Sideburn - Evil or Divine
Swedish guys return with a doom metal master class
Not to be confused with the AC/DC-sounding Swiss band of the same name, these four guys bring you an album of expertly formed doom metal blended with progressive vibes, blues stomps stoner grooves, emotive song structures and moving lyrics. Evil or Divine, their fifth album, is a musical progression of epic proportions. With the seven tracks being between four and seven minutes in length they all absorb you into their various emotional musical landscapes.
Master and Slaves' deep throated riffs with echoed vocals smashes you in the chest like you have been hit by a truck. Melodic sections during the song are surrounded by crushing riffs that give the song a splendid doom metal dynamic. An excellent album opener.
There's even more riffs with prog-metal sections give Sea of Sins a modern metal feel but still with a doom metal undertone. With When Darkness Calls, as the title suggests, death is calling you. A throbbing bassline with layered emotional vocals leads you on a journey to the darkness which says your mine. The tempo rises as the track comes to the end which leaves you in no doubt that the Grim Reaper has nabbed your soul.
Seven minuter The Seer has throbbing riffs which drag the song along whilst the gypsy tells your fortune. Oh dear, you die. The track has an awesome atmospheric quality which totally envelopes you. Meanwhile, The Day the Sun Died could easily fit on the Sabbath boys 13 album: Sabbath influenced doom at its best. its eerie atmosphere, crunching riffs and power vocals do make you believe the sun is dead. Evil Ways is a straight ahead metal rocker, melody and power in a Nwobhm style.
The closer, Presence, took me by surprise however. With an acoustic intro and relaxing vocals, making you feel like you are tip-toeing through tulips, you are then flying through the Swedish mountains to the heavens. Epic! Heavy riffs increase with an emotional guitar solo entwined, which leads you to the end of your life, you are now at peace. It has a powerful sense of imagery. I don’t know if this track was written by the band for personal reasons but it is sure full of emotion and feeling.
Now don’t be put off by the amount of emotion on this album, it is heavy and loud. The band have blended the emotion and feeling expertly which leaves them having produced an excellent piece of metal music. There is variety, thundering riffs, thumping base and drums, powerful vocals (no growling), tempo changes and beautiful song structures. In my opinion this is their best album to date, respect is due.
Words: Brian 'Baldie' Mclean Twitter: @mclean428