Friday, 4 June 2010
SIDEBURN - The Demon Dance (CD)
Sideburn are no nubes, but even if they were formed already 13 years ago, this is only their third album. They even put Def Leppard to shame. Well, there ends that comparison however. This Stockholm based trio picks their influences from the classic hard rock and bands like Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. I did like Sideburn’s earlier albums, but I felt they sounded more like the average Swedish stoner band. Now I feel something has happened. Sure, there are strong vibes of colleagues like Spiritual Beggars and The Quill, but if you listen to the album’s third track “Song For Hope” influences from the more varied and solemn seventies shine through. This track feels more akin to Bigelf, but with a touch of the old symphonic bands. Here are soft, lengthy melodic parts that float like on clouds, to suddenly be interrupted by lead-coated riffs and Morgan Zoceks killer guitar solos. He balances his style between technique and blues, with a pretty big vibrato that owes a lot to Yngwie Malmsteen. The subsequent track “Fallen Sun” opens with nice guitar picking and a bass solo by Martin Karlsson, this one also with a nice symphonic touch mixed with heavy riffing. Martin also plays keyboards, which gives the album a new and well needed dimension. The band should however attract classic stoner fans, particularly in the crusher “Dyin’ Day”, where Jani Kataja sounds like a long lost cousin of The Quill’s singer Magnus Ekwall. This also sets him apart from most of the, sometimes a bit boring, traditional stoner howlers. Jani has a clear and pure voice, with a nice dose of white blues. I really like the fact that Sideburn resist the temptation to just grind, but instead take their time to soften the distortion a bit and use dynamics, like in heavy bluesy “Shining”. It has a nice semi-fat neck pick-up Les Paul on the rhythm chart. Once he lets it rip he just ups the volume and lets the natural power speak, instead of adding a lot of fuzz. This gives it a lot of dynamics, which is something I often lack today. Dynamics is also the word of honour in “Rainy Day” with its acoustic guitar and dry up-front vocals. When a cool electric guitar is added in the background and the drummer just adds some cool tom-tom playing, these guys prove they know what it’s all about. Furthermore the song keeps on building up to transform into a, slightly surprising, flamenco:ish theme which takes the song into a new direction. The relaxed “Shapes” with its almost eight minutes should give fans of Led Zeppelin value for money. I won’t say more, just – I recommend this one strongly!