Pivotal Rockordings
Release date: September 13, 2005

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Melodic Death Metal was born in Sweden from bands like At The Gates, In Flames, and Soilwork. The combination of Death Metal vocals with melodic guitar riffs with strong Iron Maiden influences had a major impact on the Metal community. The great commercial success of this new sound, that was given the name “The Gothenburg Style,” was a strong motive for new bands. After some years, the music market has almost been flooded with new releases by bands reproducing the sound that made this music movement known to everyone. This saturation effect has made everyone so suspicious and prejudiced that some very good albums will apparently vanish into oblivion. This is a probability that comes face-to-face with a band from Sweden that goes by the name of Sonic Syndicate.

This is literally a newborn band, since it is comprised of 6 members with ages that range from 17 to 22 years old. With one demo and two self-financed EPs under their belts, the Swedish sextet gained a record deal with Pivotal Rockordings, and have now released their maiden album entitled Eden Fire.

The album’s track list is grouped in three segments, each sharing the same lyrical content. The first part, “Helix Reign – Chronicles of a Broken Covenant,” features three newly written songs. The other two parts, “Extinction – A Sinwar Quadbilogy,” and “Black Lotus – The Shadow Flora,” consist of rerecorded songs that were originally released as part of the two EPs.

The compact guitar rhythm section kicks in with “Jailbreak,” and immediately catches your attention. The In Flames influences become evident when the vocals and the keyboards enter. All of the good elements of the Swedish sound can be found here, from catchy and melodic riffs to the headbanging, fast-paced tempo. “Enhance By Nightmare” follows the previous pattern with the addition of some female vocals that are as beautiful as the performer, Kabin Axelsson, who is the newest addition to the line up as the bass player. Dark Tranquillity comes to mind when the keyboards open for “History Repeats Itself.” The sound production is excellent, evenly separating the sound of every instrument, and balancing aggression and melody.

The rhythm gains some speed when entering the second part via “Zion Must Fall” and “Misanthropic Coil.” The guitars share the leading role with the keyboards, creating a dark atmosphere that perfectly fits with the almost industrial vocals. The spotlight is on the drums during “Lament of Innocence” and “Prelude to Extinction.” Both can work as a fire-lighter for some crowd-surfing. When the keyboards take the lead somewhere near the end of the latter song, thus presenting some melodic tunes, everyone will agree to the fact that this band has high performing and composing potential.

The third part starts with the up-tempo “Soulstone Splinter,” featuring the Maiden–ish twin guitar pattern that characterizes the so-called Gothenburg style. “Crowned In Despair” and “Where the Black Lotus Grows” follow the pattern of tempo changes with some keyboard fills and leads that work in favor of the dark and futuristic atmosphere of the album.

Eden Fire has all the characteristics of a debut album with obvious and recognizable influences from other bands. The bottom line is that without claiming laurels of originality, Sonic Syndicate present a better than good debut album that will force the Metal scene to keep an eye on them … especially when they make their next move.


  • Dr. Dimitris Kontogeorgakos

    Dimitris was a reviewer and interviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He has a diploma in Physics, a Masters in Medical Physics and a doctorate dimploma in Nuclear Medicine (this is the reason for his Dr. title). He was given his first Heavy Metal tape at the age of 12 which was a compilation entitled Scandinavian Metal Attack. The music immediately drew his attention and there he was listening to the first Iron Maiden album, trying to memorize the names of the band members. That was it! After some years, he stopped recording tapes and started buying vinyl records, spending every penny in the local record shop. The first live concert he attended was Rage co-headlining with Running Wild.

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