Review Summary: In a genre saturated by terrible dance-metal bands dressed in drag, who churn out ridiculous songs espousing pseudo-violence, and their excessive use of drugs and hookers; Sybreed, and their atmospheric yet aggressive sound, stand far on the other side of
I had heard of the Swiss industrial metal band Sybreed (who have been labeled “death wave” ) for a couple of years now, but didn't take the time to listen to any of their albums. I visited the band's MySpace in 2008 and only gave their tracks a passing listen; before allowing my Internet-bred, short attention span, and the never-ending breadcrumb links to carry me away to another website of little importance. However, after having a discussion with a friend about good industrial metal bands (at the moment my favourites are: Shining, Godflesh, Inswarm, Havoc Unit/...And Oceans, and Dødheimsgard), it occurred to me that I hadn't given Sybreed enough attention to consider whether I liked them or not. And man was I missing out.
Today, I picked up a copy of Sybreed's 2007 album: Antares. Wikipedia describes the word “Antares” as a “...red super giant star in the Milky Way galaxy and the sixteenth brightest star in the nighttime sky.” I suppose the metaphor is fitting here, as the album musically is quiet large... much like that bright star. Sybreed have also been compared to Fear Factory, but I think they are far more technical and experimental than the aforementioned band (who I have great love for––even though they made Digimortal). I think I enjoy Sybreed that little much more, after hearing this album.
Antares opens with the track “Emma-0”, which builds from a quiet intro into a sudden blast of screams, chugging guitars and pounding drums. This song is perhaps the most accessible on the album with Ben's clean singing driving home a catchy chorus. Next up is “Ego Bypass Generator”, which moves through various paces with sharp precision. The band utilizes the double-kick drums heavily here, as well as slowing down to electronic beats during bridges, and thus keeping the song interesting. The following track “Revive My Wounds” is a lot like “Emma-0” and can definitely be seen as a mosh-pit, sing-a-long favourite, with its soaring vocals, digitized death-metal growls, double-kick drums, and landscape synthesizers. The transition from “Revive My Wounds” to “Isolate” is seamless, with the haunting electronics that wash over chugging metal riffs. The song slows at parts, accompanied by ethereal singing, which dominates the song. “Isolate” ends much like it began, with faint echoes that sound like bells.
The next track “Dynamic” kicks off with fast drums and a classical guitar riff, which explodes like a machine-gun. The guttural screams are delivered unrelentingly, and the song doesn't slow down until the very end. Contrasted against the previous quieter “Isolate”, this is perhaps the heaviest song on the album. “Neurodrive” breaks the monotonous screaming with a nice little synth part that sounds like a video game tune. It then builds with a moderate mix of metal and new-wave singing (hence the title “death wave”). The song goes quiet somewhere in the middle, then almost stops, before quickly climbing back up again and ending in a storm of aggression. “Ex-Inferis” is an instrumental track, which starts with eerie samples and synths, then gains momentum with a drum solo. It finally ends with distorted talking and laughter you can barely distinguish.
“Permafrost” is another brutal assault, with rock anthem singing, which reminds me of Queen for some reason. There is also a curious sound in this song that could be a synth impersonating a female operatic voice. The track “Orbital” moves quiet jaggedly, with minimalistic sounds, cryptic, chanting, and distorted vocals––gradually transforming into clean singing. The song gains speed closer to the end, giving you the feeling like you are driving a fast car at nighttime with the streetlights blaring by, and the cold wind in your face. I can say this is one of my favourites on the album. “Twelve Megatons Gravity” is a solid, well-paced track, which starts with an electronica, break beat, Prodigy-esque sound; layered with husky whispers that grow to screams; and fast drums. The last track “Ethernity” is very similar to the previous, mixing extreme drum techniques with clean singing and powerful screams. There are many layers of vocals singing on top of each other in this song, which sounds purposefully cluttered, building to crescendo of beautiful chaos. The ethereal guitar at the end, and the operatic samples leaves you high on musical euphoria even after the album has finished. This is my second favourite track.
All in all this is a pretty solid album for a band I didn't get into as sooner as I should have.