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Wetwork - Synod CD (album) cover

SYNOD

Wetwork

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

1.50 | 2 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

J-Man
Prog Reviewer
2 stars A Flawed Technical Death Metal Release

Synod is an album that got Wetwork some recognition in death metal circles. Being that I am a death metal fan, I had to hear what all the fuss was about. I went into this album being pretty excited; I had read so many great reviews across the web about Synod. Now that I have listened to this album a fair number of times, I'm sorry to say that I don't enjoy this album nearly as much as some other people. I see glimmers or greatness throughout the album, but a few serious flaws ruin my personal enjoyment of Synod.

If you're not familiar with Wetwork, they play a style of technical death metal similar to late-period Death, with some jazzy influences from bands like Atheist and Pestilence. I also hear a bit of Morbid Angel and Gorguts in Wetwork's sound. Unfortunately, Wetwork never reaches the high level of quality that those bands have achieved.

Let's start the major portion of this review by stating the positive parts of this album. The musicianship is pretty great for the most part. Their playing is always tight and precise, and this helps make an enjoyable release. The bass playing is especially notable. It reminds me a bit of Tony Choy of Atheist at times. Another positive aspect of this album is that there are some really great metal riffs. These riffs deserve to be appreciated, even if the compositions usually lack interest, and guitar solos can be letdowns.

Despite the good delivery of the music, one of the biggest issues I have with Synod is the mediocre songwriting. Many of the songs seem forced, and lacking in dynamics and power as a result. There are many good ideas and riffs, but few of the compositions stand out on this album. This could also be because of the general lack of variety on this album. This is mostly standard death metal with little variation musically and from an arrangement perspective. This album has standard death metal instrumentation, which can be a bit of a problem when the compositions aren't very interesting in the first place. By the end of the album their sound becomes trivial and repetitive. Occasionally there will be an Atheist-influenced jazz section that always grabs my attention. I wish that Wetwork would emphasize this technique more often because it works really well.

Despite these huge flaws, my biggest problem is undoubtedly the vocals used throughout Synod. Some of my favorite vocalists in all of music are women. Their voices can possess a form of beauty and elegance that few men can obtain. Well on this album, Wetwork's female lead vocalist growls the entire time. People will ask, "does it work?" My answer is no. I'm not trying to be sexist or anything like that, but I have yet to find a female death metal vocalist that impresses me at all. Growling can be such a powerful technique when done correctly, but when it's done poorly it can be the most annoying thing in the world. This is like a high-pitched Satanic black metal snarl ? needless to say, it doesn't impress me much.

The production of Synod is pretty mediocre. It's not unlistenable, but it sounds dry and lacking in power. It sounds far too organic for a technical death metal album.

Conclusion:

Synod is an album that has never really impressed me much. There are just too many flaws that ultimately diminish my enjoyment of the album. If you are a death metal collector, who can handle (or even enjoy) female growled vocals, this might be worth looking into. For the average technical death metal fan, this isn't really worth your time. The natural rating for such an album would be 2 stars.

2 stars.

J-Man | 2/5 |

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