Upon first spin, the debut album from heavily chromed, Los Angeles-based mainstream metal quintet Gemini Syndrome, which features ex-Otep vocalist Aaron Nordstrom, invokes names like Disturbed, A Perfect Circle, Five Finger Death Punch, System of a Down, and Godsmack, and on subsequent listens, those same names come up as well. That said, what Lux lacks in originality, it certainly makes up for in execution, and if fat, earth-shaking arena anthems with beefy riffs, pained lyrics, and fist-pumping choruses that sound like the explosion-addled midpoint of every Michael Bay trailer gets your blood pumping, then this is the album that your weaponized SUV will be playing as it launches off of the last 12 feet of a crumbling suspension bridge and into the hull of a enemy UFO. Meticulously crafted, coiled, and ready to strike, cuts like "Stardust," "Pleasure and Pain," and "Falling Apart" are so uninterested in anything other than allowing the listener to fill in their own angsty context, that they're more like shots or bong hits than actual songs. Even less immediate offerings like "Left of Me," "Babylon," and "Pay for This" can’t resist opening the throttle and letting all of the wind out of the sails (so to speak) when it's time for a chorus, lest the audience sense an aberration and go running out into the aisles in search of restrooms, sustenance, and dark corners with shady dealings. It's not rocket science (or any kind of science, for that matter), but Gemini Syndrome inevitably get by on their own propulsion, and while it would be easy to dismiss Lux as rote and uninspired, it's so masterfully made, that it would be a disservice to the hard work of the artists that inspired it to trash it.
by James Christopher Monger