Friday, August 10, 2012
Friday album review: Syqem-Reflections of Elephants
Must resist the urge to compare this music to a herd of elephants. Must resist the urge to compare...Oops. What have I done?
Many metal purists are not going to like the new album by Germany's Syqem. As a passionate follower of music of many different genres, I can attribute this dislike to a misunderstanding of the type of music Syqem plays. This is not your grandfather's metal band, or even your uncle's.
The exact style of music on display here is some kind of blend of alternative and progressive metal, for as good as genre tags are. In some ways, I find genre tags to be restrictive, but I do understand the merit. Some reviewers shun the genre tags for comparisons to other bands, but what happens when the list of comparable bands is short or nonexistent?
If I was to compare Syqem to another band I would have to go for a cross between Sybreed's slower metal and the core of In This Moment.
Reflections of Elephants is a metal album. That much has to be clear. However, the vocals do not invoke comparisons to the throat-shredding screams that most metal is made up of today. Instead, the vocals are very much progressive rock-based, ditching the hard core screams to impassioned clean singing. The singer's voice is rich and diverse, perhaps even more so than that of Chevelle. Screamed sections are rare and only serve to accent certain moments of emotion in the music.
The drumming switches back and forth between modern rock beats and machine-gun style blasting. Instead of a drawback, I believe this method adds flair to the sound of the band. This album also offers up plenty of standard metal riffage with less soloing and more focus on shred. As with most alternative and progressive metal, there is lots of modlody to be heard. And for extra bonus, some sections of songs include keyboard-based electronic sounds to further the mood.
The production on this disc is enormous and grand, giving atmosphere to many of the melodies. I would stop short of saying that the production is the highlight of the album, because that is definitely not the case. For that, I fall back to the outstanding vocal work.
Listen to the first track on Reflections of Elephants below. Reflection of elephants garners at massive 4.7 out of a possible 5 stars. Highly recommended.