City of Souls’ Synaesthesia is the new independent album exploring change, grief, love, hope and everything else that comes with human connections. As a wonderful consequence of honest song-writing and ambitious musicianship, this loved New Zealand band have created an album you can feel and see as well as hear, thus aptly named Synaesthesia.
Guitarists Steve Boag and Trajan Schwencke formed City of Souls in 2015. Then guitarist Marcus Powell, bassist Daniel Insley, drummer Corey Friedlander and vocalist Richie Simpson all joined, completing the perfect line-up for a band that shows ingenuity, heart and honesty within all their music.
Deep and droning instrumentals and vocals create addictive sounds that act as a perfect catharsis for thoughtful listeners. With powerful intensity and earth-shattering vocals from Simpson, this explosive sixteen track progressive rock and metal album begins with the strong and welcoming Life Blood.
Their single Shimmer released in 2020 stands out in the album, with Simpson’s striking higher vocal range abilities. This song is an emotional track based on real life memories and the sadness that comes with losing someone close. Simpson tells us this track is a “promise to honour her memory” and is about hope and faith for a brighter future.
With a snarling burst of energy, City of Souls continues a tumultuous journey with us in Cruelty, playing around with some vivid imagery and disturbingly dark descriptions seen in “You’re still out on the streets right in the distance…” Water is one of the most memorable songs, starting softly before leading into a heavy midpoint. It lands around the middle of the album and is a great segue into the last section.
LWTUA (‘Love will tear us apart’) is the thirteenth track and very easy to sing along to. It is a definite highlight with its catchy chorus and a unique anthem about the trials and addictive feelings that arise in tumultuous relationships.
Long Gone and Tying Tongues are melancholic tracks with City of Souls signature heavier ending. The bands penchant for thoughtful lyrics and seamless combinations of melodic and harsh guitar rhythms are showcased.
These Kiwi alternative rockers gift us with a detailed and brooding instrumental song in the album’s title track Synaesthesia. The cloudy pastel and dark coloured album cover encompass the atmosphere and tone of this track, injecting one final bit of intrigue as we reach the albums end.
Consistently emotive and simultaneously heavy – this record drives home the fact that City of Souls is evolving and rapidly rising as a successful band not only in New Zealand, but being recognised around the world. For a refreshing new mix of important progressive rock songs to add to your favourite’s playlist, listen to Synaesthesia, out May 1st.
Album Review By Zara Zampaglione