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Sybreed | Slave Design | review | metal | Lollipop
Slave Design (Reality)
by Daniel Lukes
How many Fear Factory clones does the world need, especially now that the new Dino-less Fear Factory themselves are an unsatisfying and barely-recognizable clone of their own former selves? When the Californian cyber-metallers vomited out of L.A. over a decade ago, they were an invigorating force in modern metal because before them, no one had really thought it'd be a cool idea to mangle together Godflesh's industrial din with death metal's serrated riffage and give it a Terminator-style dystopian sheen. But as technological sci-fi got old and passé, making space for psychological and conspiracy theory-based fictions instead, so did Fear Factory, who never really knew how to evolve beyond what they'd already established they were good at. Which is the destiny of all machines that become obsolete: The scrap-heap.
What this has to do with the clunkily-named Swiss band Sybreed is the following: They don't really add anything to what FF had already perfected with Demanufacture way back in 1995. Sure, there's some good playing to be had on Slave Design (another painfully clichéd title), a nice polish to the guitar chug and synth bleeps, some driving grooves, epic enough keyboards, and the odd chorus here and there that harks back to Strapping Young Lad when they were good, on 1997's City. But there's little else to lift you out of the torpor this sub-FF groove'n'chug cyber-metal will most likely inflict on you, unless you live by the word of His Cyberhighness Burton C. Bell and watch Terminator 2 and Johnny Mnemonic every week.
Fortunately for fans of FF, there've been bands who have taken the blueprint and injected newer, darker, and heavier life into it. I'm thinking of everyone from Red Harvest to Mudvayne, but this isn't really the case with Sybreed at all. More a case of groove, rinse, repeat. The scrap-heap it is then.