CD Review

Synthphonia Suprema – “Synthphony 001”

By Marcus Pan

Synthphony 001Obvious cliche'd silliness aside, Synthphonia Suprema do build a brilliantly strong sound with a lot of power and potential. All facets of the music - guitars, keys, vocals, drums - are brought together with none taking too far a high bar lead. The music takes a Conan style storyline and does it well, even in these days of post-fantasy bliss caused by every decent fantasy novel being picked up by Hollywood.

I'm a bit put off by the name, Synthphonia Suprema, which smacks too much of Americanization attempts by a Euro band - like naming your son Gimli, lacking a bit in imagination. And don't we all know what "phony" connotates by now? They're almost calling themselves posers. But that's really one of the only few things I can down-talk about this group, made up of Dany All (keys/electronics), Matkracker (vocals), Fryderyk T (guitars) and Ismat (percussion).

Synthphony 001 brings a solid sound, channelling 80s space-rock epic metal and infusing it with modern electronic bits, though the electronic bits are laced with a symphony movement so the music remains classically sounding and influenced.Interesting experimental flare-ups pop up here and there keeping the music interesting, like the solo section of Nothing Can Stop Me for example. This tune is a highlight to Synthphony. Matkracker's vocals are strong and laced with just enough pretty-boy hair-metal to interest the fantasy Penzic chicks as the rattan weilding dudes. Fryderyk keeps it moving and Dany's keys lift the track to a higher "not just speed metal" cloud. There's no bass (except for not-quite-as-cool keybass...yes, keybass), which might make the music suffer a bit as it will lack the lower tones that gives most heavy metal it's deeper resonance.

Dany and Fryderyk T work together as well as any bassist-guitar duo could, excepting of course you'd know that Dany's a keyboardist if you've been actually reading this article. They will trade off well, swapping riffs and allowing one to step up and be brilliant while laying down cover rhythm. Synth Metal is an example of this back and forth movement, even if "we fight for synth metal" is damned silly.Similar back and forth work from this duo can be heard in Black Cat with Dany getting a little spacy with the electronics, almost accidentally becoming a trance mixer for a moment before Fryderyk hits him with a guitar riff to remind him he's a metalhead. Fatherland has a nice power ballad style to it that I really like. They even let Dany get a little funky during it and keep it going without losing my interest for over seven minutes, well done.

We near the end of Synthphony 001 with a nice piano ballad, Glacier Inside, which later turns into a nice old school metal, almost thrashy, balls out song with techno lacings and great playing all around. The only detractor is the slightly voxed vocals which gives it a bit of floaty silliness like Matkracker is speaking through a haze - unnecessary really.

Overall Synthphonia Suprema come off a bit silly as far as naming conventions go, and that's about the main issue I have. The music that makes up Synthphony 001 is quite good, well played and tight. The lack of bass is a detractor for me (I am a bassist after all), because the lower hertz range of the musical collage is empty. Other than that, this is a solid CD with excellent epic storytelling, medieval finesse and a nice combination of old school space metal and modern electronics.

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