Let me introduce you to SIRRAH. I guess that's a new name for a lot of the readers here at “The Metal Observer”. The reason for that may be the fact that SIRRAH only released two albums, with "Acme" being the only essential one. SIRRAH is a hard band to put in a specific genre as they take their inspiration from many different genres of music. The growled vocals, which are top notch, limit the fan base of SIRRAH. They also use female vocals (not overdoing it), some violin (a little sour sometimes) and what sounds like a water pipe on "Iridium". The most important thing, however, is creating good songs. On “Acme” SIRRAH did just that.
The album starts out with the title track, “Acme”. At the start of the song the vocalist uses a sort of clean vocal which may sound a little awkward at first. Be sure to give them some time and there’s a fat chance you will get used to them. The growled vocals join the show a little later in the song and the quality is unquestionable. In fact they are so good that they’ll send shivers down the spine of those who appreciate their Death vocals. In contrast to the screams from the grave we have female vocals. If all bands had used the female vocals the way SIRRAH does, not to mention the pure quality of the singer, I would be a die-hard fan of the beast/beauty concept. So far I've been talking a lot about the vocals on "Acme", so I guess it's time to talk a little bit about the music.
PARADISE LOST's "Gothic" can stand as a reference point, although that doesn't tell the whole story. SIRRAH don't sound as depressive as PARADISE LOST, which is most evident on "Panacea". "Panacea" shows a band not taking themselves overly serious; it's up to you whether that's a good or bad thing. Personally I find the song a little misplaced; I don't think it fits the mood of the rest of the album. For all I know that may have been the intention all the way. The first four songs share that same PARADISE LOST feel I mentioned earlier. Only "A.U. Tomb" fails to bring a smile to my face out of those four. By all means not a bad song, but compared to the others it bleaks; subjective speaking of course. "Iridium" shows a more riff orientated SIRRAH. It starts with some watery sounds and soon after a really good riff kicks in. SIRRAH doesn’t down tune their guitars to the maximum, but they certainly found their own sound.
"Iridium" is one of my favourite songs on "Acme", it is without doubt the "heaviest" song of the album. After "Iridium" follows the longest song on the album. Here the female singer really gets the chance to show her brilliance. Unfortunately there are also some weak spots on "Pillbox Impressions". The guitar solo/harmony that's played in the background are simply sour and the violin also sounds sour on different occasions as well, most noticeably about 4 minutes out in the song. The fact that this song is good may be the evidence for that song writing is as important as pure playing skills. I mentioned "Panacea" before so I’ll go on to my favourite track of the album, "Bitter Seas". I don't like using the word beautiful but that's the only word I find that describe this song. All things good about SIRRAH peaks in this song. The violin does it all right, the vocalists deliver their best performances and the guitars don’t play a sour note. "In The Final Moment" closes the album in a good way, although some of the sour guitar work has sneaked back in.
Since I mentioned that "Acme" have some weak spots it's important to tell that the vast majority of the record is a quality product. I for sure will tolerate some sour notes if only the songs themselves are good. I can easily recommend this one to every one that likes some variety in their Metal diet. (Online May 19, 2006)