posted on 11/2004 By:
Sybreed’s debut album has presented me with a dilemma. After several listens I still have trouble deciding whether I like it, dislike it, or just don’t care. Maybe its all three, but such varying reactions to an album are rare for me. It could be that I’m simply indecisive, but it seems more likely that Sybreed are a new band that have some things to offer and ample room for improvement. That can’t explain all of it though, as Sybreed isn’t entirely new. They are a retooled version of their previous incarnation, Rain, who formed in the late ‘90s.
At first blush the young Swiss band sounds pretty good. They are going for a Fear Factory meets Meshuggah vibe, with an increased focus on industrial grooves, and manage to sound indebted to those bands rather than clones. The mechanical, cyber riffing and rolling double bass are accented with ambient undertones and synth lines. The strong production gives the material depth and clarity, although it often sounds a little sterile.
According to their website, the band would have us believe that their sound is much more unusual, aggressive, and disturbing than it actually is, and I think that sums up my main complaint with this album. The band bio states “Sybreed paints a cold world where violence and brutality breed megalomaniacs and paranoid schizophrenics are the leaders of the apocalypse.” That is the kind of world I was hoping to visit with this album, but the final product pales in comparison to the vision. Much of this is due to the overuse of a clean, plaintive vocal approach that takes the air out of a heavier sound. The harsh vocals are fairly typical, but still provide a better match to the sound. In songs like “Reevolution” and “Rusted” the band sounds like they owe a significant debt to underground legends Killing Joke. This is most evident in the vocal melodies, but the synth use is also reminiscent of KJ. Sybreed is at its best on tracks like “Machine Gun Messiah”, when they trade their moodiness for all out aggression, and these moments are usually when the Meshuggah comparisons can be made. Several other tracks have these heavier passages, but few just flat out smoke from start to finish. In a rather presumptuous move, the band has also included radio edits of two of the tracks.
So while I think this album may be well received by some, I am unable to recommend a blind purchase. There are two tracks available for download on the band’s site, if this sound is your thing than you should look into this band and decide for yourself. Maybe you’ll reach an opinion more easily than I did.
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