls in a hypnotic pattern, the track’s uneven feel coalesces into a more even beat.

A triumphant-sounding brassy synth cals out a soaring and dramatic melody that gives me a heroic feeling. With its galloping synth pulse and driving percussion, the entire track exudes an air of adventure.

Before Aquamaster’s guitar adds thundering power and rising, majestic, and wordless vocals reminiscent of Ennio Morricone’s spaghetti Western scores, there’s a flowing, drifting section.

All of the musical elements are now ascending, with a tin whistle adding a Celtic touch to the track. As the triumphant guitar cries out over the complex parts swirling and flowing beneath it, arpeggios swirl and dance with the computerized sounding synths.

“Welcome to the Blast Zone” begins with a steady, shifting synth pulse accompanied by bright bells. The addictive reggae groove of this track is fantastic, especially when the guitar shines over it and a full, trumpeting synth carries a shimmering melodic line.

A roaming, flowing line of glittering medium-high synth dances over the dubwise groove before the track fades out, and bursts of more metallic synth wriggle into the track before it fades out. Over the reggae beat, the guitar falls in shredding patterns, accompanied by a fluting melodic line.

As a computerized, glowing synth dances over the massive drums, a sharp-edged sonic pulsation is joined by rising and reverent synths to begin “Beach Goth.” The playful, cascading lead synth melody that sings out over the reverberating beat is my favorite part.

The music’s shimmering, computerized lead synth spins and twirls, shimmering and full of light and energy. Before drifting sounds shift over the thick, solid beat, the track begins with a single, hollow synth pulse.

The swirling guitar tone appeals to me, and the piano adds a sense of unpredictability to the proceedings. Under the howling flow of the lead guitar, “Sunset Traffic” begins with bursts of static and repeating piano notes that form a pattern.

Throughout the track, I had a sense of being lost and roving. The guitar twists and yearns above the drums, giving the track a stuttering quality. Underneath the starry synths, the drums throb softly to provide a steady element.

Final thoughts

Step Into Something New provides me with a thoroughly enjoyable listening experience thanks to the combination of diverse, well-integrated synths, Aquamaster’s ability to create images through sound, and his individualistic approach to making retro-influenced synth music.

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