referring to a current band will most likely put images of aging bar acts
covering Led Zeppelin songs in the minds of some; however, Sideburn clearly is
out to change that with their latest release, Evil or Divine. The album is a very
well executed throwback to the days of bands such as Dio, Scorpions, Iron
Maiden, and other 80’s legends, thanks in part to a stellar vocal performance
by singer Dimitri Keiski; yet adds a contemporary doom element to the mix with
the riffs, thus avoiding the trap of being perceived as an all-out tribute act.
through loud and clear on the first few tracks of the album, especially with
the opener, “Masters and Slaves.“ Despite the similarities, it has a fresh feel
to it with the help of a killer guitar solo, and an excellent vocal performance. This is even more so the case on “Sea of Sins,” where the guitars deliver a clever middle-eastern style phrasing which is
complimented equally well by the rest of the band; including yet another
surprisingly complex solo section to end the song.
Divine also happens to be one of its more experimental with “The Day the Sun
Died.“ The grinding pace steps away from more traditional metal and crosses into
grunge territory without sacrificing the band’s clear commitment to sound musicianship.
On the album’s closer “Presence,” Sideburn takes it a step further with acoustic
guitars, and while not as impressive, it still is a respectable exercise in originality.
style which Sideburn embraces wholeheartedly — in particular, on the track “When
Darkness Calls” — and as you would expect, Sideburn nicely interprets the genre
in every way possible. Though the tempo might be boring to some, there is an
awful lot going on in the space left open, which drives the song.
With the exception of a couple
small things, there isn’t much with Evil or Divine that most listeners will dislike.
There are a few spots on the album where the tempo feels almost too held back,
and the production gets a little scratchy at times, but overall the whole collection
of songs sounds carefully structured from start to finish with very little
filler. The result is a quality release for Sideburn which is sure to please
past fans and bring in plenty of new ones looking for a band that does a
great job of making old school metal new again.
Check out a video of the album recording of Evil or Divine from Sideburn below!
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