Dawn of a new Era – Kambrium’s Synthetic Era (Review)

Band: KAMBRIUM

Album: Synthetic Era

Genre: Epic/Melodic Death Metal

Duration: 69:17

Release: 09.07.2021 (via Reaper Entertainment)

The Album can be preordered here.

I was given the album before hand for reviewing purposes. Thank you to Reaper Entertainment for that!

The Behind the Scenes pictures showing the video shoot were taken by the amazing lightinmirror.de!

Zur deutschen Version dieser Review geht es hier.

KAMBRIUM, Synthetic Era, 2021

Buckle up and hold on tight, KAMBRIUM will take us on a new wild ride through a new musical universe of their own construction.

While the predecessor Dawn of the Five Suns was dealing with the Aztecs, we are now pitchforked with Synthetic Era into the future. This eighth release by the band from Helmstedt distinguishes itself already from other releases this year not only by relying heavily on their Synthwave influence but also by chasing a very distinctive style.

Produced in the Kohlekeller Studios, the listener is propelled into a technical dystopia with the opener Neon Death. You are never quite sure if this dystopia will capture or slowly kill you.

But one thing becomes clear very fast: A lot of thought went into this album. The band programmed each and every sound in weeks of hard work and even though they are Synthwave sounds, they do have a very interesting Metal vibe. This is largely because they are able to apply their distinctive and typical KAMBRIUM keyboard sound to this new outfit.

KAMBRIUM; Behind the Scenes; Pic by lightinmirror.de

Following the intro seamlessly is the song Cybernetic Overload. Fans of fast guitars and video games will have their fun with this. As a long-time KAMBRIUM fan, it is nice to hear that they stuck with their signature choirs as well.

What really amazed me from the start were the vocals. In comparison to the last album, we can see a significant improvement in Martin’s and Karsten’s performances, especially when looking at the clean vocals. They are so expressive and completely captured me with their energy.

One of the biggest highlights on this album is the song Nature Error 404 which contains guest vocals by SNOW WHITE BLOOD’s Ulli Perhonen. While dealing with the destruction of nature on a content level, you can see all stops being pulled on the musical level. In the vortex of growls and both male and female clean vocals, it is easy to lose sight of reality which is largely also caused due to the capturing synthesizer sounds. The first time listening to it felt almost delirious. My favorite song on this album for sure!

Next in line is the Song Ghost of the Machine which is, next to Synthetic Era, one of the longest songs on this album. Despite the Synthwave influences not being that dominant in this song as they are in others on this album, I still really like the whole „Machine with a heart“ topic. For me, it is almost reminiscent of Fritz Lang’s film classic Metropolis, but with a big chunk of Blade Runner mixed in.

KAMBRIUM; Behind the Scenes; Pic by lightinmirror.de

What took me completely by surprise was the interlude To the Core, which gives me all the 80s disco vibes I was hoping for. It sounds a lot like a song you could hear while playing arcade games (or watching an episode of Stranger Things).

I do however have on drop of bitterness. Metal songs come to life by having (more or less) clear distinctions between the individual song parts which is not the case on some instances on this album. Chorus, verses and soli are merged into on another and due to that the listener has a hard time processing the transition and be prepared for what’s coming. I especially realized that in the song Nightly Beast Mode. It is a good song, but because of the merging you take away the focus from the highlights and due to that you can’t really enjoy them. Furthermore, I have the feeling that the vocals, and especially the growls, could have been a bit louder. That however could also be attributed to my technical equipment.

When listening to Synthwave tracks, you can hear that they sound kind of similar in terms of the described merging of song parts which makes them sound almost washy. That could be a possible explanation as to why there are these „inaccuracies“ from time to time. All in all, it doesn’t affect the album significantly but it is still a shame nonetheless since KAMBRIUM have set a higher standard for themselves in the past.

Drawing a conclusion, I would have to say that we are being presented by the most uncommon, most brave and thereby probably the best album in  the history of KAMBRIUM. The concept of „Synthwave meets Epic Death Metal“ totally works out for me and the band is able to once more distinguish themselves from other bands of their genre. I am willing to overlook the aforementioned inaccuracies because of the overwhelmingly convincing cohesiveness of this album. In contrast to other reviewer’s opinions, I can firmly state that KAMBRIUM are getting more and more exciting for me and I cannot wait to see what other stories they have left to tell. 

Line-Up:

Martin Simon – Vocals & Bass

Jan Hein – Composer & Orchestrations

Karsten Simon – Guitar & Clean Vocals

Maximilian Werner – Guitar & Backing Vocals

KAMBRIUM; Behind the Scenes; Pic by lightinmirror.de

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