Sidious - Revealed in Profane Splendour - (6.5/10)
Published on January 6, 2015
Falling somewhere between a barely ambulant Behemoth and a slightly sedate Fleshgod Apocalypse is Siduous, UK symphonic blackened deathsters that in 2013 piqued my interest with a somewhat impressive EP, Ascension to the Throne ov Self. Although the previous description could be taken as both discourteous and flattering it’s a similar ambiguous position in which the new full-length, Revealed in Profane Splendour, has left me. In its best moments, Sidious can be quite a force to be reckoned with, but with this interpretation of blackened death it’s unfortunately the beleaguered moments that bear the most fruit, which leave a lingering aftertaste of unfinished business.
It’s not that Sidious isn’t competently handled instrumentally but rather it’s the songwriting that seems to take a backseat when it should be riding shotgun, at the very least. The first track, “Sacrilegious Majesty,” points that flaw out with attritional abandon and it’s frustrating that bands to this day still chug along with anticlimactic, dead-end riffs in an attempt to be epic (i.e. mimic Behemoth) but in reality go nowhere, sort of like the following track, ”Inexorable Revelation.” For a while, it’s an impressively savage number but it abruptly ends, leaving an empty feeling, and it isn’t until the third and title track where the black metal influences crop up and noticeably (perhaps coincidentally?) change the course of the album.
That a symphonic death metal band needs black metal to add traction to a predominantly inert sound does not necessarily bode well for the future. But it’s a start, even if Sidious takes nearly 10 minutes to “start” somewhere, which on an album that only runs 36 minutes, wastes a lot of precious time. The quality time we do get here, though, sees the band firing on all cylinders, which is more like the material on the EP, and it can get unpredictably varied, from raging tremolo blasting ala Myrkskog to surprisingly adept guitar work that pelts out like a machine gun without ever sounding too busy or congested.
Such is the display of intelligence that all hope is not necessarily lost to idolatry or other similar vagrancies that would ruin an otherwise promising future. It would be a boon indeed if Sidious could pull all their loose ends together into something much more cohesive and formidable, rather than rest on a shaky foundation that, as this album so painfully shows, pulls the rug from under the entire production and leaves the band picking up pieces as it tries to move forward. Perhaps with a little more time to mature, and additional content to digest on subsequent albums, can Sidious grow into the blackened death britches they so desperately wish to wear.