Syrek – Story

Spread the metal:

Reviewed: December, 2021
Released: 2021, Self Released
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Erich

Syrek is the project of American guitarist Terry Syrek and STORY is his new album that will be released on December 21. Syrek recruited musicians from around the world to help execute his vision for STORY. That vision is a concept album that tells the story of two creatures that embark on an epic adventure and is narrated by Hollywood actor Keith Szarabajka (Supernatural, Dark Knight, We Were Soldiers). Outside of the narration, the story is conveyed entirely through instrumental songs alone.

Syrek is one of the most gifted guitarists I have heard. Though unknown outside of the prog and shred metal world, he has performed with diverse artists like Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Paul Gilbert, Marty Friedman and others. I am a progressive metal fan but not an obsessive. I usually seek refuge in progressive metal when I need to retreat after saturating myself with other subgenres of metal. STORY is unabashedly composed for the obsessive prog metal fan and fellow guitar shredders and musicians. Drummer Marco Minnemann said about the new album, “It’s like going to the gym and doing math at the same time.”

Credit the band for knowing who their audience is and composing an album that focuses on those specific fans. Casual prog fans might find some enjoyment here as well, but STORY is designed for the fan that is willing to invest the time to absorb and assimilate the complexity of the music within STORY. While there is plenty of shred and virtuoso performances from all involved, it is the brief passages of sheer beauty interspersed throughout the album that kept me listening and waiting for more. One is during the middle of “Balloon Ride Over a Jigsaw Map.” “What The Owl Said” and “Dandelion Sword” provide some more, with a bit more texture and less note dense slide-rule defying shifts and changes.

The style of the music borrows heavily from the Dream Theater/Fates Warning template, with notable elements of Satriani and Gilbert. The album, with brief respites, is a non-stop tour de force of technical guitar shredding and intense complexity. The mix is a masterwork of tonal balance and sterling clarity from prog world guru Rich Mouser. Despite the otherworldly performances and sonic splendor, STORY breaks no new ground. The album challenges all but the most dedicated listener to be able distinguish different songs from each other on an album that runs over an hour long. Syrek himself said the intent was not to sacrifice compositions for the sake of technique, but despite best intentions that is precisely what has happened. STORY, like so many shred albums, left me feeling amazed at the godly technique on display, and baffled that all this assembled talent were incapable of composing even one resonating and memorable song. Ultimately, STORY is an album with parts that are greater than the sum and there are enough of them sprinkled throughout to make this a worthy and enjoyable listen.  Committed progressive metal fans and lovers of guitar for guitar’s sake should find that STORY contains enough sustenance to carry you well into next year.


Track Listing:

1) Magic Lantern (Into the Woods)
2) I Think It’s a Monster
3) Balloon Ride Over a Jigsaw Map
4) I Got a Lightning Bug
5) What the Owl Said
6) Starcrowned
7) The Perilous Flight From Castle Abathria
8) Strange Machine
9) Dandelion Sword
10) Gnomus Maleficus (Tea With the Angry Gnome)
11) Promenade Into the End
12) The End
13) Home (Out of the Woods)


Terry Syrek: Guitars
Marco Minnemann: Drums
Bryan Beller: Bass
Mohini Dey: Bass
Lalle Larsson: Keys
Florian Cristea: Violin