Originally written for Valkyrian Music.
Being a die-hard fan of Sonic Syndicate, to say I was eager for this album is quite an understatement. But precisely due that “die-hardness”, I knew how this 4-year hiatus was necessary, after the new challenges the boys and girl had to face in their lives, both as musicians and human beings. Now if you ask “was the wait worth it?”, I’ll ask back “is that a trick question?!”.
Generally speaking, it’s heavier, brisker and more intense and daring than anything they’ve ever done. On detail: “Day Of The Dead” kicks off with a dark and ominous instrumental work that lasts 33 seconds before exploding into something massive – a pounding drum pattern, defiant guitar riffs that the bass line, as subtle as it is, still strengthens, the deep and angry vocals and the electronics popping up here and there, just for seasoning. The synths become more solid, although playing in the background, during the chorus, where there’s also more melody and the clean vocals kick in, aiming for (and scoring) catchiness.
In “Black Hole Halo”, on the other hand, the synths are very much alive, which doesn’t cut the heaviness down at all – not even in that break around minute 3:20, where for brief seconds you’ll feel like you’re in a rave.
“Long Road Home” is probably the most sharp-edged song here, followed by “It Takes Me”, in contrast to the ballad “Unbreakable”. Although “ballad” doesn’t quite cover it. Sure, it’s the most sweet-sounding track, but there are a few little outbursts of energy that don’t comply with your average definition of “ballad”.
Suiting its title, “My Revenge” is darkly menacing (even if Nathan Biggs sings that “this is not a threat”). Speaking of whom, I take the chance to highly praise his vocal skills, a wide range of pitches and styles that are finally revealed in full.
Still he called on Björn “Speed” Strid, from Soilwork, to help him singing in “Before You Finally Break” and the outcome is stunning, one voice completing the other. The song itself is already brilliant, that twist the chorus takes in its rhythm a true breath of fresh air within the modern metal/metalcore songwriting. Way to go, Mr. Robin Sjunnesson!
“Catching Fire” has a rock seduction to it and a quite classy guitar solo (yes, you read it well – a solo. It’s rare, but it does happen once in a while).
“See What I See” is straight-forward riot act with one of the most melodic choruses in the album. But “So Addicted” has one of the most enthralling, probably given the level of emotion the song pours out. And there’s something victorious about “The Flame That Changed The World”.
There’s also three bonus tracks that my promotional copy didn’t include, but given everything I’ve already told you about “Sonic Syndicate”, it’s safe to assume they meet the same quality standards of the rest of the track list.
For the talent I know they have, I was sure they wouldn’t let me down. But I can’t help smiling like a child on Christmas morning when I listen to this album and see that faith totally rewarded.
Label: Nuclear Blast
Producer: Roberto Laghi
- Day of the Dead
- Black Hole Halo
- Long Road Home
- My Revenge
- Before You Finally Break (feat. Björn “Speed” Strid)
- Cathching Fire
- It Takes Me
- See What I See
- So Addicted
- The Flame That Changed the World
- Diabolical Work Of Art (digipack bonus track)
- What We Shared (digipack bonus track)
- Another Soldier Down (digipack bonus track)