SIDEREAN – Lost On Void’s Horizon (2021)REVIEW

The truth is that vigor is renewed with graftings, and that the soul itself looks for diversity in order to enrich the monotony of its own contents. Only a long lasting experience will be able to show the results of a mixture no longer accomplished by violence, nor by reason of necessity, but by the selection founded on the dazzling produced by beauty and confirmed by the pathos of love.” José Vasconcelos, La raza cósmica

There is no transcendence available to our familiar senses when staring into, or exploring, the grotesque vacuum of eons beyond the porthole. Through ascetic meditation we develop our own unique internalized sensation of awe, and to such a degree that it becomes malleable as a lucid hallucinatory mirror where there is none. A purposeful dissolve of sanity, against nature and unmoving atrophied limbs, results from our intent staring into this void “the beyond”, the abysm of human indifference now in alignment with the universe’s own cold and dead supervoids. Here we delight in material return to parity via a slow, sighing death. Within the matrices of cosmic force and debris manifests an elusive creature which whirls the abyss, a parable as unclear as the best of Melville, wherein the frothing of the mind only intensifies the closer we edge in our pursuit. Attainment. We are enlightened by the origin, the primordial truth of the expanse, horrified and satiated in tandem enough that the glance backward to the wake of our hunt is nearly more satisfying than new-found immobile contentment. Contemplation, self-directed advancement, and the chase away from satiation towards exploration had granted us a decade-long witness of Ljubljana, Slovenia-based progressive death/thrash metal quintet Siderean‘s development under another name (and various slightly different configurations) yet when all aligns beautifully for their debut full-length ‘Lost on Void’s Horizon‘ it isn’t a meditative death that occurs, but rather a supercluster-sized beginning and a new history worthy of infinite cyclic rebirth.

We cannot know the history of Siderean today without at least a glance through their previous incarnation as Teleport, perhaps one of the most exciting bands to arise from the righteous underground technical thrash metal scene of the late 2000’s and give it some deep coloration via the ornate avant-garde death metal nature of Gorguts and StarGazer once they’d tamed at least some of the their very direct Voivod and Vektor influences early on. It won’t do justice to their full evolution but it makes sense to breeze through the details a bit as the right place to start is their ‘Ascendance‘ EP from 2016 where they’d built up considerable technical skill, meter, and recording means. It is by no stretch of the mind that each recording from this point makes a leap anew but also that they’ve described it indirectly with their demo/EP titles along the way. If you are a maniac for technical death/thrash metal, definitely start there and pay equally close attention to ‘The Expansion‘ (2018) wherein well, their oeuvre had decompressed into a form that was absolutely their own but clearly tailored after those core influences. Psychedelic death metal a la ‘Sweven’, technique driven avant-garde movements a la ‘The Scream That Tore the Sky’, and a sort of Execration-level punch to their still death/thrash firing sound? It should be no surprise that a band who resembles a few of my all-time favorites has quickly become… well, one of my all-time favorites and ‘The Expansion‘ was a big part of this. All of this was a platform made stable enough to launch from, but with the name change to Siderean we now see a different spark in their eyes, something darker, introspective and passionate brewing.

As for what prompted the name change, it hardly matters in hindsight (see: our first interview with the band) since they’d already been at work on the foundation of ‘Lost on Void’s Horizon’ at that point yet it does count that their patient progress soon hit a bolt of speed as both the realization of the album and their rebirth unto a new moniker meant exponentially strong energy for the recordings and the result, which was largely mixed/mastered (via Subterranean Watchtower Studio) and finalized during anno MMXX. It isn’t that ‘The Expanse’ was pedestrian, not at all, but holy shit was the reveal of Siderean‘s ‘Sidereal Evolution‘ (2020) demo tape the coloring-in of the blueprint and the model formed into real space as an indomitable progressive death (and still thrashing) anomaly with its gorgeously ornate, mightily rendered 7-9 minute long pieces. It shouldn’t be shocking that a band who’d cut their teeth on the high standards of classic thrash and extreme metal would eventually find a verve that was completely their own, and frankly on the cusp of something modern but entirely ‘real’. It was the loudest signal from the band to date that they were ready go nuclear with their theme, their riffs, and the brilliant quality control found within ‘Lost on Void’s Horizon’.

Since the two pieces of ‘Sidereal Evolution’ are already here via the nine minute epic frenzy-feast of “Eolith”, a Morbus Chron-meets-‘Everything is Fire’ with a wee bit of Virus-steeped death metal expulse and “Sidereal Evolution”, perhaps the most shredding and angular horror-thrasher nuke from the band to date, have already presented this sublime evolution unto a singular Siderean death metal sound, folks who bought that demo will generally know what to expect from that sixteen minute block of the album. Of course these two pieces with some additional fidelity and I believe some modulated guitar effects here and there. But we cannot expect ‘Lost on Void’s Horizon’ will be predictable based off of what has already been heard; “Traversing” follows the opening mind-rending blast of “Eolith” with one of the most accomplished additions to Siderean‘s sound in the form of synth vignettes and accoutrement, which I believe come from a mix of both guitar driven effects and trip-heavy sci-fi synth via guitarist David Kocmur who not only serves to glue the narrative value of the album as a guitar-driven force but also keep the atmosphere beauteous and consistently awash in oil-and-water effects. “Traversing” introduces this side of the band but the sharp integration of this soundtrack-esque idea within “Coalescing Into the Expanse” and the title track end up making it a big selling point for it being a unique sound all Siderean‘s own.

The title track additionally showcases best what has changed within the last ten years for this project, wherein the narrative quality of their arrangements shines in painting a science fiction epic without any interruption to the forceful, violent and technical nature of death/thrash metal music. Prominent bass presence, technical leaps and bounds, evocative and physically present rhythms, again we’re approaching a StarGazer level of lovely finesse and brutal extremity that I find irresistible. Fluidity and what the band describe as motoric feel finds them expending all energy into technical death metal levels of skill and linear motion. By linear I mean to suggest that some of the techniques may repeat within compositions frequently but the riffs themselves hardly do within the longer, most focused stretches of the three longer pieces on the album, “Lost on Void’s Horizon” being the most turbulent sea to ride. How they manage to go a full ~40 minutes without ever obstructing the primary directive flow that bonds each piece into its whole is beyond me, a skill developed over a long stretch of time that could only arise from consistency and dedicated craft. In this way we can see the timeline leading up to this album x-rayed across the sky as the trails of comets and debris that Siderean carries with them forms a bigger cataclysmic event with each cycle.

“Abyssophora” is the point where we gaze upon this fabled “wielder of abysses” and reach enlightenment within the narrative, privy to the nature of all earthen beings. If it hasn’t sunk in yet that we are chasing meaning here as much as riffs, I think ‘Lost on Void’s Horizon’ has done its job sating both the metaphysical implications of supernatural authorship as well as presenting an album that rips, destroys alongside the absolute best that progressive, avant-garde, and inventive death metal has to offer within its four decade timeline. During the two months I’ve spent with this record I’d found it impossible to step away from, already mentally placing it on my shelf, already smelling the ink of the print as I pour over its contents, and obsessing far too much over every detail I could pull from uncountable listens. This obsession has dried me of interest in so many other things in the meantime, and left me seeing stars and imagining worlds I’d never dreamed of otherwise; All symptoms of finding exactly what I want from extreme music and soaking deeply of this vital fuel as inspiration to keep exploring the vast wonders available within the craft. The hope is that it becomes just as stirring and necessary an interruption to others usual streams of consciousness. A highest recommendation.

Highest recommendation. (100/100)

Rating: 10 out of 10.
TITLE:Lost on Void’s Horizon
LABEL(S):Edged Circle Productions
RELEASE DATE:June 25th, 2021
BUY & LISTEN:Bandcamp [All Formats]
GENRE(S):Progressive Death Metal,
Blackened Death/Thrash Metal

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