Sirion – EP 2014
Sirion – EP (2014)
Reviewed by Daniel Millard
When it comes to melodic death metal, I’m a man of unabashedly narrow and picky taste, stemming from my roots in progressive rock and power metal. It takes a very specific formula to cater to my sensibilities, and more often than not, it means appealing to the same themes of speed and melody that drive my passion for power metal. In this respect, Los Angeles-based Sirion could not possibly be more on the mark with its brand of uptempo, searing melodic death metal, which calls to mind other favorites of mine in this style such as Norther, Euphoreon, and perhaps even a little Skyfire.
Actually, more than anything, I’d succinctly introduce Sirion as a more keyboard-focused, science-fiction-themed version of Kalmah, for a couple of reasons. While Biko Wright’s harsh vocals don’t compare too closely, they’re often doubled by guitar leads in a manner that reminds me very closely of the Finnish swampers’ knack for uncanny hooks. Both “Symmetrical” and “Earthmind” pronounce this songwriting behavior, while the latter pair of songs instead delve into other strengths.
“Interstellar” is definitely my favorite track, due to the sheer memorability of its chorus and the greatest prominence of Biko’s excellent and under-utilized (at least on this EP) clean vocals. While his roared vocals are apt, Wright boasts a vibrant clean tone that absolutely sets this song apart. Closer “Beyond The Depths” takes another unexpected path: a darker, nebulous grower of a song that brings a more technical approach to the table – including a djenty riff or two, used extremely well.
Let’s talk instrumentation – the guitar is almost universally uptempo, and the dual approach sticks very largely to melodic leads and embellishments. While there is no lack of rhythmic support, both guitar players have a hyperactive approach that makes their licks and ornamentations a constant point of attention throughout these four songs. And the keys! Blending into the band’s very modern, often extra-terrestrial approach, the additional layer added by synths on this EP is unequivocally priceless. See everything from the intro to “Symmetrical” to touches like the verse of “Beyond The Depths” for examples.
I have almost nothing to criticize about this EP. Classic death metal fogies won’t like it, but they’d be barking up the wrong tree in the first place. Fans of speedy melodic death will be right at home, however, and I imagine that Sirion will appeal to numerous fans of power metal and the emerging breed of modernized, science fiction-inspired metal as well. My only request for a full-length is more clean vocals, since Wright’s voice is the only great asset that Sirion is currently not taking full advantage of. Otherwise, this band is taking me on an unforgettable trip.
4.25 // 5