ALBUM REVIEW: ‘Sayonara’ by Svengali

Sayonara is the new album from Dubai-based metal band, Svengali. The album draws together a variety of sounds and styles through each track. The diverse nature of the band itself, with members from Iraq, India, Lebanon and Iran, sees the quartet bring a range of unique influences. In Sayonara they the state of mind during an addiction relapse, uniting and fighting against oppression, losing identity, overcoming obstacles and more.

Alcatraz opens the album with fast riffs, intense drumming and gut-wrenching harsh vocals. The arrival of the chorus shows another side to their sound. Soaring clean vocals layered of technical guitar melodies bring a different mood to their sound. The use of a haunting lead melody gives an unsettling feeling to the music. Despite not being as heavy, the chorus retains the dark atmosphere of the heavier sections. This striking contrast is used in a number of Svengali’s tracks throughout the album. Freight Train brings another great contrast between the heavy rhythms and harsh vocals in the verse against the technical guitar riffs in the chorus. Soaring clean vocals float above and give this section of the track a very different feel. The clean vocals have a distinctive edge and are used effectively throughout the album. Sections of soaring vocals and catchy chorus hooks, like that in Quicksand, add variation amongst the heavier parts of their sound. Break Away gives greater space to the clean vocals and the chorus has a memorable melody. Interestingly, the instrumentation is more detailed with layered orchestral strings and guitar melodies playing varying harmonies.

The title track of the album, Sayonara, brings dramatic low tones, powerful guitars and thundering percussion. The aggressive harsh vocals enhance the energy of the instrumentation. Dissonant guitar licks interspersed throughout break up the sound with the higher pitch and once again brings a disturbing feel to the sound. The layered vocals of chorus further accentuate the power of their sound. By keeping this track fully in the heavier spectrum of their sound, it has a powerful impact. The optimistic feel that often accompanies the soaring clean vocals used in other tracks is missing. The atmosphere is darker and more aggressive without interruption. This Is Kombat, similarly to Sayonara, focuses on the heavier side of the quartet’s sound. The breakdown in this track is a great addition. The slow tempo brings a great sense of drama to their sound, and nicely contrasts the fast lead licks, guitar rhythms and percussion in the rest of the track. Having started the album with an explosion of energy in Alcatraz, the album concludes with another powerful track: Labyrinth. Once again featuring clean vocals in the chorus, this track joins the different aspects of their sound, leaving a memorable unique sound in the head of the listener.

Svengali have created a diverse album that explores a wide range of vocal and instrumental techniques. The technical guitars throughout the track also meet heavier sections that would be found in the deathcore sub-genre. The progressive nature of their experimentation is to be greatly applauded as they have explored so many emotions though their music.

8/10

For fans of: Chimaira, Lamb Of God, Killswitch Engage
Words by Holly Royle

‘Sayonara’ by Svengali is released on 20th March.

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