LABEL: HOPELESS RECORDS
RATING: 9 /10
WORDS: CORAL DANIELS
Is it commercially friendly? Yes. Will you be singing the words all day? Yep. Will it disappoint fans? Probably. As the name of the album suggests ‘Seasons’ marks a change for Sylar, but that is certainly not a bad thing here; their sound has been reined in and better structured, to create an insanely brilliant piece of art.
‘Seasons’ is not heavy like Sylar’s previous two albums; it was that aggression and energy on ‘Help!’ and ‘To Whom It May Concern’, that their fanbase fell in love with and gained them so much attention. That’s why this is likely to disappoint. Whilst on the surface ‘Seasons’ can seem like a cop-out to sell more, it is far from it underneath, they haven’t lost who they are by turning a bit soft. In fact, by refraining from just screaming and belting out chaotic instrumentals, it means that the sections on the album that do still have that unflagging assault on the ears, have a greater impact on the listener. It actually feels more sincere this way.
Despite a different approach instrumentally, the themes and emotions expressed through the lyrics are still the same. They still very much champion an underdog and call people to fight for what they want and to not be afraid. There seems to be much more optimism in this album too.This can be seen on the first single they released off the album- ‘All or Nothing’.
“They still very much champion an underdog and call people to fight for what they want and to not be afraid…”
This is the second song on the track listing and fully showcases their modern take on the early noughties, with similarities to rap/rock bands like Linkin Park. Rap takes control on this one, pushing clean cut vocals to the back seat. ‘All or Nothing’ throws down the gauntlet, wanting you to join them in their pursuit, live in the present and start doing rather than thinking. It’s almost a musical pep-talk/ pre-war chant.
‘SHOOK!’ is the perfect fuck you track. Not only is it catchier than the chickenpox, so you hum it all day, but it’s a confident, anthemic, middle finger up to people who try to tear you down. Sylar know what they’re doing is different and don’t give a hoot if it has you “shook”. This song really lends itself to being an interactive live track for the band, with the lyrics: “Yeah, you know we got you shook. And let me hear you say,S-H-DOUBLE O-K!”. As you listen to it you can imagine a swarm of fans yelling this back to the band from a sweaty mosh pit.
An interlude, called ‘Winter’ marks the halfway point. It’s sombre in tone and features something everyone can relate to- never being enough. It covers the impact on you, when people are counting on you, but there’s literally nothing else you can do. It starts more like spoken word poetry, than a song ,but builds up towards the end. It moves into track seven ‘Open Wounds’. Again, moving into a darker collection of songs. However, even though the inspiration is coming from past emotional pains, they’ve put a positive spin on it, although a little cliche: “Pain helps me remember I will not surrender”.
“‘unashamedly multifaceted; honing their relentless vitality…”
Where Open Wounds gets special though, is where the band showcase their inner fan. In the rock/metal world, the community built on common listening tastes eases the torments of daily life, which comes through strongly here: “Getting lost in music fought the devil off my shoulder.Pick up every album cause their words would make me sober.But the reason it all felt so real, we shared the same emotions.” This allows the listener to connect with the band on a personal level, through shared experiences.
‘Seasons’ is unashamedly multifaceted; honing their relentless vitality, pent up antagonism, brilliant mix of vocal styles and culminates in a passionate souffle of emotional turmoil and instrumental uproar.
‘Seasons’ was released on October 5th 2018 via Hopeless Records and is available to stream too. Pick up a copy- you won’t regret it.