Only Inhuman by Sonic Syndicate
Release date : May 2007
Reviewed by Anthony Morgan
For those of you blissfully unaware of Sonic Syndicate and their musical pedigree, let's take you on a crash course in their rudimentary background. Hailing from Falkenberg, Sweden, the young sextet feature the 3 Sjunnesson brothers - Richard supplying vocals, with Roger and Robin both handling guitars. In a quest to discover fresh talent, in 2005's summer German label Nuclear Blast launched a competition simply dubbed "Band contest" which garnered over 1, 500 entrants. As you've likely surmised, Sonic Syndicate garnered the lucrative prize, and to cut a long story short now offer fresh material to stand against 2005's Eden Fire.
Pulling out all the stops, Nuclear Blast hired some heavyweight individuals to cover all aspects. Axeman Jonas Kjellgren (of the Swedish Death Metal act Scar Symmetry) undertook production duties at Sweden's Black Lounge Studio, while the well renowned Koma-Design (Lacuna Coil, Disbelief, In Flames, Die Apokalyptischen Reiter) designed the cover artwork. Not concluding there, they even hired Revolver Film Company's Patric Ullaeus (Dimmu Borgir, Kamelot, In Flames, Children of Bodom etc.) cut the video clip. Wacken and Up From the Ground form the group's 2007 festival outings with other dates in the pipeline, this a chance to assess whether they're capable of performing on the live stage. Judging by the faith and investment Nuclear Blast has placed in Sonic Syndicate, it seems the label feels the group will be a huge draw.
A quick synthesizer type riff intertwined with an equally pacy guitar part usually introduces each track, the initial verses taking the foot off the pedal ever so slightly in comparison to their opening counterparts. Save for the odd departure, the whole album stays faithful to a particular song structure which for those who dislike material that ventures in several directions is fine, but those wishing for an album peppered with variable styles it'll prove grating somewhat. Perhaps the formula should be questioned and experimented with more on future releases, something essential in today's musical climate. This shouldn't distract some from investigating the album first, since each track is well crafted with all the required ingredients despite the lack of originality. Now invested with confidence by Nuclear Blast, maybe Sonic Syndicate will really flex their muscles on their third effort and show new dimensions.
Co-singers Roland Johannson and Sjunnesson brother Richard optimise the by now overly generic tradition of alternating between cleanly delivered vocals and aggressively charged vocals, polar opposites which are married together on this release. This fails to add anything innovative to the well documented vocal approach, though it does a fair job of keeping up with the latter day peers who utilize the style in their works. More importantly, each chorus remembers to include singalong, catchy type arrangements which'll help when Sonic Syndicate set out to earn themselves a live reputation. Whether they're individual enough to distinguish themselves from the pack though is open to discussion.