Review Summary: Sydonia possess everything it takes to ‘make it,’ all they need is someone to take notice.
The story goes that one toasty Australian afternoon, American metal band Lamb of God pay a mid tour stop over to Melbourne’s Rare Records. Playing on the store's stereo at the time was Sydonia’s ‘Given to Destroyers’
, upon hearing it, every member of the band demanded to know who’s record was playing and subsequently each purchasing a copy. Fast forward a year or two and Sydonia have supported both Lamb of God and Slipknot all through Australia and Stone Sour around America. Not bad for a little band from Melbourne. Despite this, and consistently selling out their own gigs all around Australia, both radio and record companies have mysteriously all but ignored Sydonia. Listening to the quality of their debut album ‘Given to Destroyers’
only further ads to the oddity.
Sydonia play a percussion heavy brand of alternative rock that ventures into heavy metal, pop rock and prog throughout the duration of the album, at times even in the one song. While being original in terms of song writing, ‘Given to Destroyers’
will almost definitely draw comparisons to the Deftones. This is particularly relevant to the guitar tones used by Sam Haycroft and Dana Roskvist (see ‘Adornment’ and ‘Sorry’). This does not however detract from the songs themselves as they come together very well sonically.
Big, operatic vocals are somewhat of a recurring theme in Australian rock at present (think Ian Kenny and Kim Benzie) and Sydonia is no different. Front man Dana Roskvist has quite the set of pipes on him, ranging from atmospheric highs on the poppy ‘No Woman’s Land’ to the low growls on ‘Rubber Bullet.’ However, opener and album highlight ‘Adornment’ is where Roskvist gives the listener a true indication of his talent. Backed only by Bailey’s tribal drumming and a few light guitar strums, Roskvist’s soaring vocals of the opening verses give the track a real epic feel before descending into a heavier, more straight forward ending.
Sydonia are well known around the traps for their huge percussion sound, particularly in the heavier moments, held up by drummer Sean Bailey, a man who is throwing up a strong challenge to Cog’s Lucius Borich for the title of the best drummers in the country. Tracks such as ‘Incoming’ and ‘3 Tongues’, while not being the heaviest songs in the truest sense of the word, genuinely come off as monstrous due to Bailey’s drumming paired with Adam Murray’s bass.
More often than not Sydonia’s melding of various rock styles works, however there are, albeit only a couple, some filler moments to be found on the record. The meandering ‘Life in a Cup’, while still a decent song in its own right, is missing the little kick that some of the better tracks on the record possess (see ‘Dream Kiss’ and ‘Sorry’). Whilst ‘Incoming’ has a small amount of cheese associated with it. In the grand scheme of things though, these gripes are only minor, especially considering the bucket loads of potential this band possesses.
Lengthier songs are something most bands tend to struggle with, particularly in maintaining the listener’s interest for the duration of the song. Sydonia don’t quite fall into that trap with their lengthier numbers being some of the album’s better tracks. In particular, it is the brilliantly mellow ‘Lonely Soul’ that shows the bands worth when it comes to longer songs, much akin to the Karnivool classic ‘New Day’. On the other end of the spectrum, the also lengthy ‘3 Tongues’ shows of the band’s metal chops with Roskvist moving from clean vocals to growls in a flash. This combined with the ridiculously strong rhythm section of Bailey and Murray makes for quite the punishing song.
‘Given to Destroyers’
shows Sydonia have everything it takes to be one of the bigger bands in Australia. They’re catchy enough for the alt rock fans (ie. ‘No Woman’s Land’), they’re different enough for the indie kids (see ‘Lonely Soul’) and they’re heavy enough for the metal crowd, especially on ‘Rubber Bullet’. All they need is someone other than their heavily dedicated fans and the odd rock star to take notice. One can only hope that when their follow up album arrives later this year, people will just take notice. God knows Sydonia deserve it.