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Sybreed - God is an Automation (Listenable Records)

By: David E. Gehlke

[7.5/10] Perhaps more functional and interesting than we give them credit for, Switzerland's Sybreed have long been a step below Mnemic-like acceptance in the cyber metal pantheon. They're a victim of their own sound, basically, not poppy enough to get in bed with the likes of say, Raunchy, and a few laps behind Fear Factory in the extremity department. Then again, cyber industrial metal is all about cross-breeding and experimentation, which leaves the band out on the ledge, able to make varied and complex albums such as their fourth effort, God is an Automation.

Unlike its 2009 predecessor Pulse of the Awakening, God is an Automation (great title, by the way) delves deeper into the mish-mash of pulsating riffs, cocksure clean vocals, and throttling bolts of staccato extremity. Essentially, it's a more congealed front, yet it doesn't clip the band's staple sound elements either. Heavy blankets of electronics courtesy of guitarist Drop run roughshod over the bulk of the album's 11 songs and near one-hour run time, providing a futuristic sonic narrative that in a rare moment, don't spoil the broth.

The rigid "No Wisdom Brings Solace" emerges as the album's harbinger, with plenty of clean/dirty vocal juggling from singer Benjamin Nominent, who appears to have cured the vocal ailments that caused Pulse of the Awakening to be scattershot. He's at his best on the popping "The Line of Least Resistance," which emerges as the album's most digestible cut along with "Challenger." From there, the balanced attack of "Into the Blackest Light," "A Radiant Daybreak" and climatic closer "Destruction and Bliss" hurdle forth with plenty of muscle and catchiness, the sort of tactics Mnemic should have employed on their recent album.

Some may balk at the album's bloated run-time and sensory overload, yet that's the operating mode in which Sybreed really makes things happen. In essence, there's more bang for your buck here, and sound identifiers that keep Fear Factory and Euro metal pop close to the vest. It's potentially confounding, but ready for consumption for the adventurous.

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