You know that kind of metal – the kind that takes you
away to a distant place with nothing fancy, no pyrotechnics, keyboards or anything like that – just the way the riffs are written and the way the music’s played?
It’s got to be the best kind. We all know what it’s like to have nothing more than soaring vocals and strident riffs in your walkman.
Since their last album, Sirocco have developed richly, and have now learned to tap exactly this rich seam of true, epic metal. In it’s new simplicty – very much a back to basics approach – they’ve found realy power.
They’re a band that was always melodically strong. Indeed it’s been something of a calling card for them. They’ve really built upon that with this release however.
Telling the tale of the Viking attack on Ireland’s ancient isle of Lambay, it’s a brooding and mournful collection of songs that bring the story to life.
What’s most impressive about it is the spaciousness of the sound. These songs are never rushed, never hassled sounding – never driving somewhere at a pace they shouldn’t be. In fact, these tracks are brilliantly reserved, in their own way. ]
‘Fallow Unearth’ shows this well. Its windy, mid paced delivery gives way to the occasional gallop, while the vocals wend their way over the top of it. Never pushed, never trying to be something its not. Just really great metal.
‘Maelsuthain’ has the same quality. With an opening that recalls Paradise Lost and Solstice, it speaks immediately of cliffs and shores far away, before bringing a well realised celtic feel back into things. A beautiful pre-chorus sets it all off with some intelligently placed melodies far from the standard fare and demonstrating once again the competence of the band.
It’s the story of the whole album, and credit has to go to singer Ciaran O’ Cearuill for bringing it all to vivid life with a great performance.
They’ve really crafted this: it’s understated, quietly confident in its ability to tell the story through the distant, dreamy mood even among some seriously powerful riffs.
Quite a gift, for a band, I’d say, and one of the standout Irish releases of 2012 without doubt.
4.4 / 5 – Earl Grey ::: 15/11/12