So what do you do as a band when every proto, crunk and metalcore band in the land has milked the snot out of the breakdown? You toss it into a cyber-grinder and build an entire album around it.
Queens-based SYLAR are looking to shake things up in the contemporary hardcore leagues, so a hand is due them in that regard, albeit in this case, a barely polite golf clap. An electro-core (for lack of a better tag) band carrying the same moniker as the super powered slayer from the TV show "Heroes", SYLAR releases their debut full-length following their 2012 EP, "Deadbeat". There are new kids coming up to replace those who left metalcore along with the cancellation of "Heroes", and "To Whom it May Concern" is for them. Strictly for them.
If you already hate metalcore, stop reading this review now. SYLAR are not going to win you over. Bet. "To Whom it May Concern" yields a chunky, cyber-raked mess of a sound that grows annoying in a hurry if you're not sixteen and already weaned on ATTACK ATTACK! and OF MICE & MEN.
All keys dragged as low as possible, SYLAR gouges nearly every one of their songs with gory, bass-filled breakdown chords, struck as many times as possible while vocalist Jayden Panesso yelps heaps of profanity and denotes what's wrong with the human race. The latter being a fundamental element of punk and metal, what's missing here is the soul to back up that conviction. SYLAR's incessant ratchet grooves are as robotic as the scramblers, filters and coldwave that ping and zap through their teeth-gnashing din.
The goal of SYLAR's music appears to seek a bridge of screamo, agro and industrial modes with melodic choruses. Consider that your jam, if applicable. The title track works in the sense that it kicks "To Whom it May Concern" into gear on a panting pace while sifting through assortments of loops, scratches, filters, synth waltzes and Jayden Panesso's imploring choruses. Alas, the song overstays its welcome and wraps with a breakdown that sets the hopeless tone for the remainder of the album.
"Prescription Meditation" will be instant glue for SYLAR's fans, but, only two songs into the album, it represents the final threshold before the breakdown primers get old. "Mirrors" is next-gen KORN swizz and it becomes suspicious SYLAR's thin bag of metal tricks come borrowed from KORN's "Path of Totality" and the 2007 self-titled album in addition to their aforementioned contemporaries. SYLAR pushes hip-hop tinges behind "Two-Timer", "Never Let it Go" and "Golden Retreat" along with all of their EDM plugs to try and dress up what is, at the basics, the same song set on repeat. At least "Never Let it Go" rolls a decent piano melody amidst the song's nu-metal pimp stride, presenting one of the album's few changeups.
Understandably, younger listeners are going to be all over "To Whom it May Concern". SYLAR presents a minutely forward-moving sound for a subgenre that's otherwise dead and lying in wait for called dibs. This is either your shit or you'll get the shits of it in a hurry. There is no middle ground.