SYRIS – Unseen Forces – 3.5/5
A nice power/thrash hybrid, SYRIS are a now defunct outfit who only released two albums, this one plus a self titled debut(with different vocalist) three years earlier. If you like a raw, crunchy style of power along the lines of TIMELORD or HELSTAR, then this album is sure to satisfy.
Typified by a torrent of thrash infused riffs, Unseen Forces cuts to the chase immediately and never relents (exception being semi ballad “Beautiful Lies”). Track after track of hard charging power is the bands forte, reminding one of the finest moments of HELSTAR’s catalog. ARMORED SAINT are also a touchstone for SYRIS’s sound, lead throat Scott Huffman instantly recalling John Bush as well the aforementioned HELSTAR’s James Rivera.
The guitar work is solid, if not spectacular. Mathematically constructed at times, the progressive leanings of the band are also readily apparent. Many time signatures are on hand, be it a groove oriented chug or speed metal flourish. Melodies are not always readily apparent, but do come at you from various angles. Drums are flashy and well mixed. Overall, the tracks on this album are of uniform good composition and decent production.
One complaint I do have about the album is the rather sparse to non-existent bass. It’s one of those cases where the bassist shadows the guitarist, and thus basically disappears in the mix. And little to nothing was done to push the bass forward in the mix, so it is usually indiscernible from the rest of the guitar work. A small gripe I know, but I like a lot of bottom end in my production jobs, and Unseen Forces is a bare cupboard in this department. It’s there, just not there enough.
So overall, a fairly competent release put together by a gathering of good to excellent musicians. Always heavy, always challenging, and always entertaining. A nice addition to any USPM or thrash fans collection to be sure. If you fall into either of these categories, then by all means, partake.
Recommended Track: Tonic Sounds
By J. Costigan