Genetic Woes

-- Synastry --

Stijn Daneels

Album genres:
Groove metal
Album artists:
Paul Iverson Guitars
Gary Vee Bass
Kay Kessler Drums

Review written by Corin Geypen.


Canadian groove metal band Synastry releases its fourth EP, called “Dividing the Double Helix” after returning to the scene in 2020. This is their second EP in six months, proving that a global pandemic can be quite the inspiration. As is their wont, their mission to create technically interesting grooves and meaningful lyrics shines through. The EP was provided to us by Asher Media. Let’s dig in.


Title track and opening song “Dividing the Double Helix” needs a few listens. There’s so much going on in that track. I love the melodic bursts of Paul’s guitar play, and Gary’s bass knows when to speak up and when to stay in the background. This song pretty much equals 3:37 minutes of going crazy in the pit. I can just imagine crowds losing their minds to this anthemic song. It pulls you along with its droning drums and speeding vocals and guitars.

Listening to the EP’s next track, “Cryolife,” I’m struck the most by the drums. Kay switches between pushing the song forward at high speed and almost meandering over the guitars and vocals to add a melodic groove to it all. Again, there’s a lot to discover in the guitars, while the vocals keep up the pace and warn of thoughtless over-automation of our actions.

The intro of the EP’s final track, “Assembly Line Asylum” threw me back to Amorphis’ “Tales of a Thousand Lakes.” This flashback was brief, however, as James digs in immediately with his trademark growl. Still, I like that they caught me off guard for a second, offering a different sound in their overall brutal music. Having this sliver of keys return regularly in the song was a nice touch.

The themes of “Dividing the Double Helix” are deeply personal and highly philosophical at the same time. How do we become who we are? What shapes us? Can we fight back when pushed into patterns and habits that are inherently bad for us? James has clearly seen a few things in his life and these events have shaped the sound of this band. I don’t think any of us can ignore these questions, so it’s interesting to hear them explored in this particular way.


Synastry’s EP cover shows an outline of a human, with only one eye clearly drawn. There is a door or window in the chest, showing a hand and shoulder roughly where the heart should be. The person is outlined against a patterned metal wall. It fits well with the themes of a fixed and rigid social structure and a human trying to fit in, but having this hole where their humanity slips through. Are we the person in the hole or the shadow of ourselves burned into society?


I’d have to say that the title track “Dividing the Double Helix” is my favorite of the EP’s 3 songs. The theme of wondering who we were and how we became that way is a fascinating one and the music pulls you into its unrelenting maelstrom, leaving you spent when it finally stops. The guitars have this catchy melodic riff that I just can’t stop listening to. The other songs also offer interesting sounds and themes, too, though, and I enjoyed listening to this EP.


I’d give this EP a solid 7/10. Synastry has a lot of attention for detail, adding keys and melodic guitar riffs to introduce interesting elements to otherwise full-steam-ahead groove metal songs. The themes are interesting and the delivery of both music and vocals is very good. It’ll be interesting to see what Synastry comes up with next. Here’s the title track.