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  • Writer's pictureSammie Starr

Album Review: Mega Drive - '200XAD'

Coming off of the success of 2019's 199XAD, cyberpunk dark synth artist Mega Drive releases another dynamically cinematic cyber-horror experience, 200XAD.



There are not many pieces of music within the electronic genre that blend cybernetic horror so well together. For Cyberpunk Darksynth artist Mega Drive, the fusion of the two elements just comes naturally. When Mega Drive released 2014's 198XAD, and 2019's 199XAD, these dark cult instrumental classics would show off some of the artist's most decadent use of stygian synthwave elements. Mega Drive has returned to the electronic world four years later to grace listeners with some of the artist's most entertaining robotic-horror musical achievements to date with the release of his new album, 200XAD.


200XAD is a dazzling achievement that shows progression and emergence into new creative territories as an electronic artist. While 198XAD and 199XAD showed audiences growth throughout the years, 200XAD shows the lasting permanence of that evolution and of someone who dares to always be fearless and unique with each release.


Taking listeners down a gorgeous lurid, pitch-black, and cinematic realm of 80's twinkling synths, intense percussive drives, and a beautiful cyberpunk guise effortlessly nestled into each experience, Mega Drive wastes no time immersing audiences in the world he wants us to sit and let our auditory senses wander in for 15 captivating tracks.

Opening eerie interlude, "Orion," provides the perfect atmospheric touch for what's in store on 200XAD. Impressive and highly detailed, it plunges into the first experience of the album, "Mnemonic Head Trip." Imposing a masterful blend of electronic components and pacing in one track, opens the door for other amazing junctures that will soon follow on this record.

On 200XAD, Mega Drive impressively continues to enhance the already intricate electronic experience with the addition of edgy instrumental layers through "Narc³" and "Persona Sync." This provides the listener with fresh elements to appreciate and derive inspiration from.

"Shadow Dancer" provides a different change of pace on the record with its stripped approach where less of the effects are coming through and more of the instruments are making an appearance in tracks like these. Mega Drive seems to want to show both sides of the coin on this album, that he can write tracks that don't require so much "noise." That there is beauty in pulling back sometimes.

The album's major feature, "Mulitpass" showcases many of Mega Drive's abilities as an electronic musician. Everything about this music is excellent, from the dramatic pacing to the unusual timing of the percussion and the utilization of voltaic themes. Other great highlights soon follow its example, including the fiery number "Black Katana."

Mega Drive continues to charge ahead with machine-like intensity with other hits on the record, "Infared Icon." Unrelenting in its energy and ever-constant enigmatic instrumental creativity, one does not ever get bored of listening to Maga Drive "play" with all these different elements in each song. When one believes they have Mega Drive figured out, another track appears to rapidly remind us that we are only just beginning to piece that puzzle together. "Code Walker" and "Ctrl Alt Dissonance" are excellent instances of this.

Mega Drive outdoes himself with these two tunes, which sound more electronically ornate than anything up to this point. If there was ever a track that screamed the 80s on this record, let it be "Ctrl Alt Dissonance." The amount of nuanced timing, control, and instrumental elegance in this track is beyond description. It is something that must be experienced to be fully appreciated.

The album closes with finale tracks "Nakatomi Night Assault" and "Memoria." Leaning into our world's sordid underbelly of intrigue and crime, Mega Drive, like with his past works, always finds a way to blend compelling musical compositions with even more fascinating and unsettling backstories.

200XAD is a dazzling achievement that shows progression and emergence into new creative territories as an electronic artist. While 198XAD and 199XAD showed audiences growth throughout the years, 200XAD shows the lasting permanence of that evolution and of someone who dares to always be fearless and unique with each release.



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