Confrontational: The Burning Dawn

For three consecutive years Sardinia's Confrontational, aka producer and multi-instrumentalist Massimo Usai, has been gracing the world with a new album each year. Late 2017 saw the release of The Burning Dawn, the grand conclusion to a trilogy of albums which complete one another in total harmony.

What sparked the interest of the synthwave community with A Dance Of Shadows and continued with an even more compelling sequel that was Kingdom Of Night, is now finalized with a sharp, fiery record which from the first listen sounds like Confrontational's most accomplished and impressive work to date. The triptych is at long last complete, and its entries even get to look related due to the uniformity provided by Branca Studio's exquisite artwork.

"In telling the final story of this triptych, I delved deep into themes of loss of innocence, loss of identity, temptation and anger," Confrontational explains. "Finally bringing closure to the narration has been a very emotional process and I could have never reached this point without ​the help ​of ​the ​amazing ​artists ​who ​have ​been ​with ​me ​on ​this ​journey."

If you have been looking for the contemporary/synthwave equivalent to a combination of the chills and horrors of Fabio Frizzi and John Carpenter, consider your search over. In reference to the name Carpenter, Cody (or Ludrium - also the son of the Horror Master) is killing it again on three tracks, while vocalist Tying Tiffany, Swedish italo-disco legend Tobias Bernstrup and Beastmaker's Trevor William Church, comprise the rest of an effective team of guest musicians on The Burning Dawn.

While this time around Confrontational's sound appears cleaner and more piercing than ever, the new album lays out a more twisted, trickier and to some extent bolder version of dark-synth, compared not only to the artist's earlier releases, but everything the genre has presented since its resurgence reached a higher level of popularity in the early 2010s. Still heavily inspired by the eighties, still carrying its cinematic character with pride, yet, darker, in a sense that the music feels closer to darkwave and post-punk than anything else synthwave-related.

There are no highlights on this album, as The Burning Dawn is a great listen from start to finish. It's full of brains, feeling and character while it wears its influences on its sleeves and makes impeccable use of them in the most organic way. It is a spotless record, worthy of continuous repeats and encouraging of the notion that we have expressed in the past, that Confrontational is one of the best acts - if not the finest one - in this much competitive and as of late super productive synthwave business.

For the record, the album is dedicated to late horror-film pioneer George A. Romero and Heather Heyer, the civil rights activist killed when a driver intentionally ran over her with his car during a white supremacist ​march ​in ​Charlottesville, ​Virginia.

They do not come more highly recommended than this.

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