(This is Vonlughlio’s review of the new album by Detroit-based Syphilic, which was released on May 15th.)
Today’s subject is a project that in my honest opinion is one of the sickest bands, in terms of of shock value, due to the cover art for their albums throughout the years (we’ll talk more about this in a bit). That band is Syphilic and it was formed back in 2005 in Detroit, Michigan by Brian Forgue, and to this day has released nine albums. We are going to talk about Syphilic’s latest effort Empty Nest, which from the cover to the titles and the lyrics tells a story that is not for the faint of heart.
I discovered this project back in 2011 with the release of the third album A Composition of Murder, and right away became a fan. One of the things I liked was connection of the cover, the song titles, and the lyrics to the overall theme, that once you see the cover art is pretty much straightforward. Another point in its favor was (and still is) that Brian does everything (guitars, bass, vocals, and drum programming), and thus has control of everything he creates, producing strong cohesion. I do admit that drum programming is something I have mixed feelings about, but if it is handled well, as is the case with Syphilic, I have no issue with it. The music was fast, in your face, and with not a care in the world for what you might feel about the art and the lyrics.
Three years passed until the next release, entitled Toylets ‘R’ Us, and ohh boy, when I saw the cover I was disgusted and shocked (I am not easy to shock), and at the same time it showed a dark reality that happens in real life. Of course, it doesn’t signify that Brian is in favor of what he is portraying, but is interested in telling stories that describe the stuff we hear or see in our everyday life. The music, as always, was top-notch, and this became one of my favorite albums from Syphilic.
After this, came Hereatt Heen Trance in 2015, The Indicted States of America in 2016, and In the Pen in 2018. That last one used real drums, and this just took it to another level while maintaining the focus of the cover art and the lyrics on the dark nature of humanity.
And now it’s 2020 and with it has come the release of Empty Nest. The cover art is one of the most disturbed of Syphilic’s career, and as a father I felt disgusted. The cover and most of the album is about the case of Andrea Yates, a Texas woman who drowned her five children in a bathtub in 2001. Most of the fans of the project know that this is part of the whole package, and not a celebration of the chosen events.
The whole album is fast-paced and full of blast-beats, with nasty gutturals and cutting-edge riffs, and it will surely keep the listener engaged for every second of its 41 minutes. Some might have an issue with the clean production, but for me it works rather well and maintains the signature sound of Syphilic. It’s destructive and full of hate throughout these 10 chapters of hopeless despair, in true fashion to this band’s way of telling about the dark side of humanity. This album is amazing from start to finish.
I had the chance to meet Brian in 2016 at CDF and gained more respect for him for carrying forward his artistic form with no compromise and no care for what anyone thinks.
So listen below to their new album — I hope you like it: