This UK progressive metal band already got a fine review written by my colleague Chris Galea for their debut The Mechanisms of Consequence back in 2014. He was very enthusiastic and talked about world domination…. I think he did exaggerate a bit, but I did hear a lot of potential. The only thing wrong about that album was the production. Fortunately the band did re-mix that whole album and made it available for everyone earlier this year.
With Justify & Reason Synaptik sets another step. I immediately hear a big difference in sound compared to their debut, the production is much more professional and sounds a lot heavier. Another difference are the vocal parts of John Knight. On the debut he sang a bit too much in the high regions and sometimes that sounded a bit over the top. On Justify & Reason he sings a bit lower and when he uses the higher voice, it just sounds steadier. Opener ‘The Incredible Machine’ has a fast start which sounds perhaps a little hectic at the beginning, but then the music slows a bit down and a very heavy riff takes over. The song reminds me a lot of Nevermore and also Symphony X, because of the heavy riffing in combination with the singing style. The band mixes thrash with several other influences of different metal styles in a rather unique way. The music is technical and the variation of heavy and softer parts in the songs combined with lots of progressive elements see to it that it takes a few spins to get used to it. Threshold is another band that I have to think of during the bit softer parts.
One of my favorite tracks is ‘Conscience’. It starts a bit like a Dream Theater song, then Fates Warning takes over. Half way the song accelerates and with some very intense and sophisticated drum patterns that follow, Pete Loades shows his skills. With ‘Esc Ctrl’ the progressive metal adventure continues and with this song the new written tracks are over. The next three songs already were on the debut, but the sound of the remixed versions has improved a lot. The three songs sound a bit different from the new ones, fans of the band Hades and early Psychotic Waltz will like these songs I guess. And in ‘Your Cold Dead Trace’ I hear a riff reminding me a lot of the band Harmony. Despite the new mixed versions, the sound is still a lot different from the new tracks, you have to put the volume a bit higher. I hear that the band made some huge steps in song writing and the sound matured a lot. The reason for adding three songs from the debut I don’t really understand, I would be more pleased with another three new written tracks, but on the other hand it shows their development.
If you are a fan of progressive metal with heavy thrash riffing and bands I mentioned above, you know what to do.
01. The Incredible Machine
04. White Circles
05. Esc Ctrl
06. A Man Dies
07. As I Am As I Was
08. (I Am The Ghost) Your Cold Dead Trace
Playing time: 54:00
Release date: 10 March 2017
Label: Snakes Of Fire Records/Dive Bomb Records