SIBIIR - Undergang


Can a band that seemed like seasoned veterans with their first full length in 2016, expand their musical scope further into new avenues in the Heavy Metal realm with a third album? The Norwegians SIBIIR undoubtedly can - heavier, denser even more diverse with relentless anger and desperation at the heart of the music.

The title of the first song sets the theme for the album´s music and lyrics, ”Divergence and Deceit”, even if the opening moments of the song are rather spirited. A fuzzy guitar fades in to open the album just to be drowned by a marching melody, energetic, fast, and powerful in all its heaviness. It is an effective start to an amazing album, it catches your attention and yanks you along as the music tightens and the angry screaming vocals take over to lead the diversified music forward. The heavy riffage, the rumbling bass, and the diverse drumming make me think of it as a sludge´n´roll song. There are shifts where the music loosens up with longer takes on the chords as the vocal is singing out from different corners. The music tightens, driven forward by blast drumming and guitars riffing on each side and the bass behaves like a morose entity carrying the heavy music and its impact on its back.

It isn’t “placid”, that second song called ”Placid Waters”, as it opens with blasting drums and distorted arpeggios supported by a fast bass. The vocals are desperate, and as the music propels forward, a chorus challenges the screaming vocals and the answers are abrupt. Tremolo guitars, diverse drumming, and a melodic bass form an emotional theme that supports the singer´s desperation: “Find solace in the darkness. / Find the cure from the chaos. / Find solace in the darkness. / Chaos. / You are always running from the chaos inside.” The song becomes complicated and layered, venturing quickly forward with distorted tremolos and arpeggios, sometimes tightening with rolling drums and bass, sometimes widening out.

The fast and multi-layered epics continue with ”Ruinous” where the vocals seem to float above tremolo guitars answered by voices from all corners. It is another heavy song that glides onward before the bass drum changes the flow, and the track surges forward with the riffs, vocals and bass rumbling below it towards an abrupt end. The song is followed by an instrumental intermission called ”Engerdal” and can be seen as a homage to the deep inner parts of Norway where the wilderness and dense forests still exist, desolate woods and mighty mountains mirrored in clear glimmering clean water. The guitars strum a melody, a church bell is heard before the music surges into a long lasting crescendo with a melodic bass and engaging drums driving the riffs onward before it all simmers down again.

After this, the music takes a turn for classic Heavy Metal in the opening chords of ”The Flood” with some soaring doomy roaring forward with the bass and drums as the desperate vocals emerge ”Constant worry haunts me. / It wears me down.”. The pace engages in staccato mode and the low bass grooves are immense and makes the desperation seem bottomless. In the repetitive heaviness the guitars are sending out spikes of light. Out of the denseness towards the end a high-pitched solo rises for a while before turning back in harmony in the heavy sonics.

For the German speaking readers the album´s title might be easy to interpret, but for the others it is like the cover shows; it is the downfall, the end of it all, the destruction - as the lyrics illustrate ”Split the world with a fire trail. / Blind them all as you still reap. / The stench of the demise. / We suffer as you divide. / Nothing but blackened skies. / From violence you grow.”. This is taken from the song ”Watch the World Burn from a House on Fire” - a heavy, sludgy doomy reminder of what we are doing to ourselves and the world around us. It opens with massive distortion and the vocals more desperate than angry. The music simmers down with sound effects and a bass that slowly pulsates in the lowlands. The vocals come back accompanied by a high pitched fuzzy guitar. Another guitar begins swirling at the other corner of the soundscapes and the bass guitar makes growling sounds at the bottom making out a dark spacey place for the guitars and vocal to rest on. The music fuses back to Heavy Metal riffs at a steady pace and from the distorted riffs, a higher pitched guitar slides away for a while performing its own work before it all cools down to a strumming fuzzy guitar.

With their hearts on their sleeves, the musicians relentlessly thunder on, spewing out lyrics of anger, confusion, and desperation of what is going on supported by this dense and heavy music, so carefully crafted and orchestrated that there is not a single tone too much and too little. It is so well done. The guitars with their constant riffing, surge with arpeggios and tremolos while the drums are so diverse it makes the pulsating music propel forward on the back of the immense bass guitar. The depth and range they have managed to make on this album are quite astonishing. As are the next three diverse songs that sum up the album that ends with ”The Famine”.

In the last song, the vocals seem a bit out of breath as they scream out the lyrics between the short repetitive melodic lines. The music tightens to underline the lyrics sung, with angry desperation, “Our demise gets closer. / It comes for all of us. / Silent repent. / Paralyzed. / As the rope tightens. / The ravaged wasteland. / As we reap beyond all use.” The song drives on into heavier and wider sonics with a high-pitched guitar breaking out in an engaging solo followed by fast music until it is halted by a heavy sigh from the vocals and the heaviness is chugging to the end.

Yes, the framework of this album, the concept if you want, might be pessimistic, but even so, the music is refreshing and vivid even in this corner of the metal genre realm. It is cleansing in the way it helps against the desperate itching we all feel occasionally these days. Or all the time. In that sense, it is a highly recommended (metaphorical) itch claw…

To complete this Norway Double Bill, we also interviewed SIBIIR and we are aure you will love this! So enjoy our conversation with Tobias and Steffen about their last record “Ropes” which was rewarded with a nomination for the most important Norwegian music award, the Spellemann. In our opinion, “Undergang” might even win it! Enjoy our conversation with Tobias and Steffen and enjoy the SIBIIR record!

Shirts of the Day: Attan, Beaten To Death, Unru

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