by Joe Mis
– Senior Columnist –
Siren’s Cry is the latest band to make their way into the now crowded symphonic power metal scene with their debut full length album entitled Scattered Horizons. The Austrian band’s music is a melding of symphonic, progressive, and power metal, and delivered with technical precision and passion. The influences of Symphony X, Dream Theater, Epica and Nightwish are immediately apparent, but Siren’s Cry blazes its own path in search of a unique sound. With lyrics inspired by magic and myth, Siren’s Cry does a nice job exploring the darker realms of the musical landscape.
The band is fronted by Katie Joanne, a fine singer with a strong voice and broad range. She can hit all the required highs and lows, and drifts to the edge of operatic many times while always remaining clear and understandable. The guitars are handled ably by Phillip Porter, who also co-produced the album with Joanne. He seems to be able to do it all from chunky riffs to soaring technical solos without letting the guitar dominate the music, allowing the technical abilities of the other performers to shine through. Michael Siskov provides the keys, and he also is a do-it-all musician. The keyboards are as vital as the guitars to the music, but like Porter’s guitars they do not drown out the rest of the band. Frederic Brünner (drums) and Sören Skupien (bass) provide the bottom end, and they work well as a team whether dealing out aggressive, galloping rhythms or soft, flowing passages.
“Introitus” opens the album, but the keyboard backed audio snippet track runs on for more than a minute and a half – significantly longer than it needs to be to set the tone for the album. Fortunately this is the only weak spot on the release. “Seven” really kicks the album off with a long instrumental rife with progressive style tempo changes that carry into the vocal portions of the song. Borrowing a page from symphonic metal’s Epica, the band seems to throw everything but the kitchen sink in to this track including some lyrics in Latin. “Oratory & Sins” is a brutally powerful guitar track, while the lyrics of “Elegy of R’lyeh” will be instantly familiar to fans of H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu novels. “Draconian Spectrum” is a dragon inspired prog anthem with very strong vocals and vivid lyrics.
“Cold Amber & Scalding Tears” is a beautifully written and performed ballad showcasing the vocal talents of Katie Joanne. It also features amazing keyboards and a truly inspired guitar solo. The epic “Sahara Sagas” is based on the framing story of Scheherazade and King Shahryār from the literary classic One Thousand and One Nights. The edgy guitar work coordinated well with bass and drums making this track a classic in its own right. The power metal “Serpents of War” blends intense guitars and keys over a galloping bass and drum line, while the varied and dynamic “A Controversial Mind” dances along the edge of sanity to close out the release.
Scattered Horizons is a fine symphonic / progressive power metal CD, surprisingly tight, well produced, and well written for a debut album. Siren’s Cry will be a hit with fans of the genre but might disappoint fans looking for something other than standard fare. While the music is strong and flawlessly performed, the band does not truly cover any new ground – which is not necessarily a bad thing. Siren’s Cry seems to have the talent to push the envelope, but they have chosen not to for their debut. Hopefully they will really find their legs on their next release and expand the boundaries of the genre. Scattered Horizons is definitely recommended for fans of progressive, power and symphonic metal!
Genre: Progressive Power, Symphonic Metal
Katie Joanne (vocals, choir vocals)
Frederic Brünner (drums)
Sören Skupien (bass)
Phillip R. Porter (guitars, choir vocals)
Michael A. Siskov (keyboards, choir vocals)
Additional performers: Simon Holzknecht (bass on 6), Frank Pitters & Monika Medek (choir vocals on 4 & 5)
3. Oratory & Sins
4. Elegy of R’lyeh
5. Draconian Spectrum
6. Cold Amber & Scalding Tears
7. Sahara Sagas Pt I
I. Overture – Sands of Time
II. Beyond the Veil
III. The Unraveling
IV. Shahryār – The Great King
8. Serpents of War
9. A Controversial Mind
Label: Nightmare Records
Hardrock Haven rating: 8 / 10