With a solid ten year track record behind them Manchester veterans Virus Syndicate are back with their newest album. Described by Nika D as “an album that painted pictures of reality” Symptomatic is a hard hitting tour de force both in content and delivery.
Overall the album is a diversity of sounds which rides a rollercoaster both in themes and styles. Setting off with an attention grabbing start Symptomatic opens with Do Suttin which offers a definite rock vibe with a powerful electric guitar based beat and punchy bars giving both a call to arms and social commentary. The dub influences Viral Syndicate have become known for are still strong in evidence on several tracks though complementing the gritty and attitude laden “Fuck the system” message of Gimme The Mic and the vocal effects of Chaos and Commotion.
Throughout Symptomatic proves both dark and gritty in its content and vibe. A number of spoken word and Biblical samples are used notably on Psychopath and Watch Your Back to add further menace to their narrations of crime and violence. Although similarly hard hitting some of the album’s content also takes a more mellow and reflective tone taking a break from some of the more viciously delivered verses. F Wid Me for example takes a downtempo piano based beat to accompany a ponderous narration of dysfunctional relationship whilst Rainy Season takes place around some cinematic strings with revealing stories of personal struggles.
As with Virus Syndicates previous work Symptomatic proves a deep and no holds barred project which delivers a brutal honesty across its lyrics. It’s also interesting though for its experimentation with different styles which gives a varied and innovative feel throughout.