Review Summary: You stole my heart and beat it black.
2014 marked an interesting year for Sonic Syndicate, despite a mass exodus of members and the horrendous We Rule the Night
the band was able to come back with a semi decent album that was their self titled. It seemed they had learned from their mistakes and were ready to move forward; however, after the departure of longtime members Karin Axelsson and John Bengtsson and being dropped by Nuclear Blast Records the band apparently decided to say “*** it” and release their most shockingly disappointing album to date.
sheds any and all aggression that Sonic Syndicate had and leaves synth driven pop-rock in its wake. This becomes abundantly clear as soon as the open and title track starts off: a bouncy synth driven beat with some light guitar chords before leading up to slow sung verses by Nathan Biggs. From there you have a gradual build up to a lackluster chorus only to have the cycle to repeat itself again and again, that’s pretty much the whole album right there. The guitars and drums take a back seat throughout most the album leaving Biggs and a synthesizer at the head of the mixing. This isn’t a bad idea considering the fact that the rest of the band doesn’t offer a lot to listen to but the problem is neither does Biggs, or the synth for the matter.
Coming from someone who liked Biggs voice I highly enjoyed songs like “Before You Finally Break” or “Another Solider Down” off the last album, but nowhere on Confessions
does he deliver that same kind of energy or passion. Nearly every song here has the same uninspired performance or is held back by equally uninspired lyrics, often at the same time. And it seems this behavior is contagious as even a guest appearance by Madyx on the song “Still Believe” fails to breath any life into the record. He even manages to botch the heaviest song on the album: it opens up with a decent riff followed by some pounding drum beats while the synth takes a step back from the mix, for a moment it sounds like Sonic Syndicate still has some fight left in them yet Biggs just sounds either tired or bored at this point. To make matters worse “I Like it Rough” is a cock rock anthem. Biggs is certainly a talented vocalist but he refuses to show it this time around.
Lyrically, the bands latest effort is as uninspired as the rest of the album. They alter from such themes as overcoming obstacles, love, loss, and self-doubt. While Sonic is no stranger to cheesy, even cringe inducing lyrics; they’ve at least been able to back it up with a powerful or catchy performance in order to create the jams we’ve come to know and love (even if we’re ashamed to admit it). Unfortunately there is no such safety net this time around forcing the listener to face such lines as “I’m not afraid to die anymore, people do it a thousand times a day” or “the surface of my heart is forming diamonds to protect your memory” head on. The good news is that these aren’t any worse than what was on We Rule the Night
but they’re not any better either.
Despite the many flaws that Confessions
presents there are instances where Sonic Syndicate manages to create some enjoyable moments. Robin Sjunnesson adds some fitting guitar solos on “I Like It Rough” and “Halfway Down the Road”. “Crystalize” delivers some fast paced chords along with a bubbly synth riff until Biggs derails all of the momentum with another slow verse; however, “Life is Not a Map” is actually a fairly enjoyable track. It doesn’t break from the mold and it’s sappy as hell but somehow manages to be one the most feel good and enjoyable songs throughout. Though these moments are nothing more than moments and completely swept away by the rest of the album.
the worst album Sonic Syndicate has ever done? Well it’s certainly one the most disappointing. It may not be the most annoying but nothing here stands out; this album is lacks edge, substance, and catchiness. I’m not sure what made them choose this direction but hopefully next time they’ll at least have motivation to do so.