How exactly does a band follow up an earthquake of an album like "When White Becomes Black", a disc that is equal parts MASTODON girth, KEELHAUL pugilism, and SWARM OF THE LOTUS' own style of split lip racket-core? You make an even better album…that's how! On "The Sirens of Silence", the band takes all the ingredients that made "When White Becomes Black" such a sonic concussion, adds an almost imperceptible hint of accessibility and a tad more groove (we're talking in very relative terms here), and creates even more interesting textures. Simple, right? Maybe if you're SWARM OF THE LOTUS.
Just like the debut album, on "The Sirens of Silence", the quartet plays its self-coined "A-Bomb Rock" in a way that convinces you that it's more than sound, that the music actually has weight and you could clobber someone over the head with it. It's all about those frighteningly heavy rhythms that seem as though pick-up trucks should be hauling them out of a rock quarry and those riffs that could pop the fillings out of your teeth. These essential elements are then improved upon and made more enveloping. It surely continues to be jarring as hell, as I found out listening to the album with a severe hangover this morning.
It's the band's discovery of the balance between evolving musically and retaining the familiar attributes that makes "The Sirens of Silence" an appealing album. After a few listens, the depth of the arrangements becomes more apparent, even as the landslide continues unabated. Little things like the laid-back break and moments of semi-clean/trippy vocals on "Snowbeast", a sort of haunting harmony vocal on "The Insect Trust Fund" (great title, by the way), and the bass/drum plod section on "House at the Bottom of the Sea" make the experience more invigorating. Kurt Ballou's (CONVERGE) production adds several tons, of course.
As the screams of dementia and lurching riffs on "Nightmare Paint" close the album, one feels an urge to run back through the disc's leaden tapestry; always a good sign. Not recommend for people suffering from heart disease or folks who seek serenity by listening to rainforest recordings.