Just like football players, there are countless musicians who blossom through setting roots and letting them grow and there are those who only thrive on constant change. The Stockholm-based death metal project Feared has evolved over the past eight years to become a creative outlet for two musicians who never seemed to be interested in remaining static. Ola Englud and Kevin Talley are two restless individuals who always seem to be working on numerous projects at any given point in their careers. Going through the lists of their current and past projects is like going through the CV of an over-achieving workaholic who thrives on the abundance of activities without a tenable sense of direction. This isn’t the case however, with Englund and Talley.
Englund was, and remains, the mastermind behind Feared despite current permanent membership of The Haunted, working with lots of other bands as a session musician, guest musician, sound engineer and producer. Talley on the other hand is the not-so-little engine that could in terms of drumming capabilities. Having recently been named as Suffocation‘s new drummer, and after a long career through which he featured with far too many bands to mention in this review, this prolific Texan has joined forces with the aforementioned Englund and Synder, their third album together, is an affirmation of their talent and wide ranging experience.
Feared’s sound balances technicality with the melodic sensibilities shown by many Swedish death metal bands. The tracks are largely riff-centric with occasional guitar solos, the bass is deep, the drumming is varied and solid yet without descending into mechanical senselessness while the vocals tread the predictable ground of mixing deep grunts with high screams. Synder, the Swedish word for ‘sins’, starts off with an ordinary intro track which gives way to ‘Your Demise‘. It’s a straightforward kind of opener without much in the way of surprises but packs a few solid punches with a massive bass sound. There are many riffs throughout this record that may induce involuntary headbanging such as the main riff from ‘Wolf At the End of the World‘ and on the thrashy ‘Dying Day‘ but the strongest comes on ‘The Narcissist‘.
With Synder being Feared’s sixth studio album, it is clear that Ola Englund isn’t going to reinvent death metal anytime soon. The overall sound isn’t groundbreaking at all but it is very well executed; of course having Kevin Talley behind him on the drums is a bona fide addition. With a tight performance and a meticulous production job across the board, this record will come as an easy listen for anyone familiar with the band’s earlier output and will easily appeal to fans of thrash and death metal, it will also play out brilliantly in summer festivals around the world. It may not be the album to populate year-end lists but it is definitely an enjoyable record.