Review : Sybreed - The Pulse of Awakening
PopmattersWhen a band is named Sybreed, it’s pretty easy to guess what their predominant themes will be. The Swiss quartet has been playing Fear Factory-inspired industrial metal since their inception in 2003, gaining a fair amount of notice in Europe with the albums Slave Design and Antares (the latter of which featured session drums by Soilwork/Aborted skinsman Dirk Verbeuren). Guitarist Thomas “Drop” Betrisey has also earned some recognition as an excellent remix artist, creating remixes for both Celldweller and Soilwork in recent years. Back now with their third album, The Pulse of Awakening, Sybreed focuses on expanding their sonic capabilities while still holding true to their core sound. They are successful in both areas, although there are certainly things that could have been improved as well.
Musically, this album is the most diverse offering yet from Sybreed. The core sound still draws on Digimortal and Archetype-era Fear Factory, heavily focused in synth and guitar effects with lots of technical, complex drum patterns worked in. However, while both of the band’s previous albums adhered to the heavier end of the spectrum, on The Pulse of Awakening the band expands on certain songs, into more pop-focused riffs and hooks. The result will draw a lot of comparisons to Sybreed’s Danish counterparts in Mnemic and Raunchy, both of whom use catchier hooks to enliven their songs in certain areas. Bear in mind that this does not mean the band has abandoned heaviness entirely, as “A.E.O.N.” and “I Am Ultraviolence” are two of the heaviest songs ever written by Sybreed. The album is well-balanced and well-composed in that aspect.
There are two problems with this record, though. The first is vocalist Benjamin Nominet, who still hasn’t exactly figured out parts of his voice. His screams are undoubtedly excellent, with better technique than anything heard before from him. However, his clean singing still lacks the confidence and inflection needed to be truly profound and evocative. Nominet definitely has a recognizable voice, and his delivery is quite unique among his contemporaries. But some of the heavier processing added to the vocals detracts from what could potentially be a very moving performance. Second, the album falls into a fairly predictable pattern of heavy vs. light as it continues. Only at one point on the album does a heavy song immediately follow another heavy song, and such repetition never happens with a light song. However, this pattern is less of a problem because of how good the compositions are. And there is enough variation in the compositions for the album to stay interesting despite the formula....full text
MetalstormThe US release date is planned for Jan/Feb 2010 but the album will be available for digital download this winter.
For all intents and purposes, Sybreed is a Swiss Fear Factory ie. cyber groove metal but with the particular Swiss flavor of terribly pronounced English lyrics. The Pulse Of Awakening even also features a faithful Killing Joke cover.
Luckily, the vocalist's accent isn't the only thing that distinguishes Sybreed from their American inspiration. A profound appreciation of EBM and modern synth-pop (think Assemblage 23) can be heard throughout The Pulse Of Awakening in both the obligatory melodic refrains of songs such as "Nomenklatura" and "Meridian AD" and the general structure of the more moody tracks such as "In Cold Light" and "From Zero To Nothing". Sybreed also explores the more extreme inclinations of label-mates The Amenta on "I Am Ultraviolence" and the deconstructed riffs of Meshuggah and Gojira in numerous songs.
Unluckily, the goofy accent is by far the smallest issue I have with the vocals on this album. There is no need for whitewash here - I think they plain suck. I can't imagine any way how they could be any more nasal and inappropriately synthetic. This is not a love or hate matter - its all hate, unless your love also happens to be cheap German techno.
Nevertheless, I'm not going to condemn this album to hell. Really, it's not that bad. It doesn't sound cliché (even though it is) and more importantly, it doesn't insult my intelligence, which is more than can be said for most metal music currently being released. The songs are well written, the band has a well established identity that can appeal to certain people and there isn't exactly an oversaturation of similar-sounding industrial metal acts on the scene nowadays anyway. If you enjoy Duran Duran as much as Dark Tranquillity and think that Orgy was not a nu-metal band, Sybreed is for you....full text
Ultimate-guitarSound: With a good two years from Sybreed's last album, The Pulse Of Awakening has been released! The band has awed fans with their groove and industrial influences, with most songs having very fun rhythms to listen to, and very entertaining vocals to give an up beat dance party remix!
With this being said, it is true that Sybreed is back and better than ever! This album has very few flaws, with maybe the clean vocals getting on some people's nerves, which is hard to imagine, especially with a vocal structure which could arguably be in relation to H.I.M.'s vocalist Ville Valo, except for the sometimes nasalness. The difference is this band named Sybreed has a heavier sound and a grooving drummer with great guitarists backed behind it. These crazy rhythm structures can be seen in the song AEON. The entire song is filled with great drumming and instrumental works that it really does give you a good sense of how the band operates. They are fast, groovy, yet have a great sense of incorporating heavy music into each song. Not only can they be heavy, but the melodies they create are just so perfect, this is perfectly shown with multiple songs, like Doomsday Party and Lucifer Effect. Some songs even give an 80's pop dance effect, like Doomsday Party.
The album is mixed beautifully with ever instrument being heard clearly at some point, even the eerie sounding synthesizers. This album will give listeners a new view on the sound of metal, and how this band is making it come back! // 9
Lyrics and Singing: Vocalist Ben is a genius with constructing vocal melodies over existing melodies in songs. His screeching screams are perfectly executed, not one seemed to be out of place or unneeded. His screams give the band an extra sense of heavy and give off a more death metal vibe. Then the mood changes with his somewhat nasally, but pretty decent singing. It changes even more with his dancey sythed up voices put effectively in use on the song Doomsday Party. With a voice that can be matched too Ville Valo, Mike Patton, and even Petri Lindroos, where can you go wrong with the singing on this album! // 7
Impression: This album bypasses all other Sybreed albums, and many other albums recently released in the metal scene. With so many different influences raging in one album, it is sure to please almost every true fan of metal. I love the technicality of the music, with so many advanced rhythms that it makes someone think differently of how important each and every rhythm is to a song. The most impressive songs on the album have to be Doomsday Party (surprised?), I Am Ultraviolence, and Meridian AD. With ear shattering aggression, some of the craziest vocals I have ever heard, and crazy pulse like rhythms, this album really is The Pulse of Awakening...full text
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