Siderean – Lost on Void’s Horizon Review

For the second time this year, I grabbed what appeared to be a brand new band’s debut record, only to find that the band has already existed for many years in another form and under another name. This may, in fact, be the member’s first full-length release together, but before they changed their name to Siderean in 2020, the band had worked under the name Teleport for ten years, releasing demo after EP after demo as their sound evolved from the Voivod/Vektor-influenced progressive thrash of their beginnings into another beast altogether. On their final release as Teleport, the 2018 demo The Expansion, the band abandoned nearly every trace of their original thrash sound, embracing a proggy death metal that was infused with copious amounts of dissonance. Somewhere along the way, the members decided that their evolution warranted a fresh start and a fresh moniker, and Siderean was born. It has taken these guys eleven years to launch a proper debut. Let’s see if it was worth the wait.

Recently signed to Edged Circle Productions, the label that has produced some of my favorite thrash releases of the last few years, Siderean makes their debut by leaning fully into the dissonant, progressive death style found on The Expansion, and this is made clear almost instantly after pressing play. Opener “Eolith”1 fades in with a blasting rhythm adorned by eerily disharmonic arpeggios before launching into a progression of constantly changing tempos and strange time signatures — strange as far as I can tell with my layman’s knowledge, anyway. Opeth‘s Ghost Reveries is a strong reference point, made apparent by the way the song suddenly shifts into a beautiful acoustic movement for a minute or so before Jan Brišar’s monstrous roar brings things back into the metal realm, and I actually get a hint of Slugdge‘s Esoteric Malacology in the eclectic mood shifts, varied vocals, and the intensity of the heavier bits. Some wild and emotive solos complete the package.

And that package reveals the formula that you’re going to find on much of Lost on Void’s Horizon: big nasty death metal, spacey prog elements, dissonance, and beautiful interludes. The embedded title track feels very similar to “Eolith” in style and composition, but throws in some rumbling old-school death metal grooves between the proggier bits. Those dissonant arpeggios are nearly always present, and the Opeth ghost haunts this reverie as well, the initial nastiness giving way to beauty before it once again establishes dominance. The album certainly has a coherent sound and theme, but that’s also what keeps it from attaining greatness.

As musicians, Siderean are absolutely mind-blowing. These guys have incredible command of their instruments, starting and stopping on a dime, then bolting in another direction faster than a Tic-Tac-shaped UFO, but Lost on Void’s Horizon is so stylistically homogenous that it can be hard to tell the tracks apart, even after many listens. As I mentioned before, those ringing arpeggios are almost always there, and it just feels like this album is more about the style than the substance. I hardly ever listen to dissonant metal, but I still feel like I’ve heard this album in its entirety produced by someone else before. At six tracks and 40 minutes, the record shouldn’t feel long, but ends up doing so thanks to three of the tracks extending beyond seven minutes — not necessarily a problem, unless you combine it with the previously mentioned songwriting issues.

That last paragraph may read a bit harsh, but I still respect what Siderean have done on Lost on Void’s Horizon. This is a group of extremely talented musicians, and I know that they are capable of greatness. Perhaps I’m just a crotchety olde fart who fails to grasp a lot of what modern progressive death metal is doing, but I prefer my metal songs to feel more like, you know, songs — not just collections of well-played movements. Don’t hesitate to check this out if the style is your thing, but I’ll be moving on to some more “traditional” death metal for next week.

Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Edged Circle Productions
Releases Worldwide: June 25th, 2021

Show 1 footnote

  1. Felagund, is this some sort of Tolkien horseplay?
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