Written by: PP on 19/10/2009 20:20:43

Don't like black metal? Well "Sycroscope" might be the release to change your mind, or at least I'd imagine so, because I rarely venture into black metal myself but for some reason Germany's Sycronomica made me curious about what other awesome bands might be lurking beneath the surface. For a long while I was bobbing my head around wondering how exactly to label the band, because even though they most certainly belong in the genre, they're far more melodic than your typical high-pitch tremolo shredding, monstrously shrieking band you tend to (or don't in most cases) run across. I'm also reluctant to slap the symphonic tag on them simply because for the most part, the symphonic element is just a subtle additional layer behind the leading elements of Sycronomica's sound: the tremolo shredding that often ventures into areas that you could even find on "Projector"-era Dark Tranquillity (see "Realm Of Dust And Ashes") - that's Gothenburg melodeath for the uninformed - and the dynamic usage of dual vocals.

Sycronomica start their record by trying their very best at dressing up with every single black metal stereotype possible, before plunging into the really interesting stuff that demands the descriptor "melodic black metal" to be used despite it's seemingly paradoxical suggestion. Isn't black metal supposed to be devastating, horrible, chaotic and unmelodic, even progressive at times? That's exactly the type of thinking that has resulted in black metal watching the music industry world cup final from the bench rather than being picked into the starting eleven. What Sycronomica offer here is a fresh, and more importantly, a modern-sounding slice of black metal which combines the very best elements of the genre's different variations. Consider the following, for example: although the tremolo guitars are shredding away at all cylinders during "Kaleidoscope" and the vocalist's choice of lyrical delivery is a sickening gnarl, the entire evil atmosphere is constantly contrasted by an equally melodic one. The demonic shrieks are challenged by tenor male vocals, and the tremolo riffs are often met by dynamic leads and melodic symphonies brought by synths, resulting in a clash between 'good' and 'evil' atmosphere, as if the two were battling against each other for breathing space. It sounds desperate and devastating, but it also sounds oddly tranquil and peaceful. And this is done consistently throughout the album.

While that may sound awfully similar to more than a few symphonic black metal bands, I think it's important to stress that Sycronomica doesn't sound anywhere as dramatic as Dimmu Borgir, nor nearly as commercial as Cradle Of Filth, and instead have a much more extreme element in the mix. Sure enough fans of both bands should appreciate "Sycroscope" as well, but so should fans of bands like Absu and Nachtmystium. One of the reasons for that is the brilliant production that leaves their sound both crystal clear and just extreme enough. The modern sound, where melody meets extremity, actually brings me to my favorite aspect about this release, which is the realization how it brings the burgeoning underground black metal scene closer to people who normally tend to like things like deathcore and other modern productions instead. And finally, sorry to say this EW but: this > unmelodic black metal.


Download: Kaleidoscope, Nebelgestalt, Realm Of Dust And Ashes
For the fans of: Dimmu Borgir, Graveworm, Xerath
Listen: Myspace

Release date 23.10.2009
Silverwolf Productions

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