Sintax - Sway for a Better Day
Inverse Records
Thrash/Groove Metal
8 songs (32' 44")
Release year: 2015
Inverse Records
Reviewed by Andy

Israel's scene, a small one best known for Eastern-themed bands like Melechesh and Orphaned Land, gives us a similarly influenced newcomer in the form of Sintax, with a thrashy, groove-laden sound. Their debut, Sway for a Better Day, often makes mistakes and loses the momentum of its aggression, but it has an interesting sound -- definitely not retro-thrash -- and when it gets it right, it shows a great deal of promise.

The part that grabs the listener right away is the guitar tone, a tight, hot tone that squeals with a barely controlled set of pinch harmonics, a little like Sahara-era Orphaned Land but with a Pantera-inspired style. The guitar's one of the best parts, and it's hard to get tired of it -- chills can still shoot down the listener's spine on the most insipid songs when one of those pinch harmonics punctuates a melody. The title track is strong and contains a lot of ideas packed into five minutes, not to mention some great soloing; it's focused enough that it's hard to remember that this is is a fairly slow-moving song most of the time. Four More Years is also good, dissonance combined with dystopianism in an ominous downward-thrusting melody, with vocalist Yehi Zaken keeping his voice gritty enough throughout the song to give it some balls.

It has to be said, though, that there are a number of songs without much direction to them, proving that groove riffs aren't quite enough without a healthy dollop of speed and anger mixed in. There's a lot of repetition in the lyrics, Fine Line to Sodomy and The Answer... The Name... being the worst offenders, especially since the band likes to slow down on the choruses and Zaken can lose the grittiness of his voice sometimes, sounding a lot tamer. I Get It Now makes up for that tendency on the verses, which are fast, muscular and contain more thrashiness, driven by a well-miked set of drums. Unfortunately, Up for the Physical (where are they coming up with these song titles?) doubles down on the repetition and slow choruses, making this one a pretty boring finale.

Sway for a Better Day's a mixed bag, the result of a band that has some good points (the unconventional approach to thrash and their guitar chops) and some that it needs to polish up (the songwriting, vocals, and lyrics). They're still listenable, but I'm hoping they'll prove to be better in their next album.

Killing Songs :
Sway for a Better Day, Four More Years
Andy quoted 70 / 100
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