Montréal-based musician Luc Leclerc, aka Gloom Influx, delivers a unique and powerful blend of metal and synthwave, influenced by 80’s movies and video game soundtracks, heavy metal, and contemporary artists like Justice, and Carpenter Brut. Sometimes you need to listen to music that makes you feel like you are in the future in outer space and somehow the 80s never ended. And sometimes you want to add elements of robots, monsters and fear. When you want those things, there are few better than Gloom Influx . Whether you come at this album from the perspective of someone into synthwave, darkwave or someone who likes metal and is looking for a different take on the genre, you’ll probably be glad you did.
Gloom Influx actually manages to overcome my inherent aversion to retro-synthesizer generated tonalities with the album “First LP”. Inspired by a passion for ‘80s sci-fi action movies and metal music, Gloom Influx latest recording takes all of the successful elements of this genre and amps up the intensity.
From start to finish, this album excels at immersing the listener into the world of Luc Leclerc. The album opens with “Entropy,” a fast-paced and melodic introduction that nails part of the tone of the record and builds to a fascinating climax. “Transient” showcases the ominous atmosphere of Gloom Influx’s world, looping the listener into a nostalgic within a vast world or growling synths and pumping basslines.
The next track, “Afterimage” is a brilliant interpretation of what the rave culture might sound like in 2045 with a driving disco beat from 1985. “Obsidiane” is easily one of the album’s standout tracks, calling to mind artists like Depeche Mode and Purity Ring with its chilling synth melody.
It is one of those easily relatable moments on the record that ultimately also serves as one of Gloom Influx most endearing compositions…along with the bonecrushing “Checkpoint” of course. “Anodizer” and “Aeons” thrust the listener on an intense roller-coaster thrill-ride through “First LP”.
The album stunner, for me, is the closer “Metropolis” a steady sonic chase that features some creative synth layering, arpeggios and drum machine rhythms that thrusting the listener on a sonic journey as the tension builds and expands with ever increasing sounds shifting in and out of the soundscape.
Whether you buy into this genre or not, Gloom Influx’s music accomplishes exactly what it sets out to do in spades. It captures the listener in the clutches of Luc Leclerc’s fictional world. It succeeds as a well-produced, synthwave album that not only harnesses but also refines the usual tropes of the genre.
And above all it’s a joy to listen to, especially for fans of retro ‘80s sci-fi films, metal music, and video games. As a composer, Luc Leclerc has an immaculate attention to detail in the layering of his songs and it truly seats him well above his peers in the synthwave genre.
“First LP” sounds like the culmination of all of Gloom Influx’s sonic achievements, a soundtrack to a time when movies and videogames had a whole different significance in relation to today’s internet and social network-driven age.