Review Summary: Temper Temper Pt. 2
I had especially low expectations going into Sonic Syndicate
’s new self-titled album. Scratch that; I had no expectations for the album, because there were none to be had. The band had effectively shattered their reputation and any promise for a decent future when they released the vile We Rule the Night
in 2010. It could have been due the lack of talent, or maybe it was a brilliantly executed self-aware negative reinforcement moral booster – we’ve hit rock bottom. There’s nowhere to go but up!
The point is, Sonic Syndicate’s new album is not terrible
partly because anything sounds good after We Rule the Night
, and partly because they cut out most of the asinine qualities that made their last album so bad. Yes, the incorrigible mess of banal metalcore with pop choruses loosely connected by cheesy electronic effects that filled We Rule the Night
are gone… for the most part.
The problem with Sonic Syndicate
is the same problem that plagues similar acts like Miss May I
and Bullet for My Valentine
on their latest records: it all sounds the fucking same. Every song has the same structure, the same screamed verses and sung choruses; there are absolutely no attempts at experimenting or branching out in any fashion. In Sonic Syndicate’s case, however, experimentation has proved to be a terrible thing, so it’s in effect a blessing in disguise that the band shed the fat and stuck to generic 4/4 pop-core (which is really sad when you think about it). Admittedly, it's not all terrible. Some hooks are enjoyable; a handful of riffs are catchy. For example, closer “The Flame That Changed the World” shows the band using keys in a tasteful manner, adding texture to the melodic nature of the music without becoming overbearing on the ears.
Still despite a few worthwhile moments, nothing on Sonic Syndicate
holds any lasting value. The songs go in through one ear and out the other and leave no subtle nuances to pick up on during repeated listens. The harsh vocals are forced and hollow, the clean singing is uninspired and predictable, the guitar work is forgettable, and the rest of the rhythm section sort of blend together into a sonic wall of whiny mainstream metal.
But hey, at least it's better than We Rule the Night