There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing beloved artists step outside of their comfort zone, take chances, and fucking kick ass at it. New York metal-core band Sylar have outdone themselves with Seasons, released at midnight via Hopeless Records. Following the success of their previous release Help! (2016), the third album overwhelming sets a new standard for Sylar while also giving new face to the band’s lyrical voice and sound.
Title track “Seasons” gives a formal introduction to the record, revealing the band’s recognition of the wounds needing attention that unravel and unfold over the next 37 minutes. If Seasons could start off subtle yet alarming, the band nailed it. An explosive intro of the classic metal sound sends the trademark rapping style off like a spreading wildfire. First single “All Or Nothing” tackles on the demons and shuts down the fear built within. The power anthem not only reminds me of a youthful Hed (PE) mashed with Linkin Park, but also builds curiosity and inspiration as the new elements of their sound come out of hiding.
“No Way” is a slightly softer track that maintains a steady beat throughout despite the mix of rap verses and singing-like chorus. Lighter airy tones lurk in the background while catchy drum beats are the center of attention. The track stays on a positive note that “if we can get through this / we can get through anything.”
The softer tracks continue with “Wait For You,” a personal favorite. A whimsical and beautifully haunting intro of chimes and keys echo, leaving a trance on the listener until the thick bass line and synth beat kick in. The track almost feels like a freestyle before the dearing and heartwarming chorus melt the listener’s heart. The subject remains the focus as a signal of hope while those of an intimate relationship stands strong, not giving up on the other person.
High energy numbers like “SHOOK!” and “Same Dance” provide great contrasts to break up from being a completely heavy album lyrically. “SHOOK!” tickles my funny bone, playing a pun on the “millennial lingo.” This headbanger has an offset pattern of high and low-pitched guitars and crashing cymbals that drive the immense energy. The track is definitely a bop, almost feeling like a 90’s throwback and is guaranteed to be perfect for live shows. The subtle/muted guitar licks during the pre-chorus and badass mini drum solo when the bridge moves into the last chorus really set this track off. Sylar shows they’re well aware of their transformation and new-found style and do not give a damn what anyone has to care or think. “Same Dance” almost seems too coincidental sound wise to be anything but a throwback/continuation of “Assume.” The distorted guitars find a groove in the beat while the “shut the fuck up” and other screams in the background cross-reference back.
“sickminded” does an excellent job painting the picture of mental illnesses such as depression, bi-polar disorder, and anxiety. The dual layers give the illusion of two voices talking to each other; the “blurryface” plants the seed of the thought cycles and the true self’s voice pours out the honesty and pain that derives from the product. The track is more on the symphonic side with strings and continuous higher pitched guitar, such as those found in “SHOOK!”. Influences of Linkin Park‘s “Somewhere I Belong” mash with resemblances of the bridge of “Dark Daze,” maybe carrying a slightly slower tempo. It’s remarkable the way Sylar is able to represent the constant battle many struggle with.
Other honorable mentions are “Giving Up” and “Doubt Me,” as they both carry the same feelings are the previously mentioned track. “Giving Up” has undeniable relatability that softens the blow of feeling alone. This track is going to save so many people who turn to music for help and comfort. The powerful drums and layers of chanting dance with the spiraling guitars as front-man Jayden Panesso cries out “don’t want to be damaged / don’t want to be worthless.” The record closes with “Doubt Me,” an 80’s-esque meets Halloween intro meets metal track. The band keeps the same heavy elements they’ve always carried but definitely add a ghoul-like effect to the vocals. There’s a great contrast with the higher guitar tones against the rough bass. Despite the negative thoughts, the message is knowing the self is strong enough to keep holding on and knowing his/her purpose and calling in life. “No one said it would be easy / but it’s not for nothing.”
And that’s the attitude that shines bright throughout Seasons. Sylar shows resilience and strength with the flawless playlist that is guaranteed to surprise the listener with each track. As the layers of Sylar are revealed, the band can only hope fans can appreciate the new voice and sound. Hold your heads high and keep your eyes on the prize, Sylar, because this record is monumental and something to be proud of.