06 Sep 2021 - Pat O'
Stoner-Rock/Post-Rock | Tonzonen Records | Release date: 17 Sep 2021
The brilliantly original and exciting German trio Glasgow Coma Scale have returned after five years out of the spotlight. Sirens takes the band to the next level with some pulsating Post-Rock married with their own unique blend of Stoner and Desert influences. It’s bursting with attitude, power and melody. Let’s check it out!.
It’s hard to believe that it’s almost five years since Glasgow Coma Scale released the ground-breaking Enter Oblivion. It was an album that gave you an instant feel-good vibe with its funky riffs and groovy hooks all smothered in psychedelic exuberance. For me, It was the soundtrack to the summer of 2017. The tracks were constantly blasted through my car speakers as I spent many hours travelling west along the wild Atlantic way, taking in all the natural rugged beauty that opened before me. Tracks like “Sonda”” and “Venice Calling” gave the trip that sense of freedom and liberation as I meandered through narrow mountain passes, overlooking distant sandy beaches that were being overcome by the wild and windswept Atlantic waves. Enter Oblivion was music to drive to and get lost in.
So fast forward to 2021, and we finally have in our hands the brilliant Sirens, which is their latest slab of Stoner Rock that has been deconstructed and rebuilt with some clever and catchy hooks and melodies cast into its foundations. It still maintains its slightly gritty desert soul while adding some emotive and melodic Post-Rock layers to the mix.
The opening track “Orion” has an unexpected and almost futuristic vibe with sci-fi synths joining a whisper of “Come back alive”. The intro however is short and brief as you are immediately hit with a trademark Glasgow Coma Scale riff that rips into a funky stoner groove, with crashing drums and a swirling solo guitar. What follows that initial burst of energy is a quieter section that gives way to a spoken sci-fi passage, wrapped in an infectious bass line. The rhythm continues to grow, all the time feeding off its own energy, before sweeping into this zany, uncompromising section, full of brashness and unconforming genius. It showcases everything that’s unique about Glasgow Coma scales sound in three glorious minutes.
The following track “Magik” continues the albums dynamism and intensity. The riffs are deliciously heavy and melodic, the bass guitar plucks a seriously wicked groove, while the drums pound and detonate on impact. Bring them all together and you have a track that will never be skipped or left out of any great track compilation.
When “Underskin” starts up it gives you a moment to reflect, a chance to take stock and appreciate the brilliance of the first couple of tracks. Its rich swirling melody is hypnotic and absorbing. However, you just can’t get away from the groove and swagger that these guys effortlessly lay down on every track. Layers and swells glide over one another with that crisp lead guitar looping over itself like a silk blanket. The bravery to always play to their own beat and forge their own sound is the reason tracks like this are so incredibly fulfilling. The melody and the pace never falters as it weaves through a labyrinth teeming with energy and vigour.
The title track to the album “Sirens”, along with “Day 366” are testament to how far Glasgow Coma Scale have come since their EP Apophenia in 2014. The music is tight, the talent on show through every instrument is precise and flawless. The Frankfurt trio have creativity in abundance, and an ear for harmony and rhythm. Take the opening two minutes of “Day 366” as an example. Each layer is carefully embedded onto the next with patience and subtlety. It begins with some rich percussions that have been evenly covered with some refined lead guitars, then add a shredding rhythm section and glue it all together with a chunky bass guitar and you have yourself an infectious and unforgettable track that will leave an imprint on the old grey matter long after the track is over.
The closing piece of music on the album, “One Must Fall” is another powerhouse. Its mid-tempo intro is deceiving, and as soon as that gritty chugging riff kicks in you know there’s something brewing on the horizon. The track teases and dances for a while, before the atmosphere gets a little dark and menacing for the first time on the album. Drums and bass lead the charge once more with guitars raining down melodies and hooks. The hypnotic effect of the track takes hold and doesn’t let go. It’s contagious and compelling and just when you think you have reached that crescendo, that musical high, the music is joined by a chorus of voices that sweep over proceedings, and bring the track up another notch to this blissful and heavenly plateau. My only criticism of this whole album is that this finale didn’t carry through for another minute or two.
So, taking a step back and comparing Sirens to Enter Oblivion, I think it’s safe to say that Glasgow Coma Scale are on a steady and upward trajectory. This album has taken another significant step forward in defining and perfecting their sound. It’s an album for every occasion. The uplifting and upbeat persona of Sirens, will have an instant effect on the listener. The future is extremely bright for Glasgow Coma Scale, and if they keep releasing material as powerful and satisfying as this, the world is their oyster.