@ Newcastle O2 Academy, November 30 2010

After a few years away from the UK, Sonic Syndicate return with a new singer in Englishman Nathan J Biggs.  If there were any doubts about the new setup, the Swedes smashed them with a sublime performance.

Under The Gun gave a slow start to the night, offering a rocky set with nothing to distinguish them from average mediocrity.  For the best part the solos felt forced, lacking the extra skill involved in welding melody with speed.

Fortunately, Blowsight provided something entirely different.  They may be fit for any hair wax advertisement, but look past the flashy cuts and there’s a pop metal enigma bursting with charisma. Bandit For Life gave front-man Nick Red the chance to whip up even more of a storm without rhythm guitar in hand, as if the crowd needed any further provocation to erupt.  Poker Face isn’t the most common of covers you’ll hear on a metal or rock stage, but credit had to be given to what was a fantastic re-invention of the Lady Gaga tune.

From beginning to end, both the crowd and Sonic Syndicate were relentlessly energetic.  With Beauty And The Freak striking a straight-up shivering chorus, it’s difficult to avoid the captivating emotional a-bomb that the song held.

Regardless of the potential anxiety toward an unconventional setup of two frontmen, the double setup is a well balanced success.  Richard Sjunesson’s screams overlap with Biggs’ clean harmonious style to great effect.  With the latter at the forefront of the alluring ensemble, there was an electric atmosphere that you felt was crafted by his eagerness and zesty stage banter.

Expecting no less, Sonic Syndicate didn’t have much to do to have the circle pit enthusiast completely satisfied in a messy moshing mayhem.  My Own Life may have separated the set with its considerably slower nature, but it felt like a separation that only allowed the masses to gather themselves for a further onslaught.

Chock with viscous and brutalised metalcore breaks with a juvenile tendency to suddenly fly into faster sections, Jack Of Diamonds was a standout track. But just when many thought the icing had just been laid, Sonic Syndicate continued on to produce an epic set.

Finishing with a segment of We Rule The Night couldn’t have been more apt. They undeniably ruled this night.

Calum Robson