Switzerland’s Sybreed received mixed reviews for their 2004 release Slave Design. One might say, deservingly so as on the outside their mix of cybernetics and flesh is nothing new to fans of Fear Factory, Strapping Young Lad and the likes. However, to this reviewer, it was a bit more than that and labelling the band as a troupe of parrots was an undeserved fate; Sybreed actually had a sound of their own.

While the changes within their new album Antares could be referred as minimal, there are some minor but important changes as the band’s sound has evolved even more. The list of influences from which the band draws its inspiration seems to have grown (far outside of the genre), resulting in a much more varied but still coherent outcome.

Most noticeably the rhythm section has become even more determined and bombastic with Meshuggah-like riffs and stops leading the way (like in the song “Dynamic”); some could argue that things have become more complex and while this might be true, the songs seems to have a much more broader space to breathe in compared to the previous album. Best example of this is the track “Orbital”, which is fresh and humane like the Orbit™-gum. While the song maintains the cybernetic accuracy it’s a much more aerial and humane than anything the band has produced before.

Part of the openness is achieved by the more creative use of computers that make the soundscape so much more active, making small connections to the Amiga/C64 demo scenes. Then again, it also helps that Sybreed as a band seems to have become more experienced and oriented; you can’t blame anyone in the band for the lack of talent.

Like the musicianship, the production as well is once again top notch; strict, cold, clear. Perfect for all the fine details and layers that are mandatory in building a believable frameset for these kinds of sonic assaults. Everything is in perfect harmony. Some might call it (over)produced… I might too if this was some other album, but in the context, I just refer to it as fitting.

When you start to dissect the album piece by piece, its shortcomings become much more obvious. Some of the songs simply aren’t as strong or addictive (“Twelve Megatons Gravity”) as some of the others (“Neurodrive” and the previously mentioned “Orbital”). But somehow each song seems to serve a purpose in the big picture. And that’s where the key to the album lies: it’s not a collection of songs but a whole. The listener is presented with a ride that blends into one dream that goes from aggression to flying through the universe and into everything in between. When an album is able to space out the listener into a state between fantasy and reality, it’s always an experience I’m glad to accept.

In all honesty, perhaps the critique offered elsewhere is actually warranted if the next album is going to be the same as the predecessors. The band should see if and how rewarding it could be to boldly go where no man has been before. But, at the end of the day, even with its flaws Antares becomes more than the sum of its parts might make it seem. Definitely recommended to all fans rhythmic and technological metal.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Mikko K.
November 5th, 2007


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