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Very hit or miss - 75%

BastardHead, March 7th, 2008

See, this is another album that I love, but when I'm forced to sit back and think about it, it's actually pretty bland. Songs like the title track, Spit on Your Grave, or Shadow Island are all cool and original songs, but the rest, while still great, really lack substance. When they get it right, holy shit they get it right. When they don't, it's not bad, but the riffs sound very generic or uninspired, yet it still comes off as competent and 100% metal.

Kimberly Goss... well, I'll admit, she's none too bright when it comes to the issues she sings about. She attempted suicide sometime before the album came out, so one could tell that there was obviously going to be some heartfelt sorrow poured forth on this release. You ever seen the interview that prefaces the video to the title track? "People do it every day, it's not a big deal. I think I would try again if I had a chance.... I KNOW I would do it again.". She speaks playfully and trivially of a subject as serious as suicide. I don't know, that makes her come off as kind of thickheaded and puts a slightly different spin on the lyrics. Instead of the heartfelt outpourings of a soul on the brink, it seems more like she doesn't actually care and instead writes about it because it's "cool". One thing that she does right though, is her voice. My god this woman has some pipes. She isn't operatic like Nightwish, nor does she outright growl like Arch Enemy, but she has a very raw and powerful scream. It's been compared to Doro Pesch, and while it's not perfect, it's pretty damn close. Back in the days of Warlock when she would just belt out her vocals, that's what Goss does. She actually SOUNDS anguished, and I'm sure she was, but like I said, the lyrics started to seem a bit forced/hokey after you learn a bit more about her.

Musically, the band contains Alexi Laiho, fresh off the release of Follow the Reaper, one of my favorite albums ever. With a guitar dreamteam of Laiho and Roope Latvala (a "dream team" we would later learn actually wasn't too good), and the bassist from Tarot and Nightwish, you'd have to be pretty naive about metal to think the musicianship wouldn't be phenomenal. Laiho and Latvala rip some excellent solos throughout the duration of the record, and the music as a whole sounds like a transition between Follow the Reaper and Hate Crew Deathroll sans keyboards. It's very fast, there are some neoclassical elements (although not too many), and there is a heavy focus on melody, and yet they keep it heavy. It's hard to explain if you aren't familiar with Children of Bodom.

So musically and vocally, this band is great. Why the so-so score? Because for what they have in virtuosity and capability, they lack equally in the songwriting department. While no songs flat out suck, many of them aren't very memorable, and the impressiveness wears off after a few spins. And what's strange, is that the simplest song is actually one of my favorites, Written in Stone. Goss is at the top of her game here, and while the riffs aren't as impressive as some of the other tracks, the entire band manages to blend all of the qualities that are generally strewn about into one cohesive and excellent song. Spit on Your Grave and Suicide by my Side on the other hand, are equally amazing, but the riffs, melodies, and hooks are all creative and memorable. Add that on top of the fact that the vocal melodies will get stuck in your head and you'll find yourself humming most of the interludes. Shadow Island is notable for the vocal duet between Laiho and Goss, but is otherwise unspectacular. It's got a nice main riff, it sounds like it's in the major key, which is bizarre sounding in such an otherwise dreary and sullen record, but it's a welcome change.

Songs like Violated, Me, Myself, My Enemy, and Passage to the Fourth World kind of fall flat in the memorability department. I'd also like to point out the intro to Violated. Why the hell do bands do that? The whole compressed first few bars idea is really dumb and adds nothing but annoyance to the songs. The headache is multiplied here by the fact that the only standout drum part on the whole album just got needlessly drowned out for some arbitrary reason. The Sin Trade and Nowhere for No One have riffs that sound like a beginner just doodling around for the most part. They're like, three notes, and the former's just ascends a semitone each measure and adds a very basic descending scale to the end of it. Boooooring. It's really frustrating because the band obviously has a ton of potential, but half assed, uninspired riffs like that are just insulting, especially coming from Alexi Laiho at this point in his career.

The closing track, Remembrance, is a completely useless piano outro that is mixed so low you can only hear a few parts of it anyway. It sounds decent after the explosive title track, but is otherwise a complete throwaway. It was a nice gesture that Goss added it to the album (it's a tribute to 9/11 victims), but it really holds no place in this album, and unfortunately knocks the album down a peg.

In the end, Sinergy's latest (and at the rate it's taking for them to release Sins of the Past, last) album earns a very middle C. It's an average record with only a few stinkers and a couple classics. Check out Spit on Your Grave, Written in Stone, and Suicide by my Side, as those tracks completely slay. The others on the other hand range from cool to below average. It's a very middle of the road release. Not essential, but recommended to middle era Bodom fans.

Do You Wanna Die? - 89%

Starborn, May 15th, 2006

Kimberly Goss and friends return with what is to this date, the best work this band has has done. Singery is melodic speed metal with female vocals, yet Goss unlike some female singers, has lot of range. She is a very powerful singer and a joy to listen to. I remember about four or five years ago, I checked out this band and didn't care for them but I recently gave them another chance, and I'm glad I did.

The album starts off with "I spit on your grave". This song is actually catchy and fun to sing along with. The guitar melody is very fast reminds me of Bodom at times, which it should since Alexi is on guitar. This is a good song to play when your thinking about your worst enemy, well in case you have one? "The Sin Trade" is really nice to, and maybe my favorite song on the album. I fell the lyrics deal with facing your inner demons and destroying them. Kimberly sounds very aggressive here which gives a great overall feel to the song.

"Written In Stone" slows down the tempo abit but it still rocks. It's more of a ballad than anything but it's done right. I really like Liaho's solo here, one the best on the album, but I always consider Alexi's solos to be amazing. Latvala's solo is done very well too. The song is about dealing with the past which most people should be able to relate to. This would make a great intro song to someone who's never heard the band.

"Shadow Land" which to me is one of the weaker song on here, it isn't bad at all, it's quite good actually, it's just not up to par with the rest of the album. This song contains Alexi on vocals and he does a pretty good job. I can't totally explain it but I guess I just don't like the over all feel of this song, especially the chorus. But who knows maybe it will grow on me with a few more listens. The title track on the other hand is one of the best songs on the album. The lyrical content is of course about suicide and we have all at least thought about what Goss is singing about.

It's not really that depressing of a song, well at least not to me. It's got great melodies and Kimberly does another great vocal performance. The last song "Remembrance" is a piano instrumental dedicated to the victims of 9/11, it's not bad but I feel that it's kinda short. But like I said before this album is highlight of Singery's career, so I highly recommend it. If you like speed or modern power metal this great choice for your collection. Pick it up!

KILLER!!! - 100%

corviderrant, March 31st, 2004

It is so refreshing to hear a melodic power metal band who honors both sides of the coin, the melody, AND the power in power metal. Sinergy's earlier material may have not been so good, or so I hear, but this album owns from start to finish. In fact, I will go as far as to say that this is one of the best melodic metal albums I've heard in my time, and since I've been a banger since roughly 1983-84, this ought to tell you something.

I really wish people would quit bashing Kim Goss and get a life already, because she kicks ass and takes names on this album. Her strong, confident midrange belting is indeed reminiscent of a female Bruce Dickinson (as another reviewer said here very accurately), and the version of Iron Maiden's very classic "Number of the Beast" (one of the first metal albums I bought when I was 14, years ago in the Dark Ages) that closes off this album does the original ample justice. Stick to your guns and don't let anybody take your bullets, I say to Mrs. Goss-Laiho, cos she is doing just fine.

The rest of the band is by no means overshadowed by her, as they hold their own like the veterans they are. Alexi Laiho and Roope Latvala make an outstanding guitar duo, throwing out riffs and shred leads with murderous precision, and whoever the bass player was on this CD, he hangs with the guitars loud and clear with a fabulously crunchy, slightly distorted tone. And the drumming is like piledrivers, powerful and precise, although I suspect he may be triggered.

Standout songs? Oboy..."I Spit On Your Grave" and "The Sin Trade" kick the album off in fine metallic fashion, and "Violated" is nicely venomous and scathing. "Written In Stone", if this is a ballad, then this is the kinda ballad I want to hear more often--ballsy and aggressive, yet sensitive lyrically. Laiho makes a guest appearance vocally on "Shadow Island", one of the most aggressive and powerful tunes on here, and his ugly rasp goes well alongside Kim's melodic vocal. That tune also features a Therion-like vocal choir on the verses that will make your short hairs stand up. The title track starts with a mercifully short sound bite of a couple (Goss and Laiho?) arguing and screaming that is a little irritating, but conveys the anguish of the title track well, and "Remembrance" is a pretty piano piece in memory of the 9/11 victims that is eloquently simple.

Altogether...this is essential for those out there who are craving good quality metal with equal parts melody and balls. And I do mean balls, never mind gender issues. Get this and enjoy it, because mark my words, you will!

Excellent, dark power metal. - 86%

Nightcrawler, August 19th, 2003

Sinergy's third studio outing Suicide By My Side is one of my latest CD purchases, and it completely blew me away from the first listen.
This is the most aggressive power metal album ever, being powered by heavy, punishing basslines, loads of double bass drumming and of course the awesome twin guitar attack of Roope Latvala and Alexi 'Wildchild' Laiho, both also from Children of Bodom. The two players have very similar virtuose, melodic and intense styles and complement eachother perfectly. The band is fronted by the awesome, powerful vocals of Kimberly Goss, who as already mentioned unlike other female singers doesn't try to sing as high as possible, but has a much more aggressive yet melodic, and pretty midranged style. At some points she sounds like a female Bruce Dickinson- only way better.

The music on CD is nothing short of amazing. The mood is unusually for power metal very dark, depressing and hateful, most notably on songs like the punishing opener I Spit On Your Grave and the multi-talented closing track Suicide By My Side- it will make you suicidal and have you violently headbanging at the same time. That's quite an achievement.
The dark mood over all songs tie them together very well, but they all manage to have a very separate and personal sound, so that each song is something new yet fits well within the context of the album.
Violated is aggressive and powerful. Passage to the Fourth World is very melodic for the most part but has a heavy-as-fuck riff section towards the end of the solo. Shadow Island is very atmospheric and quite epic, and features vocal appearances from bassist Marco Hietala and the shrieking voice of Alexi Laiho. And of course we have the beautiful and mournful ballad Written in Stone, which totally kicks you in the face with that powerful chorus and features some amazing Maiden-ish melodies, beautiful acoustic guitars and the most emotional and one of the best vocal performances of the album.
But all in all, every single song of the entire album owns to an infinite extent. Nothing sticks out as bad, or even slightly weaker than the rest.
On the other hand, a few songs do stand out as being unusually amazing. First we have the amazing ballad Written in Stone. Passage to the Fourth World stands out as well, with awesome memorable vocal lines and amazing riffwork. And finally the menacing title track, which is my favourite track of the entire album.

Suicide By My Side is an essential of modern metal. The amazing twin guitars, the powerful and original vocals, and of course the actual songwriting, which is some of the best stuff this side of Painkiller.

A solid headbanger - 87%

ALF, May 20th, 2003

The third and latest outing from Sinergy is also its best. The two masterminds and driving force of the group are the husband and wife team of Kim Goss and Alexi Laiho. Kim Goss is the lead singer and main lyricist and a contoversial figure in the metal scene. Alexi Laiho has been the only guitarist that has been with the band throughout its existence and is one of the main songwriter in the band. Sinergy for him is a side project since he devouts most of his energy to his main band Children of Bodom. New on board for this CD is guitarist Rope Latvala who is one of the main factor that Sinergy have stepped up to the next level. He is is integral to the success of this album since he did a fair bit of the song writing and the addition of his guitar skills complements Laiho.

The album starts off with its strongest track called "I Spit On Your Grave". Sinergy quickly establish their intricate, blistering dual guitar attack of Laiho and Latvala. The ability of these two bring up comparison to famed guitar duos of the past such Judas Priest's Tipton and Downing, and Iron Maiden's Murray and Smith. They are not there yet but they are certainly not far off. The variety of styles the two-guitarist employ through out the album is amazing from the fast fat riffs that serves as an intro to "Me, Myself, My Enemy". To very technical passages such as in "The Sin Trade" and to very melodic riffs that are the basis of "Passage To Fourth World". The guitar work throughout the CD is amazing and if you are a guitar nut this is reason enough to pick up this album.

The vocals of Kim Goss are also quite different from the majority of her female metal contemporaries. Her vocals are far grittier and aggressive without being any less melodic. Kim's vocals are refreshing contrast from what is fast becoming the norm for female fronted lead singers in metal. Her peers seem to compete on who will shatter glass first while KIm pretty much stays in the lower register. Her vocals perfectly complement the type of metal Sinergy plays.

The best songs on this are the intense "I Spit On Your Grave", the speedy and aggressive "Violated". The cool vocal lines make "Passage To Fourth World" makes it a stand out and the sonic assault of "Shadow Island" where Kim and Alexi Laiho sort of duet will leave you breathless.

"Suicide By My Side" is a great straight up, unpretentious metal album that will captivate fans of terrific guitar playing. Also the best place to start if you want to check out Sinergy.

Album of the year, so far - 95%

Hattori, July 26th, 2002

The Kimberly Goss-led troupe, Sinergy, return with their third full-length album, "Suicide By My Side." And where do I begin describing its greatness?

Firstly, Kimberly Goss sounds incredible. While her vocals on the band's first album, "Beware the Heavens," sounded too pretty and too gothic, here they're much more memorable. The fanzine writer turned keyboardist turned singer is really coming into her own as a vocalist. On "Suicide By My Side," Goss's vocals are angrier and more metal-sounding than ever before. The vocals are complimented by the album's aggressive guitarwork. Make sure that all of your lettuce is a safe distance away, because the guitars here absolutely shred. Alexi Laiho and Roope Latvala are both excellent soloists, yet for some reason, bands like Weezer appear on the cover of Guitar World magazine.

Although the songwriting was spread out amongst the band members, "Suicide By My Side" sounds surprisingly cohesive. With all the different writers, it's even more surprising that every single track on this album kicks complete and utter ass. Alexi Laiho shares lead vocals with his wife on "Shadow Island," a song inspired by the video game "Alone in the Dark." I am typically not a fan of Laiho's vocals, but somehow his rasp works on this song, maybe because it's taken in small doses. I know I couldn't handle an entire album's worth of his vocal style. His vocals are the only reason I don't listen to Finnish black metallers "Children of Bodom."

Kimberly Goss handles all of the band's lyrics, and I can relate easily to their depressing nature. Songs like "Me, Myself, My Enemy," and "Written In Stone" echo my own feelings: "This isn't living, I'm only existing / I refuse to stay here and continue to live out this lie / I shatter the hourglass, hoping my time will pass / I'll only be noticed when my name is written in stone." It's almost as if she wrote this album's lyrics specifically with me in mind. The mood of this release ranges from angry and resistant to depressed and hopeless. "Suicide By My Side" is certainly not a happy, uplifting album in the vein of Helloween and Freedom Call.

The disc closes with “Remembrance,” a short piano instrumental composed by Goss and dedicated to the victims of 9/11. Although it's not fast or aggressive like the other tracks, “Remembrance” is incredibly solemn, so it does not conflict with the overall feeling of the album. The instrumental directly follows the title track, so it ultimately feels like a requiem for the title track's suicidal speaker, even though it was intended as a requiem for those who died on September 11th.

Of all the albums released in 2002, "Suicide By My Side" has found its way into my CD player more than any other. It's currently my favorite album of the year and if you give it a chance, it might be yours too.