Synapses Firing is a project that started as a solo acoustic project of songwriter Sean Dowling in 2013. Dowling started working with Paul Bennardo (drums) and the acoustic part of the project pretty much went to the wayside. On their debut Forgive Dowling utilizes a lot of distortion which seems to emanate from electric guitars.
According to the band “We have often been compared to deftones, glassjaw, brand new and Radiohead.” Some you could maybe make arguments for the case of the first three bands but this band sounds nothing like Radiohead. I’m also not really sure why they refer to this as post-rock on their Bandcamp page. It would be stretching it to say there are elements of bands like Explosions in the Sky and Godspeed You! Black Emperor in here.
There is a emo/post-hardcore vibe. A lot of the emo vibe comes from the vocals. Dowling has a high-pitched often nasally voice. The hardcore vibe comes more from the music especially the drums. Bennardo is a great drummer. He has great timing along with some inventive fills.
Forgive has some solid songs along with some moments that really stuck out to me. After an atmospheric intro entitled “Firing” the band launches into a more adrenaline pumping song entitled “Sparrows and Dove.” There are definitely some traces of pop punk in the beginning of the song which meld into hardcore. I thought the lyrics were creative on this song. The vocal delivery was pretty solid as well.
“Cut” was one of the highlights. There are some chord progressions that oozed with dissonant tone and textures. This was right up my alley. There is also an exceptional breakdown section. The band has one of their finest moments at four-and-a-half minutes in. It’s a wall of sonic, dark noise. Good stuff.
The band is pretty consistent going forward. “Gold” is an unrelentless song filled with high octane energy while “On The Floor” has lots more space to play with. “You've Been a Bastard” is another highlight. I really liked the dripping distortion which reminded me somewhat of drone metal demigods Sunn O))).
Forgive is a good album. It’s well-written, consistent and has impressive production. Recommended.
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