October 1, 2018 Sylar – Seasons (Album Review)
You gotta be tough to make it in New York, and Sylar know a little something about survival of the fittest. Their latest, Seasons, arrives Friday, October 5, 2018, thanks to Hopeless Records.
Ironically named for a villain on the popular TV series Heroes and proudly hailing from Queens, New York, Sylar (that’s pronounced sy-ler not sy-lar) formed there in 2011. They wasted no time and shortly after their formation released an EP, Cutting The Ties. After a second EP, 2013’s Deadbeat, the boys made their full-length debut with 2014’s To Whom It May Concern – which was produced and mixed by Caleb Shomo of Beartooth and Attack Attack! – before delivering its popular follow-up, 2016’s Help!
A dogged determination and proud dedication to their craft has kept the band continuously on the road throughout the years, bringing them to share stages with nearly everyone on the scene, including Insane Clown Posse, Memphis May Fire, Blessthefall, Chelsea Grin, Emmure, Ice Nine Kills, Issues, and many, many more. For those that want their Sylar fix now, the band will be a part of Rock Allegiance 2018, which takes place in Camden, New Jersey, on October 6th, as well as hitting the road with Beartooth and Knocked Loose throughout this fall.
Poised to explode, Sylar – Vocalist Jayden Panesso, Guitarist/Vocalist Miguel Cardona, Guitarist Dustin Jennings, Bassist Travis Hufton, and Drummer Cody Ash – are preparing to present their third full-length, Seasons. Produced by Erik Ron (Godsmack, Blessthefall), the 11-song collection definitely earns its name, meandering its way through a multitude of themes, topics, and confessions. The sound? It’s something unique to the band, something that, while based in Rap Rock, might be classified as Nü Metalcore. The band’s influences are clear – from Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit, to the Deftones, P.O.D., and beyond.
Seasons opens with its namesake offering, a delicious blend of Rap verses and melodic, soaring choruses. Here, Sylar blend electronics into their Rock assault, as they sing of the paranoia of never knowing who to trust, particularly in regards to the varying seasons of life and friendship (“We’re friends but you talk about me when I’m not around”). It’s a perfect start to the collection and a delicious example of the Sylar sound.
Next, 2000’s Nü Metal heyday meets 2018 when Sylar go balls-out with grooving rocker, first single/video “All or Nothing,” a proclamation that pushes listeners to make their mark in this world and shut down their fear. Melody takes the lead on “No Way,” a languid rocker with sensual moments that laments the romantic past while seeking to get through the tough times spent missing said lover. Similarly, glittering electronics open the charge into “Wait For You,” where Panesso goes emotional in his plea to another to not give up on a relationship on the fritz.
All the kids are getting “shook,” so why not turn it into an anthem for your band’s romper-stomper attack? Sylar go massive, Djent-y, bass heavy infectiousness on “SHOOK!,” an undeniably catchy offering that harkens us back to the undeniable genius of tracks like Limp Bizkit’s “Nookie” and Marilyn Manson’s “mOBSCENE.” Next, they dial it down for delicate, breezy raps set to wispy atmospherics that encompass the under two-minute “Winter (Interlude),” an admitted struggle for a breath. They return with their impressive wall of sound on the meandering promise to never back down, “Open Wounds,” before gang vocal calls anchor the backbone of the driving rocker “Giving Up.”
The band beautifully balance melody and confessional raps in “sickminded,” an admission that we can only run from ourselves for so long. Meanwhile, they channel their inner-KoRn on the introductory notes of “Same Dance,” a massive, bass-heavy confection of pure rocking angst in the name of love and war. Ultimately, Sylar bring out the big melody guns for album closer “Doubt Me,” a seemingly autobiographical tale that promises even if you’re not a believer, this band will carry on strong – as music is their purpose!
While many of their contemporaries are conforming to a set formula, trying their best to work within self-imposed confines, Sylar are raising their middle fingers to the idea that their music must fit one obvious categorization. Despite this, there’s a sonic stomp to everything they put their touch to, an infectiousness peppered with moments of candid confessionals and self-searching. That makes Sylar not only intelligent, but also so deliciously digestible. In their heavier moments and in their emotional ones, as well, Sylar will definitely have you shook! For these reasons, CrypticRock give Sylar’s Seasons 4 of 5 stars.