I’m not gonna lie, it feels kinda weird to resurrect my Retrocution column for the first time in more than a year… with an artist who, by his own account, has been actively trying to move away from “conventional” synthwave for a while now. But for James Kent, I’ll make an exception.
After all, Kent’s work as Perturbator was one of my earliest exposures to synthwave. I wouldn’t be anywhere near as big a fan of this music — maybe a fan at all — if not for Dangerous Days. So even though my tastes within the genre have since shifted a bit more toward the pop end of the spectrum, I tend to listen whenever Kent drops something new — conventional or otherwise. And in the case of his latest effort, Lustful Sacraments, the listen proved to be quite an excellent one.
Synthwave is one of those genres that has become a go to for metalheads due to its horror movie kinship, its wildly creative sound and its imagery which at times can mirror some of extreme metal’s most enduring gorehounds. Perturbator and James Kent have been at the tip of this spear since Terror 404 back in 2012 and has shown more and more growth and depth on each successive album. Now, with Lustful Sacraments, the band dive further into the industrial side of the synth coin but do so in a way that doesn’t leave anything behind. Think of it as an experiment gone incredibly right.Head inside for an in depth discussion via The Nine Circles Audio Thing.
It’s been a little less than three months since James Kent — better known under the pseudonym Perturbator — released his newest album, The Uncanny Valley. In that time, the album’s staked its claim as one of the synthwave maestro’s best releases to date — not that it needed that long to do so, though. Underneath the neon-drenched cyberpunk facade, there’s a darkness to the album — to all Perturbator releases, really — that keeps earning Kent new fans within the metal community. We sent him some questions about his crossover appeal, The Uncanny Valley and the growth of synthwave in general. Here’s what he had to say: