While there are some who would have ol’ Kronos trapped in a padded room reviewing deathcore and only deathcore for the foreseeable future, one of the perks of Angry Metal Guy’s preoccupations is that I’m able to slip in a review every now and then that doesn’t quite fit the death/grind beat that I usually work. As of 2015, there are quite a few bands out there playing a mix of Converge-worship and black metal that flies under the banner of ‘blackened hardcore.’ In a genre with such august company as Madam X‘s beloved Young And In The Way and the Angriest Band on the Planet™, Plebeian Grandstand, new groups are usually worth checking out.
Enter Sibiir, who are billed as a supergroup pulled from a bunch of other bands nobody outside of Oslo has ever heard of. Their debut, Swallow & Trap Them offers little in the department of innovation, but hints at a band that’s worth checking up on in the future. Even with just two songs, it’s already varied and enjoyable despite its lack of originality. “Swallow & Trap Them!” kicks off with a dark confluence of Jane Doe and Dissection. A fuzzy, throbbing bass underpins angular hardcore riffing that falls into an odd-time breakdown.; climbing out requires the band’s first foray into melodic black metal territory. Ending on a high note, it’s an excellent glimpse into a band that already knows how to write snappy and engaging songs.
“These Rats We Deny,” is equally engaging, leaning a bit heavier on black metal riffing. Despite this, it’s undoubtedly the happier of the two songs, due to both its major key and drunken gang-howling. I can’t say I like it as much as “Swallow & Trap Them!,” but it is a bit more on the creative side than the latter in its clever pairing of both styles at once rather than one after the other.
Swallow & Trap Them also mixes hardcore and black metal insofar as both styles are traditionally produced very poorly. It’s noisy, cluttered and unprofessional, which isn’t a bad thing in the genre. What is a bad thing is the dynamic range, which is planted at a low DR5. Added to the DIY-sounding recording, this level of either compression or irresponsibly close mic placement really doesn’t do the LP any favors – and I seriously doubt a release like this is getting a beautiful vinyl master.
A competently written and performed release fettered by its unpalatable sound; not the most shocking of conclusions to find here at Angry Metal Guy, but the good news is that production is a matter of choice rather than skill, a department in which this band is certainly not wanting. If Sibiir finally wander out of the demo tape/EP stages, or at least follow The Fevered and keep writing small, low-fi releases that don’t sound so crushed, you’re sure to see their name again. If you like what you hear, snap up one of the 50 copies of this 7″ available and, ahem, flail in the bliss.