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Illidiance - "Synthetic Breed" (CD/EP)

Illidiance - "Synthetic Breed" CD/EP cover image

"Synthetic Breed" track listing:

1. Cyber Gore Generation (3:16)
2. Cybernesis (4:34)
3. Infected (3:21)
4. Razor to the Skin (4:22)

Reviewed by on January 9, 2010

"'Synthetic Breed' is dropped directly in the middle of extreme head-banging metal and catchy electronic music."

Metal keeps getting more and more diverse as bands find new ways to combine styles and use symphonic elements to temper their brutality. While the sheer number of different ways to create metal music creates a silly number of sub-genres, it also gives audiences a huge range of sounds to sample. Russia’s Illidiance is well on their way to making their brand of metal a well known force to be reckoned with. Anyone who digs a cybernetic theme and loads of synthetic sounds will find “Synthetic Breed” to be an immensely enjoyable EP.

Vocalist Syrex starts the screams on an energetic note, using the grand tradition of bands such as At The Gates, by grunting out a single, powerful “Go!” Harsh vocals only dominate for less than a minute into the song before Illidiance switches into unexpected clean singing. The various clean parts consist of straight up singing alongside occasional bouts of yelling that bring to mind some of the more popular hard rock and alternative metal acts. The overall break down of harsh to clean vocals is almost split directly down the middle, with any given song switching frequently back and forth between both styles. In a nod to their blacker beginnings the extreme vocals are located somewhere between a scream and a growl, giving off brief flashes of black metal atmosphere.

Illidiance has quite a few similarities with bands like The Kovenant and other acts that blend industrial and metal. The band doesn’t label themselves as industrial however, preferring to use the moniker of “cyber metal.” The distinction is more than just another questionable sub-genre term to throw around. Illidiance’s use of synthesized sound effects is distinctly more futuristic and electronic, rather than mechanical and harsh. While groups like The Kovenant are abrasive and aggressive, Illidiance instead produces a more polished and clean sound. The exceedingly high level of polish is actually quite impressive for a self-released EP from an act that hasn’t managed to penetrate the major metal market and become a house hold name yet.

The various sound effects aren’t the star of the show, but they do make up a large portion of the music’s appeal. Although there is a very clear theme of a cybernetic mankind, there are a few interesting variations that twist the theme in unexpected ways. The opening of “Infected” is an excellent example, as it uses the keyboard sounds to create an eerie atmosphere that is an odd combination of ghostly horror and far-future science fiction.

“Synthetic Breed” is dropped directly in the middle of extreme head-banging metal and catchy electronic music. The EP uses a series of halting short bursts with blasts of rapid drumming to keep the songs moving, and then shifts in and out of catchy hooks to make the music stick around in the listener’s head. The tracks seem like they should be the backing soundtrack for a futuristic dance floor full of robotic metal heads moshing.

Illidiance clearly has their own sound and seems like they are going in exactly the direction they want to. The formula works well for the most part, although in some instances it seems like they could have a lot more power if they scaled back the clean parts and went for an overall more aggressive approach. The “Synthetic Breed” EP is a short taste of the band’s musical proclivities, but the restricted run-time should give a good idea of who will want to jump on their cyber metal train and discover more.

Highs: Cool mix of electronic synth effects with blackened metal.

Lows: Some of the clean singing may not appeal to fans of more extreme metal.

Bottom line: An interesting take on industrial dubbed "cyber metal" that is right in between full-force metal and catchy electronica.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

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)