Sonic Syndicate

We Rule The Night

Written by: AP on 03/11/2010 15:19:41

Five years ago the brotherhood of the Sjunnessons (also known as Sonic Syndicate) entered the music industry with "Eden Fire", a moderately interesting, electro tinged nouveau melodic death metal affair that positioned them in league with Soilwork. Since then, however, the quality of the band's music has been in steady decline, with lead guitarist and primary composer Roger Sjunnesson steering the band in an increasingly frivolous and shallow musical direction and causing former mainmen Richard Sjunnesson and Roland Johansson to both throw in their towels in protest. Signs of Roger's desire to pursue the domestic success of British popcore band Glamour of the Kill were already ripe on the irresistibly catchy sophomore album "Only Inhuman", and last year's "Love and Other Disasters" was thus the two vocalists' final, desperate stand at averting ruin. In vein.

It did not take long for the remaining members to recruit willing replacements, however: first, British-born Nathan J. Biggs took clean vocal duties over from Roland; then, some months later when Richard had finally had enough, Christoffer Andersson was brought in to handle the harsher end of the syndicate's vocal spectrum. Long story short, "We Rule the Night" was thrown together, and aside the radical adjustments in style and image, it more or less preserves the signature Sonic Syndicate sound - both vocally as well as instrumentally. In fact, opening track "Beauty and the Freak" might as well have been unearthed from "Only Inhuman" B-sides if one discards the lyrical farce within. But this is simply a cunning pretext for easing the new stuff in, as the next couple of tracks reveal.

The expansive, cavernous production that goes hand-in-hand with a Sonic Syndicate album can mask the truth, but with songs like "Turn It Up!", "My Own Life", "Black and Blue", "Miles Apart" and "Plans Are for People" there can be no doubt: Sonic Syndicate are going for sickening sugar metal in the vein of Dead By April. Except with added grandeur. The syndicate has namely developed a liking for orchestral parts and a callous person might add that the explosive success of My Chemical Romance, Lostprophets and 30 Seconds To Mars after bringing in the symphonic element, might have something to do with it. Such hypotheses become all the more credible when you dissect the aforementioned songs and realise just how far Sonic Syndicate are willing to go in order to appeal to the maximum number of people.

On the surface these songs sound decent, catchy as they are, but the lyrical content might as well have been written by a 13-year old. Sonic Syndicate are shamelessly applying the formula that makes chart music so popular, to metal, and the result is migrainously derivative. Perhaps if one could ascribe some actual credit to the band for instrumental prowess, creative structure or new thinking, the end result would be far less catastrophic, but alas, the syndicate relies on electronic samples to carry the melody while its axemen provide little else than simple rhythm guitar, and if you strip the neat strings and organs from the mix what's left borders on the pathetic. What six members can muster up here can easily be outshined by a pop whore with a world class producer.

No band with plans of being considered a serious player in music would ever resort to such cheap methods for success; least of all a metal band. There are exactly two tracks here that show at least some signs of integrity ("Break of Day" and "Dead and Gone"), one of which is a bonus track, mind you, and I suspect the only reason they fall within acceptable range is because they are contrasted with ten tracks worth of disgraceful faux metal. Unfortunately our grading scale dictates that since Sonic Syndicate are pretty fucking open about their target audience, I can't grind them to dust because they at least offer greater quality to it than some of the current heavyweights in their genre.


Download: Beauty and the Freak, Burn This City, Break of Day
For the fans of: Atreyu, Dead By April, Deadlock, Raunchy
Listen: Myspace

Release date 30.08.2010
Nuclear Blast

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