(TheMadIsraeli wrote this review of the latest album by Sweden’s Feared.)
I am shamefully late on reviewing this, although for good reasons, both pertinent to the music itself and not. I’ve been pretty high on the Feared train since the band released Furor Incarnatus, and Synder is really no exception to the consistent roll they’ve been on. My problem has been both that my life has become a whirlwind of chaos (which has made finding the time for blogging pretty difficult lately), and that this album is very hard to detail and describe beyond saying that it’s really good.
But I feel like now I can write a review that sums up my thoughts — and oddly enough it was sparked by a negative review of this album. Brenocide of That’s Not Metal, a website that’s in our own sidebar of other blogs, did a post that was a carpet-bomb of mini-reviews of various releases back in May (here). He wrote this about Synder:
“Ola Englund is a kick ass guitarist that I greatly respect. As a budding gear head, I follow him religiously on all forms of social media. It makes it that much harder for me to admit that in his extensive resume of metal bands, there isn’t a single one that I enjoy listening to. Unfortunately, the band Feared is no exception.
“Synder is an album of such baseline modern metal, that even though it does everything right, I can’t recommend it at all. This album, like all of Feared’s music, is so aggro, so well mixed, so full blown thrash riffage and occasionally melodic and harshly vocalized, so chugga chugga widdly widdly. It’s such standard post-aughts metal that it doesn’t take any brains to be a metalhead who’s into it. Each track just blended into the next one as I was listening. Before I knew it, the album was half over and I was already checked out.
“This is the kind of stuff that frequently ends up dominating the airwaves of SirusXM Liquid Metal, college radio metal hours, and cable TV metal music playlists. It’s like the Nickelback of the metal genre. It’s too easy and there’s too much. Enough already. Can we call this the last album of its kind? Haven’t we sold enough camouflage shorts and chain wallets?”
While I get what he’s saying, I really don’t feel this critique is fair. But I’m also biased, because I fucking love my aggro hybrid metal. I like my Chimaira, DevilDriver, Shadows Fall, Lamb of God, and so on and so forth. Chimaira is one of those bands I worshipped for a long time. And yes, I fully recognize this is what Feared is, and Synder is undeniably the most so their sound has ever been.
Feared do the so-called New Wave of American Heavy Metal sound better than a lot of those other bands ever did. I’m super into that shit — something about the “thrash meets Pantera drag meets At the Gates worship meets the metallic hardcore Merauder-esque energy” just gets me going.
The thing about Feared is that they do this with an extra degree of extremity; there is a death-metal-driven intensity to the music as well as some progressive touches foreign to the style, and just a driving sincerity about it all that resonates. Ola Englund does really interesting things with the formula he works with on the riff front, but perhaps most of all I think that this kind of metal does have its place. Something about this hybrid aggro material feels, dare I say it, central and foundational to me.
I mean yeah, it is what it is — and that is no bad thing. Feared are at the top of their game on Synder. I love the sharpened thrash-drenched teeth of “Your Demise”; “Of Iron and Ashes” is the best Lamb Of God song that Lamb Of God never wrote; “By Silent Screaming” is a hefty pneumatic riff-tank with some compelling melodies; there is simply a lot of cool shit here, stuff that touches on the elements I love most in my metal.
I do like Feared, a lot, and I love this record and it’s gotten a shit ton of spins. Maybe I don’t have to have anything more to say about it at all. Maybe it’s enough to say that it’s just straight-up good, and that’s all that should be said. Listen for yourselves: