Juan “Punchy” Gonzalez created Apex Zenith as part of his journey of songwriting and producing music that he personally wants to hear. One of the founding members of Industrial music semi-icons, Diet of Worms, and the creator of synth-pop legend, The Synth Lord, Gonzalez wanted to take his music in a newer direction this project. Outside of his personal music projects, Juan “Punchy” Gonzalez is best known as an engineer and producer of such legendary metal and rock acts like Morbid Angel, Terrorizer, Diabolic, Unholy Ghost, and Christian Death, as well as being a live touring sound engineer for Morbid Angel, Nile, Symphony X, King’s X, Monster Magnet, Mayhem, Living Colour, Alexa Ray Joel, and others.
Released during December of 2021, “Pinnacle” is the brand new album by Apex Zenith. The world is currently infatuated with nostalgia. This can be both a good and a bad thing, depending on your personal perspective.
As far as music goes, synthpop and synthwave have had a very strong resurgence in the last few years, and if you have any affection for these genres, Apex Zenith is a real treat to experience. A collage in grit, neon, synth arpeggios and anthemic vocal melodies the project hits hard.
There is a captivating formula on “Pinnacle” – synths aplenty, grinding chords, driving rhythms, and soaring vocals. Apex Zenith demands your attention, from the smashing opening track, “Turn Up Your Stereo” onward.
Apex Zenith’s oftentimes cinematic and euphoric sound, will put you in a trance, time-travelling back through some portal into an action arcade. It wants to entertain you. And it will. Achieving a heavy sense of nostalgia and longing, both through the sound and the themes.
Apex Zenith’s songwriting and music production, in general, is fantastic, but that is to be expected from someone with Juan “Punchy” Gonzalez’s credentials.
Punchy delivers absolutely incredible vocals throughout the album, and that was the major surprise for me. The sounds go from dark and broody to upbeat and poppy, all led by Punchy’s deep nuanced vocals and dynamic range of synthesizers.
Almost all of the tracks on this album, have incredible choruses that will get stuck in your head for days. They are catchy, and quite a few are incredibly memorable. From “Never Gonna Be Alright”, through “The Rain Is Gone”, “It Won’t Take You Long”, “Beautiful” and “Forever”, you’ll be hooked to the accessible melodies.
In between, you’ll encounter the abrasive grit of “Fly In To The Light”, the runaway rhythm of “Down The Line”, the funky bounce of “See Me”, and the insistent banging groove of “Darkness Lives”.
If you have a fondness for the synthwave culture, “Pinnacle” is absolutely a must-listen album for you. If anyone is going to keep this genre, and any of its derivatives alive, I trust Apex Zenith to lead the charge.
Listening to “Pinnacle” is more than just a gratifying ride. It has qualities which will continue to keep me coming back for more. There is a very strong chance this album goes down as one of my personal favorite releases of 2021.