Syphor havent chosen an easy field in which to distinguish themselves. After all, melodic deathy thrashy metal is hardly a selling point these days. Everyone’s been at it for years. Yet the Dublin quintet prove that with a little invention, the style can still be invigorating.
Part of the reason is that although it straddles a few genres, they haven’t made it complicated. It’s just good metal.
The band show some real class on occasion. Take second track ‘War’ – opening with a fantastic, broody clean guitar, it’s got a strong link to classic Priest throughout, in spirit if not in sound.
The highlight of this release though has to be ‘All Our Might’, which is nothing short of a thrashing scorcher. Locked tight right from the first note, it pelts along at 100mph before slowing into a crunching end section whose solo even recalls the lead tone of Marty Freidman-era Megadeth. They also show a good ear for interesting production techniques with an odd guitar gurgle going on in there too. A great track.
‘Darkness’ too, despite it’s unprepossessing title, has some decent harmonies and riffs. It’s a cut that preserves interest for what’s essentially just a mid paced track – no mean feat, and it’s indicative of the kind of variety that marks Syphor out.
It’s not easy to be consistently varied and interesting within the utterly stock field of melodic thrashy / death metal. Most if not everything has been done before, and twice at that. So any band that comes to the fray with something even mildly different deserves an ear.
There’s a distinct nod to Slayer in the likes of ‘God Fearing Lunatic’, with it’s tight rhythm crunch and powerful drumming. Actually did I just hear a vocal line going ‘Spirit Alone In Black’? Why yes. Funny that.
So far, so good. But there is one element that lets this release down, even if it does largely fall on personal preference. It’s the daffy duck vocals. I’m just not sure they suit this style of music at all, and there’s bound to be better ways to attack these lyrics.
The problem with the blacker style rasp is that it’s thin. There’s no power, and it just sounds a little weak on top of good chunking riffwork like this. It would be worthwhile for the vocalist to explore other options within his range. Even a coarsely sung style may be better.
While it’s not enough to entirely put the listener off, it does have its effect. That shouldn’t be allowed to stand in the way of what’s essentially a very capable album however, and which has a lot of the right moves in place.
Though they’re an unsigned band, Syphor have definitely ironed out a lot of the typical demo ills, making this a solid spin. Their riffs are good and varied, the lead guitar is alright, the drums are cracking and overall it sounds like a METAL album.
Gets my thumbs up, then.
3.4 / 5 – Earl Grey ::: 28/07/11