Metalcore is the sub-genre that is often ridiculed within the metal community; even to the point of being dismissed at ‘not proper metal’ by those extreme metal elitists. A name that often comes up when this genre is being discussed is SONIC SYNDICATE and it appears they are going in a much lighter direction within their sound as their latest record Confessions demonstrates. This release will be sure to be raising eyebrows; whether you are a diehard fan or a new listener to the band.
This Swedish troupe was formed in 2005 by founding member and guitarist Robin Sjunnesson who at the time was only 16. With many album releases over the years and support slots with some of metal’s giants *cough cough* NIGHTWISH and IN FLAMES to name a couple. After being dropped from their record label Nuclear Blast quite unexpectedly SONIC SYNDICATE needed to reconsider what to do next. This particular crisis made them take the plunge and create this daring album which inarguably sounds very different to what they have previously released; the band are completely happy with this direction and you got to hold your hats up to that statement.
The record itself is an interesting concoction for someone who hasn’t listened to the band before or has heard them in bits and pieces. First impressions? An open mind is highly recommended to listen to this record.
One minute it has you believing they have gone completely radio friendly, the eighties sounding synthesisers over the up-tempo pop rhythms within the opening part of the title track remind one of those adverts or reality shows trying to promote the trendiest product on the high streets. The next moment you could be completely immersed with, this can be heard through raw sounding riffs and rough vocals; examples of this sound can be heard in tracks such as I Like It Rough, Crystalize and Burn To Live. The surprise track of the album comes in the form of Russian Roulette, why is it a surprise? Now that would be giving too much away, let’s just say you’ll need your dancing shoes to enjoy that track.
As the record continues to play, you start to warm to the band’s new approach. For those diehard fans that prefer their heavier sounds, getting past those first few tracks that remind you of bands such as BIFFY CLYRO and IMAGINE DRAGONS is the first test. After those melodies it’s recommended you crank the volume up and listen to those dirty riffs.
The album ends on a more than positive note in the form of acoustic ballad Closure and happy go lucky track Halfway Down The Road. These are the kinds of tracks that one can imagine will sit very well in a stadium full of fans and admirers.
Overall verdict? Not a bad album at all. This was a strong move by the band and brave decision to change musical direction. For general music fans wanting something new to add to the CD shelf/iTunes library or however you store your music nowadays, order this now. It will be interesting to hear the opinions of those who have been fans of the band since the beginning.