Published on March 28th, 2017 | by Justin G.
Synaptik: Justify & Reason (Divebomb)
UK-based heavy progressive metal band Synaptik is back with a new album, their second to date, titled Justify & Reason. I reviewed the band’s 2014 debut The Mechanisms of Consequence and was impressed by their very heavy approach to technical metal. I was also kind of disappointed to see that the band, despite a fair amount of critical acclaim, didn’t really reach the larger audience their music deserved.
Now on the Divebomb label (which released an anthology from Synaptik members’ earlier band Inner Sanctum), Synaptik has another chance to win fans over, and Justify & Reason is an album that will do just that. The band already had a killer mix of sounds – intricate rhythms, blast beats, high-speed riffs and vocals that range from the powerful classic metal style to a sinister scream – but they’ve taken it to a new level here. This is Watchtower meets Nevermore, where dazzling technicality meets relentless power.
The songs on Justify & Reason just seem better-crafted than the ones on The Mechanisms of Consequence (and those were just fine to begin with). They’re longer, averaging 7 minutes each, and despite that extra length they’re more focused. The album has just five songs, but they all feel connected and cohesive. It’s not a conceptual album, but you do pick up recurring themes. At least you do when you’re not basking in the complex riffwork or banging your head. Brief as it is, this is an album that makes a big impact.
Synaptik has leveled up in every way with this album. Justify & Reason is exactly the kind of release that should put them on progressive metal fans’ radar, especially those fans whose tastes go beyond the Dream Theater school of prog metal and into the heavier end of the spectrum. Fans of Watchtower, Nevermore, Evergrey and Control Denied in particular should absolutely love what Synaptik is doing here. The year is young, but Justify & Reason is one of the most exciting progressive metal releases of 2017.
But wait, there’s more! Divebomb’s deluxe edition of Justify & Reason includes a second disc that has a newly mixed version of the Synaptik debut The Mechanisms of Consequence. That was a very good album to begin with, but this new mix does make the songs sound fuller and more vibrant. It’s an interesting bonus for those of us who already had the debut, and a fantastic addition for those who missed the album the first time around.
Summary: This is a killer heavy prog metal album...plus a second killer heavy prog metal album.