Power of Metal.dk Review

Style: Progressive Rock
Release date: 20 January, 2014
Playing time: 52:03

I always look forward to the beginning of a new year. This is when many of the debut albums from young bands are released, as they like to avoid the last half of the year when many of the big hitters release new stuff. So, for the first new band I've heard in 2014, Synaesthesia is a great find. Young, energetic, and influenced through several channels, Synaesthesia have put together a fine debut album that I think will earn them some attention.

The band definitely has a sound of their own creation. They take influence from alternative rock. some indie rock , and progressive music. Indeed, I almost hear influence from Incubus, Frost*, Muse, and a few others. Their sound, then, is instantly recognizable, yet as you try to separate the sounds, you will realize that they don't really sound like any other band particularly. I feel that is a genuine accomplishment, and kudos to the band for being so on point here.

So, with all these influences, Synaesthesia's self-titled debut is a fairly eclectic mix of electronic elements, sweeping and also deliberate synth, proggy guitars, light drumming, and a foundation of bass. The musicians here are certainly capable, though the music never gets overly technical. It's more about mood and ambiance, I think. This is especially so with the keys, and there seems always to be a background layer of keys or electronic sounds just to provide, well, a background. Actually, one of the more impressive things on the album is the dual nature of the instrument styles. For instance, the guitars easily switch from proggy detail to alternative distortion. The keys, also, switch from atmospheric to music-leading passages. No one instrument seems to be at the forefront, and so it provides a great modern sound. Synaesthesia so desires to bring a modern sound to progressive music, and I do feel that they have succeeded to a great extent.

This release isn't without flaws, though. At first, I had trouble with the vocalist, Adam Warne. His voice isn't particularly spellbinding, but it does improve with more listens. It definitely lies more in the alternative range. However, I realized that the writing is my main problem with this album. The lyrics are somewhat cheesy and forced sometimes, almost like the band just needed to fill a certain amount of space with a single word. It definitely does not leave an organic feeling on the vocal melodies, but I do believe it's passable. Now, the lyrical content is quite good, as it seems to look at some ways our modern lives are destroying us. This is something with which I can relate. However, I do feel they could have communicated this message more effectively.

All in all, Synaesthesia has released a great album that should please many people. Keyboard-driven music isn't all that common nowadays, and it's great to see a band utilize this approach, but still keep a balance. More than that, the band achieves balance while also writing some rather catchy songs that pay homage to many different music types. "Time, Tension, & Intervention" with its 22+ minute run time is a great representation of the whole album, and is probably my favorite song on the album with its shifting of styles and its tighter writing. Another stand out track is "Life's What You Make of It" with its great chorus and electronic sound.

So, if you like a great mixture of styles and exemplary keys, Synaesthesia may be your new favorite. Everything about this album screams success to me, and not just in the prog sphere, either. With a little bit of everything, Synaesthesia will definitely be talked about quite a bit over the coming months.

01. Time, Tension & Intervention
02. Sacrifice
03. Noumenon
04. Epiphany
05. Good Riddance
06. Technology Killed the Kids
07. Life's What You Make of It
Label: GEP Records
Distribution: GEP Records
Artwork rating: 85/100
Reviewed by: Jason Spencer
Date: 5 February, 2014
Website: Synaestesiamusic.com