One of the best quotes of the year comes from the promo blurb for Siinai’s new album, Sykli: “…this album burst out of us, like when a ketchup bottle loses its cap when you are violently shaking it.” This from a band that in the past has also released an instrumental concept album about supermarkets1Yes, Siinai are a strange Finnish act that do odd things. This album’s concept isn’t as weird as “music to shop to.” Instead, Skyli professes to be about the cyclical nature of life. Considering that this is an instrumental album, figuring out how well it conveys a concept can be tough, but that’s why we get the big bucks, right?

There is incredibly little information available about Siinai. They seem to be a Finnish 7-piece outfit, although I can’t fathom what all seven of them do: the five songs here on Sykli seem like they could all have been put together by one or two individuals and a decent synth/drum setup. That’s not to say they are bad songs, or that they sound amateurish: rather, the sparse instrumentation leads me to the above musing. “Temppeli” kicks things off, opening with glistening synth patches, layers upon layers (maybe there are six keyboardists and a drummer?) building, ebbing, and flowing throughout the eight minute track. Like much of the album, it’s a hypnotic song that can really suck the listener in, especially (not that I can prove this) if one is under the influence of certain mind-altering substances2.

Drums and other percussion enter the picture in “Mestari,” the second track, which again is built around a simple synth melody. For six and a half minutes, drums, shakers, keyboards, and wind instruments (or digital versions thereof) undulate throughout the mix. Again the word hypnotic comes to mind, as the rhythm established in the first seconds never wavers. That is the theme throughout Sykli: take a simple melody and build a relatively long, mesmeric track around it. This can be highly effective, and at times through Sykli’s 46 minutes it is, notably the title track, which features guitar at the root rather than keys, and album closer “Europa,” which is an excellent, sinister number that towards the middle transitions into a somewhat upbeat, driving piece before being overtaken by feedback-drenched noise.

Listening to this theme repeated five times, albeit with different arrangements and instruments at the center, does bring on a feeling of sameness. The tempo and feel of each song is constant, pensive for the most part, not really invoking any clear reaction – although “Europa” definitely made me pay closer attention, with its well-executed baleful overtones. And as far as the concept goes, I suppose one could make the case both for and against picking out the theme throughout. Google Translate doesn’t offer a ton of help, as the song titles translate into words like “Temple,” “Master,” and “Cycle.” Discarding the thought of theme or concept doesn’t take away from the songs, but dig deep enough and I am sure the symbolism is there.

The issue with Sykli isn’t really the music: it’s the replayability. After eight listens, the only track I want to come back to is “Europa.” But that’s not to say the other four tracks suck: rather, they just don’t stick with me. Sykli is clearly an album to play under certain conditions, be that when you’re raking leaves, doing dishes, painting, or comatose on the chesterfield having taken a handful of mind-altering chemicals. The production and mix are effective, but the album as a whole simply doesn’t transport the listener to a place where they will want to go over and over. It does make me curious as to how Siinai‘s supermarket concept album sounds, however.


Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Svart Records
Websites: facebook.com/Siinaimusic/
Releases Worldwide: October 27th, 2017

Show 2 footnotes

  1. I hope it’s titled “Shøp.” – Steel
  2. Report to HR for stash surrender. – HR
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  • Brutalist_Receptacle

    NO.

    • drug_genosh

      maybe?

    • Shop!

    • Huck N’ Roll

      Brutalist Receptacle = Metal Shopping Cart?

      • Septic

        A Metal Shopping Cart for listening to an “instrumental concept album about supermarkets”

      • Brutalist_Receptacle

        NO.

        • Matt slatz

          NEIN?

  • wayne the devil

    A weird Finnish band? Nah….Törkyraato ….a name drop…also Finnish..but Metal weird.

    • Brutalist_Receptacle

      “Are you Finnish? Then wipe yourself.”

      – – Moms

      • wayne the devil

        weird Finnish don’t wipe…they drag…

      • HeavyMetalHamster

        Remember…front to back.

      • Tofu muncher

        bidet, man, bidet, sheesh

    • Covfefe

      Törkyraato is quite good name! Filth Carcass, now thats br00tal, right?

      Still, Anal Thunder comes as a winner

      • sir_c

        Anal Thunder comes after a binge night of beer & burritos

  • Band photo of the month?

    • AlphaBetaFoxface

      Given you haven’t specified, I’d assume “Worst”.

    • sir_c

      It’s Queen’s The Miracle with some clipping errors of the 3D renderer

  • Dethjesta

    Shame it’s not better. The ‘non-metal’ post/prog/instrumental albums reviewed on this site are the ones I get my Dad for birthday/christmas. Still don’t have anything for him for Christmas – oh well, the search continues.

    • Hashshashin, and bah humbug.

    • Nukenado

      No The Living or Impure Wilhelmina?

      • Dethjesta

        I got him Impure Wilhelmina for his birthday in July. Great album.

        I’ve not listened to The Living yet, will check it out, cheers.

      • HeavyMetalHamster

        The Living any good?

        • Nukenado

          I like it.

    • Name’s Dalton

      Yowie, perhaps?

  • Cody Miller

    Not listening to this, but Supermarket is pretty cool. An 80’s feel to it at times. I like it.

  • Akira Watts

    The review is pretty spot on in its description of the album, but I personally found it a bit better than that 2.5 score. It is certainly repetitive, and sometimes lends itself more to background than foreground music, but I find something about it incredibly compelling. Not for everyone though.

    • Huck N’ Roll

      We round down here, so “bit better” than 2.5 would still be 2.5. It’s a “good mixed” album. At home it’s a tossup between this and Chill Lounge when making dinner.

  • A Feed From Cloud Mountain
    • Nukenado

      I think there was also a shade of Bethesda in the mix.

  • Innit Bartender

    And there it goes again, Garamond on a metal cover…

    • Nukenado

      Garamond isn’t bad for prog. Serif is always more metal than sans serif.

      • Innit Bartender

        I dunno about that… remember Impact? That font was like Slayer jumping off the page… Jokes aside, it is just my personal, probably obtuse prank to point out the evolution of typography in metal design…

        • Nukenado

          Impact will always be the Dying Fetus font for me.
          I like pointing out cover art shit too.

    • Tofu muncher

      they’re going economical mayhap

  • ElephantsMarching

    I think the seven must equate to Four musicians and a three-person rolling, lighting, and positioning team, I think.

  • Lars Barres

    Embedded track reminds of what I did when I first started playing around with Garageband. Just needs some cowbell.

  • Bas

    Lots of this kind of stuff on Svart nowadays, isn’t it..
    About Svart, is anyone going to review the new Opium Warlords album ?

    (the title Droner made me worry, but the track on bandcamp sounds good, still very long, but somehow it manages to keep my attention!)