Release DetailsLABEL Nuclear Blast
RELEASED ON 5/18/2007
posted on 5/2007 By:
When we last visited Sonic Syndicate, they were peddling their Pivotal Rockordings debut Eden Fire, which evidently raised eyebrows over at Nuclear Blast. Despite the label transference, Only Inhuman isn’t far removed from its predecessor. Besides looking and sounding a tad more aggressive, they’re still playing Gothenburg-influenced melodic death metal that owes a great deal to Dark Tranquillity, In Flames, Soilwork, and other bands that paved the way for this particular shtick. Similar to fellow Swedes Blinded Colony, however, Sonic Syndicate fail to break new ground, but instead turn in a marketable by-the-numbers sophomore effort.
Naturally, requisite melodeath elements are the features of Only Inhuman – upbeat, keyboard-laden songs are filled with crunchy guitar riffs that enter and exit as needed, until the chorus demands full attendance, while clean vocals and growls cascade overtop. Melodious leads pop up frequently too, in addition to fitting drum accompaniment, which fills occasionally enhance. Though the vocals are arguably gruffer than those on Eden Fire – it’s been a while for me, however – the immaculate production does its part to polish the edges to the point that they become innocuous. In other words, the production is suitable, yet smooths the razor-sharp sound that many melodeath fans prefer.
Sonic Syndicate usually mirror either Dark Tranquillity or Soilwork, and rarely, if ever, shy away from a formulaic approach to a style that’s all-too-riddled with unoriginality. In numbers like “Aftermath,” “Blue Eyed Fiend,” “Psychic Suicide,” “Double Agent 616,” “Denied,” “Callous,” and others, the influences are very apparent and thus very distracting. “Enclave” gives momentary differentiation in ballad form – as does t.A.T.u. cover “All About Us” – but still remains under the melodeath umbrella.
For the most part, Only Inhuman is a record that seasoned metalheads will purposely overlook, because not only has this style been ostensibly explored to its fullest extent, but Sonic Syndicate are also newcomers to it, having formed a mere two years ago. For previous generations who have an affinity for melodic death, or even just a casual interest, time and money are better invested in output from the 1990s.
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