Sidious: Ascension to the Throne ov Self

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Sidious: Ascension to the Throne ov Self
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Sidious: Ascension to the Throne ov Self
Symphonic Black Metal, Death Metal
Kaotoxin Records
May 7th, 2013
Release length: 18:06
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Sidious is a Symphonic Black/Death Metal band from the UK that features Mark Antoniades (guitar) and Chris Davies (bass) from the powerhouse band Eye of Solitude. The group was recently picked up by Kaotoxin Records to issue their debut EP, Ascension to the Throne ov Self. With evident influence from modern day groups of this style, such as Behemoth, Hate, and even a little Dimmu Borgir, it’s hard to ignore that the band has taken the orchestral approach to the furious blastbeats and made it a haunting cacophony of their own. But, is this still a unique and inspiring effort, or is it simply nothing more than idol worship with a fresh coat of paint?

First of all, the audio is rich, and carries a barren atmosphere that perfectly suits the brutality of the performances. The drumming stands out the most with tight snares that mirror the thunderous click of the bass kick perfectly, while the cymbals crash moderately loud at the forefront. The guitar mixes together a deeper, somewhat blunt sound with varying sharper Black Metal distortions when necessary, and the bass is podded up well int he mix with a deep presence. The keyboards aren’t always utilized, but when they do, they come through the most with a crisp presence that helps to capture a truly bleak and dismal atmosphere that the intense guttural vocals, and occassional rhaspy blackened screams, simply enhance with crushing vigor.

There truly isn’t a dull moment to be had on this EP. “Insurmountable Mass” kicks things off with a hint of ambience before the rest of the instruments are slowly introduced. The symphonic elements really work in the song’s favor, going from orchestral to melancholic pianos in a fluid motion that works with the chaotic riffs and blistering drumming. Aside a few moments of catchy mid-pace material, this song never stops going over-the-top with the music, creating a truly grand, yet ominous and crushing musical experience of absolute helplessness. The closest you’ll get to another track like this is “Ascension to the Throne ov Self,” which isn’t quite as grand. The symphonics are a bit restrained, though they do exist in large quantities here as well. Instead, this one relies a lot more on the sharper guitars to set up a mystical environment through varying traditional Black Metal riffs, many of which will have you banging your head right along to the rhythm. Of course, the cleaner guitars about half way through are enough to chill you right to the core for the brief time that they are allowed to exist.

“Sentient Race” tackles that epic scale in a much more subtle approach. The pace doesn’t usually cater to high speed blast beats, though the machinegun bass kicks do still exist. There’s plenty of catchy passages and bridges to be found, all of which still establishes a dismal atmosphere. “Nihilistic Regeneration” is a little more harsher, not really focusing on the various catchy Death Metal passages, though not forsaking them entirely. About half way through, the music suddenly slows down and does incorporate some infectious material, but it’s the simple guitar solo here that stands out, working surprisingly well without keyboards. Other than that, this track is simply punishing, pummeling you with unrestrained rage that is geared directly for your juggular.

In one shot, Sidious have asserted themselves as a new name in the Black/Death Metal field that can stand up against the legends and pioneers of the style. Ascension to the Throne ov Self may only be four tracks, but all of them wind up memorable offerings full of grim and burdening atmospheres, and brualizing aural assaults. It’s also interesting to see how seamlessly they manage to weave together various styles of Black Metal, as well as eras, finding riffs of traditional second wave, up to and including the modern blastbeat fueled approach. Ascension to the Throne ov Self by Sidious is definitely an EP that you simply cannot miss, especially if you’re a fan of the style, or any of their influences.

01. Insurmountable Mass – 4:37
02. Sentient Race – 4:03
03. Nihilistic Regeneration – 4:18
04. Ascension to the Throne ov Self – 5:08
Initial Pressing Score: 9/10

Sidious (band)
Sidious

Digital review copy of this release provided by Kaotoxin Records via Clawhammer PR.