Sibiir offer up a savage, maniacal beast for their debut full-length, but it’s an interesting case of individual parts being less than the whole product. The group certainly has a unique take on blackened hardcore. Unlike groups like Plebeian Grandstand and Young and in the Way, Sibiir really isn’t all that grim or kvlt. Sure, the raspy vocals and classic cold black metal melodies are here in spades, but (and oh God pardon this lame joke) this group decide to turn that frown upside down (really sorry). Sibiir, among all else, sounds like they are having a god damn blast during this self-titled release. The lazy comparison would be how Converge-ian ’90s metalcore would sound if it were raised in the frigid winters of Scandinavia (there are tinges of melodeath throughout the record), but Sibiir feels much closer to Norma Jean in how they dole out aggression and melody. I don’t know if there is southern metalcore in Norway, but there is now. Really throughout the album, Sibiir show off an uncanny riff-writing ability, and the thrashier sections are a nice addition when they come up.
The issues are unfortunate and rather damning. The slower tunes, especially “The Spiral” and “Apathetic” lack the energy and that sort of “fun factor” that the group are able to successfully harness on the other tracks. Also, and this is the bigger issue, the production really limits any dynamics that are squashed in the record. It’s very loud, with the vocals and drums taking a decided front seat. It’s unfortunate because it’s clear there are some nice leads and dual melodies buried in the mix that would’ve helped add more variety to the mix. Also, this leads to the record feeling somewhat same-y throughout much of its middle and later sections. Stellar standouts like “Guillotines” and “Beat Them To Death” offer up some nice added melodies (and feel much clearer to the ears), but it leaves an album that is really enjoyable through the first few listens feeling less desirable the more you jam it.
And make no mistake, Sibiir is meant for jamming. Despite the complaints above, the group know how to craft blackened metalcore of the highest order, but mixing issues and poor songwriting choices doom the record from the greatness that it contains within.