Systr - 'Gazole' Album Review

French four-piece Systr's debut album "Gazole" hits the ground running and keeps rocking for ten tracks packed to the rafters with Rammstein-esque metal brutality served on a bed of high bpm trance euphoria that will have any Electro-Goth act quaking in their eyeliner.

Having replaced one co-founder in 2009 this release is a clear statement to the world that Systr is an uncompromising, intelligent beast with one purpose to change the face of Electro-Goth. The groups' scowling vocals and real time metal instrumentation mixed with Goan 'reach for the lasers' acid digitisation is a much needed injection of inspiration and competition into the current scene.

'Gazole' opens with its title track; a slamming metal-dance breakbeat inferno that takes no prisoners with lyrics delivered with more venom than Skindred on crack and with the chorus belted out this is one of the less melodic outtakes from the LP whose blistering brevity sets the stage for 'DBMB'.

'DBMB' is of a more complex, hardcore bent involving more intelligent arrangements of vocal harmonies and overdubs that when married with the band's patented blend of metal and dance proves why Systr deserves recognition as one lean contender for best emerging Electro-Goth act of 2011.

'The Race' sees the band pick up the tempo, reverting to their initial raging vocal overdubs and primordial sound. This track live would have the crowd going mental with its mix of raw energy, speed and unrelenting vocal delivery. It just keeps coming at you with an infectious confidence that should be on any prize fighters warm up track list. Truly impressive and hard to top in the following six tracks.

'Understanding' leans more towards the group's dance influences with more euphoric overtones and female vocals harmonising with the lead singer's growl to produce what feels like a watering down of Systr's essence. Not to worry as 'Point Break' sees more material akin to 'The Race' nailed to an intent crushing riff interwoven in due course with more 'white glove' electronics to produce an exhausting finale.

'All Given Words' sees the band in more sombre mood giving the impression that they're starting to run out of gas, and inspiration. This is proven by 'Sportswear (dead or alive)' that sees Bagger rapping the verses that fill the gaps between a spoken/sung chorus that fails to impress with the track's similarity to Limp Bizkit adding to 'Gazole's seeming loss of direction. It's by this stage of the album that the listener starts to think that perhaps an EP would have been a more effective introduction to the band as all that they achieved in 'Gazole's opening tracks is slowly watered down by a succession of increasingly weak material. Final track 'Superheroes' does try to ensure that 'Gazole' exits on a high note, and although it's not a bad piece of work it's without direction and comes across as an unnecessary filler.

This album shows a band on the cusp of the big time, but only on the condition that they have enough creative ammunition to keep their audience happy because they showed signs of flagging by the end of this album.

Only with the release of their forthcoming follow-up will it be possible to gauge their long-term success.