2017’s Last Punks On Earth from Syd.31 gave us something very different, but very awesome. It was a hard-hitting mashup of electro and punk, resulting in an aesthetic that was extremely in-your-face and rebellious, all whilst making a strong statement. If Cyberpunk were to be described sonically, this album would be it. Now, two years later, the second record is upon us, and it’s even more different than before!
…it’s easily going to resonate with most listeners in one way or another. The content is extremely relatable, and very human.
Whilst Walk Amongst Rebels still has the Mad Max post-apocalyptic feel, Dr. Magic has gone and torn up his own rule book. The electro cyberpunk style rave sound is very much there, but more in terms of how it feels. There are echoes of it in here, but this time round, there’s a more prominent usage of guitar, and this aligns perfectly with everything else. It’s an evolution that makes perfect sense, slotting in like a missing jigsaw piece. Meanwhile, a ton of different genres and styles have been blended into the proceedings. Magic has taken influences from various inspirations ranging from Grunge, to Nu-Metal, to Trance and everything between. You’d think it would sound like a mess, but here he’s moulded it together coherently, and the results are not only glorious, they’re jaw-dropping.
It’s not just carefully crafted in terms of sound, but also within it’s lyrics. Here, Magic projects his inner-self more than ever before, the songs being of a much more personal nature. We have tracks about the loss of love, loss of loved-ones, about suffering through dark, traumatic times, this album isn’t just raw in terms of how it’s presented, it’s raw within it’s emotions. Each track is bursting with emotion, and each time it really makes an impact, the message truly hitting home. I’m not going to spoil what they’re all about, because the journey is something that needs to be experienced first-hand. All I can say is, that it’s easily going to resonate with most listeners in one way or another. The content is extremely relatable, and very human.
“Being Human” kicks things off with a distorted chaotic wave of synths, building up to a mesmerising trance number. This is accompanied by a robotic voice narrating about the overbearing nature of technology, making it thought-provoking within the first few minutes alone. Title track “Walk Amongst Rebels” is an absolute belter of a tune! Imagine if Ministry and The Prodigy had an illegitimate love-child, then developed a razor-sharp punk edge; this is what you’d get. There’s some killer riffage here, and an undeniable intensity. A wall of heavy distortion hails the start of “Hate is a Goldmine”, as a tribal beat keeps the high-octane rhythm going. Some catchy electro hooks create an exciting curveball, and add a fantastic contrast. “Unrepentant Anger” has a very 80’s feel to it at the start, but this quickly transforms into an explosion of gritty drum and bass, as guitars blare in the background. Chugging riffs almost bleed into the electronic layers, and it’s magnificent. “Angel 41” feels completely different to the rest of the tracks on the record so far. A pounding drumbeat kicks in, leading into a more controlled, melancholy sound. It’s more like something The Cure would create (which is apt, as Magic did source their percussionist to collaborate on the album) and the result is hauntingly stunning. The fact that the vocals are so clean is shocking, in the best way possible, being the perfect compliment to the tone of the song, it’s breath-taking. The pace changes up once again with a pounding bassy beat in “Fighting For the Future”, seamlessly giving way to a track that hearkens back to the days of 90’s rave. The combo of the main electronic melody and guitar riffs is extremely memorable, being a real earworm. If you thought the bass was heavy in the previous track, “Scavenging Our Ruins” takes that to the next level. They practically get the room shaking, as the track ploughs through the glitch-laden landscape. “Bulldoze Everything” bleeds in seamlessly from the previous song. It’s perhaps the most traditional sounding Syd.31 song on the album, but the useage of heavy guitar, accompanied by an aggressive barrage of synths, all topped off by storming tribal drums makes it an anthem in it’s own right. “Before We Fell” holds it’s starting note for a long while, building into a jungle-like rhythm, until a heavy assault of machine-like sounds drop in. There’s a contrast of softer and harder melodies, that makes it feel quite complex, adding an interesting dynamic. Some hulking sounds signal the beginning of the last track “The Leviathan”, and it’s pretty epic stuff. Out of nowhere, it switches to a more atmospheric mood, that includes haunting piano. It’s schizophrenic, but it works very well, as everything melds together at the very end for a grand finale.
…the evolution only makes sense, but to just call it that is a massive understatement, it’s more of a revolution.
I could never have predicted where Syd.31 would go next, but I honestly never expected this! This album is nothing short of a masterpiece. Once again, genres have been defied, to create something that, sonically, stands out from absolutely everyone else. Not only that, but the message here is even stronger than before, being massive call that tells us all to wake up to the world around us. It makes the entire experience deeply profound. As I said earlier, the evolution only makes sense, but to just call it that is a massive understatement, it’s more of a revolution. It’s some of the deepest, most poignant material I’ve heard in a long while, and definitely a very strong contender for album of the year.
Final Verdict: A genre-defying revolution that is packed with emotional depth, making it very relatable, and very human. It’s beautifully crafted, and needs to be listened to by everyone.
- Being Human
- Walk Amongst Rebels
- Hate is a Goldmine
- Unrepentant Anger
- Angel 41
- Fighting for the Future
- Savenging Our Ruins
- Bulldoze Everything
- Before We Fell
- The Leviathan