Synema - Equal reaction - 1999


Synema is a trio formed by Steve Nellessen (guitars, voice), Shawn Birch (bass, synths and voice) and Mike Adkins (percussion, synths and voice) that, after continuous changes of name and line-up during almost 10 years, have decided to enter into the professional world with this CD. Their experience is a positive, as shown in the instrumental quality and technical level of these three musicians during the almost 45 minute duration of the Cd, a quality that is supported by diverse friends that have helped them with guitars and diverse voices.


With this characteristic trio formation, what band comes to your mind?, Yes, this is the second or third time in little time in which I meet a band whose most important influence is Rush, although, fortunately, in this case we do not suffer from a copycat band. Synema is an interesting band with its own personality, defined, I imagine, after so many years of experience in music. Synema knows how to mix the "Permanent Waves's spirit" (obviously not standing the comparison) with a good handling of rhythm changes, use of epic concepts, and, as all good American groups, the creation of vocal melodies merge commerciality and quality. Only analyzing musician by musician we notice the influence of the Canadians, as the rhythm section is certainly imaginative.

The CD opens up with "Enter", a song that combines typical American vocal melodies with controlled heaviness and good instrumental moments. "Relation" leaves aside the apparent commerciality and develops in a crescendo that culminates with an instrumental section suspiciously similar to Rush in "Moving Pictures-Permanent Waves", maybe too clear of a tribute in this case. However, the song would be excellent was it not for the strong resemblance. "The Living Sky" is a succession of voices, sounds of Mother Nature, etc. that ends in a pleasant and instrumental piece full of effects and atmospheres. "I of the Storm" is the most convincing and catchy song at first listen, beginning in a hymnal way and ascending in intensity (with a military march rhythm), kind of "Battle Hymn of the Republic". "Tomorrow River" is another key moment of the CD, one of those songs full of imagination and good instrumental developments, with a strong presence of the bass and an overall good musicianship. To conclude, "Day of Life" surprises again with instrumental moments on a pure Rush style, although the vocal parts have a special charm that connects with Yes.


I wish I did not have to criticize more albums in the Rush style since I am already wondering if I should write a doctoral thesis on the legacy of the gold Canadians on the progressive bands of the planet. Anyway, and just as I made with Barrock, I believe that Synema should be better known by those that search for sounds in this style. Synema possesses many tics from Rush, but they also try to deliver in their music a personal touch, that many others do not even bother to deliver. If good American prog with excellent melodies seduces you, and if you don't care if Alex Lifeson enters in your speakers, Synema is a good option. I hope the announced CD foreseen for this summer shows them in a more mature style, close to their category. I believe that, if they want, they can clearly surpass their premiere, and in progVisions we will be ready to tell you and celebrate it.

author - date - rating - label

Alfonso Algora - February 2000 -   - Independent Release