Evolve of Die! That was the stark choice that Swedish rock band Sonic Syndicate found themselves faced with. After various line-up changes and suddenly being dropped from their record label, the band were forced to take a hiatus and consider their options. After some time spent cocooned away and soul searching the band have undergone a metamorphosis and emerged with a totally different sound and a new album.
Gone are the harsh metallic elements of their previous metalcore guise, replaced with clean rock vocals and plenty of synth work. The radical new sound of melodic pop-rock tracks like Confessions and Life Is Not A Map may divide their fanbase, but the band unashamedly pushed forward with their new sound and refused to let themselves be held back by 'what people might think.' The result is a new start for the band and their most daring album to date. If you've listened to their back catalogue closely enough, you'll detect that there are some subtle similarities in their use of synths and structures of melodies, making it not such the radical departure that it first appears.
From the get go front-man Nathan J Briggs, owns the new material with a confident soft rock vocal. The guitars and percussion are not overly dominant, in keeping with their more spruced up sound. The music is instantly likeable, catchy and radio friendly. Burn to Live is partly auto-biographical and bristling with empowering and inspirational lyrics to boot. Start A War and Crystallize are very influenced by the Euro rock market, who will lap up this glossier sonic rock. Halfway Down The Road's retro guitar shredding and the upbeat tempo makes for a solid ending to a career defining album.
Confessions as a piece of work is more Imagine Dragons or Bastille than Parkway Drive, but the bands' enforced exploration of their sound has resulted in their forging of a new identity with which they are clearly at ease. It may take a bit of getting use to for those who have followed the band from the beginning, but this new material has certainly revitalized Sonic Syndicate and their new evolution is something to get excited about.