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Syberia – Seeds of Change

Syberia
Seeds of Change
by Santiago Puyol at 05 November 2019, 11:14 PM

Instrumental music can be very powerful but it can also be deeply unmemorable. Making yourself stand out when producing work devoid of vocals is even a harder task than that bands with vocals face.

Spanish Post-Metal band SYBERIA certainly do their best to avoid the common pitfalls of the genre, even if they never stray too far on "Seeds of Change," their third album so far. Injecting some Progressive Metal energy and a sprinkle of Shoegaze into their sound, helps them stand their ground with enough personality.

Things get to an upbeat, energetic start with "Empire of Oppression." Filled with tremolo and distortion, catchy synth melodies and an epic, quest-like feel, Syberia make sure to grab the listener’s attention front and center. Guitarists Oscar Linares and Jordi Crespo trade riffs while the rhythm section keeps a steady pound, always moving. Oskar Caselles makes the most of his drum kit, being quite busy for the genre.

"Rogue Hunt" feels out of a sci-fi movie, with a peculiar guitar melody that happens to evoke the “X-Files” soundtrack. A deeply cinematic, bubbly track, it flows and shifts atop a catchy beat. Delayed guitars seem to take a page or two from The Edge’s playbook. A couple of time signature changes ensures a wild ride, yet everything fits in nicely. It runs perfectly into the next song.

Guitar feedback and ominous synths give "Beirut" its nostalgic entrance. Acoustic drums seem to mix with an electronic kit, or at least effect-laden percussion, producing a half-human, half-machine feel from the repetitive rhythmic patterns for the first two minutes and a half. The song climaxes a little under three minutes, feeling closer in structure to traditional Post-Rock. At least before it takes a left-turn, and grungy riffs break loose.

Interlude "26 Days" is a lovely clean guitar respite after the emotional ending of the previous song and connects perfectly with "After the Uprising," as tribal drumming and noisy guitar create a massive wall of sound. It is another highlight for Caselles, whose syncopated work keeps the track always interesting.

"Daring Ignorance" starts abruptly, with ambient, choral-like synths. Another upbeat track that feels closer to Post-Rock darlings EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY, especially considering how warm and beautiful it is. After a Folk-tinged drum break, an acoustic coda ends the track in a neat fashion.

The title track comes next, returning to the sci-fi sounds, now with a little bit of horror movie edge. Its mysterious, denser sections collide with a euphoric instrumental "chorus." It gets overwhelmingly busy on its second half, in the best of ways. Layered, complex, cathartic. A beautiful, soft coda flows into final interlude "Buried Idol" before it goes straight into the closer, "Shigir."

"Shigir" is an epic final track, being ten and a half minutes long and having several sections. It is a slow burner, for sure, taking its time to explore moods and tones. Its first section is anchored on a 3/4 time signature that feels vaguely sinister. For its second section, it moves into a nostalgic, meditative, hypnotic, clean guitar improvisation that takes everything up to a new climax. A final coda of lovely synths appears after a few seconds of silence.

As it happens a lot with instrumental music, memorability is the main weakness of the album. Most tracks feel a bit similar, more so as they flow into each other. Still, there are several moments that remain present, especially on the first half of the album. As a whole, it is a moving, captivating affair.

At their softest, Syberia is quite reminiscent of both MONO and GOD IS AN ASTRONAUT. At their heaviest, they get into RUSSIAN CIRCLES and even latter-era ISIS territory. They never feel like copycats though, the references are mostly by mood or feel, rather than actual sound. "Seeds of Change" is a really well written Post-Metal odyssey, with a warm, skilled production. It shows a lot of promise for this quartet from Barcelona.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Empire of Oppression
2. Rogue Hunt
3. Beirut
4. 26 Days
5. After the Uprising
6. Daring Ignorance
7. Seeds of Change
8. Buried Idol
9. Shigir
Lineup:
Oscar Linares Rovira – Guitars
Jordi Crespo Espert – Guitars & Synthsesizers
Joaquim Torres González – Bass
Oskar Caselles Perez – Drums
Record Label: Metal Blade Records
     


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