Creating a concept album can be a challenging endeavor as it requires adhering to strictly set, self-defined guidelines that form the shape of the message or story being told. In order to fully engage the listener, the artist needs to embody the mindset of an author to help guide them on the journey being described. Expanding this concept across multiple records while maintaining a semblance of cohesiveness raises the bar that much higher, and that is the task alternative metal outfit Gemini Syndrome set upon themselves with their debut album Lux. Announced as a trilogy, the record was only the beginning and represented the ideologies surrounding birth. In June, the direct successor to Lux was unveiled with their new album, Memento Mori, which serves as a reminder of life. Not only being the band’s sophomore record while also containing a direct connection to their debut as a part of an overarching trilogy has left hopes for the record high, but does it match up the aspirations set upon it or fall flat, lacking an identity?
For those unfamiliar with the sound Gemini Syndrome output, it lies somewhere between hard rock and alternative metal with influences from a multitude of bands in both genres, which would leave one to believe it sounds rather bland. While partly true, their debut album showcased the band as a whole has the chops to write an intense and deeply thought out concept album in a catchy, memorable way, even if it lacked a lot of uniqueness. That process continued over to Memento Mori as the songs stay true to the subject matter at hand, both lyrically and sonically as found right away in the lead single “Anonymous” and its message being a direct response to the war on mental freedom. This concept of freedom, along with others such as cultural oppression and social division help each track connect to one another creating a flow thematically which allows the band to get the main message of the record across – which is to serve as a reminder of life.
Remember We Die Lyrics: Can you lend me a hand? Can you help me to see? Can you reconcile this war inside of me? Time is slipping away and I don’t seem to mind. I’m missing something that I can’t seem to define.
Musically, Memento Mori is on a slightly different plane in comparison to Lux. With the latter record, there was a heavier approach within the vocal delivery and a larger use of screams and growls, while this record tends to take a calmer approach utilizing more singing. This helps the album come across with a more melodically driven sound, utilizing massively catchy choruses as found in “Remember We Die”, “On Point” or “Sorry Not Sorry”. Additionally, there are moments that provide a sense of atmosphere as found within the interludes, “La Devastante Verita” & “Lucido Somnium”, which bring forth a haunting and somber style. These moments are few and far between though, due to the instrumental side lacking anything groundbreaking. The guitars have heft and a crunchiness to them that help make the sound “bigger” while the drumming serves as the rhythmic bassline with its double bass and crashing symbols which helps the record come across a bit crisper, more melodic and harmonious than a typical alternative metal affair. That being said, it doesn’t do much else to distance itself from the pack.
Conceptually, this is a unique record as Gemini Syndrome truly harken on subject matter they not only want to discuss, but deeply care about. They also do it in a way that isn’t shown through negativity, but rather push forward the positive vibes and elements from it, such as how “Alive Inside” pertains to using the power of one’s own life to contribute to everyone’s life. However, a concept can only carry the unique aspect so far and when it comes down to the overall composition and sound, it falls short of providing a great deal of freshness. Yes, fans of the band and the genre should be pleased as it is an album that continues to rock the massive sound and catchy choruses found on Lux, but ultimately Memento Mori still lacks a true identity.