Sonic Syndicate - Eden Fire
Pivotal Rockordings
10 songs (43'03")
Release year: 2005
Pivotal Rockordings
Reviewed by Alex

When I was 16 I tried out for the band based around guys from my high school. Since the only instrument I know how to play is piano, I wanted to play keyboards for that band. The combination of me being under par and them wanting the “real” metal sound, translation – no keys, the workout was I-came-I-lost affair. Their future turned out to be not very long either, playing once at the prom night then packing it in. Let’s admit here, folks, many of us wanted, imagined ourselves, to be rock stars. I obviously never had enough persistence, but I am glad there are youngsters who do. Sweden seems to be that country, where playing in a band when you are a teen, is as popular as being a Pop Warner football or Little League Series baseball player here in the US. It is granted that not every story will turn out like Entombed when Nicke Anderson and Co. had to have their parents at the label contract signing. Still, I have been privileged to see many young and talented acts go as far as put out records, instead of quitting at the level of dinking with your high school band. My reviews of Hyperborean and Elohim are testament to that.

Sonic Syndicate appears to be just one of those bands, with the first two EPs, Fall from Heaven and Black Lotus, coming out with all of the band members under the age of 20. Two more years, two more EPs, and Sonic Syndicate (I can’t say I am in awe with the band’s name) is ready for a full-length. As the promo flier says, Pivotal Rockordings label was created just to put out Sonic Syndicate debut Eden Fire. Definitely a source of pride – the label is created just to promote your record, it is also grounds for responsibility – what if your record bombs?

Just like that sorry ass high school band I tried to join, Sonic Syndicate is a product of its times. Had my friends were successful in 1986, I am sure they would have tried to jam along the lines of Judas Priest meets Iron Maiden tunes. To expect originality on top of decent musicianship would probably be too much. Sonic Syndicate grew up in Sweden and definitely listened to a number of melodic death metal bands. Tight rhythmic riffs, hooky little keyboard pieces, sing along catchy choruses (Jailbreak, Lament of Innocence), screamo-shout lead vocals of Richard Sjunnesson, periodically trying to become clear, and backed up by female bass player Karin Axelsson. Yes, we heard it before with Soilwork (minus the girl, of course), and, yes, the bands like this are probably popping out in quite a few places, but Sonic Syndicate do it all very well, displaying good knack for mature songwriting and solid musicianship in the process.

We could all argue between whether keyboards should be made the lead instrument (History Repeats Itself) vs. guitar (Zion Must Fall, Soulstone Splinter), and whether Richard is trying to sound like Bjorn “Speed” Strid. Whatever the truth is, I can’t help but enjoy the barbed riff gallop of Misanthropic Coil, the confidence of Soulstone Splinter and steady build up of Prelude to Extinction. Sonic Syndicate will not become my Lothlorien, little known shining star of Gothenburg metal, but they are solid nonetheless.

Eden Fire is built as one big retrospective, the band splitting its 10 tracks between two older EPs towards the end and three new tracks at the top. Witnessing the short history of the band I could feel how screamo-growl vocals, flowing leads and raindrop keys of the early Black Lotus EP were being changed over to those Strid’s shouts, emphasis on rhythmic tightness and more prominent, catchier keys. Dark Tranquillity circa Haven fascination was replaced with Soilwork influences. Well, that may bring Sonic Syndicate more commercial success, and who am I to judge.

My personal best wishes to the band trying to make it in a very populated field. What Sonic Syndicate does not have in originality they make up in desire, determination and professionalism. If you are a fan of melodeath/melodic death style, Eden Fire will please.

Killing Songs :
Jailbreak, Zion Must Fall, Misanthropic Coil, Soulstone Splinter, Crowned in Despair
Alex quoted 75 / 100
Other albums by Sonic Syndicate that we have reviewed:
Sonic Syndicate - Only Inhuman reviewed by Joe and quoted 85 / 100
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