Sunday 24 February 2013

Sideburn - IV Monument (Album Review)

Album Type : Full Length
Date Released : 03/10/2012
Label : Transubstans
IV Monument, album tracklisting
1) Diamonds 6:04
2) Fire and Water 6:09
3) Tomorrows Dream 4:07
4) Crossing The Lines 6:25
5) The Last Day 7:05
6) Silverwing 7:27
7) The Saviour 6:52
8) Bring Down The Rain 5:11
9) Monument 7:44
SIDEBURN is a Classic hardrock/Doom/Blues/Progressive/Stoner band out of Stockholm SWEDEN
Morgan Zocek - Guitar, Background vocals
Jani Kataja - Lead vocals, Guitar
Martin Karlsson - Bass, Organ, Background vocals
Fredrik Haake - Drums, Percussion
Although this is the first time I’ve come across them, Sideburn have actually been around since 1998, and since then have released a number of demos/singles, and four full-length albums, of which 2012s ‘IV Monument’ is the most recent. The album combines a powerful stoner metal sound reminiscent of bands like Black Label Society and Godsized with a beautiful touch of progressive influence from prominent 1970s bands like Uriah Heep and Wishbone Ash. This creates a very interesting and original take on the traditional stoner sound, which is especially recommended for fans of Mastodon, Black Label Society and Baroness.
In ‘IV Monument’, Sideburn explore various different parts of their extensive genre, from the energetic groove of tracks like ‘Diamonds’, the album opener, and ‘Tomorrow’s Dream’, to the slower, doom-influenced riffage of ‘The Last Day’ and ‘The Saviour’. The band even venture into more peaceful territory that fans of fellow Swedes Graveyard will definitely appreciate in ‘Crossing The Lines’. Production throughout the album is tight, crisp and generally excellent.
A progressive edge to song writing definitely proves to be a good thing for Sideburn, as, despite an abundance of crushingly heavy riffs, they seem to have gone out of their way to avoid any of the dull, repetitive breakdowns that modern bands seem to resort to all too often. Having said this, I find myself wishing that Sideburn’s guitarists would take a similarly progressive attitude towards their solos, which, despite a few notable exceptions, are a little too predictable for my tastes. Equally, while vocalist Jani Kataja has a supremely powerful voice that rings out monolithically above heavier tracks, its weakness is exposed by quieter tracks like the beautiful, grunge-influenced ‘Silverwing’.
Having said this, ‘IV Monument’ comes highly recommended from me. Sideburn have managed to artfully combine stoner rock with prog, maintaining the balls of the former, and the fragile beauty of the latter, to create something that is truly original.
Words by: Tal Fineman
Check the links for more info on the bands here. Record is available to buy here and DD at the usual places.  Thanks to Morgan Zocek of Sideburn for hooking us up with this record.