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Sybreed - "God is an Automaton" (CD)

Sybreed - "God is an Automaton" CD cover image

"God is an Automaton" track listing:

1. Posthuman Manifesto (4:50)
2. No Wisdom Brings Solace (4:37)
3. The Line of Least Resistance (4:32)
4. Red Nova Ignition (5:08)
5. God is an Automaton (5:59)
6. Hightech Versus Lowlife (5:15)
7. Downfall Inc. (5:01)
8. Challenger (4:37)
9. A Radiant Daybreak (5:30)
10. Into the Blackest Light (4:28)
11. Destruction and Bliss (9:44)

Reviewed by on October 19, 2012

"When a non-stop death or black metal experience isn’t appealing, but something that’s all groove or rock isn’t right either, 'God is an Automaton' fits the bill perfectly."

Like their fellow Swiss metal brethren in Samael, the cogs that make up the Sybreed machine mix a variety of industrial and non-metal sounds into the music to push the boundaries and offer a wider look at what can constitute “heavy metal.” The band’s latest album, “God is an Automaton,” is a slick piece of interconnected parts that may seem to be working in opposite directions at first, but end up smoothly grinding a listener’s ears with both heaviness and melody.

The whole album has a lot of serious groove going on, which offers something besides just brutality to make the tracks musically interesting. Some have referred to “God is an Automaton” as a “pop-influenced” effort, but honestly that’s taking the comparisons much too far. There are plenty of electronic elements and quite a bit of a hard rock mentality, but it’s still easily an extreme metal album at heart. “Industrial metal” is probably the best term to describe these 11 tracks, but there’s a strong balance between those two opposite sides that doesn’t get heavily skewed in one direction or another for long, like a melodic death metal version of Blacklodge.

In addition to the expected growls, a fair amount of melodic clean singing provides a well-rounded feel to the album, especially as the clean parts vary in range considerably across the disc. For the most part, it works and doesn’t detract from the heaviness, although in a few limited instances, they do approach that unfortunately whiny sound that brings to mind the avalanche of copy/paste mallcore bands out there.

The metalverse needs bands like Sybreed, who can be relied on to churn out something a little outside the norm that combines different ideas together, instead of remaining pure to one specific genre. When a non-stop death or black metal experience isn’t appealing, but something that’s all groove or rock isn’t right either, “God is an Automaton” fits the bill perfectly.

Highs: Groove meets death metal with a variety of industrial and electronic elements thrown in.

Lows: Some of the clean singing goes too mainstream, and some of the track lengths could have been shortened for less repetition.

Bottom line: The cogs of industrial, groove, and metal all interlock together to show that 'God is an Automaton.'

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 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)