Sybreed – Antares (2007)
Sybreed is a bit of an oddity, in that they fashion a very accessible, poppy sound from a set of relatively abrasive aesthetics and techniques. The standard explanation is that their music fuses the general approach of Fear Factory with the off-beat laden, rhythmic approach of Meshuggah. Add to this an overall glossy production and lots of poppy clean vocals, and you have Sybreed. Sybreed is a bit of an oddity, in that they-
…Actually, the strange thing about how Sybreed writes their songs is how they loop. Now, many bands I’ve written about use verse/chorus song structures, but when it comes to amounts of bridge material, Sybreed is near the top. Only a few bands, like Death have longer transitions between various ‘sections’ of their songs, although Sybreed writes better bridges than Death ever did. Despite their relatively basic song structures, Sybreed excels in their aesthetics – electronic and metal elements of their sound fit together perfectly, and are well integrated with each other to boot. Part of this is the very clean, almost sterile production – given the genre the band is aiming for this is justifable. Drums could afford to be more extreme – while there are a few blast beats and otherwise fast patterns throughout, most of the drumming is midpaced.
As it is, Antares is often a very upbeat sounding album, with a few major exceptions (like “Dynamic”). Given the relatively negative lyrics, this is a weird juxtaposition, and much of it is the clean vocals. Somehow, I get the feeling this wasn’t the intent of the band, but I don’t know enough about them to properly pass judgement on that matter. Then again, it might be my history of extreme metal listening continuing to warp my perception of light and darkness. I’ve mentioned this before occasionally; don’t expect it to go away any time soon. Intent of the reviewer and the reviewee aside, the introduction of pop elements into an extreme metal framework is pretty common. In fact, this band’s apparent muse (Fear Factory) did it quite a bit, as did some of the other bands they influenced, like Strapping Young Lad. One could even interpret Sybreed as the spiritual successor to Fear Factory, especially since SYL apparently played up the metallic aspects of their sound more on later works. The problem with this, of course, is that Fear Factory is still alive and kicking, but whatever.
Whether this is worth listening to depends primarily on how much pop/electronic influence you can accept in your metal, but fans of the other bands I mentioned will probably be able to appreciate at least part of this band’s sound, at least on this album. I’ve heard that later works by Sybreed fail to really live up to this, but it would’ve been nice to see them expand their fusion. Personally, if I were looking for extreme industrial metal, I’d probably start with Aborym’s debut. More about that within the lifetime of this blog… probably.
Highlights: “Ego Bypass Generator”, “Neurodrive”, “Permafrost”, “Orbital”