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Synergy Protocol – Odd to Get Even
Written by Pacific Prof   
Saturday, 22 October 2016

Synergy Protocol – CD Review
Odd to Get Even

Synergy Protocol – Odd to Get Even

CD Info
2016
Independent
8 Tracks
English Lyrics
8.5/10

Synergy Protocol, a metal symphonic band from Utrecht, Netherlands, are about to release their debut album Odd to Get Even, on November 19th.

The band is made up of Laura Martinez, on vocals; Wim Smits, on bass; Maarten ‘Big M’ Heeringa, on guitar and backing vocals; Mark Roelofs, on guitar, and backing vocals; and Patrick van Mourik, on drums.

Synergy Protocol introduce keyboards and orchestration into their symphonic metal productions in order to create a progressive feeling for the music. But, don’t confuse this with traditional progressive rock music, it is metal, first and foremost.

The opener, “In the Name Of”, is an interesting commentary on the current state of affairs in the world. The lyrics discuss the religious distortion of fanatical followers. The keyboard opening is an excellent original theme, and it is followed by heavy metal power chords, bass and drums. The music is followed by Laura Martinez first vocals. She sounds great, but not as unique and multi - dimensional as Marcela Bovio, who she may emulate. She sounds more like Tarja Turnen, only without the seeming ability to soften her vocal delivery. At over 11 minutes, this track has allot of powerful music to appreciate.

On “Flashback”, we get a better presentation of vocals. Martinez’s vocals are supported on the chorus by Roelofs and Heeringa, and it really helps the delivery and sound. When they sing that first line of the chorus, “As the dusk is arriving, can’t fight my memory”, you can hear the power of teamwork.

“Clockwise” opens with a reminder of classic Pink Floyd “Time”, clocks ringing. Unfortunately, Martinez screams during much of this track. When she is singing naturally, she sounds great. Her almost spoken vocals are great too. It is when she screams, that you want to turn down the volume. Unfortunately you miss the excellent music as well. The guitar and keyboard work that follows is fantastic.

“Just a Man” opens with a rhythm that took me back to memories of Jon and Vangelis, for about five seconds. Then Martinez enters, screaming, instead of singing the lyrics. Immediately the spirit is broken. The music is good and I want to hear more, but she is screaming all over the intricate guitar and keyboards. Thankfully she takes a break around the three minute mark, and I can hear some sounds that remind me of Collins – era Genesis. When Martinez returns she is singing, not screaming. Perfect. Then they give the band a few minutes to show off, and they fill the time well.

“Flight from Terra”, is probably the best song on the album. The image of Martinez standing on the edge of some cliff singing softly is picturesque as you listen to “Now we’re on a Flight from Terra. On a search for fertile land. The future’s in our captain’s hands”. A powerful song in search of the Earth that once was, or a new world with unlocked potential. On this song, Matinez sounds tough, without blistering your ears...well...at least not until the end.

“Final Chaos” opens with a perfect vocal chorus which almost makes up for the vocal mistakes earlier on the album. The Dream Theater like music is excellent. Then Martinez returns, this time yelling, which is much better than screaming any day. Now she sounds powerful. Yes chaos.

“Puppet on a String” is the band’s first song brought to video. The video is an interesting story of someone reaching beyond death to haunt their nemisis. Martinez’ voice rises to the level of a Tarja Turnen, at times. The Dream Theater similarities are uncanny throughout this track, making it my album favorite.

The epic title and closing song, “Odd to Get Even”, opens with some spectacular keyboards and electric guitar innovations. Martinez opens with good, well directed vocals. The second longest track on the album, over 10 minutes, but less than the 11 minute opener.

The musicianship is solid throughout this album. It is not as multi – dimensional as the peers they emulate. Yes, it sounds like Dream Theater, only this time with a female singer. But a true fan can tell the difference between imitation, which is not necessarily bad, and the real thing. After all Dream Theater cannot be making albums constantly and indefinitely. Is this the band to take Dream Theater’s place in the future? Maybe, but change is necessary. Stop the screaming vocals and sing naturally. Play some melody and true progressive rhythms. Listen to some true progressive rock. King Crimson, ELP, Genesis before Phil Collins…listen to how the deep lyrics, story – telling, and multi – dimensional music can be more powerful than screaming and blasting away at the electric guitar and drums.

Or, even better, listen to one of your kindred spirits and fellow countrymen, Arjen Lucassen’s productions. Power and thought – provoking music mixed well with a storyline and natural effects from the world around us, which will set your music apart from the many bands doing similar things within the genre.

The cover artwork is great, promising a unique gift to enjoy.

A good debut, with some excellent musical and vocal talent which I hope will live up to their promise over time.

Track listing
1 In The Name Of
2 Flashback
3 Clockwise
4 Just A Man
5 Flight from Terra
6 Final Chaos
7 Puppet on a String
8 Odd to Get Even

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