Tampa, Florida in the mid 1990´s US metalheads Jeryd Syn released their first album on cassette only in 1994 and continued on with a debut CD called The Hidden Side in 1996. These two albums have now been re-mastered and reissued on CD by German label Battle Cry Records. The first self-titled album was released in 1994 and the line-up featured vocalist Buck Trick, guitar player Whit Udo and bass player Mike Barrie and drummer Todd Yoakum. Jeryd Syn switched rhythm sections before financing, recording and releasing the second album titled The Hidden Side on their own. The bass was now handled by Brad Davis and behind the drum kit sat Jeffrey Claus.
The Hidden Side and Self-titled CD:
Both of the albums contain some kind of heavy metal, but I do not really know how to describe it. I have spun both CD’s a couple of times and I think the music on these two discs show a band that lack the ability to write a decent heavy metal tune. Buck Trick sings, moans, groans and screams randomly. The rest of the band sounds like a doomy metal band on crack creating a wall of noise that gives me a headache after listening to a couple of songs. The faster songs generally lack any kind of melodic content and have Trick screaming relentlessly. There is no basic idea, no melody to carry the songs forward and everything is out of tune. First time I spun The Hidden Side I actually did not now how I was going to endure listening to the whole album through. 50 minutes of total chaos and undefined noise push me to the border of self-destruction and make me scream out of anxiety like a student before an exam. The other times I knew what was coming my way! There is hardly one memorable hook or riff on both these CD´s. The self-titled album is not quite as horrible as The Hidden Side but has a worse production and sound quality. The vocals are slightly more endurable on the debut album. I was really disappointed when I first put these discs into my CD player because Battle Cry Records usually means high-quality reissues (with the odd exception of the second Scene X-Dream CD wich was horrible) but this must be the two worst CD’s in their entire catalogue. The CD’s are a joint release with Metalizer Records.
The songs just reek of monotony and with a singer that cannot sing there is no way forward. This is just a heap of random riffs combined with some kind of rhythmic shouting that really do not fit together at all. The production on The Hidden Side is below par and the guitar sounds like a dentist’s drill most of the time. The only part of The Hidden Side that is listenable is the acoustic song “Where The Red Rocks Grow”. That is corrected immediately with the closing track and the spoken word song “A Moment In Syn” which is a waste of space and a total car crash. I could go on for ages ranting about this, but I will stop here. Jeryd Syn is a band that should never have left the garage where they started out. This unmelodic, untight wall of sound and random screams only make me look for the “off button” and I start wondering what CD I have to plug into the CD player next to set my head straight after this beating.
So what about the re-issue work put into these two re-releases? The artwork has been re-worked for both albums with the colour being removed from The Hidden Side‘s original cover- why I do not know. I do not think it is in favour of the re-issue. Personally, I always prefer using the original artwork if it is not completely horrible and for the debut album it has been completely re-worked which is a better cover than the one on the cassette. The covers are a bit of a mishap as well with none of them being especially nice. The booklet only has four pages and there are no lyrics reprinted for example. I do not know if they were reprinted on the original issue, but it would certainly have been nice to have them here given that it is impossible to hear what Trick is screaming a lot of the time. Here it would have been nice to have a proper booklet for these kinds of reissues and some band info. Compared to what many other metal reissues offer today both reissues are very scarce on info.
I have been listening to heavy metal for 30 odd years and love everything from traditional heavy metal to thrash metal. Jeryd Syn is a band that in my opinion did not have the songs, the talent nor the ability to write good enough music to get signed. The story should have ended there, but it did not. It is not that they are plagiarizing and sounding like another band. Why? It is just that nobody else would want to sound like this. Sometimes attitude, aggression and heaviness can easily make up for not putting emphasis on writing memorable songs but Jeryd Syn fail completely on both accounts. The only use I can make out of these two discs is that if you are a teenager and want to make your parents leave the house in a panic – just crank it up! The packaging also leaves a lot to be desired and I really hope that the nice guys at Battle Cry Records are not becoming desperate to find albums to reissue. Some albums should have stayed buried and these are definitely two of them! I would give the self-titled album 2/10 geeks and The Hidden Side 1/10 geeks. If you are into music made up by industrial slammer and random screams then these CD’s might be for you. My advice is to stay away!