Review Summary: Wipe out the flashbacks.
Perspective can oftentimes be one of the most important viewpoints for a critic, and this couldn’t have been more true for Sonic Syndicate’s first release Eden Fire
. Albums after this were fashioned in a more straightforward, metalcore/groove metal sound, but this is primarily melodic death metal. No, it’s not perfect, but considering the oldest member of the band (at the time) was barely over twenty and the youngest member and songwriter was seventeen, I feel that that can be forgiven. Not to mention the fact that there are some very enjoyable moments here that show a good deal of potential.
Opener “Jailbreak” hits the ground running and tears the listener along with it. Featuring a great chemistry between chugging and octave guitar riffs and an ebbing synth, crystal clear clean vocals, decent screams (considering the age of the screamer), and a killer ending, this sets the listener up for an adrenaline high and just gets them excited. It’s one of the more melodic tracks of the record, but that’s not a bad thing at all and stands as an SS classic. “Enhance My Nightmare” is an easy standout for a few reasons: both guitarists do an absolutely fantastic job of setting a frantic pace that fits with the lyrics, the screams feel extremely emotional and are executed well, female vocals courtesy of bassist Karin Axelsson (for those wondering, she’s pretty attractive), and even some Biblical imagery in the lyrics, which is interesting coming from these guys. It’s another of Sonic Syndicate’s best tracks. “Prelude To Extinction” contains some of the best guitar and drum work all record, as well as some absolutely fantastic screaming, cool keyboard sections, and a catchy melody that brings to mind a poppier Killswitch Engage. “Soulstone Splinter” is driven by thrashing guitars (including pinch harmonics, tremolo picking, the Drop C speed chug that works pretty well for this record, and an absolutely killer solo and breakdown), fry-vocal screams, spacey synths, and an absolutely anthemic energy.
Unsurprisingly, this is a pretty consistent album, and that can be pretty damning. Tracks that don’t really have too much to rise above the rest of the pack end up as filler and largely skippable, and it feels that this should’ve maybe been an EP. Lyrically, there’s some pretty interesting moments actually. The amount of Biblical allusions is surprising, and many without Biblical knowledge may assume a song like “Zion Must Fall” is satanic, when it actually refers to the punishment of Jerusalem by God told about in books like Jeremiah and Isaiah. Other than this interesting tidbit, the lyrics are pretty standard, especially coming from a teenager: lost love, the occasional “f**k” or “s**t”, not too much to write home about.
Despite the almost stagnant consistency, this is not a bad album and actually has some thrilling standouts that would satisfy any casual melodic death metal fan or an alternative metal listener going for something a little heavier (me). The standout tracks are more than worth it and should be considered, but one not really need apply for the whole record.