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Sonic Syndicate - "Eden Fire" (CD)

Sonic Syndicate - "Eden Fire" CD cover image

"Eden Fire" track listing:

Helix Reign - Chronicles of a Broken Covenant:
1. Jailbreak (4:12)
2. Enhance My Nightmare (5:10)
3. History Repeats Itself (3:52)

Extinction - A Sinwar Quadrilogy:
4. Zion Must Fall (4:31)
5. Misanthbopic Coil (3:53)
6. Lament of Innocence (3:43)
7. Prelude to Extinction (4:00)

Black Lotus - The Shadow Flora:
8. Soulstone Splinter (4:18)
9. Crowned in Despair (4:33)
10. Where the Black Lotus Grows (4:47)

Reviewed by on January 4, 2011

"...if you're a fan of melodic metal or Children of Bodom, I would definitely recommend checking out Sonic Syndicate's underrated debut."

Well before it began flirting with the boundaries of melodic death metal and metalcore, Sonic Syndicate released perhaps its best album on a little label called Pivotal Rockordings. The band's debut full-length album, "Eden Fire," is a blast of diverse Swedish melodic metal reminiscent of Children of Bodom at times. The band uses synthesizers and even female vocals to great effect on this debut effort.

The album opens up with a good heavy riff followed by the introduction of keyboards on "Jailbreak," and the song continues to add layers as it progresses. Some melodic guitars accompany the main riff and the distorted lyrics give way to a more melodic, but not quite "clean," vocals during the chorus. Overall, "Jailbreak" is the perfect song to open the album and set the expectation that this album is diverse and cannot be pigeonholed into any one genre.

"Enhance My Nightmare" seems to continue in this vein, but the ethereal female vocals encountered in the first chorus about one third of the way into the song give it an entirely different feel, contrasting the harsh growls and screams nicely.

"History Repeats Itself" continues to mix things up by sticking to a slower, mid-paced chugging alongside the synth presence. The vocal styles are not much different than usual, alternating between a raspy growl and a scream.

From there, the band continues to work different angles with the toolset used in the opening songs: mid-paced songs with breakout sections of speed as well as speedier numbers all delivered in alternating growls and screams, with heavy but excellent use of synthesizers layered with the guitars. Summing it up as such may sound like the music is repetitive, but the band does an excellent job of keeping things fresh and energetic throughout the ten tracks on "Eden Fire."

One could compare Sonic Syndicate's style to Children of Bodom; they use many of the same elements and have similar non-standard vocal styles, but the musicianship differs in ways as well. Oftentimes, Sonic Syndicate uses the synthesizers as the opening instrument, producing a unique melody to open the song and layer along with the guitars as the song progresses. "Misanthropic Call," "Lament of Innocence," and "Crowned In Despair" are great examples of this effect executed perfectly.

"Where the Black Lotus Grows" is probably a slightly weak note to end the album on. It's a longer number, clocking in near five minutes, and it tries to be more creative with several tempo changes. Still, it lingers in the mid-paced tempos a little too long and seems to drag as a result.

"Eden Fire" was an excellent debut album that is likely to this day overlooked. But if you're a fan of melodic metal or Children of Bodom, I would definitely recommend checking out Sonic Syndicate's underrated debut.

Highs: Excellent blending of vocal styles, synths, and guitars to create an energetic and melodic album.

Lows: Some songs linger in mid-paced territory a little too much, and heavy use of synthesizers isn't for everyone.

Bottom line: An excellent debut of melodic metal before the band began flirting with melodeath and melodic metalcore.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)