Top 10 Dark Synthwave Artists of 2019

Disclosure: The ‘80s Guy is owned by synthwave record label FiXT Neon.

10. Misanthropix

Misanthropix’s two-song Boostergangs EP single-handedly earned the artist a place on this list, as “Sisters of Disorder” and “Boostergangs” both delivered exceptionally well-realized cyberpunk tracks with a brooding atmosphere. Add in the artist’s latest single, “Bionic Within,” and the future looks strong for Misanthropix.

9. Donbor

This up-and-coming artist puts a polished production spin on dark cyberpunk music with some amazing results. 2019 saw the release of multiple great EPs from Donbor, including Return and Don’t Kill Me.

8. Absolute Valentine

Absolute Valentine surprised a lot of people in 2019 with the polished and surprisingly dark Omega album. The full-length effort delivered numerous worthwhile songs, including “Spitfire,” “Omega,” and “Powertrust” for one of dark synthwave’s best releases of the year. 

7. Street Cleaner

Street Cleaner had a busy year with a celebrated full-length album on Annihilation and a terrific standalone single on “Curse of Iron Pipe.” Keeping the lo-fi grit of underground darksynth alive and well, Street Cleaner confirmed his status as one of darksynth’s best in 2019.

6. We Are Magonia

We Are Magonia’s long-awaited follow-up album, The Living Will Envy the Dead, delivered much of what fans were hoping for: brutal darksynth music with gothic overtones. The 12-track recording is practically a feast for darksynth fans, and it’s worthy of multiple spins.

5. Neoslave

In terms of breakout albums of 2019, few were more significant than Neoslave’s rugged Autoviolator. Nearly every song on it is worth hearing multiple times, though “Brutal Moves,” “Electric Death Machine,” and “The New Slaves” are particularly worthy.

4. MASTER BOOT RECORD

Who knew electronic chiptune metal could sound so good? Master Boot Record has been delivering consistently great music for years, though the new Internet Protocol album felt like a step above the artist’s own past creations. “Ftp” alone is well worth the price of admission.

3. Masked

Masked has built a significant reputation in the darksynth world over the past two years, and while the artist’s early releases felt like the second coming of Carpenter Brut, newer newer tracks continue to refine and develop Masked’s uniquely brutal and dystopian sound. 

2. Alex and Tokyo Rose

The Akuma creators returned in 2019 with a celebrated follow-up to their 2017 classic with Akuma II. Heavy, dark, and experimental in just the right amount, the new recording put Alex and Tokyo Rose back on the radar of every synthwave fan in 2019. 

1. Mega Drive

The master returns. It was a resurgent year for Mega Drive, as the dark synthwave pioneer revisited the sound of the iconic 198XAD with a direct sequel, 199XAD. Diverse, imaginative, and cloaked in cyberpunk atmosphere, 199XAD is arguably the best album from the artist to date and was a dominant force in darksynth in 2019.