It only feels like yesterday that Swedish rockers Sonic Syndicate released their fifth studio album in 2014. As it turns out, the self-titled record was the beginning of a pretty significant turning point for the band. For starters, it is the final album to feature long-time bassist Karin Axelsson who has since left the band for personal reasons. In addition, a significant label change due to an unforseen drop saw a move to Despotz Records and the band take matters into their own hands, making the decision to take their most creative risks to date. ‘Confessions’ was written in full, scrapped and re-written again from scratch in order to achieve what the album has become now. Though what follows may come initially as a shock to some fan’s systems, a few spins and an open mind later they may just find themselves warming to it.
Lead vocalist and frontman Nathan J Biggs says, “this one’s unique in the fact that we literally haven’t decided anything or limited ourselves to anything. We have literally just gone from whatever the hell we wanna write, whatever feeling it is.” Evidently, the feeling seems to have taken the form of an upbeat tracklist that includes synth hooks, catchy choruses and a complete departure from hardcore vocals. Even the more harsh moments on the record are met with an uplifting contrast that edges on anthemic, a niche area for Sonic Syndicate and one they excel in. “Still Believe”, “Burn To Live” and “Life Is Not A Map” are all evidence of this. Where the heavy riffing and biting guitar tones take a back seat, in their place are infectious melodies and hook lines seasoned with a drive that leaves the hands, feet and head moving in unison.
Taking a second to acknowledge the potential upcoming divide, fans who struggle to find themselves gravitating toward this change in sound may find some moments like title track “Confessions” and on other tracks further on such as “Falling” and “I Like It Rough” not so different after all if they listen hard enough. Take a couple of steps back through the bands catalogue to 2010’s stormer ‘We Rule The Night’ they may begin to notice fond familiarities. Songwriting traits from “Plans Are For People” and “Miles Apart” can be recognised as a carry over to a more polished embodiment, spurred on in this change of direction by guidance from producer Kristoffer Folin.
‘Confessions’ is Sonic Syndicate‘s most daring, diverse and unique work to date. Retaining an ever conscious mind not to repeat themselves, they have produced a record that is a long way from feeling in any way retrograde. While fans may miss the more edgy take they are used to from S.S, if they give themselves over to it they will find that ‘Confessions’ is a breath of fresh air for the band. What this album achieves is an honest, vulnerable and uncompromising effort that should only widen the bands already loyal fan base. ‘Confessions’ will be released worldwide October 14th via Despotz Records and followed up by a huge European tour together with Amaranthe and Smash Into Pieces.