The new GEMINI SYNDROME album Memento Mori (out now, Another Century) felt like a long time coming, even though the band’s debut LUX was released less than three years ago. They toured their asses off for that one, and I was lucky enough to catch them live three times in Dallas in the span of a year. When they finally got off the road it was quiet…eerily quiet. Things happen, life happens, there were some lineup changes, and now here we are today, and the band is healthy, happy, and in a really good place. Oh, and before we go any further I have to say that the addition of Daniel Sahagún and Chuck Lee on guitars is a great one.
I’ve had my copy of the record for well over a month now, and I gotta say that no two spins yield the same feeling when it’s over. The opening one-two punch of “Anonymous” and “Remember We Die” always gets me amped and wired (and live they were fucking SPECTACULAR last month!) but from here we embark on a series of twists and turns musically. Some songs really resonated with me, and nearly brought me to the same emotional places (both happy and sad) that the previous effort did. And quite frankly, a couple just didn’t. It’s not that they’re bad per se, they just didn’t tap into my feelings the way every single song on the debut did.
Some of the more effective tunes were “Zealot” which has a chunky riff coupled with Alessandro ‘AP’ Paveri’s dark, hellish bass tone, and Brian Steele Medina’s precision drumming and my personal favorite track “Sorry Not Sorry.” Vocalist Aaron Nordstrom spits venom like a king cobra locked onto the flesh of someone foolhardy enough to get too close and the band behind him brings the ruckus. “Alive Inside” is also very dark, both on Nordstrom’s vocals and the evil guitar lines (P.S. It also destroys live!), while “Inception” has that perfect blend of heavy and melodic. This one should definitely be a single.
More killer riffs abound for “On Point”, and with the two special guitarists that are now in the band I am hoping this one makes its way into a setlist in the near future. On the lighter side, “Say Goodnight” is a nice change of pace, and is a very pretty song. Getting back to the heavy “Eternity” is a nice punch in the mouth, all sharp edges and such. I wasn’t sure about “Gravedigger’ at first, but that soaring chorus won me over rather quickly. Closer “Brought to Light” wraps things up in grand fashion; it feels more like an event than just a song.
All told, Memento Mori is a very good, very solid album from GEMINI SYNDROME. Is it the absolute home run that the debut was? No, this is more of a standing triple. Still, it makes for some great listening and once again the band finds a way to tap into their human emotions and lay them bare for all the world to see. And I am still proud to call myself a Synner every day. And to my fellow Synners: Get ready for them to be anywhere and everywhere throughout 2016 and beyond, and make sure you check out these tracks in a live setting. You won’t be sorry!
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Alive Inside”, “Sorry Not Sorry”, “Anonymous”, “Remember We Die”, “Inception”, “Zealot”