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This band is an absolute joke in many ways. While I’m aware that their pop/metal sound has given them a lot of fans (Only Inhuman being a bit of a guilty pleasure to me) I always found it laughable that they still continue to be labelled as a ‘melodic death metal’ group considering they haven't sounded as such since their Eden Fire album. What’s even more confusing is that as over-commercialised as this group is they continue to be promoted to drastic levels by Nuclear Blast, the same record label that houses Meshuggah, Dimmu Borgir and the likes. To think that of all the actual death metal bands they could be promoting further they insist on Sonic Syndicate as if they still deserved to be labelled under the same category. Not only does We Rule the Night not sound like a heavy metal album at all, albeit the crunchy riffs and excessive growling, but it doesn’t seem to make up its mind on what kind of genre it wants to be in.
Although the fact that the album attempts to be musically diverse and fails on every level is one of the album’s most glaring faults, the major problem is that it is excruciating. I still remember listening to this album for the first time back in 2010 and immediately cringing when the first track played. Even though ‘Beauty and the Freak’ has a straightforward and simple structure that makes it at least work musically, it’s the production values that serve as a warning on how the entire album is almost unlistenable. It feels so dense that you can hardly tell which instrument is which, made even more confusing by the most obnoxious mix of clean and harsh vocals, neither of which even sound particularly good.
Although the messy production does spoil what would otherwise have been a decent opener, it only goes further downhill. ‘Revolution Baby’ sounds like a Limp Biskit single that came out ten years too late, ‘Turn it Up’ is a laughable dance floor anthem that would make even Kesha shake her head in pity, and the worst experience has to be ‘My Own Life’ a vomit endorsing pop ballad that sounds more like the sickly bastard child of the Backstreet Boys and Nickelback. I’m being serious, I wasn’t sure if I was even listening to the same album anymore.
After those other three disasters, there is a small handful of guilty pleasures you could take away. ‘Miles Apart’ is equally as bad as ‘My Own Life’, but ‘Burn This City’ and ‘Plans are for People’ at least provide some memorable instruments and choruses. What is probably the true highlight is the last song on the album ‘We Rule the Night’, but even if you can find something to appreciate in these few songs it is still spoilt by the overly compressed production that can prove a headache. Unless you have the patience of Job or the forgiveness of John Paul II, you’re going to find yourself wanting to hurt yourself to relieve the stress of this unfocused and painful mess of an album.
Yeah, I know I'm gonna get plenty of wide-eyed stares for this, but I honestly did enjoy this album despite the fact that it's about as far removed from old SS as you can get. This is certainly a very unique sounding album, aside from Melodic death metal, there's also alternative rock, nu metal, industrial metal, hard rock, metalcore, pop-metal and even some mild techno. Nathan's vocals are a complete 180 from Roland's as they're much cleaner and less harsh, but that dosen't make them bad, quite the contrary, they're outstanding and very well-done. Unfortunately Richard's harsher vocals are buried in the mix, which can be really distracting at times. The instrumentation is as good as ever, though the acoustic-electric riffs threw me for a loop at first, but I quickly got used to them.
The overall production is much more commercial (though still unmistakably metal) "Burn This City", "Black and Blue", "Revolution Baby" and the title track are among the heaviest songs on the album and the ones that sound closest to the SS of old, the former is one of the few songs where Richard is heard loud and clear (though the radio version edits his vocals). It's unfortunate that one of the best songs "Heart of Eve" isn't on the album (though Youtube has it thankfully). Songs like "Beauty and the Freak", "Turn It Up" and "Plans Are for People" on the other hand could've have very well been recorded by Avenged Sevenfold and no one would blink twice. "Turn It Up" with its catchy club-techno influences, sounds like something you'd hear at a rave. Most surprising is the ballad "Miles Apart" despite being made for radio, it's a heartfelt and well-done song where Nathan really shows off his vocal range, "Plans Are for People" has that Avenged sound I mentioned, especially during the chorus.
Overall this album is a pretty good listen (though I wish "Heart of Eve" was included on the album). The new sound takes a little getting used to I'll admit, but I like the change in direction overall. This album is good if you don't mind a little experimentation from SS, but if you're a diehard Roland fan, odds are you're not gonna be too fond of this one.
Favorite tracks: Burn This City, Turn It Up, We Rule the Night, Beauty and the Freak, Heart of Eve, Revolution Baby.
Seriously, what were they thinking? I've heard some fall from graces in the past but this takes the cake.
I fully appreciate when a band progresses. Even though some great bands have changed very little over the years but have still maintained legendary status (namely AC/DC, Slayer) I still prefer to hear a band change its style a little album after album to not get stale. However I think Sonic Syndicate took that idea and ran with it a little too much.
To be honest, I was never really a big fan of them. I think "Eden Fire" had a few decent moments but after that they kind of went generic and boring. I'd still give them a listen or two when I was sick of listening to other stuff. I also like to keep an ear out for new material from bands that I don't particularly like but have liked a little in the past or in which I hear some potential. So when they released "We Rule the Night", I thought I'd better give it a listen.
The opener "Beauty And The Freak" confirmed my fears that they had not tried to change and continued in the same catchy mainstream vein as they had before. However after that, something changed. When "Revolution, Baby" played, I thought they had tried to reintroduce nu-metal, with its Limp Bizkit sounding verse and almost Nickelback like chorus. However it all started to collapse with "Turn It Up". It's here where they really started to leave any kind of metal sound behind and venture ahead into radio rock territory. The only thing they seemed to attempt here was a catchy chorus melody that they might have thought would attract some new fans away from Lady Gaga.
Unfortunately, the awfulness didn't end there. It was while I was listening to "My Own Life" that I simply had to laugh, literally. I had to double check that I was actually listening to same band. This song is perhaps the biggest joke I've heard in music since "Achy Breaky Heart". You remember that Billy Ray Cyrus embarrassment to the music world? Well for me it now has a less famous cousin. Imagine watching that ridiculous musical TV show "Glee". Now imagine those stupid characters performing a "feel good, get everyone moving, lets all hug each other 'cause we have no other friends" type pop tune and you'll pretty much get what "My Own Life" sounds like. After laughing for the whole 3 minutes, I had to put the song on again just to see if they were actually serious with releasing such tripe.
After that the rest of the album, although not as bad, (what could be?) it was still jam packed full of pop, catchy, almost farcical music that wouldn't sound out of place on a Justin Bieber album.
When the album finished, I started to get a little angry. Angry because I started to think of all the teeny boppers who will like this album and go around claiming themselves as metal heads. Angry because this will be classed as a metal album when it's so clearly not and angry because it's such an obvious attempt to bring metal back into the mainstream media when we don't want it there. The best thing about being a metal head is everyone hates it and we don't care.
I'm sorry to say that Sonic Syndicate has gone over to the light side and unless they jam it into reverse very quickly with a brutal realease next, they will have lost all respect among the metal community and won't be welcome here again. I for one lost any little respect I had for them with that bomb "My Own Life" and I won't be keeping an ear out for them in the future. Shame on you Sonic Syndicate. Good riddance.