Siren's Cry – Scattered Horizons
Mon, 02 Jul 2012 12:26:52 +0000
These days, we get to see more female fronted metal bands than we used to some years ago. When there is ample supply, demand becomes more stringent making it a necessity for these bands to be better and better.
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Siren’s Cry made their debut with a powerful album and a strong line-up – it is without doubt that they will attract a lot of attention.
What I like the most about this record is the top-notch instrumentation. The keys and the guitar work are the leading and most attractive elements of their music. Add in powerful drums and great bass lines; the final product is very good. I really liked the performances of Phil, Michi, Soeren, Frederic and Phil on the album. .. and on the vocals, we have the emerging talent, Katie, with her operatic voice that will appeal to symphonic metal fans. Basically, they are a symphonic-prog metal band with a classical flair due to their past experiences.
Sadly, for those who love variation in technique and delivery like me, vocals are just not very satisfactory. What I mean here is not necessarily a mixture of harsh male vocals/growls accompanied with ethereal female vocals as is the “done thing” – but some kind of variation, highs, lows, rises, falls, contrasting arrangements, changing texture… I believe that kind of work would highlight the quality and beauty of Katie’s voice and style. In brief, I’m not that keen on the vocals, but they work really well in places too. I really liked the parts where she gets a bit gritty for instance. Also there are occasional tricks in the album that add to the atmosphere, giving me what I want but they are extremely sparse. This kind of makes me feel like the songs are bit “dragged out”.
So my point here is, actually Katie is very talented… She sings brilliantly in perfect harmony to the main riffs, interesting bridges, acoustic parts, and metal bits. She is very competent and very… erm… good looking too 🙂 If only there were more opportunities to showcase her talents!
But of course, this is the little subjective me; I know there a lot of people who will love her vocals as they are.
Now on to the songs that stood out for me:
I really like S3V3N, which starts off with two wonderful sets of riffs and grabs your attention instantly. There’s a short bridge where we hear guitar-vocal unisons which I found very impressive. Even at the first listen, when Phil went back to that beautiful main riff, after the competent instrumental section, I realised I liked the song!
Oratory & Sins is definitely another strong track with nice vocal lines. I found myself humming along at the 3rd or 4th spin.
Elegy of R’lyeh is easily one of the catchiest and memorable songs on the album…. There is a little bit of everything in here. The opening piano chords coupled with the spoken bits and sounds from nature are very creepy and they create a nice and rich atmosphere. I liked the placement of this song as well. Nice flow! You’ll see what I mean when you give the album a spin. We hear Katie giving us some low notes, in the first verse. Vocal melodies in the chorus are brilliant, some of the moments where Katie shines. Key driven sections are sweet; Michi’s expertise is coming through for sure! And Phil’s tone is amazing. The fun and brilliant jazz break at my birthday (the 5.27 minute mark) coming out of nowhere and doing a Houdini just as suddenly, is followed by some aggressive riffs, adding a deep feel to the song.
Serpents of War is another fave of mine, which starts off with the aggressive, frantic, bashing riffs and suddenly wanes a little to a beautiful rhythm and awesome bass-lines. You already know by now that the lady loves heavy & melodic formula… And we have a nice example here. Oh, and I can hear that they are giving a nod or two to Dream Theater at places 😉
A Controversial Mind is another sweet piece in terms of both tone and vibe. There is so much going on in this song. I love the brilliant use of the piano in this song; in fact all the instrumentation is top notch. The intro kicks in slowly complimenting Katie’s voice and style perfectly… So simple, so pleasant… and the song keeps building up gracefully in a subtle and understated way. What I really like about this song is, here, Katie gives me what I’ve been craving for: deep growl-like vocals, occasional harsh bits. This is definitely one of the album’s stronger moments, where they better utilize Katie’s capabilities. Not to mention the competent instrumental section and the odd time signatures all integrated beautifully. Harmonically, this is one of their best in the album and a great closure to it!
Now, as to the down points of the album, the only thing I was less keen on was the vocals as you know – for me, whole album running with operatic vocals are a bit wearing. Other than that, it’s a great piece of music. There are lots of brilliant ideas throughout the album, and the instrumental sections are just excellent. It is clear that they have put a lot of effort in creating complex and beautiful structures. I mean, I can’t really tell you why they decided to utilise their talent in this for the vocals – sadly, she gets a little lost amongst the grandiose instrument work and instruments’ aggression.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s no bad music here, and the overall effect of the album is really quite pleasurable.
You’ve already got the idea that I would have ranked this album much higher if there were more variations in vocals – once they are there, I’m completely sold. Of course, aside from my highly subjective preferences, it’s an impeccable album for those who dig operatic work.
And for those like me, I’m sure that they have the potential to write innovative vocal lines too – as is the case with all great bands out there, it is without doubt that Siren’s Cry will develop their music and experiment. A band whose debut album is this strong surely will be one of the great ones.
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