ALBUM REVIEW – “To Whom It May Concern” by Sylar

It’s 2014 and nu metal is BACK. The latest generation of breakthrough heavy bands are embracing the danceable grooves and willingness to incorporate sounds far beyond the metal spectrum that all the greats of the turn of the millennium employed in their songs, tricks and techniques that have been scorned for years now once again becoming common. Issues, My Ticket Home, Dangerkids, even more established acts like Of Mice & Men are embracing the nu, and Sylar are the latest young hotshots ready to party like it’s 1999. Like their fellow revivalists they’ve updated the template for the modern scene, fusing pit-ready breakdowns and dubstep flourishes into the downtuned dirge and hip-hop bounce, To Whom It May Concern perhaps best labelled as nu metalcore.

The first two songs proper establish the Sylar approach – crunching metalcore style riffs with more of a focus on rhythm than rage, spiced up with dashes of electronica and big, radio ready choruses. ‘Prescription Medication’ makes good use of vocalist Jayden Panesso’s distinctive tones (his clean singing is vaguely reminiscent of The Dillinger Escape Plan’s Greg Puciato) to hook the listener. Even the more contemporary-sounding tracks are wrapped in a grimy production sleeve that harks back to the mid 90s, giving songs like ‘Yours Truly’ an intriguing rawness that sets them apart from their peers. Numerous songs here would inspire havoc on a rock club floor, impressively crafted nuggets of euphoric heaviness that are equal parts viciousness and accessibility.

At times, the nu metal influence comes completely to the fore. ‘Two-Timer’ and ‘Spitting Image’ are strongly reminiscent of Korn in their dissonant riffs, while ‘Golden Retreat’ has all the brashness of a Limp Bizkit classic. The band mostly put enough of a spin on things to ensure that To Whom It May Concern is more than imitation, striking a clear identity of their own through their heavier approach – meanwhile, the two entirely electronic interludes ensure the album flows very nicely. There are some weaker songs – ‘Never Let It Go’ is so redolent of Linkin Park that it comes off as a Meteora B-side. The lowest ebb by far is ‘Substance’, descending into Attila-level tedium of monotonous chugging, but it’s thankfully an anomaly.

An inconsistent collection of songs with clear high and low points, To Whom It May Concern shows more than anything else the raw potential of a band with intriguing ideas who occasionally overstretch their reach. Sylar are clearly a group with the scope to create an excellent and intriguing album. While this time around they’ve only been able to do the latter, they’ve certainly set out their stall as ones to watch for the future. Embrace the nu.

Rating: 7/10

[Michael Bird]

‘Prescription Medication’

‘Mirrors’

 

Sylar

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , ,

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Sylar Premiere “Live/Breathe” Music Video | RichardThinks.Org - June 16, 2014

    […] Sylar have premiered a new music video for the song “Live/Breathe” which comes off the group’s recently released debut full length, “To Whom It May Concern”.The music video was by Brad Golowin (Sleeping With Sirens, Miss May I, Asking Alexandria) and can be streamed below. Sylar recently wrapped up a successful supporting tour with For The Fallen Dreams and released “To Whom It May Concern” last month. Check out our review of “To Whom It My Concern” at this location. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: