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Review: Symphorce - Become Death
Become Death

Label: Metal Blade Records
Year released: 2007
Duration: 52:06
Tracks: 10
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 3/5

Review online: May 17, 2007
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
Readers Rating
Become Death

Rated 2.92/5 (58.33%) (12 Votes)

I always found it difficult to create comparisons for Symphorce; their sound -along with the charismatic vocals of Andy B Franck - being wholly idiosyncratic in their nature. In that case it is my sad duty to inform you of their transformation into Nevermore. Whoops. Didn't think anyone would notice, guys? It's a sad fact considering their integrity and credibility, but one listen to "Darkness Fills the Sky", the opening track of their sixth album, and you'll be aptly enlightened. Far from the uplifting, powerful assault of "Slow Down" or "Drifted", this is perhaps the fastest, heaviest, most visceral song the band have ever penned, finding Franck bellowing and heaving his thick, monstrous vocal whilst the thrashy guitars smack you in the face. Along with a chorus that wouldn't have been out of place on the last Nevermore record, this is truly a turning point for the band, one that most have seen coming since 2005's brutal effort "Godspeed". Thankfully, the remainder of the album has a little more to offer.

The melodic mid-paced stomper "Inside the Cast" is a surprise to say the least, considering it could have appeared on a Freedom Call album with its inspiring, catchy hook line and guitar harmony-laden intro. "In the Hope of a Dream" plays a little differently to anything the band has done before, with again, another catchy, inventive chorus. There is still a lot of the fierce, virulent metal massacre that the opener so aggressively embodied, but "Become Death" does have a certain felicity to it, with some oddly melodic touches ("No Final Words To Say") and technically progressive patches ("Ancient Prophecies"). For the most part, Franck and his partner in crime, ex-Freedom Call axe-slinger Cede Dupond, act like apposing viral epidemics, biting, scathing, feeding off each other's cruelty; a dark, cynical journey only tinted by the depressingly hollow production.

As Symphorce move further and further away from the choirs of their early years, that characteristic sound of theirs drifts further still. While it may owe more to thrash or even prog than the power metal of yesteryear, "Become Death" is at least better than the band's last two efforts, but one that is seeing Franck and Dupond slowly run out of ideas.

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