Isn’t it weird how some bands falls through your interest zone even though you know you’d probably like them if you just give them the time of day? This has happened to me many, many times during the years and I curse myself every time it does because I know I have missed out on something really good for far too long. A good example of this is Swedish four piece Sideburn. In their case it’s even more strange as I have crossed paths with their guitar player Morgan Zocek many, many times during the past twenty years or so and it’s not like I have never heard them, it’s just that I have never listened to them, for some stupid reason. So shame on me for that. But better late than never, right? So why not bring matters to a head and see if their new album holds up to the critical acclaim it has gotten so far.
It does and then some. What we get here is some high quality hard rock that borders to metal at times, that takes us back to a time and age when bands played music for the sake of nothing but just writing great songs, from the heart. A time where hit singles were the last thing on their minds and the thought of going multi schmulti platinum didn’t even occur – the seventies. Sideburn wears their influences on their sleeves and their love for bands such as Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath shines through a lot, but never in a way that makes them copycats or clones. No matter how much you can hear their influences, it’s never without the personal touch that runs like a stream throughout the whole album.
First song out is “Diamonds”, a real killer that takes us back to 1972 and the Black Sabbath album Volume 4 in style, “Fire And Water” is a heavy and hard blues rocker that makes me think a little of Free, not just because of the title, there’s more Sabbath in “Tomorrow’s Dream”, this time it hits the 80’s and Mob Rules and in “Crossing The Line” they give us a slow, almost a ballad, but heavy tune. “The Last Day” is some heavy shit. I hear influences from both Ozzy and Dio era Sabbath and also a touch of Candlemass. Or maybe Krux? “Silverwing” is a semi acoustic thing that makes me think of the first Badlands album and also Led Zeppelin, which kind of figures. It turns into a more heavy thing after half the song. “Bring Down The Rain” also makes me think of Badlands, but it’s faster and more in the 80’s metal vein. They end this splendour with the title track, a heavy, epic, melodic and quite catchy tune and this just have to be one of the greatest songs of 2012. In fact, this album is worth getting your hands on only for that song. Brilliant!
Once again, I have to smack myself in the head asking why I haven’t checked them out properly before because this album is quite stunning. The production is rootsy and raw, but still clean, heavy and in your face. Also, the musicians needs to be mentioned here. The rhythm section of Martin Karlsson (bass, also on organ) and Fredrik Haake is tighter than a camel’s arse in a sandstorm, Zocek is a real guitar hero without overdoing anything, keeping his rhythms exactly where they belong and singer Jani Kataja is a real find with a wide range voice that could be described as Glenn Hughes, Ozzy Osbourne and Ian Astbury in a blender with a whole lot of his own personality to go with it. If your heart belongs to the 70’s and the bands mentioned here takes up some good space in your record collection, you’d be fool not to make this album yours. IV Monument was a wake up call for me. Great stuff!
Jon Wilmenius (9/10)
2. Fire And Water
3. Tomorrows Dream
4. Crossing The Lines
5. The Last Day
7. The Saviour
8. Bring Down The Rain