Sonic Syndicate – Sonic Syndicate (Nuclear Blast)Thursday, 10th July 2014
Though it remains to be seen how many actually continued following Sonic Syndicate after the disaster that was We Rule the Night, it should be stated that Sonic Syndicate is actually a slight notch up for the band. We Rule the Night was their first with new singer Nathan Biggs, and combined with the in-band turmoil and drastic changes in the direction of their sound, led to a real dud of an album.
Apparently out to set things straight with a self-titled album, Sonic Syndicate isn’t exactly a re-invention of the band’s sound. On the positive side, there is an inkling of heaviness that has been brought back (perhaps they realized how vomit-inducing “My Own Life” was) and Nathan Biggs appears to be settling more into the sound of the band. While his harsh vocals are a tad weak, his cleans are solid, albeit in a more mainstream and poppy sense. There is a hint of Howard Jones on tracks like “Catching Fire.” Their use of guest vocalist Speed Strid (Soilwork) on “Before You Finally Break” is also admirable, with their full song usage of Strid rather than relegating him to a few lines. Unfortunately, peppering their ready-for-Hot Topic sound with slightly more heaviness than last time doesn’t change the overtly formulaic approach to songwriting. This is derivative metalcore that desperately wants to be adored by a wider audience but does little to distance itself from the denizens of Killswitch Engage clones that started popping up in the mid-2000s.
Since the loss of their creative core to The Unguided (a far stronger band by comparison), Sonic Syndicate has been simply coasting on their name to get by. While it’s commendable that they brought some needed guitar-weight back to the band, it’s not enough to really steer them in the right direction. It seems that they have chosen their path, and at this point, it’s better to leave them to the emo hairstyled teenagers that think the world gets no heavier than Slipknot.