Good, but not excellent
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I first heard of Gridlock in some obscure label catalog, before the band was really making any waves. This duo was small, and had just released its debut album, The Synthetic Form, on Pendragon Records. Other than an odd cover (see for yourself), what distinguished this group from other electro acts? ...Not all that much, sadly. The Synthetic Form falls into the same trap that nearly all electro acts face: it's a Skinny Puppy clone. The off-kilter rhythms, booming beats, and even the distorted vocals echo the sound of the now-deceased, perpetually-malnourished hound. But strangely enough, Gridlock does a great job with the tribute/imitation. Whereas most bands fall flat on their faces with such attempts, Gridlock not only survives, but excels in this arena. If nothing else, the songs are original and catchy - but more than that, this album establishes Gridlock's trademark distorted percussion and frenetic drumming. It is that hint of potential that elevates The Synthetic Form over pure Puppy-clone. And for all of its general lack of originality, it's still a catchy and well-crafted album. Plus, all of its shortcomings can be forgiven when one considers that it preceded Further, an album that showed Gridlock could make an entirely original sound (and which is also one of my favorite releases from 1999 - but that's another story). So it's good, but largely derivative. And if you ever want a Puppy clone, you want [the only] one that does it well."
Dark, Eerie and Wonderful
(4 out of 5 stars)
"To step beyond the inevitable comparison to cEvin Key for a second, The Synthetic Form stands on is own merits next to any other album in the genre. The electro/industrial sound has a nice dark ambience running throughout the whole CD. In comparison to there other more trance/drum n' bass albums, this one has a more abrasive sound. A solid album and a must buy for any fan of the genre."