Upon first listen, most people wouldn’t expect that San Diego’s Nyxem is only one artist, doing all the parts of his elaborate sophomore album Behind the Veil of Light all on a Moog synthesizer. It truly sounds like Nyxem’s new work is a full analog progressive metal band with some electronica and theatrical sound design thrown in but in fact, even the very real-sounding guitar parts are done on Moog. We knew the OG synthesizer was taking things to the next level but with this album, Nyxem has leveled up once again.
It’s not only Moog that made these sounds, mind you, as Nyxem the Moog Sub 37 keyboard through a high gain amp modelling DAW to get the realistic guitar sounds on Behind the Veil of Light, so suffice it to say it wasn’t just a standard synth program that made those realistic guitars. What doing these melodies on a synthesizer did, however, was allow Nyxem to take all the sound design and ambient background to the next level on the album.
“War Engine” and “Above the Abyss” are good examples of the extraordinary result of Nyxem’s technique, with expert-sounding guitars supporting the somewhat goth metal-sounding synths that are the main melodies in these tracks. Behind the Veil of Light isn’t all metal-tinged, however, and there are tracks which venture into more ambient, experimtenal indietronica territory.
“Trees of Eternity” is a track where Nyxem’s sound design prowess can really be heard and appreciated by EDM fans, with a sort of dubstep-style beat supporting 80s Tron-Style synths. The track does eventually launch into something more progressive metal but it’s interesting there as well because it shows how electronica and more guitar-based music can exist together and even make a new, heretofore uncategorized sound.
With its double-kicks and blast beat drums, heavy guitars and gothic-style synths, it might be easy for an EDM fan to overlook Nyxem as an electronic producer but that would be a mistake. Since these guitar sounds and composition was indeed done all electronically, Nyxem might be one of the most innovative electronic producers out there now, having come up with this technique that should also have guitar virtuosos questioning their skills. The melding of styles here is surprising and the sound production flawless, so from either side of the keyboard Behind the Veil of Light is more than worth a good hard listen.
Behind the Veil of Light is out now and can be streamed or purchased on Nyxem’s Bandcamp page. Check out his first album Decompiled as well on Spotify.