|1. Zombie Moon|
|3. All Our Might|
|4. Know My Name|
|5. Loss of Faith Divine|
|7. Sentenced to Rot|
|8. God Fearing Lunatic|
|9. Into the Grace of Death|
Review @ GandhiEgo
A puzzling record that will grow on you! For Death Thrash Maniacs!
Syphor come from Ireland. The country, though home to a few good bands in the Death Metal genre, ie Morphosis, Slave Zero or Abaddon Incarnate, does not really stand out as some Metal haven (except maybe for folkish stuff) so it's always a nice surprise to see something popping up from this island.
Formed around 2007, the band released in 2010 their first demo, entitled Zombie Moon, and this year their very own self-released debut: Stained Glass Blasphemy. The album features nine tracks, five of which were previously recorded for their demo. Now that we’re done with formalities, let’s get on with the music.
And that’s exactly what’s so puzzling about this band. Music. Though labeled as a Death Thrash Metal band, Syphor clearly don’t fit in any one genre easily. You’d think Malevolent Creation, Possessed or the likes, but you’d still be far away. While the foundations of Syphor’s music are definitely Thrash Metal with a few Death Metal-like downtempo parts, there is also an array of various influences which make their sound quite difficult to label.
First of all the vocals. They clearly wouldn't fit in Death Metal. Dan Golding sounds very much like Mille Petrozza on early Kreator recordings, almost verging in the Black Metal spectrum. His aggressive style and the way he spits forth his rage is a notable and distinctive feature of Stained Glass Blasphemy, setting aside from the usual bands from the start.
The second surprise, if I may write so, comes from the leads. As previously mentioned, while fundamentally the riffing and the rhythmic section deal with that Death Thrash vortex of violence emphasized by Golding’s unconventional vocals, the leads add a big dose of melody which is a bit unsettling in the very first listens of the record. Unsettling because they’re more the kind of stuff you expect from virtuoso guitarists like Hammett or Skolnick and they heavily contrast with the cruder aspect developed by the rest of Syphor's musicians.
Assembling elements that may look on paper quite antithetical seems quite hard but Syphor do it quite right helped by a production that does not privilege one aspect over another. I guess my main problem was getting into their music but playing Stained Glass Blasphemy over and over helped overcome the last remnants of indecision. If I were to emphasize one aspect which I felt did not serve their interest, I’d mention the absence of one or two tracks that really stand up above the others. The album offer good songs consistently but I miss this one piece that would have had me raving all along. Nonetheless a very solid effort for a debut and since it’s self-released, I can only encourage you guys to contact the band to get your very own copy!
Review @ heavymetaltribune
when given repeated listens it starts to grow on the listener
As the album opens with Zombie Moon, one is instantly reminded of bands playing death/thrash metal in similar veins, in particular India's Devoid, from the riffing patterns down to the vocal styles that remind listeners of the aforementioned band's Arun Iyer, though the production quality of the album falls under the rawer category. The similarity to Devoid becomes even clearer with tracks like War, with the introductory riffs sounding like a clean version of the intro of Devoid's Hate Cult, complete with the sound of the guitar pick scratching at the background before going into full-on headbanging mode.
Throughout the album the band displays their wide range of influences, from the thrashy riffs and face-ripping guitar solos that are unleashed upon the listneres' ears, to death metal styled guitar playing. The melodic and harmonised twin lead guitar solos such as those on War also bring to mind the melodic death metal influences in the band's music. All Our Might might be one of the most aggressive track on the album, with the band going all out crushing all that dares to defy. The psychedelic first guitar solo also provides a trippy moment for the listener, though it sounds slightly out of place on the track. Know My Name further displays the abilities of the band to write songs that are aggressive, yet melodic and catchy at the same time. There is also a variation in the styles on tracks like Loss of Faith Divine, where the band begins fast yet slows down towards the middle of the track before speeding up again, with little awkwardness in the transition between these phases at all. Darkness, with the background shouts by the rest of the band brings in an almost punk-ish feel to the music.
One thing that was slightly disappointing was that despite the blasphemous and aggressive album and song titles, the songs themselves, while displaying the talents of the individual members in the band and their tightness and songwriting abilities as a unit, at times unfortunately do not really live up to the hatefulness and spite of the titles. For example, the lead guitars on songs like War sounded slightly too cheerful/calming (while War typically brings to the minds of extreme metallers Burzum's cold and bleak version), but this is just a small complaint with the quality of the music on the album.
While on first listen, Stained Glass Blasphemy might not capture one's attention, when given repeated listens it starts to grow on the listener, and this could have worked well for the band as listeners begin to find appreciation for the album over time.