Chuck Schuldiner Project

Friday, June 15, 2012


Here's a big, tenuous statement: Sirens is the most novel, metal act I've ever heard on several levels. Sirens is both novel in the "fresh, new" sense of the term, and the "outlandish, unusual" sense of the term.

I suppose Sirens' styles and texture aren't as peculiar as any of the number of bands that work bluegrass / southern rock into death metal / grind, because the textures and styles seem to work pretty well together. What makes Sirens' so unusual is their decision to introduce Skrillex like sounds into metal songs. Where a quick bluegrass bit on an acoustic guitar sticks with tangible instruments which require a certain degree of technical prowess, synthesizers embody principles which many people feel to directly oppose the metal genre as a whole. In this regard, Sirens produces some of the most principally unusual metal I have ever heard.

I'm going to expand a bit on the conflict between electronic music and metal. The obvious reason for the conflict is that metal is based so much on technical proficiency and raw sonic violence, and electronic music is so planned out and anyone with a computer and a decent DAW can start producing music. However, I think that the styles actually work together pretty well. Even paying no attention to the textures and sounds common in electronic music, electronic music represents the perfect and exact replication of an idea in sound. As processed and inorganic as electronic music is, the artist himself controls every minute detail of a song, putting tools like autotune to use not as corrective measures, but as instruments themselves. In a sense, electronic music is just as much a raw expression of an artists feelings or musical tendencies as metal should be (there's always exceptions). More importantly though, modern electronic music tends to be fast and heavy with plenty of "ugly" noises stitched together to form a coherent song. Really, it was only a matter of time until someone mixed the two genres.

"But wait" you say "haven't there been plenty of prog bands that have accomplished this before?" And I would agree that yes, there have been bands that used some synthesizers, but never to the extent that Sirens uses electronic music elements.

While I really can't commend Sirens enough for their risky, original use of electronic bits in a metal song, there are a couple of things about Sirens' music that throws me off. First of all, I figured I should acknowledge that Sirens is sort of a "core" band. Personally, I don't have an issue with the "core" aspect of Sirens' music because my frustration with these bands has more to do with a lack of novelty (an issue with Sirens clearly does not suffer from) than the style itself. However, for a metal purist, I doubt anything will be nearly as offensive as a metal / deathcore band that uses electronic bass drops and heavy house type synths (maybe I'm wrong). Second, and more important to me personally, is that some of the bass drops and samples aren't integrated into the song very smoothly.

Also worth mentioning, Sirens production is (reasonably) quite good. At times the sound is a bit crowded and the drums are sometimes masked a bit by the guitar, but the presence of a band member obviously fairly well trained with his DAW of choice puts Sirens ahead of your average underground band where recording quality is concerned.

I don't feel the urge to address the performance of each individual instrument in this review. Regardless of how well any individual musician plays his instrument, Sirens is going to be just as interesting, and just as worthy of a listen. Even if the thought of heavily electronically influenced music doesn't appeal to you, I would suggest you check out their facebook page anyway. Even if you don't care for the music, there are plenty of links to other unsigned bands that are definitely worth a listen.

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