Thursday, May 16, 2013

... SIDEBURN "IV Monument" (Album Review)

Transubstans are churning out records like crazy, surfing on the wave of renewed interest in traditional Rock which they themselves in part have stirred. The label's countrymates Sideburn (no, it's not the long-standing group from Switzerland with the same name) are not new to the scene though, handing in their - of course - fourth album "IV Monument" on their tenth anniversary.

What you get is nine times the usual fare, which is by no means meant derogatory; Sideburn go through all the motions from hard-grooving (and hardly boring) Sabbath-worship during programmatic opener "Diamonds" and the nastily sluggish "The Last Day" (dig these shrill interjections, harking back to - of all people - Dimebag Darrell) to halfway modern or rather timeless, riffy material such as "Bring Down The Rain", which is topped of by an agile bass to boot. With the playful title track put at the end, the quartet also show an inclination towards structures established by seminal Prog bands from the seventies. 

Apart from Jani Katajas expected Ozzy-isms, the guitarist is above par as a lead singer, allowing the band to consciously drift away from your average mewling, whining dope smoker mistaking his mic for a bong.
"Fire And Water" is no Free-cover, yet a slow blues all the same, just as "Tomorrows Dream" is an original by the band and displays not so much their creativity when it comes to song titles but a talent for almost Lizzy-esque double leads - also thanks to Morgan Zocek's excellent fretwork.

Among this reviewers favourites are the mournful epic "Crossing The Lines", folksy "Silverwing" as a veritable Led Zeppelin rip-off and the partly crushing, partly woeful "The Saviour", which darkens the tone significantly come the last third of the album. This said, "IV Monument" is, of course, no re-invention of either wheel or steel, but a surprisingly diverse album within the given style, consisting of nifty compositions and heartfelt emotions. To drop some names, let's put Sideburn just next to their neighbours Thalamus and The Quill.

words by Andreas Schiffmann

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