Immortal Sÿnn – Force of Habit
Release Date: 07/05/2021
Running Time: 40:37
Review by Simon Black
This record really does feel like it has fallen through a time warp. Immortal Sÿnn hail from Colorado, and have clearly been listening to their parent’s 80’s breakout Thrash vinyl collection since their debut back in 2017, although this change of direction had been signalled with the “Capital Punishment” EP that filled that gap. I say Thrash, but I really mean Thrash-influenced in the instrumental department, with beats and riffs that remind me of that era. Vocally new singer Duel Shape is not what you would expect, opting for a much cleaner vocal style that the musical tone would imply. This can go both ways, depending on the phrasing of the song. The opener ‘Anamnesis’ works well, as that clean style and phrasing invokes a bit more of a traditional metal melody and Shape can open up and channel his inner Joey Belladonna. However, the more overt Thrash tracks are crying out for a gruffer delivery style. ‘Fight The Prince’ which follows is a good example of this – the vocal phrasing follows the riff’s, which feels like a waste of Shape’s voice, as this needs staccato and guttural delivery and the clean style flounders somewhat.
My problem with the album is that although the sound is influenced by that 80’s heyday, it sometimes lacks the kind of barely contained aggression and energy that characterised the period. Many bands who were there at the time struggled as well, which is why their early releases borne out of a limited time and budget situation felt special, yet later albums recorded with the advantage of time and money failed to capture that zeitgeist. Some tracks get the balance right, some not.
Instrumentally though they’ve got the sound structure and phrasing down pat – the riff driven pace of delivery of tracks like ’F.U.D.C.’ is pure Thrash, with time changes in all the right places, but the guitar sound is that little bit too clean. When they do go down and dirty which happens for example in the solos for ‘The Ballad of Martin Heemeyer’ (which absolutely ain’t a ballad by the way) then suddenly the whole thing works much better, helped also by the fact that the vocal delivery once again mixes things up and helps pull the whole song together. There’s a nice vein of humour running underneath the thin political veneer – the Lawnmower Deth inspired ‘The Mailman Song’ being a classic case in point and with another member of the band throwing in a much more aggressive vocal turn and proving that when they mix things up, it works. Perhaps alternating vocalists a bit more is the way forward for these guys as the half of the album when they do far outshines the remainder.
‘Anamnesis’ (Lyric Video)
02. Fight The Prince
04. The Ballad Of Marvin Heemeyer
05. The Mailman Song
06. Nuclear Terror
07. Satan’s Tavern
08. Denver Nights
09. Force Of Habit
10. Whiskey II: The Wrath Of Corn
Duel Shape – Lead Vocals
Tony Z – Rhythm/Lead Guitars, Vocals
Axel Berrios – Drums, Vocals
Frantz Pierre – Bass, Vocals
Brad Wagner – Lead Guitar, Vocals
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