Syberia - Statement on Death

19 May 2022 - Knut

Post Metal/Post Rock | Metal Blade Records | Release date: 06 May 2022

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The whirlwind of emotions Syberia´s music generates has always been astounding. It is impossible not to be moved by their music as they entice an abundance of feelings, be it longing, anger, desperation, yearning or whatever. You do not leave this music untouched as it is heartbreaking and joyous at the same time.

Since their debut full-length release in 2012, Syberia´s music has slipped slowly from Post Rock to Post Metal. Along the way they have always had heavy and crushing build-ups with focus on the melodic theme, but they have gone heavier with this last one. Even heavier than the previous one for which they signed on to Metal Blade Records. Being an instrumental band, Syberia is free from the formulae of verse-chorus-verse, but they also free themselves from what many bands in the genre do with great success, build up each track to a crushing crescendo. Syberia dive right into melody driven crescendos from the opening of the tracks and the music sways from peak to peak, with some breathers in between. That makes for an intense and refreshing listen.

Like all Post Metal music this music is driven by the heavy, distorted guitars with high pitched tremolos and reverbs. They discharge tsunamis of immense heavy and melodic sonics. With such an intensity it is easy to forget that this music would have been nothing without the rhythm section. On the second track ”Ain´t.Care.About.Bullets” the drum work is impressive. The track opens with sound effects before what might be the most beautiful crescendo opening ever made before the drums take over and pushes the sonics forward. The emotions run high. It is impossible not to be deeply touched by the musical themes that run through this track and conjure emotions of reflective rage and fury before it all collapses into a section with strumming guitar and a wide rising soundscape leading to a slow engaging build up that ends in a victorious musical theme that might tear your heart apart before the abrupt halt.

The third track, ”Breathe”, shows how important the bass guitar is for both - giving melody and keeping the pace. The track has a dissonant opening with heavy breathing synths and foreboding drumming. Below this the bass keeps the melodic theme which runs through the track. The song is a showcase of how the guitarists pour out abundance of engaging guitar work, the music ebbs and flows while the sonics conjure both a foreboding theme and that of raging against the dying of light. There is layer upon layer in the sonics and the heavy breathing bass pave the way until a wide synth soundscape opens up to let the rest of the air out of the lungs.

And here we are, at the theme of this album. It is not easy to convey an underlying theme with only instrumental music. Each listener interprets it differently, as readers do with poems. So, if you want that: spoiler alert. Knowing the visions behind instrumental music will change the perception of the album and each track. The central subject of this album is police violence against people of color in the USA. Each track represents a specific case. And that is why the track ”Breathe” is impossible to listen to without thinking of one of these specific cases. And the perception of the album´s title might change.

Knowing what ideas lie behind the writing and composing of the tracks makes you understand why they are played with so much passion and induced desperate anger. But also, the compassion that rises from how the music is laid out like in the first song, ”Stolen Childhood”. It opens quietly held up by a strumming guitar before a high pitched tremolo guitar introduces the melodic theme leading to an emotive crescendo before a short halt. Then the heaviest of soundscapes builds up around a wavey melody that lingers in the heaviness. There is a section with the bass and drums taking the scene and while the synths and guitar try to find their way, a captive melodic theme rises from the synths before gliding guitars add to the ambience with a heavy ending. And behind this, somewhere distant, there are sad melodic droplets from the synth which might represent the lost years of childhood.

The vehemence in the music and from every instrument runs deeply through all the tracks. Like on ”Nothing Inside” that opens as a techno track before the power of the massive ever-changing riffs hits you tied together by the bass and drum. Angry sadness drips from the sonics as the bass slowly leads the way. The last song´s title has strong connotations, ”No Frames to Remember Them”, and is framed by music played backwards. On this track the diverse drumming hammers the music forward, bass pushing, guitars yet again raging forward with the melodic themes immersed in the layers. And it ends with the almost inaudible voice of Malcolm X, his speech on police brutality in 1964, the section where he said ”(…)by any means necessary (…)”.

With this album and based on their previous albums, Syberia steps up among the forerunners of the genre, not to be missed! If they play a gig near you, do not miss it! I have seen them twice and those two gigs are glued in my mind never to be forgotten.