Sybreed – The Pulse of Awakening (Listenable Records)

Sunday, 17th March 2013
Rating: 7/10

There’s little separating Sybreed from the Mnemics and Threat Signals out of the world. When you break it down, all three bands have the same thing in common: they have nauseatingly annoying clean singers. Whether it’s too nasally (Sybreed), too Linkin Park-derived (Threat Signal) or too poppy (Mnemic), these new industrial/modern metal bands need to check their clean vocal selves before they wreck themselves.

‘Tis a shame vocalist Benjamin Nominet’s whiney, ill-conceived clean vox sullyThe Pulse… as the record itself is a cold, hook-based effort with some quality moments. Just reference the slowed-down, atmospheric portion of “A.E.O.N.” the surprisingly Euro-pop friendly groove of “Doomsday Party” or the throttling riff stop-start of “I Am Ultraviolence” for proof of Sybreed’s capabilities.

Beyond that, The Pulse… gets too wrapped in Nominet’s vocals and unnecessary atmospheric spells that detract from the band’s pulsating rhythm approach. Jarring songs like “Electronegative” and “Human BlackBox” have a tough time getting around these sections, rendering this album a hit or miss proposition.

Nevertheless, the new year promises to be a banner year for industrial metal thanks to the revival of Fear Factory and new efforts from Sybreed and Mnemic. Whether this will solidify or further cripple this style remains anyone’s guess, although an audit (or moratorium) on all industrial metal clean singers not named Burton C. Bell would be a good place to start for 2010.

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