Sonic Syndicate - Love and Other Disasters

1. Encaged
2. Hellgate: Worcester
3. Jack Of Diamonds
4. My Escape
5. Fallout
6. Power Shift
7. Contradiction
8. Damage: Control
9. Red Eyed Friend
10. Affliction
11. Ruin (bonustrack)
12. Dead Planet (bonustrack)

Roland Johansson (V)
Richard Sjunnesson (V)
Roger Sjunnesson (G)
Robin Sjunnesson (G)
Karin Axelsson (B)
John Bengtsson (D)

Eden Fire (05)
Only Inhuman (07)

nuclear blast

The same song comes over and over and over and over again and again and again… that was the last album from Sonic Syndicate which led me to write this exact sentence about them: ”What I whish for the next album is a more unique material and that they record with such raw energy they have on stage because then they might also deserve the big audience they most probably will get with this album”. And they did all this, at least at a decent level.

I was right that Sonic Syndicate won a big audience and my wish for more unique material for this next album – yeah, they did that too! As an extra bonus, the band added some songs with that raw energy they show on stage and define them as a live act, which can be heard in songs as Hellgate: Worecester, Jack of Diamonds and Damage Control but unfortunately not everywhere.

When I spoke with guitarist Robin, he told me the band had taken in what they had heard from the critics about the last album and therefore they looked closely at every bend and corner on the album to avoid the same mistake. The result is that they’ve altered the tempo more, melodies are separating songs from each other, songs get more of an own character and the album as a whle leaves a better impression. You can find a couple of ballads, some mid-tempo songs and also those faster songs we’ve get to know the band by … or learned and learned, if we think of the fact that Sonic Syndicate was totally unknown for almost everyone only two years ago, until they became known to the inner circle with their win in the Nuclear Blast competition 2006 and then absolutely explode in popularity under the last 1-1½ year… maybe get to know isn’t the right word. At the same time, when you consider how the last album sounded, that kind of songs feels as cemented in the Sonic Syndicate description wordlist.

What I don’t feel that Sonic Syndicate manage to do with this album is sounding fully engagering all the way through. Don’t get me wrong now, this is a really, really good album! It has great music, enjoyable melodies, strong refrains, good varaition and lots of other ingredients that keeps it on a high level. Yet, sometimes the band just don’t seems to be on the top. All the songs doesn’t arouse you and sometimes it almost feels as if they do it on routine. In a couple of songs it sounds as if they came up with the songs in a hurry and just copied some parts from here and there in other songs and paste it together in a different order. I don’t know if it’s the song writing or the recordings that resulted in these more dull songs, but two or three songs really feel as filling on the album, even though they should have the potential to be as strong as the rest. That’s my opinion at least and I find it a tad odd that a ballad can feel more energetic than a fast song.

What I still miss by Sonic Syndicate is a song that feels complete, whole and perfect. They haven’t made one of those yet, even though the last two albums have been filled with great songs. But that song that sticks out and keeps you from getting further into the album because you only want to hear it again and again and again… well, that is still to come. Of course, this is also only a personal opinion, but Sonic Syndicate have that potential in 90 % of their songs, they just don’t come the whole way to it. They have an even strong level, but without peaks and only dips. They could have done it the other way around, I think, and get the peaks but avoid the dips by keeping it down a little.

‘Love and Other Disasters’ is an even strong album that probably does no-one disappointed. It keeps a high quality all the way through and the only thing I ask for this time ‘til the next one is that song which hit bulls eye and carries the album on it’s shoulders. Otherwise, Sonic Syndicate is already more or less complete as a band and ‘Love and Other Disasters’ is a good proof for that!


Written on 10-03-08

Label - Nuclear Blast
Three similar bands - Scar Symmetry/In Flames/Dark Tranquillity
Reviewer: Caj Källmalm