Album review: The Parasite Syndicate – The Parasite Syndicate

Genre: Progressive metal

Release date: 24th February 2017

Record label: (Self-released)


Despite having not even released a debut album yet, Nottingham rockers The Parasite Syndicate are already enjoying a fair share of public recognition. With several thousand followers already paying close attention to the five-piece across the platforms of social media, this is an up-and-coming band that is clearly doing something very right.

Whether it’s the versatile vocal attack of frontman (and Masterchef: The Professionals semi-finalist) Rich Donohue, the undeniably hard-hitting riffs Robin Frazer and Joe Sammakia or the groove-laden, hard-hitting rhythms of bassist Bret Richards and drummer Stuart Dunlop, The Parasite Syndicate is proving to be anything but parasitic, instead generously supplying progressive, metalcore-inspired heaviness for the 21st century. Nothing demonstrates this better than their self-titled debut album, a 43-minute thrasher jam-packed to the very brim with undiluted metal.

The Parasite Syndicate is stunning in its technicality and precision, using a mixture of harsh and clean vocals – both of which are just as well executed – to allow the band to fit into the same modern metal niche as such performers as Shogun (2008)-era Trivium and The Contortionist. And while it doesn’t change the face of metal as we know it, this album does feel new and invigorating, with both its rhythms and its riffs especially being enduring and charismatic. Opening track and second single “Breathe You In” is a destructive powerhouse, heralding both brutality and melody in a manner that also gives way to a vast array of solos and complex musicianship. Meanwhile, something like “Animus” is almost entirely clean-cut, displaying some David Draiman-esque singing and an emphasis on generating beautiful imagery. “Red Sky” is incessantly abrasive to the nth degree, with frankly disturbing lyricism like “I swear if you touch my sister again / I’ll cut your throat”.

And that is the best aspect of The Parasite Syndicate. While, musically, it spends almost its entire time being heavy and laying out as much extreme prog as a listener could handle, its tone is all over the map. It is both beautiful and hideous in the best possible way, alternately lifting and then pummelling its audience in what feels like a true, legitimate journey from A to B.

For an album to achieve this is a true sign of musical expertise, and The Parasite Syndicate hits the nail on their head with their debut, bringing into question just how they will top this fantastic slice of metal when it comes to record number two.

Final rating: The Parasite Syndicate gets 8 Masterchef trophies out of 10.

The Parasite Syndicate will be available physically and digitally on 24th February 2017.