The politically charged and socially conscious tone of their debut full-length album, ' Of Patriots and Tyrants ', is Cassandra Syndrome's homage to their namesake. Cassandra, the famed seeress who foresaw the fall of Troy, was cursed by the God Apollo so that no one would believe her cautionary visions. To have Cassandra Syndrome is to share Cassandra's fate—to see a dark future yet be unable to convince others of the truth.
The dark, heavy hammer laid down by Chris Kackley on guitar, Joe Cariola on bass and Jay Jericho on drums sets the stage for this intimate theater of darkness and seduction. However, it was the sinister aria of Irene Jericho which inspired renowned mixing engineer Tim Greencorn (Feist, the Stars) to take on the project.
In a desperate attempt to break Cassandra's curse, Cassandra Syndrome has created a passionate plea with 'Of Patriots and Tyrants' that all fans of unique, inspired music should heed.
::|Praise for 'Of Patriots and Tyrants'|::
[Cassandra Syndrome] takes the music into some new directions... metal, with a first rate female soprano driving the train…she seems to have the ability to switch between delivery alternatives in the mode of a Helena Iren Michaelsen and to a similarly enticing effect…the music is essentially a wonderful vocal flowing over a guitar / drum base… The guitar work is a solid traditional heavy axe, one that flows in the grand tradition of that American art form. It occasionally goes to lighter moments and interacts well with the rhythm section provided by the bass and the drums… However, it's mainly traditional American guitar driven metal with the lovely vocals doing the story telling. But, with Cassandra Syndrome, it's the story telling that is at the forefront, once you get past the beautiful vocal doing the telling. Cassandra Syndrome looks at the world and doesn't really like much of what it's seeing. A world sick in the physical sense, and blind in the literal sense. Oceans in peril, climate on the brink, war as a socially acceptable art form and the largest and most powerful society on the planet largely blind to the disaster on its door step. These are the themes in Of Patriots and Tyrants, and thank god someone is talking about it...addresses a number of topics ranging from environmental concerns to wars of choice... Cassandra is a metal based call to arms; a plea to recognize that life is fragile and that the earth that supports it must be nurtured. The guitars thunder as an earthly cry to listen, a warning to heed… Of Patriots and Tyrants is not your customary Gothic theme. Where Nightwish, Therion and the Morton Veland bands address the mystery of the eternal and remind us that our short mortal existence is but a flicker in eternity, Cassandra reminds us that that flicker may be all we have. Until we take that path beyond the veil, we are still in this mortal reality and what we do here is important. The name Cassandra is, of course, taken from the Trojan seeress who prophesized the fall of her beloved city but whose warnings were ignored. Let's hope that this version gets a better review from the locals, and a better result. -- Dr. T, Sonic Cathedral
"[Irene's] voice swoops and soars admirably...Kackley lays down some serious solos throughout the album, with the aforementioned "Burning" featuring one of his most elaborate. He and Cariola are the driving force behind the dark, angry undertone that permeates Of Patriots and Tyrants...Bottom line - Of Patriots and Tyrants is a good, interesting album with thought-provoking lyrics. The band displays plenty of variation throughout the disc, from the heavy "Phoenix" to the acoustic folk ballad "Wild". Irene provides significant vocal and visual charm to compliment Cassandra Syndrome's heated musical edginess..." -- Harvest Moon Music
"Many people like to dismiss the metal genre as being nothing more than a cacophony of noisy guitars, pounding drums, and wretched screaming that is created and enjoyed only by devil worshippers and angry teenagers. Of course, metal is like any other genre of music, full of various subgenres and chockfull of people who are capable of exhibiting a remarkable level of musical skill. Hailing from Frederick, MD, Cassandra Syndrome opt for the more gothic route of metal, with Irene Jericho displaying her vocal prowess through layers of operatic melodies and harmonies that complement the band's restrained yet energetic style of metal that owes to the likes of Nightwish and Streams of Passion. Right from the fluttering tones of "Phoenix" to the soaring choruses of "Mirror Mirror" and especially "Burning," Irene's voice is but the most noticeable and upfront aspect of the band's overall talent. With Chris Kackley churning out his progressions of crunchy guitars and Joe Cariola ably backing with subtly smooth bass lines, the music is loud and raucous as any metal group, but with a command of structure and melody that keeps it from descending into convention or aimless noise. The pair even provides the occasional backup vocal accompaniment to give songs like "PTSD" and "What We Sow" an added dimension of heavy metal power, though without resorting to gratuitous growling or grunting. Worthy of mention are the percussion and drum lines of Jay Jericho, for instead of a standard drum kit, his instrument of choice is the Zendrum, a module of drum pads that simply need to be seen to be believed; in the live environment, they sound as close to the real thing as electronic drums can get. Of course, on record, they sound just as realistic to provide a marvelously organic rhythm section." -- Ilker Yücel, ReGen Magazine
"This American combo is definitely different in style…[s]oprano Irene Jericho adds a rather classical touch to the composition …totally different than what we've been used to hear from bands like Within Temptation or Leaves Eyes…“What We Sow” and “Burning”, being definitely two highlights. Cassandra Syndrome is miles away from the average gothic formation and that's definitely their best exponent". -- Side-Line.com
"This album presents a dark and mystical theatre with heavy guitar and bass, hammer hitting drums and vocals which draw you into an angelic seduction." -- Kindra RavenMoon, Brutalism
"I am [reviewing ‘Of Patriots and Tyrants'] not just because the band truly deserves some recognition, but because I want to promote environmental consciousness as a lyrical theme…Cassandra Syndrome has validated their choice of theme through the necessary "metalness" of their texts (e.g. the pointing of fingers, provocation, strong emotions and, of course, apocalypse/death and destruction). As a bonus, Irene Jericho manages to do what Tarja Turunen never did: do classical vocals well and to put them to good use…if you're into Within Temptation 's 'Mother Earth' then know that 'Of Patriots and Tyrants' follows this very vein and it is clear that the band has accomplished a solid identity of their own despite doing so. I also hope that other musicians take some notice of this release and get some inspiration on how to wrap environmental issues in a very metal casing". -- Arnstein H. Pettersen, Doom-Metal.com
"The showpiece here is Irene Jericho's lush soprano voice, which is contrasted by straightforward percussion, heavy guitar work, and resounding bass licks. Lyrically, the band laments that humanity is so apathetic toward the destruction of the environment and hence the future. Standout tracks include “What We Sow” (great bass work), “PTSD” (heavy and harsh) and “Skadi's Touch” (good guitar work)." -- Octavio Ramos Jr., Explicitly Intense
By R. Hamilton (Ashburn, VA USA)
Operatic/gothic metal are becoming more and more popular in the United States - Lacuna Coil, Within Temptation, and Epica are just a few examples of the explosion. Cassandra Syndrome has roared in this genre from Maryland, adding their musicianship and unique sound to the fray and doing a damn good job of standing apart. Where other operatic metal groups often go the symphonic route, Cassanda Syndrome sticks to the basics of the genre without sacrificing melody. While Irene Jericho's classic soprano weaves its own spell, Chris Kackley's searing guitar work and Joe Cariola's hammer of a bass remind us that this is a METAL band (insert gratuitous headbanging here). Jay Jericho's intricate drumwork drives the point home in fine style.
This concentration on the heavy side of metal serves to emphasize the band's hard-hitting message. Politics, environmentalism, racism, and spirituality all make a show in the lyrics, reminding the listener that all is not well in the Land of Opportunity. Particularly en pointe is the track titled "PTSD;" with lyrics co-written by Irene Jericho and Joe Cariola (former Marine and Ranger, respectively), it is a chilling anthem for all those who have returned from war to face inefficient, ineffective, and substandard treatment for not only their physical wounds, but the mental ones as well.
With their 2007 demo, "Dissent into Heresy," they were a band to watch. With the release of "Of Patriots and Tyrants," Cassandra Syndrome has become a force to be reckoned with. Look out, world; this is a band not to be missed, 'cause they're sure as hell not going to miss you.
By Benjamin D. Schuman "All-Around Smart Guy" (Baltimore, MD USA)
Yes, the music will make you bang your head. Yes, the riffs of guitarist Chris Kackley and bassist Joe Cariola are massive and mighty and awesome. Yes, Jay Jericho's Zendrum combines the driving rush of metal with a tinge of electronica. And yes, Irene Jericho's vocals are a wonder - at once ethereal, at once snarling, alternatively plaintive and accusatory. But it's the message that elevates Cassandra Syndrome above its genre. Like its namesake, the seeress doomed to be ignored, Cassandra Syndrome warns of society's fall to a society that won't listen - the dangers of unjust war and the perils of ignoring an environment in crisis. ("Why are we so blind?" is the refrain of the track "Cassandra".) But, unlike its namesake, Cassandra Syndrome compels us to listen -- ensnares us in driving riffs and soaring melodic lines so that we cannot turn away. Far from preachy or condescending, the lyrics express anger at a good world gone bad through ignorance and apathy, and the music supports this anger as only metal can. The fact that three of the four members (at the time -- guitarist Katie Doherty has since joined) come from military backgrounds shows that the members of Cassandra Syndrome are not simply complainers or armchair protesters, but are people who can and have stood up for what they believe to be right, and work towards *changing* the world. Heavy stuff for a metal band? Perhaps. But on the other hand, you will walk around singing the tunes, and you will play air guitar along with your favorite parts - it's impossible not to. Great music, and thought provoking lyrics. Buy this album, seriously.
By Melly P. "SakuraMama" (Ashburn,VA USA)
Beautiful vocals, deep lyrics that get you thinking and catchy tunes that will stay in your head all day. Cassandra Syndrome is defiantly on the climb to fame.
By Cherif W. Oubouzar (Ashburn, VA United States)
This album is how I've always envisioned Operatic Dark Metal. A format woefully rare in today's american music scene. Between the scorching guitar of the very talented Chris Kackley, the wonderfully audible and mean, driving base in the massive hands of Joe Cariola, the nigh impossible sounding Zendrum drumming of Jay Jericho and topped off with the soaring, classically trained soprano of Irene Jericho you get a heady mix. As with most anything, the proof is in the pudding... with the flash of the gorgeous and talented lead singer, The virtuosity of of all the members... the music has substance, richness and a message to warm the cockles of the disaffected and the tree huggers within many of us. So many facets missing from today's american music scene...tuneful music with solid lyrics and an actual message with a heart and soul. In the few months I've had this album I've almost worn the CD thin. This is good solid music.