Review Summary: Disappointing follow-up to Antares.Sybreed
is a part of an endangered species: Industrial metal has been on a decline for quite a while, and the band themselves seem to be slipping from the genres grip with The Pulse of Awakening
With previous releases, Sybreed
had always positioned themselves somewhere on the outset of industrial, but not enough to separate themselves from it. Taking the bloopy parts and textured techno swirls from Celldweller
and the more stompy groove sections of Fear Factory
, along with the amazing session work from Soilwork's
was an excellent (and welcome) entry into the sparse industrial metal landscape.
On the surface, everything people have known about Sybreed
is present here. The off-time stop/start chug is here in spades, deftly evolving into smashmouth double-bass sections and spiraling melodic interludes, catchy bits and some truly tasty riffs, such as the ending to "Electronegative" which goes from an epileptic stutter-step double kick to a droning progressive structure, and the door-busting opener "Nomenklatura".
With the release of The Pulse of Awakening
's sound has begun to separate like old sour cream: The industrial parts seem almost completely divorced from the metal parts, with token synths sometimes droning the root note in the background while the band pumps out its signature groove riffs. And when the industrial motif hits, the guitars seem either silent, or get post-processed into some sort of Ministry
-ish purgatory, removing whatever teeth the crunchy riffs present.
Dirk Verbeuren's drumming on Antares
is sorely, sorely missed on this follow-up. Their new drummer Kevin Choiral simply doesn't have the immense chops that Dirk showed off on this albums predecessor, and the music as a whole seems to suffer from it. I admit it may be a bit unfair to compare the two, but unfortunately Mr. Choiral stepped into the band knowing full well he had some big size 16's to fill.
And I can't blame all of the albums faults on the drummer, either: The writing here seems a bit lazier and less cohesive than was found on Antares
all around, As a whole, The Pulse of Awakening
is less a step forward, or even to the side, as it is a small stumble backwards as a band tries to find its footing with a new drummer. And the drumming position in Sybreed
is not to be taken lightly: Much like their fathering band Fear Factory
, the drumming is the heart, soul, and very core of the music as a whole, and the songs presented being written around the kit will only be as strong as the guy who is sitting behind said kit.
The singing... the clean singing... it's pretty bad. I mean, it sounds like Anders Friden choking on a ham. The singing has devolved over the three albums in Sybreed
's catalog. It's bad. It's something you're either going to have to get used to, because the music just hits you where it counts, or you can drink water and drive on.
Personally, I'm driving on.