[Review] Sykofant – Sykofant

The Oslo, Norway-based band Sykofant offers a blend of Progressive Rock and Experimental with retro traits brought into a modern context. The self-titled debut album was released on May 31, 2024 and contains six long-form tracks in which the band presents its elaborate and eclectic sound. The opener “Pavement of Colors” is the shortest in duration, still exceeding four minutes, and immediately immerses us in the band’s sounds. An elaborate rhythm section with a deep, driving bass line, sophisticated guitar work and a dynamic, incisive vocal. The intensity increases as the song progresses, with solo guitar inserts and forays into the band’s heavier sounds. “Between Air and Water” is one of the two epic tracks, clocking in at over 12 minutes, with a first part that slowly envelops and immerses us in the band’s sounds. Progressive rock steeped in Psychedelia, with the guitar playing the lead role with prolonged solo inserts. The rhythm section is enriched with a penetrating bass line and tempo changes that allow the song’s theme to evolve. The vocals are warm and expressive and interpret the lyrics with pathos, alternating with the long instrumental sections. The band explores the different facets that make up their style, incorporating fresh and modern elements, well-constructed riffs and more heavy rock passages. A complete track that sums up all the band’s characteristics in over 12 intense minutes from start to finish, both in the softer and more energic parts. A hypnotic bass line characterises the structure of “Monuments of Old,” a track where the band shows its more experimental side. After an enveloping and lysergic first part, it develops with hard guitar riffs and elaborate textures, offering a sound with personal traits combining retro Rock, Experimentation and a modern touch of Rock skilfully mixed. The vocals alternate incisive and energetic passages with choral ones, always engaging and in line with the structure of the song. In the finale, the guitar offers an interesting solo cue and the structure returns to more Progressie Rock sounds. The more melodic side of the band characterises the first part “Between the Moments,” with a very expressive vocal. The intensity increases as the minutes go by, as does the elaboration of the instrumental textures, leading in the second half to a granitic rock with fine distorted guitar work. “Strangers” is another long track of over 10 minutes, characterised by a heavier sound and darker features. The vocals are energetic and scratchy as is the guitar work, the rhythm section gritty and full of tempo changes. A track that enhances the more Rock side with Progressive Metal veins of the band, showing the versatility of the artists involved. In the second half, the band offers an atmospheric finale with dark overtones. The album ends with “Forgotten Paths,” the longest track, an epic of over 14 minutes. Acoustic guitar and softer vocals characterise the first part of the track, which shows a more classic side of Progressive Rock, and then evolves with refined melodic interlacing and solo inserts and a solid, elaborate rhythm section. The continuous tempo changes allow the band to explore different genres and styles, taking advantage of the song’s long duration to bring out the many ideas and facets that characterise their style. An enjoyable debut album from start to finish, incorporating within it the different nuances that characterise the band’s style. An eclectic and versatile band that manages even within the same tracks to mix different genres and create their own personal style. Between progressive rock, forays into heavy rock, with good guitar work, an expressive and incisive vocal and a solid and elaborate rhythm section. A recommended listen for lovers of modern Prog sounds with guitar as the protagonist and a good mixture of different genres.

Tracklist

01. Pavement of Colors (4:31)
02. Between Air and Water (12:35)
03. Monuments of Old (08:41)
04. Between the Moments (5:14)
05. Strangers (10:31)
06. Forgotten Paths (14:20)

Lineup

Emil Moen / Guitar and Vocals
Melvin Treider / Drums
Per Semb / Guitar and Backing Vocals
Sindre Haugen / Bass and Backing Vocals

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Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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