Crossbreed

Synthetic Division

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Industrial metal meets techno on Synthetic Division, the debut release by the Florida band Crossbreed. The disc doesn't have to play long before comparisons to such forebears of the genre as Marilyn Manson, Ministry, and Nine Inch Nails are made. To that end, Crossbreed accomplish their mission of being able to sit comfortably alongside their peers, as Synthetic Division is rife with relentless grinding guitars, furious singing, and thundering bass and drums that knock listeners right on their ass. However, said elements are not what set Crossbreed apart from the rest of the industrial metal pack. Surprisingly, it's the keyboard playing -- courtesy of Flip and DJ Izzo -- that stands out on Synthetic Division. While this style of music is generally defined and judged by its guitar sound and scorching singing, Synthetic Division is colored by exciting synth lines and sound effects, which spruce up an album that could have easily been generic. Another cool defining characteristic of Synthetic Division is the slick intros -- generally keyboard bits with thundering beats and searing guitar licks -- featured on each of the songs. Crossbreed have a knack for crafting leads that instantly capture listeners; the body of the tracks then make it worth audiences' while. Several standout moments mark this impressive debut. "Underlined" is a purposeful song that grinds along with a thundering rhythm line and intense vocals, and is nicely accented by electronic bells and whistles. This happens to be the disc's first single release. Good choice. "Breathe," which is more techno-influenced, is a nonstop adrenaline rush (the other tracks are also, but this one is a bit more so), while "Machines" screams (figuratively) of Trent Reznor and provides singer James Rietz' best performance on the disc. His voice on "Machines" is powerful, energetic, and full of dynamics that run the gamut from furious bellowing to eerie talk-singing. Crossbreed's debut release is a solid piece of work that poises them for success in the hard rock arena. And there's nothing synthetic about that.

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