Album Review: 0K4M1 by SynlakrosS (Self Released)
Spanish melodic death metallers, SynlakrosS are back with their 4th studio album titled 0K4M1, released independently on the 30th of April 2021.
The Valencia based female fronted band have a unique sound. While rooted in melodic death metal, other genres are prominent throughout with metalcore, nu-metal, progressive and alternative metal all having plenty of room. The album 0K4M1 carries on that unique and eclectic trend. It is labelled, by SynlakrosS as a “space rock opera” and is a concept album. It tells the story of a half human, half alien, man made creature from the perspective of said creature.
Designed to be a weapon, it is currently millions of light years away and is dying. As it fades out, it decides to record a message for you, the listener. A story of it’s life and final thoughts I the hope that a listener will understand and learn from it. In SynlakrosS’s own words:
“It is a sad but beautiful album, dark but full of energy. An epic space opera that marks a new era for the band. We know who we are, we know what we want. This is our sound. Love it or hate it.”
SynlakrosS are a 5 piece with Patricia Pons on vocals, Roro Pablo Fuentes on bass and Ivan Muñoz on guitars. Joining them are newer members, Aaron Hidalgo on guitars and Dan Shurak on drums.
An intro actually called Intro 0K4M1 gets us underway with just quietly spoken vocals as the being appears to be fading. They introduce themselves as 0K4M1 thus starting their story.
From there we go into Pitch Black. A morose tone gets things started as faded clean vocals lull you in gently before a sudden heart stopping blast of aggression rips into you. We are back into cleans before you really have a chance to recover. I live the multi layered vocals in the heavy section. An extended guttural growl backs it while higher death metal vocals push to the foreground. The drums are banging with a simple but catchy riff. The switches back and forth from clean to growled keep things fresh throughout.
A catchy beat and cleverly used synth line enhance the intro to Oscilloscope. I love the drums again and the dual vocals with a growled line running in parallel to a clean line is a beautiful blend. The switching between cleans and death is delectable and the explosive punch of drums and guitars that comes with each heavier section is surprising and effective. Chuck in a wicked solo too and you have an absolute corner of a song.
The Last Day of Eris has a high bar to hit and decides to come with aggression straight from the off. A speedy drum rhythm hits hard with a riff that matches it for speed and power. It settles into a bit more groove with heavy vocals and a dark bass line. It makes the catchy clean chorus even more effective as a little switch up and it’s a proper chorus too. A real sing along with a touch of grandness about it. We get another fiery solo that is a melodic force and a joy to listen to before a rhythmic section of blast beats and speed picking. They could have closed the song off there and it would have been brilliant but instead find time to come back in for some more epic chorusing just to finish it and us off.
Okami is a bit more chilled at the start with a quirky sounding melody and a bit more synth. It’s a more progressive number but once it drops, man, step into the pit. It’s a cracking track with regular tempo changing but a predominant feeling of groove and aggression combined. I love the stop start sections and again the vocals are excellent, every one of the many, many layers on offer. I’m also a big fan of the sparsely used but effective synth. My new favourite track.
Lost in the Universe follows and my expectations of 0K4M1 are through the roof now. The synth is a little more prominent at the start but has a nice brooding feel to it before we are thrown into a beautiful cocktail of punchy riffs, beastly rhythm and a mix of heavy and clean vocals. it’s an intriguing song with some interesting ideas and another cracker of a solo. The vocals seem even angrier if that is possible and the guitars are magical throughout. Not quite a favourite but a damn good song still.
Escape from Earth is the penultimate track and you just try not headbanging to that ripping intro. Wow, what a start. The speed is relentless hitting us hard with blasting drums and speedy riffage. It leads to a catchy chorus where the melody take control alongside the mix of clean and heavy vocals before we are back into the swirling organised chaos otherwise known as the verse. Might have a new contender for favourite track here. It’s a bit more standard in structure but it works to the songs advantage as just a top notch melodic death metal track.
So we reach the close of the journey with by far the longest track on the album in Stardust. An ethereal scene is set with the use of synth and keys melodically building up a dreamy setting. A bassy chug brings the song in with gentle clean vocals easing you in. The tempo jumps up for a grand sounding chorus before we drop back into the melodic verse with a few extra guitar layers popping up this time. It’s a huge sounding song that keeps growing, eventually leading into a section that switches between heavy and clean, fast and slower at will before ending with a big chorus. A few seconds of silence ensue before the track come back for a gentle final outro.
It’s a fine way to end an immense album that I really enjoyed throughout. With constant changes in tone and heaviness, every song on 0K4M1 feels truly unique and exciting and while I definitely have favourites, I thoroughly enjoyed the whole journey. The vocals are amazing throughout whether the cleans or heavy and I love the way they mix with loads of backing on show. The synth is an asset due to being cleverly used and not drowning songs in it. There are loads of meaty riffs and powerful melodies on offer, great solos, powerful drums and meaty bass lines. This album has so much to offer.
Grab a copy of 0K4M1 from the band directly, from here.
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0K4M1 by SynlakrosS (Self Released)
The Final Score - 9/10