Monday 29 June 2015

Sideburn - 'Evil or Divine' (Album Review)

‘Their genuine, honest musicality offers diversity backed by superb talent’

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 09/06/2015
Label: Metalville Records

‘Evil or Divine’ CD//DD//LP track Listing

1). Masters and Slaves
2). Sea of Sins
3). When Darkness Calls
4). The Seer (Angel of Death)
5). The Day The Sun Died
6). Evil Ways
7). Presence

Sideburn is:

Morgan Zocek | Guitar, Background vocals
Dimitri Keiski | Lead vocals, Guitar
Martin Karlsson | Bass, Organ, Background vocals
Fredrik Haake | Drums, Percussion


Sweden; the world third biggest exporter of music after the US and the UK is a fertile ground for great musicians and Sideburn are living, breathing and damn right rocking proof of this. Blending melodic doom metal, a dash of classic rock and a bong full of stoner vibes with aplomb has created their 5th album ‘Evil or Divine’ (Homage to Dio anyone?).  From the first grunge infused riff in ‘Masters and Slaves’ I was hooked, already on my review hit list the urge to listen to the album in its entirety was compounded when Morgan sent me a link to ‘Sea of Sins’. Thankfully, for my aural leanings, my hunch paid off; the riffs were a’building; the sludge getting heavier; the guitar play hitting epic status and all before song 3 began. Oooh, I am in love.

‘Masters and Slaves’ is a superb offering and a seemingly gentle introduction, there is just enough classic rock vibe here to appeal to the 70’s rock freak in us all without aping the greats. Veering off piste, they add that extra kick of groove; surrounded by the smooth gravel flecked tones, Dimitri on vocals harnessing his inner Sabbath, it is a perfect start.Sea of Sins’ follows; the intro- immediate thumping drums surrounding by a perfectly timed groove flecked riff that is undoubtedly ear porn. Once more the dense vocals of Dimitri kick in with superb timing as he sings his heart out on this increased tempo number all surrounded with some insane riffage. Just, yes.

‘When Darkness Calls’ is decidedly more sludge filled than the previous 2 offerings, the stoner vibe oozes its way out of the speakers, subtle in its presentation yet in no way lacking, it is a superb display of talent. Sending chills up the spine, the vocals heart wrenching, simple, overflowing with emotion as the soul, the tortured victim, is bared, naked and bleeding. Jazzed up towards the end with epic guitar screams; the strings are played to within an inch of their lives howling in their misery they go on to end with a flourish.

‘The Seer (Angel of Death)’, can we say groove? Slap a bit of doom tinged boogie in there and you are close to what this is. With a Maiden meets Sabbath vibe- the persistent drums thrumming away in the background, the heavy whining guitar work; it just works.  ‘The Day The Sun Died’ is haunting from the start, this sends a chill down the spine, touching on the bands earlier work, the doom and gloom vibe this emits is fitting of the title. Mournful and Melancholic it gouges out the senses replacing all thought, feeling and emotion with black swirling apathy.

‘Evil Ways’ again moving to the up tempo, keeping the listener on their toes, changing the pace and ensuring comfort is kept at bay. Touching on the classic rock once more this shifts the mood once more. Dimitri once more singing his arse off, offering the odd scream, whilst the guitar/drum/bass background snuggle up to offer a stonking backing track. Two thirds of the way through there is an epic amount of guitar pyrotechnics that will leave one hankering for more.

‘Presence’ is the final offering on this album and it comes all too soon, to begin; so soft and melodic, the gentle metallic squeal of guitar strings alongside the easy flowing almost new age drum work, sets the scene for a heart wrenching finale. Quickly upping the ante the track moves to heavy, to floating peaceful and calm then to doomy, all within a heartbeat. An epic 7 minute journey that leaves you on a high and with a backing beat engrained on your soul, one that is not easily replaced.

Their genuine, honest musicality offers diversity backed by superb talent, Sideburn manages to produce a cohesive, sonic, groove filled journey of an album. Gliding from groovy to heavy with immense amounts of power and sludge tinged Easter eggs, this album is a fantastic effort. It brings a new taste with each song, blends numerous genres and displays some epic talent; an album that has to be listened too, repeatedly.

Words by: Kat Hilton

‘Evil or Divine’ is available now

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