Lots of tech-death bands are out there these days; trying to dazzle, brutalize, and sometimes lull us into a deep sleep from all that blurring 'n whirring. Fortunately, "Expiation" from Italy's SYNAPSES is in no danger of being reviewed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration prior to stocking on the pharmacy shelves next to all the other sleep aids. Staying awake won't be an issue, as you'll be too wide-eyed and jolted into disequilibrium to even consider rest and relaxation.
It's not that "Expiation" carries one along with melodic fusillades or catchy refrains. Rather, it's more the case of success realized through the management of disorientation and the control of chaos in the arrangements that results in 10 tracks with plenty of meat on the bone. Like the chunk 'n punch of PSYCROPTC in one sense, the precarious high-speed tight rope running of EMBRYONIC DEVOURMENT in another , and the ridged pattering of DECAPITATED in yet another (check out "Blood in my Dreams"), "Expiation" excels in delivering dynamics that can be digested without too much intestinal trauma. All the stuttering cadences and jagged riffs are assembled in a way that induces the involuntary back-and-forth movement of the head that always signals a headbang-able work, an attribute that sometimes gets lost on tech-death albums.
Put in simpler terms, the level of technicality on "Expiation" is impressive, but it is never so over the top as to detract from the immediacy of impact nor the flow of energy. Heck, there is something more than hyperbole in reading what has been stated as SYNAPSES' idea upon formation to create "modern, violent and frenetic death metal, which has its roots in the '90s, but with the awareness of a more modern sound". In fact, that describes "Expiation" in rather complete terms. There will be no crowing of the new kings of tech-death after listening to "Expiation", but there should be a lot of aggressive nods of approval over this one.