Swiss "death wavers" SYBREED might be the sharpest-dressed bunch of metalheads out there. What David Bowie's TIN MACHINE did to grunge and garage rock and Gary Numan did for new wave, SYBREED struts an Armani-esque fa?ade while tossing in a little shake and bop to their SOILWORK-inspired brand of pop-death-Goth metal.
Citing influences ranging from IN FLAMES, SOILWORK and MESHUGGAH to DEPECHE MODE, SYBREED through four albums has displayed admirable flair to their brand of melodic crunch that can be largely emotive, yet disengaging at times. There's no question of their musical competency since technique plays as an important a role in their songwriting as dexterous, hummable hooks. SYBREED's craft is effective enough to have lured the "Rock Star" game manufacturers to hike "Doomsday Party" from their 2009 album "The Pulse of Awakening".
This time, principal string man and electro guru Thomas "Drop" Betrisey relinquishes his extracurricular bass duties to new addition Ales Campanelli and once again SYBREED employs former FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY haunt, Rhys Fulber on the production console. Thus you can expect "God Is an Automaton" to be more of the same as before, only with a deeper pulse, in large part thanks to Campanelli freeing up Betrisey to go berserk in his elements.
Co-founder Benjamin Nominet as ever, delivers cross hooks of moods with his combined Goth swoons and agro yelping, much like Anders Frid?n of IN FLAMES. Nominet, however, has far more coldwave, feathering keys and synthetic soundscapes to assimilate his broad range into. Frid?n is more in-your-face and impassioned, while Nominet is calculating with his mixes of seduction and brutality. Fulber certainly knows how to make the best use of Nominet's bouncing pitches and hastily-dropped screams, constructing the vocal patterns into a homogenous bond with the whirring electronics and blast beat castigations administered by Kevin Choiral. All packaged like GQ for a metalhead bourgeoisie.
While "God Is an Automaton" has moments of full-on throb with "Posthuman Manifesto", "Challenger" and the tone-melting digi-thrash of "Red Nova Ignition", the album works primarily in a mid-tempo scheme, opting more for harmonics and advanced procedure. While the preceding tracks are the best, the slower methodology to the remaining tracks gives SYBREED the opportunity to adorn "Into the Blackest of Night" and "A Radiant Daybreak" with alternating measures of scaled-down grind, cyber core and decorative synth sculptures, pushed to the brink by rock-fueled melodies. Nominet seizes the moment amidst his multi-ranged ralphing attacks to slip in snippets of soaring cleans, forcing conscience amongst all of the calamity swarming about him.
"No Wisdom Brings Solace" is the album's champ stomper, a crafty machine that shifts out of marching mode into reveille and back again while the song gains momentum and soars on its memorable choruses. For those in dear need of a bounce-along vibe, you can turn to "The Line of Least Resistance" and the countering effervescence of its peppy choruses amidst the near-rude crunch of its verses. This one is tailor-made for single material and will undoubtedly lure new fans.
While SYBREED is a skilled and textured unit, soaking their listeners' ears with as much audile aquatics as they can get away with, there is a limit to how often they can push their dirge crawls into extreme territories before the listener seeks more, albeit the shambling crush of "Hightech Versus Lowlife" is sure to please tech hounds with its precision. Speed comes incrementally but satisfyingly on this album, ditto for the soaring synchronizations. The only itch to "God Is an Automaton" is an inherent feeling of desperation in spots to construct an abundance of scrambled ideas into cohesive stretches and opting for safe and sure instead of letting the band's thrusters burn more frequently.