July 11, 2014 Sonic Syndicate – Sonic Syndicate (Album review)
Anglo-Swedish metal band Sonic Syndicate is one which has grown despite setbacks thrown their way over the years. What started back in 2002 as a band named Fallen Angels blossomed into Sonic Syndicate as they released their debut album Eden Fire (2005) via Pivotal Rockordings. Looking to reach new heights the band entered a contest held by Nuclear Blast in 2006 which landed them a record deal with the label. Upon releasing their Only Unhuman album in 2007, the band was heavily promoted and featured as support on North American tours for two consecutive years. While staying the course and withstanding line-up changes the band triumphs on still, continuing to challenge themselves and hone their sound. After a four year break, Sonic Syndicate is back with their fifth full length album, simply titled Sonic Syndicate. This marks a fresh start for the band after the departure of long-time guitarist Roger and harsh vocalist Richard Sjunnesson following the release of We Rule The Night in 2010.
While some critics and fans may have felt We Rule The Night was slightly too pop-oriented and lacked a clear direction musically, the band’s newest effort sees them burning the midnight oil and crafting something vastly different and much more defined. Recorded in prestigious Bohus Sound Studios with producer Roberto Lahgi (In Flames), it is clear from the first notes of the album the band is comfortable in their own skin. Going for the throat, the opening track “Day Of The Dead” speaks frankly and fires all over the place with double-bass- and growl-attacks. Immediately following is lead single “Black Hole Halo,” where lead vocalist and lyricist Nathan J. Biggs blares out pent-up agony from the depths of his soul, reminding listeners of the heavy and dark gait of a band like Soilwork.
Speaking of country-mates Soilwork, Sonic Syndicate called upon their friend Björn “Speed“ Strid for a guest-appearance on the single “Before You Finally Break.” On this track Biggs and Speed mix for an insane vocal duel. With all the concentrated hate in the compositions the melody does not suffer one bit. Providing an alternative balance to the heavier assaults are more radio-compatible songs such as the catchy “My Revenge,” the In Flames-influenced “Catching Fire,” and the dark and moody ballad of “Unbreakable.” Other tracks such “So Addicted“ also interject diversity with mostly clean vocals and a keyboard-arrangement amid the main riff. Among the mentioned impressive stand-out tracks are others which consist of similar structure that may not be as striking upon the first listen but gel the record together as a cohesive piece.
Sonic Syndicate have put together an excellent album that tries to meld aggression and melody without too much outside modern- trend influences. This album sees the band pay homage to their roots while looking forward to the future. Sweden-metal-lovers get their money’s worth with some more brilliant songs by Sonic Syndicate. CrypticRock gives this album 4 out of 5 stars.