Friday, June 9, 2023

Sirrah - Did Tomorrow Come... (1997)

I would be remiss to think of anything possibly quirkier than the track "Panacea" from Sirrah's debut, but I think in general, it's follow-up full-length Did Tomorrow Come... is much more progressive and quirky, while still keeping a lot of its fundamentals intact. You can still hear a lot of elements of anything from My Dying Bride to Paradise Lost to Pyogenesis to Moonspell, but the Polish band was not settling its butt down on any laurels, but writing that style into the future. Upbeat, peppy, perky ideas are strewn throughout the ten tracks, and the band seem unwilling to be pigeonholed into any one niche. I'd almost risk that Did Tomorrow Come... is like Sirrah, only Arcturus got ahold of it and infected it with their zany carnival attitude.

The production is cleaner here, really giving us better access to its scattershot components, from the ethereal female vocal lines to the busier guitars which at times almost border on a blend of thrash and doom metal. Synthesizers are used sparingly, as well as pianos, and the majority of the vocals bounce between the guttural expectations and then a wavier, sad or drugged sounding cleaner male vocal that is perhaps one of the weakest parts of the album. Perhaps due to the accent or confidence level, but there are moments that it sounds quite good, and others where it feels like its lost the plot. Regardless, it's only a minor intrusion that can't quite mar the surface of the obvious excitement below this. It's like the band was listening to their first album and decided not to sound so sad anymore, and gave each other a kick in the rump while they were in the studio, or maybe just a lot of drugs. To its credit, though, the writing doesn't lose a whole lot of impact from where they were at two years prior.

It doesn't have a truly standout track for me like "Acme", but at the same time, there's not really anything goofy like "Panacea" to spoil it. The closest might be "Madcap" which sounds like someone took the orchestration from the old Celtic Frost Into the Pandemonium... album and combined that with a strange Gothic chamber quartet, but in fact that song's tremendous fun. The closer, "Floor's Embrace", starts off pulsing off like it's going to be some mix of dance and folk music, but that one is rescued quite quickly when the great guitar riff rips forth. Did Tomorrow Come... is fascinating stuff, despite me not liking a few of the vocals, it's quite sticky and a superior experience to Acme only if you're willing to chuck your expectations to the curb and revel in its unique boldness. Had Sirrah continued on much longer, who knows what they might have become? I could certainly hear them hobnobbing with the likes of Arcturus, Solefald, Sigh or Diablo Swing Orchestra. This is a fun album that too few give a damn about.

Verdict: Win [8.25/10]

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