Sons Of The System review by Mnemic

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  • Released: Jan 15, 2010
  • Sound: 7
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 7.7 Good
  • Users' score: 6.7 (15 votes)
Mnemic: Sons Of The System
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Sound — 7
It's been some months since Mnemic released their newest album Sons Of The System. Its been praised as being possibly the best album they've released to date and has received much attention. It sharpens their prog-heavy groove influenced industrial-esque metal formula to a (mostly) refined and tampered point and is rather 'niche'. What makes their sound so huge is the contrast between the high vocals and electronics to the low tuned guitars and bass. The production technique also has the same 'mass' as an SYL record. The bands main strongpoint is their massive, massive melodies. Listening to one of the choruses is like listening to a massive wall of euphoria being blasted into your ears. Their prog-laden riffs are ludicrously heavy and filled with groove and 'proto-djent' but there's the problem: The music is entirely riff driven with a mass of electronics. There are no leads whatsoever and its as if the term 'solo' never existed but being industrial influenced, I guess it can be expected. Another problem seems to be the 'modern day update' that some bands feel they must do. Compared to 'Passenger' (previous album) Sons of The System is slower and more ear-pleasing and with more focus on massive atmosphere but it does up their 'radio friendly' points as well. Also, Mnemic has a very strange approach with inducting metalcore into their sound: While the vocal influence is blatantly obvious, breakdowns are negated and sort of inverted, so instead of the tempo halving and the riffs becoming rubbish, the tempo increases about 40 beats and becomes a more climactic bridge before slowing back into the main riffs. It's a little complicated to follow if all you listen to is metalcore but even so, better than every band that has that approach to 'song-writing'.

Lyrics — 8
Another problem seems to be the 'modern day update' that some bands feel they must do. Compared to 'Passenger' (previous album) Sons of The System is slower and more ear-pleasing and with more focus on massive atmosphere but it does up their 'radio friendly' points as well. Also, Mnemic has a very strange approach with inducting metalcore into their sound: While the vocal influence is blatantly obvious, breakdowns are negated and sort of inverted, so instead of the tempo halving and the riffs becoming rubbish, the tempo increases about 40 beats and becomes a more climactic bridge before slowing back into the main riffs. It's a little complicated to follow if all you listen to is metalcore but even so, better than every band that has that approach to 'song-writing'. A big part of Mnemics sound is the contrast between the massive riffs/bass/drums and the high register vocals and synths. To imagine this loosely, just think of Justin Hill (SikTh) mashing it around with Meshuggah and a keyboard. Their vocalist (Guillame Bideau) is what I imagine Matt Tuck *wants* to sound like (and fails, horribly) and the only obvious metalcore influence in Mnemic is found in Guillames vocal style: His high register cleans and 'crazyman' dirty vocals are top notch but I feel he performed much better when he was with his old band Scarve. Still, he fits in well with the music of Mnemic and manages to sound less and less related with metalcore every listen. Its easy to spot the industrial influence as well within song titles and lyrics. The track listing of the previous album Passenger has songs like 'Pigf--k' and 'Psykorgasm' (psycho-orgasm) and the lyrics reflect the hedonistic drug binges that many industrial bands talk of in their songs. While Sons Of The System has that appearance, most of the lyrics and titles have matured and have been based around dystopian environments such as 'we're all born in a diesel uterus' (from 'Diesel Uterus') and the questioning of peoples teachings such as in the song 'Fate'. While not utterly and fantastically amazing, the lyrics are much better than other metalcore-influenced bands that mostly focus on hitting things with hammers and ridiculous metaphors in an attempt to be 'unique'.

Overall Impression — 8
Few bands have this sort of niche/mish mash of genres and pull it off well. The only 2 bands I can think of that get close to Mnemic are Sybreed (who are much heavier but are more into the 'dance' aspect of industrial metal) and Fear Factory (who have so many side projects to not care). While the entire album is generally great, there are tracks that stand out much more than others: 'Diesel Uterus' 'Fate' 'March of the Tripods' 'Hero(in)' 'Orbiting' (and not the RUBBISH dance remix on the European version of the record) 'Dreamjunkie' (the ONLY good bonus song from the European version) 'Mnightmare' (not a typo) and the title track. The rest I wouldn't quite call filler, just *not as good* or impressionable. Honestly though, I'm sold on everything they do, its just the best mix of some of my favourite genres and they pull it off almost perfectly. The only thing anyone would have a problem with is Guillames vocals, but really: If enough people can love SikTh despite the obvious screamo vocalist and still call it metal then its petty for people to turn down excellent music with a guy who sings *a bit higher* than Chris Barnes like Mnemic. True, many new 'djent' bands are also proto-metalcore as well so it would be a given to assume Mnemic fall into that category but don't be fooled by first impressions. If you desire an album that mixes prog-heavy groove based industrial influenced metal with a dash of djent and *some* radio friendly metalcore influence then you don't really need to look further than Sons Of The System.

10 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Spoony_Bard
    Pretty weak review. I only really agree with the third paragraph. The vocals on this album are nearly flawless, and are a huge step up from those in Passenger.
    crazysam23_Atax
    Spoony_Bard wrote: Pretty weak review. I only really agree with the third paragraph. The vocals on this album are nearly flawless, and are a huge step up from those in Passenger.
    Well, I agree with Spoony. I mean, you got your point across. BUT...you could've done it better. Nonetheless, I bought this album awhile back, and I will say it's a gem.
    Metal_Mesh
    In my ears they sound very much like Meshuggah, but with (IMAO) awful screaming vocals. Othervise pretty ok band.
    EpiExplorer
    I do it admit, its a bit oh lah-dee-dah. Thats what watching too much Zero Punctuation does.
    meshuggenerrr
    GREAT BAND,GREAT ALBUM! the fact is that Michael-the original singer-is not in the band now,and that's a loss.The new one is very good at studio,but ..not to good at live. Overall,Passenger was AMAZING,and so is SONS OF THE SYSTEM. 9/10
    Pukka-VCU
    Huge step up from Passenger (I almost gave up on them when that album came out), Guillame really stepped up his vocals on this album and has finally proven he belongs in Mnemic. I just couldn't get past all the times he sounded like he was vomiting on the last record haha. That being said, Sons of the System has been getting regular rotation at our house of metal since it came out and I don't see that ending any time soon.
    Colter
    when i finished reading this I listened to strapping young lad
    BlackSymphony6
    while i enjoyed reading this well constructed and well thought out review, this band is not good.