Mnemic - Sons Of The System
Nuclear Blast
Groove Metal with Melodeath elements
11 songs (52:50)
Release year: 2010
Mnemic, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Khelek

I was a fan of Mnemic's first two albums Mechanical Spin Phenomenon and The Audio Injected Soul. Those albums showed that this new band was not afraid to try new things in the realm of groovy melodic death metal. Their songs did tend to be hit or miss, but overall they created a pretty unique and very heavy sound. Sons Of The System had been hyped for some time as the band's attempt to create an even catchier, more modern sound that was still aggressive and experimental. For the most part the band has succeeded in that respect, though I was expecting something a bit different and more original. While I cannot blame the band for sticking to the basics and writing some material that is very heavy and quite memorable, I had still really hoped for something more complex and thought provoking.

The album begins with the title track, which is very heavy, as expected, with a touch of groove and plenty of aggression. The chorus goes into a breakdown with more melody. I am not big on the clean vocals from Guillaume Bideau at first, but I have a feeling they could grow on me. The melody is quite skillfully crafted as well, adding a touch of melancholy as well. It sounds like they are trying to prove that they can write a song that incorporates both their usual aggression but also a softer side, and it works pretty well for the most part and makes me want to hear more. The ending might take it a bit too far though, and the intro was a little lengthy as well. This song also reminds me very much of mid-period Soilwork albums Natural Born Chaos and Figure Number Five. The next track Diesel Uterus also makes use of this contrast between melodic breakdowns and strong, aggressive verses. By this point I can already tell this is going to be an album that some will hate, perhaps unfairly, just because of the breakdowns. However this song does have a passage towards the middle that slows it down just too much in my opinion and the song loses a lot of momentum that had been built up. Unfortunately it is not recovered by the end of the song and trails off with repetitive guitar riffs that don't do much for me. Mnightmare sounds a bit more experimental with interesting guitars and synths. The drumming from Brian "Brylle" Rasmussen so far has also been quite good, fast and destructive yet keeping the pace of the music perfectly, even in the slower parts. The low end of the sound is definitely enhanced with the production, sometimes a bit too much so that it can unfortunately wash out other parts of the sound. Sometimes it's as if I'm being hit over the head with heaviness just for the sake of heaviness and nothing more. Climbing Towards Stars starts out with a bit more brutal sounding riff, but the synths soften it a bit. The vocals once again are the growls of Bideau along with some half-singing, half-growling. Some of the guitar and synth work is interesting, but not enough to really grab me. March Of The Tripods definitely creates an interesting atmosphere in the beginning and continues to deliver with a great melody that is catchy and memorable. The chorus is unfortunately a bit too slow to keep my attention for very long, though there are some good ideas present in this song. Within begins with another aggressive and memorable riff, but with the once again melodic chorus it starts sounding too much like all the other songs on the album. I do enjoy the vocalist's approach; very aggressive yet understandable, and his harsh vocals remind me a little bit of Devin Townsend's work with Strapping Young Lad, though of course Bideau doesn't have quite that level of power. His cleaner singing needs some work, but it's not bad. The real problem here is that most of the songs on the album have the same basic structure. Begin with big, heavy riffs and drums and harsh growled vocals, then have a chorus with clean vocals and slower guitars. It's a recipe that is used far too often in modern metal and I had hoped that Mnemic would realize this and at least present a somewhat different take on the sound, as they attempted to do in their earlier albums. Unfortunately they did not for the most part.

This is still a fun album to listen to, especially to have on in the background when playing video games or the like, but it just lacks a whole lot of substance or complexity (there is also a notable lack of guitar solos or anything very technical). If these guys want to seriously compete in today's modern metal scene they really need to start constructing songs that make them stand out from the rest. Songs like March Of The Tripods or Climbing Towards Stars had the potential to be really great, but unfortunately the band just did not deliver in terms of creativity and diversity. In the end this is a decent album, but nothing out of the ordinary.

Killing Songs :
Sons Of The System, March Of The Tripods, Orbiting
Khelek quoted 70 / 100
Other albums by Mnemic that we have reviewed:
Mnemic - Mechanical Spin Phenomena reviewed by Jared and quoted 90 / 100
Mnemic - The Audio Injected Soul reviewed by Aaron and quoted 57 / 100
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