Svengali, much like Randy Orton’s “RKO”, have come out of nowhere. Their debut EP “Unscathed” projected the band onto the scene, with as much crushing force as a carnival strongman, and their live game has been amped substantially. However, if there’s anything that makes Svengali a household band name, it’s their first full-length record, “Theory of Mind.” Musically, it’s leaps and bounds above their previous work, displaying a new musical maturity that’s sure to take the band higher than Snoop Dogg on a night out.
“Lucid” lures listeners in with so much ambience that you’d think that a Game of Thrones villain was maliciously planning their next back-stabbing, before launching into the fiery riffage of “Deny.” You can’t revel for too long though, as frontman Adnan Mryhij comes at you with a growl so raspy it’d make Smaug run for cover (describing him as a “beast” would be an understatement). Balanced out perfectly by atmospheric clean vox from guitarist Fadi Al Shami, “Deny” sets a brilliant tone for the rest of what promises to be one hell of record. “Floodgates” picks up the tempo, and in the process, amps up the thrash, and comes out like Lamb of God on TRT, whilst “Blindfolds” brilliantly executes the band’s signature groove, displaying an awesome combination of full-on fury and ambient tranquillity that has clearly become such a focus on this record. Possibly one of my favourite clean vocal lines comes from “Skinless” where Fadi is able to unleash the aggressive edge of his dulcet tones (if that makes sense!), displaying that a band so rooted in aggression aren’t afraid to get melodic when they have to!
“Inertia (Part 1)” is another standout, acting as a soothing fire-blanket to the outright assault from the opening 7 tracks, with an emphasis on doomy elements, especially when Al Shami’s melodious musings give way to Mryhij’s howls amidst the brilliant build from peaceful to ferocious. “Confined” allows Al Shami and fellow axe-meister JM Elias to tickle our ears with some more awesome riffs, whilst bassist Ali Square provides such a solid backing that you’d think he was half machine! This is followed by the monstrous breakdown of “Pray For Sanity”, allowing drummer Khalid Al-Temimi to take his foot off the pedal and keep heads bobbing at the same time, only amplified by some pretty slick sounding low, death-metal esque growls. “Resonate” rounds the record of in superb fashion, with some of the best lyrical stamps I’ve heard. You really can’t get more of a statement than “WE’RE TAKING OVER THE WORLD!” and “WE ARE THE FEARLESS ONES!”, over an awesome chugging riff and hypnotic guitar melody.
Honestly, this is one of the most original, and a result, one of the best things that I’ve listened to so far this year. Metal nowadays tends to be quite formulaic and boring (with notable exceptions obviously), and I cannot stress how invigorating it is to hear something fresh and exciting. Svengali have struck such an incredible balance between ambience and aggression, that they might as well be Dragonball Z’s Goku. In the right hands, “Theory of Mind” is sure to have the metal community quaking in their boots, waiting for Svengali to full-on dominate the metal world. I’m giving “Theory of Mind” a: “Theory of Mind” – 8.5/10 “Theory of Mind” is out MARCH 17th via Svengali’s bandcamp page, iTunes and Spotify