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Sidious - Blackest Insurrection

Sidious
Blackest Insurrection
by Matt Bozenda at 24 May 2022, 12:52 AM

When one thinks of Black metal epicenters, it would be perhaps atypical to point along the prime meridian at London. Surely the city has a place in the geographical wing of the Metal Hall of Fame, but its Black metal credentials aren’t the strongest, it would seem. That’s odd considering the absolutely brutal and totally metal history of the city, then again, maybe we’ve all heard about it so much that it’s become the standard we try to deviate from, the standard we try to top.

In the ocean of crap, standard can be a perfectly reasonable bar to attain, and if you can do the standard better than the standard-bearers, that’s all for the better. And you the listener will find better than standard fare on “Blackest Insurrection”, the third full-length album by London Black metallers SIDIOUS. Having evolved from a Symphonic Black/Death outfit into the distilled Black metal band appearing on this album, SIDIOUS has taken a major professional step forward, as this album is so well-rounded it will most certainly compete to be among 2022’s genre-best.

Don’t be put off by all this talk of standards, now. The average set for this album exceeds the normal parameters starting right off with the title track, which starts well but unremarkably before a headbanging drum rhythm adds a dimension of interest. Later on tracks like “Hailing Shard Of Agony” and “To Know My Kingdom” similarly start in this same conventional fashion before making their own depths, working in an appropriately orthodox style that is still eminently modern and current.

That works well off of a track such as “Blood-Soaked Mist” for example, a BATHORY-ish throwback which further adds magnitude by demonstrating a bold usage of breaks and bridges, here managing to heighten the tense sensation of the song while pumping the brakes on tempo. A nice ending on the eight-and-a-half minute “Jewel Of The Hadean Crown” brings the album in for a good landing, a powerful percussive onslaught which fades out and leaves you ready for more.

But it’s probably enough anyways. Seven tracks over forty-eight minutes doesn’t usually sit this comfortably, and adding more would just be an unnecessary flex. As Black metal goes, “Blackest Insurrection” is an organic interpretation, leaving the short-fused Punk influence behind in favor of a Second Wave motif, technically gifted but not showing off. SIDIOUS manages to expand their sound without resorting to any gimmicks, but the issue here is that it keeps them so frustratingly inbounds. The music they’ve made is far from flat but it feels like it could be so much more.

Nevertheless, despite any flaws, this is still a great album by any metric. Whatever shortcomings can be found are outdone by sheer competence. Since no one is fighting for the lead, SIDIOUS sounds like a professional act and it really shows on “Blackest Insurrection”. No they haven’t taken any major risks but neither have they made any major mistakes, resulting in an album which could be among the year’s best, at least for Black metal, and that’s an unfortunately tough act to follow. If they want album four to do more than contend, SIDIOUS may need to take the gloves off and fight dirty.

Musicianship: 9
Songwriting: 7
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Blackest Insurrection
2. Blood-Soaked Mist
3. Hailing Shards Of Agony
4. Thy Palace Yond The Threshold
5. Thousandfold Will
6. To Know My Kingdom
7. Jewel Of The Hadean Crown
Lineup:
Baalrath - bass
Indomitus - guitars
Isfeth - guitars, vocals
Valdr - drums
Record Label: Clobber Records
     


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Edited 07 July 2022
 

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