SynaptiK return with their follow-up to 2014’s killer debut, The Mechanisms of Consequences (which was, by the way, re-released recently). This new album, Justify & Reason, is down to its core a progressive metal album, but SynaptiK are not too far removed from heavy/power metal.
Upon my first experience of Justify & Reason, I was left with the impression that this is a band that has a clear vision of how they want to sound and have a maturity that is usually found with more established bands. Their melodic hard rock vocal style combined with a heavy metal guitar attack gives them a sound that reminds me of some of the classic Primal Fear and Savatage albums from years past. Obvious comparisons could also be made to the Painkiller era of Judas Priest as far as the attack of the riffs and the huge double bass drum sound.
Giving the depth of talent in Ian Knight’s and Jack Murton’s guitar playing, there’s not really a lot of soloing on this album. Sure solos are there, but only when the feel of the song warrants it. There’s only a handful of tracks with a really killer lead playing. Instead, more emphasis has been placed on the rhythms and melody lines for the songs.
One of the things I like best about this album is the variety in the types and styles of the songs. Besides typical fast songs along some slower pounding heavier ones, SynaptiK experiment a bit with different tempos and melodies that are somewhat uncharacteristic for a Prog-Power Metal band. “Conscience” uses more melodic and different vocal melody lines and “White Circles” becomes a big epic prog-power surge with lots of emotion.
Infectious prog-power metal with melody and a positive message just about sums this band up. The melodies, vocals and choruses to the songs have a more melodic hard rock feel to them but with a killer passionate style, delivered almost to perfection by singer John Knight. Make no mistake though, this is one crunching heavy band with a sound right out of the 80’s. My only fear with a band like this is that they don’t become another Primal Fear, in that their first couple of albums blow everyone away only to repeat themselves album after album. I see a maturity in this album over their first one and I hope they stay on the right track.
Fans of 80’s style U.S. power metal with a rip-your-face-off heaviness and solid passionate vocals with lots of melody, should like just about everything on this album. They are one of the bright stars on the horizon on the metal scene.
Standout tracks: “The Incredible Machine,” “Conscience,” “Esc Ctrl”