Next Friday, rock outfit Sonic Syndicate will release its latest full-length studio recording to the world. The album, Confessions, is a stark departure from the band’s previous albums. That departure in style was no accident, either. After facing changes in its lineup and label throughout the past ten years of its life, the former hard rock outfit went on hiatus in 2014 before releasing what would be its last hard rock release in its 2014 self-titled album. Following its release, the band’s remaining members—Nathan J. Biggs and Robin Sjunneson—re-evaluated the band’s path and ended up taking a decidedly more mainstream approach to this record. The album is a great new start for the band, which also features bassist Michael Barzien as its newest member. That is due both to the approach taken to the songs’ musical arrangements and their lyrical content as is evidenced in the album’s new single ‘Start a War.’ That will be discussed shortly. ‘I Like It Rough’ is another example of how the band’s mainstream approach has made this record a solid rebirth for Sonic Syndicate. That will be discussed later. ‘Closure,’ the album’s penultimate offering, is one more example of how the approach taken to this record has made the album a great new beginning for Sonic Syndicate. It is just one example of what makes this new album such a solid new beginning for the band, too. Each of the nine other songs featured in this record could be cited just as easily in supporting that statement. All things considered, Confessions gives great hope for Sonic Syndicate in its new life.
Sonic Syndicate’s new album Confessions is a clear departure for the band from the metal material that made up most of its previous recordings. That is not necessarily a bad thing either. The change in the band’s sound in this record gives great hope for the band in its new life. That is evident in part through the album’s latest single ‘Start A War.’ Instead of the metal style sound for which the band had come to be known in the past, this song’s musical arrangement presents a decidedly emo vibe that would fit easily into any mainstream rock radio station’s rotation. The song’s arrangement is driven largely by Robin Sjunneson’s guitar work. The call and response approach used in the song’s chorus adds even more to that mainstream emo vibe, and even Biggs’ own vocal approach plays its own part in that vibe. The song’s musical arrangement is just one part of what makes this song stand out. Its lyrical content plays its own important part in the song’s overall approach, too.
The musical arrangement that is presented in Confessions is, in itself an important part of the song’s presentation. It goes a long way toward exhibiting the stark contrast of the band’s previous and current identity. It is just one part of what makes the song stand out in exhibiting that change. The song’s lyrical content is just as important to note as its musical content in examining the band’s change. In regards to its lyrical content the song comes across, at least to this critic, as a call to action of sorts. That is inferred as Biggs sings in the song’s chorus, “I know that you’ve been waiting/For me to start a war/And I know that you feel jaded/Because jaded is what you are/Right now you’re suffocating/It’s time to cut the cord/No need to be feeling jaded/We’re taking back the world.” The argument is solidified even more as he sings later in the song’s four-minute-plus run time, “You’re on the edge of destiny/A chance to live out what you dream/It’s time to get the message out/And sing it through the streets/This is not a fantasy/A chance to live out what we dream/It’s time to get the message out/Everyone in every town/Sing it through the streets.” Biggs comes across here as saying it is up to people to stand up and take action, not wait for others to make something happen. People need to make their own destiny. Much as with the song’s musical arrangement, that is a clear departure from the band’s past offerings. It is an inspiring, uplifting message from which listeners of any age will benefit. When that positive message is coupled with the song’s easily accessible musical arrangement, the combination of the two elements shows clearly just how much Sonic Syndicate has changed on its new album. What’s more it is a clear example of why that change is a very good thing for the band, too. Of course the combination of the two elements makes this song just one example of what makes the change in the band’s identity and sound so welcome. ‘I Like It Rough’ is another example of just how much Sonic Syndicate has changed since the release of its self-titled 2014 album and why that change is a good thing for the band.
‘Start A War’ is a clear example of how much Sonic Syndicate has changed in comparison to its previous offerings. It is just as much of an example of why that change is a good thing. That is due to the combination of the album’s musical and lyrical content. It is just one example of the change in the band’s sound and why that change is a good thing for the band. ‘I Like It Rough’ serves to support both statements just as much as ‘Start A War.’ It supports both statements–just as with ‘Start A War’—in part through its musical arrangement. This song’s musical arrangement makes it an instant hit on any mainstream rock radio station thanks to Sjunneson’s driving guitar line. It is an infectious arrangement that, when partnered with Biggs’ vocal approach and the song’s bass and drums, instantly conjures thoughts of Filter, Sick Puppies, and other similar acts. That alone makes the song stand out. The song’s lyrical content makes the song stand out just as much as its musical arrangement, too. So it cannot be ignored here.
The musical arrangement presented in ‘I Like It Rough’ shows in itself another way in which Sonic Syndicate has changed and why that change is a good thing. The driving, mainstream rock sound of the arrangement makes the song fit just as well on any mainstream rock radio station as songs from the likes of Filter, Sick Puppies, and other acts. It is just one part of what makes the song stand out. Its lyrical content makes it stand out just as much as its musical arrangement. The song’s lyrical content stands out because it is not the typical song about a person pleading for love or even pleading to get back love last. Instead it takes more of the approach of a dreamer who is head over heels for someone else despite knowing the odds of anything happening romantically are slim to nil. It really is a road less taken in the bigger picture of songs about relationships. Yet the subject matter is still material to which so many listeners can relate. As Biggs sings, “You’re the divine intervention/A miracle of nature/You’re everything that I want/But what I want is gonna be the death of me/You’re looking drop dead fine tonight/There’s no question about it/Don’t know how much I can take before I lose it all/you make me feel like I mean nothing to you/Guess that’s the way I like it.” He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “I could tell from the start/My heart was gonna be your casualty.” From here, Biggs returns to the song’s chorus once again, with all of the same vocal energy to match the song’s musical punch. Considering this, the pairing of that musical and vocal energy with the song’s lyrical content is a good match. It serves to show how infatuated this person is about his/her subject of interest. On a side note, the fact that the speaker could be male or female makes the song hit even harder. Both men and women have been in the state presented here. It makes the song that much easier to relate to for listeners. That overall accessibility makes the song stand out even more as an example of just how much Sonic Syndicate has changed and why that change is a good thing for the band and its new fans. Even with this in mind, it still is not the last of the songs featured in Confessions that shows that change and why said change is a good thing. ‘Closure’ comes late in the album’s run. It is one more song supporting both statements about this record.
‘Start A War’ and ‘I Like It Rough’ are both key compositions included in Confessions. That is because both songs show in their own way just how much Sonic Syndicate has changed through the combination of their musical and lyrical content. While both songs are key examples of the band’s positive change, they are not only songs that exhibit said change. ‘Closure’ is one more example of that change. ‘Closure’ comes late in the album’s sequencing. It is the album’s penultimate piece as a matter of fact. It is just as much of a contrast from the previously noted songs as they are from the band’s previous material. It is an introspective, semi-acoustic composition that as its own fit in any mainstream rock radio station. Its musical arrangement is led by Sjunneson’s emotional guitar line and Biggs’ equally moving vocal delivery. The addition of the string arrangements as support adds even more depth to the song’s overall musical arrangement. When all of the noted elements are joined together they make the impact of the song’s musical arrangement such that it will reach anyone who has ever experienced heartbreak. The addition of the song’s lyrical content depends the song even more as Biggs sings about needing that finality in a relationship that has come to its end.
The musical arrangement presented in ‘Closure’ makes the song clearly another example of how much Sonic Syndicate has changed and why that change is good for the band and its fans. It shows yet again the range of its members in regards to their musical abilities and tastes. It is just one part of what makes the song stand out of course. The song’s lyrical content makes the song stand out even more. That is because of how it addresses the issue of needing finality in a relationship’s end. Most people have been in the position of this song’s subject; that position of wanting to make that break and close that chapter of life. That is what the song’s subject is singing about here as Biggs sings, “Hey you/Don’t you know this was coming the first time/It’s like God threw us both in the same room/But then pulled the rug beneath my feet/All alone and left me there to bleed/It’s like God stole the air out of this room/You stole my heart/And you beat it black/But I can’t forget/Till I bring you back/I need a little bit of closure now/Something that kept the ghosts out of my head/Cause we’re living in a lonely world/Where no one stops to say, are you okay.” Biggs’ subject goes on in very similar fashion throughout the remainder of the strong, brooding over his/her lost love. Simply put the emotional thoughts expressed through Biggs’ words paint a rich picture of someone in a dark place. It is a place in which many people have been before. Again, it makes the song that much more accessible for audiences, exhibiting once more why Sonic Syndicate’s change is so welcome both for itself and its fans. When all of this is combined and set against the elements that make ‘Start A War’ and ‘I Like It Rough’ stand out, it becomes crystal clear just how much Sonic Syndicate has changed and why that change is a good thing.
Sonic Syndicate has shown clearly in its new album Confessions that it has changed quite a bit from the band that it was in its previous albums. It has gone from a purely metal/hard rock act to an act that could very easily reach far more audiences than ever before. That is evident in the more mainstream approach presented in each of the featured songs’ arrangements and the equally more accessible lyrical themes. Whether through the uplifting ‘Start A War,’ the more energetic ‘I Like It Rough,’ which is about a person who is head over heels about someone else despite knowing it will never happen, or for the far more introspective ‘Closure’ it is clear. The same could be said of any of the album’s other featured compositions, too. All things considered, Confessions proves in the end to be a solid new start for Sonic Syndicate, and hopefully only the start for the band. Confessions will be released in stores and online next Friday, October 14th. It can be pre-ordered online now via Despotz Records’ online store. More information on Confessions is available online now along with all of Sonic Syndicate’s latest news and more at:
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