Sound — 8
For those who aren't aware of Sybreeds existence (which is a big probability), prepare for some genre-defining: If ever there was a band that could be the heaviest that industrial metal can be, then you need look no further than Sybreed debut 'Slave Design'. This is achieved by a very daring mix of influences: Take the ethereal and claustrophobic backdrops of industrial metal, add in some grinding vocal ability and the heavily Meshuggah influenced riffs and also the wall of sound which SYL are known for. Put this together and you have a very well collaborated style (dubbed 'Deathwave' by the band themselves). The mixing production for this album is spot on, the instruments/vocals are in a position where everything is clear and manages to sound just in the right place. Recording wise, its pretty mid/bass heavy but the guitars do have the slicy-choppy chug tone that many Meshuggah influenced bands use (which when combined with the bass is a hammer to the vegetables).
Lyrics — 7
Slave Design follows the related vein of industrial music as it revolves around a lot of robotic/cyborg themes and generally using the 'humanity is a slave race' theme in most of the songs as well. It works pretty well with Sybreeds over all sound and groove based riffage while being delivered by the vocalist (only known as) Ben. For example, the first/last verse from the track 'Bioactive': Discard the strain of mortality, reset and display anger sequences Improve your connectivities, conceived in reverse of your neural patterns of hate Exemplifies the theme of the album. Ben himself is a good vocalist as well, his gruff growl sounding pretty similar to Jens Kidman himself and his general cleans (although much cleaner and improved on later albums like Pulse of Awakening) add a melodic-ish touch to the harsh and heavy sound that is Slave Design.
Overall Impression — 8
Sybreed only really can be compared to itself. Later albums like Antares and the aforementioned Pulse of Awakening could be compared to the later releases by SYL and also to Mnemic, but Slave Design is by far the heaviest release Sybreed have made. Songs to look out for? Its a little hit and miss, much like Katatonias 'Night is the new Day', listening to the album from start to finish is what makes it good, although the two tracks that really stand out for me are 'Bioactive' and 'Machine Gun Messiah' (which is by far the most death metal track on the album). Whats really got me about this album as a whole is what I have always imagined the best industrial metal to sound like without any of the gimmicky theatrics (and latex) that goes with it. What some wont like is that its purely metal, unlike the much softer (almost poppy) Pulse of Awakening which features almost entirely clean singing and much more melody (and even a nine minute ballad). But in any case, all albums by Sybreed are well worth listening to.