New York rapcore crew Sylar are back again with their third album ‘Seasons’, seamlessly blending classic hip-hop verses with chunky metal riffs and melodic clean vocals. It’d be too easy to just slap the ‘nu-metal’ label on them and call it a day, but there’s more to it than that; Sylar are coming at you from a very real place, pulling from real world experiences and lifestyles to come out fighting with their own take on the power to the underdogs vibe.
The intro riff to album opener and title track ‘Seasons’ sounds like an off-cut of Linkin Park’s legendary Hybrid Theory before quickly letting loose with Jayden Panesso’s unrelenting lyrical flow. The track is brimming with high production value, but it is the second song ‘All Or Nothing’ that really ups the ante with a great big stompy beat, and a chorus that leaves you with the option of either banging your head or chanting it out loud; this is a fight song through and through. 'No Way' takes a more sombre tone, a song seemingly about reflection on the path the band have taken and the roads they've travelled to get to where they are now, and though it's not amongst the strongest songs on the record, it does hold a deeper emotional value for fans of the band who will no doubt feel a connection through the lyrics.
'SHOOK!' is a hefty tune pumped to the brim with groove, and though the chorus may come across as a tad corny, it's undeniably a track that could take command of a whole crowd when it comes down to live performances. It's got funky bass lines, rhythmic drumming, chants, and singalong moments aplenty; this is Sylar playing to all of their strengths at once. The kind of track you'd use as a showcase if you had one shot at bringing a newcomer on board with the band. It feels like this album is making a push to reach a wider audience without sacrificing the core principles and sound that the band has built upon with their previous releases, though songs like 'sickminded' and 'Open Wounds' are fairly reliant on people tapping into the emotions within themselves to really hit home. Mainstream rock hits these are not, but listen to the words and take the time to contemplate and digest them, and there's potential to become truly enthralled by the Queens based five piece.
'Same Dance' appeals to fans of heavy noise with it's sinister distorted guitar and chuggy melody, containing the heaviest breakdown of the album, and final song 'Doubt Me' takes the tone down and once again puts the focus on emotion above all else. You'll struggle to find another band like Sylar anytime soon. Where many bands that take elements of nu-metal emphasise upon being the loudest in the room, Sylar are the band that really want to move you with their constructed melodies and aspirational words. This is a solid output from a band still on the rise, sure to spark a fire inside the hearts of those willing to take the time to absorb the messages and meaning within the songs.