Syk – eartHFlesh

Syk – eartHFlesh
Seasons Of Mist
10/05/24
Running Time: 45:17
Review by Oli Gonzalez
9/10

I’ve been spoilt lately. Spoilt rotten by Seasons Of Mist and the seemingly never-ending conveyor belt of talent that gets sent my way by the label. Whether it’s international touring bands with legions of fans, or bands earlier in their career, there’s no denying they have an eye for talent. An eye that was cast upon Progressive Death Metal act Syk. A band who had been toiling away in the underground of their native Italy for almost a decade before signing to the label in 2023. Their previous release “Pyramiden” saw them spar with esteemed acts Cult Of Luna, Conjurer, and Fallujah for the title of ProgSpace Awards ‘Album of the Year 2022/Extreme Prog Category’. Therefore, it’s safe to say that they can play! Having never listened to them, I’m curious to which direction the band’s sound will go in on their latest release “eartHFlesh” , and where to place it on the Extreme Metal spectrum. Only one way to find out…

Proceedings kick off with ‘I Am The Beast’. Well, you know immediately that they’re not here to play games! The opening minute or so is austere, sinister, and sets an intimidating atmosphere. When the guitars, drums, and bass kick in, they slice through the mix and your ear drums like an axe swung by a berserker. The production is sharp, sublime, and brings the absolute best out of every instrument! The backing track is not subtle at all, but rather a crucial component in this track’s overall sound, adding that much required dimension and atmosphere. Vocally, Stefano is an absolute demon behind the microphone! The pace and trajectory of the song are constantly shifting, from straight up blistering blast beats to the most sickening of thunderous grooves and drops. This is intense. I’ve stumbled across something special. 

Syk refuse to settle on one constant dynamic too, and are constantly changing their plan of attack from calm and ambient to spine shattering and devastating. To illustrate, you must listen to ‘Where I Am Going There Is No Light’ (what an incredible song title too!). Syk lead you down the garden path and attempt to sooth your aching soul with a gentle lullaby. This is before smashing you right in the face with a Blackened Death Metal assault that’s as fierce as it is gargantuan. Honestly, I lost count of how many times I gave this a rewind! I’m already starting to think this is amongst my album of the year contenders. 

If you need something sludgier and with riffs as dense as treacle, get your ears onto ‘I’ll Haunt You In Your Dreams’, or the album’s title track ‘eartHFlesh’ . Proceed with caution, as this may swallow you whole! 

‘The Sermon’ begins with a passage as sinister and austere as that which opened the album. We’re then assaulted by a sharp artillery of riffs, before being treated to a blazing lead solo, soaring majestically above the mix. There’s plenty to admire here. 

We then come to ‘The Cross’ and I’m wondering how much more I can withstand. This is quite possibly the most technically complex passage to open the song, with multiple layers being woven through a tapestry conjured up by the devil himself, creating a densely layered juggernaut. If I thought the solo on ‘The Sermon’ was good, then the skills demonstrated here simply blows that straight out of the water! Get your ears on it!

After nearly half an hour of an absolute skull- crushing, it’s the final two tracks, ‘For To Themselves I Left Them’, and ‘The Passing’. I did wonder how the band would be able to maintain that blistering early momentum in the latter stages of the album. Would they be able to? A gargantuan task, and sadly they fall short. Ever so short. In isolation, they’re fantastic songs, but in the context of the album, it feels as though ideas are being recycled and there isn’t enough of a fresh stimulus to keep this momentum going. As such, some listening fatigue kicks in. After a promising start, this is unfortunately a weaker ending that I had envisioned. 

Let’s not take away from what is still a scorcher of an album though! Really. The production values are flawless, and I could cherry pick any song from this album, place it in front of any Extreme Metal lover and instantly convert any extreme metal fan into a fan of Syk. Which speaks volumes about Syk’s product and overall sound. A sound that, with the backing of Seasons Of Mist, could see them see a rapid expansion in their career trajectory and overall growth. 

TRACKLISTING:
01. I Am The Beast 
02. Where I Am Going There Is No Light 
03. I’ll Haunt You In Your Dreams 
04. eartHFlesh 
05. The Sermon 
06. The Cross 
07. For To Themselves I Left Them 
08. The Passing 

LINE-UP:
Stefano Ferrian – Guitars, Vocals
Marcello Cravini – Guitars, Ambient FX
Alan La Roca – Bass
Federico Leone – Drums

LINKS:

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