Sigiriya – Return To Earth …   3 comments

The much sadly missed Acrimony released their last studio full-length in 1996 with ‘Tumuli Shroomaroom’. Even though the band recorded splits with Iron Rainbow and Church of Misery, and appeared on the Leaf Hound Records compilation Bong on – Live Long! released in 2007, it is the ‘Tumuli Shroomaroom’ that the band is best remembered for. So when four out of the original five Acrimony members announced a new band called Sigiriya, riff worshippers everywhere were excited and rightly so. Only guitarist Lee Davies is missing from Sigiriya’s début titled ‘Return to Earth’.

This bio should have you drooling with anticipation ~ “Beneath the soil of a Welsh valley a heavy metal life-force regains strength: rising from the ashes of stoner doom merchants Acrimony, Sigiriya is born. Eight years after the demise of Acrimony, guitarist Stu O’Hara, bassist Mead, drummer Darren Ivey and vocalist Dorian Walters have reconvened. Not wanting the limitations of reforming a project long dead to them, Sigiriya brings a fresh take on their trademark monolithic heavy groove. While Acrimony hailed from the temples of deepest space, Sigiriya come from the earthy depths, bringing hefty, tremor-inducing sonics that pay homage to the riff.”

A couple of things before hitting play on this album is it is 4/5 of Acrimony so it has to sound a bit like that band, right? It is being released on the exceptionally good he Church Within Records so it must be high-quality? Lets tackle the first question first, yes they will be compared with Acrimony and there is indeed some similarities but Sigiriya is a new band, with a fresh take on stoner, sludge, riff-rock or whatever you are calling it this week and should be analyzed on its own merits. The main overwhelming difference is the music of Sigiriya is more focused on big crunchy traditional rock grooves and less on psychedelic jamming, although there is a little bit of that on here too. There is more of an injection of metal into the sound rather than the desert/stoner-metal vibes of yesteryear but at the same time, this is far from being traditional metal. In the band they have Stuart O’Hara who was also in Iron Monkey so that spells heaviness right there. There is vocalist Dorian Walters, bassist Paul “Mead” Bidmead, and drummer Darren Ivey.

Note, I got these tracks one by one via a download promo so the actual running order will be different on the album once it is released and I think that was important to mention as some of these songs sound like they should bleed into each other. One thing I do know is ‘Deathtrip to Eryri’ is the album closer and it is also one track that gets me totally mesmerized. The interstellar-overdriven space-rock voyage is a total trip for its 10 minutes. It features prominent groovy bass lines and a hell of a lot of sabbathian qualities in the immensely doom-laden riffing. The song only takes a few minutes to send you into a trance-like state with hypnotic bass and drum work and when the lead comes in floating over the top in a sonically charged fashion, the result is like downing too many red-bull energy drinks – the track is a rush but also leaves you on the edge of your seat with restless anticipation. At the other end of the scale is ‘The Mountain Goat’ which sounds nothing like Acrimony at all, this tune is totally infectious and surprisingly metallic.

Vocalist Dorian Walters sounds even more sure of himself these days and his vocals have matured over the years since the Acrimony split. The rawness is still there but it is more refined now and the same can be said for the rest of the band as well. There is an element of class and self-assured maturity that you didn’t hear too much on the original Acrimony recordings. A good example of this is the excellent ‘Robot Funeral’ which still can carry the ‘stoner-metal’ tag but it is more metal than stoner. The start-stop arrangement coupled with infectious vocal melodies is certainly groovy riff-rock kind of stuff but this is severely metallic and seriously heavy. ‘Dark Fires’ is a similar to ‘Robot Funeral’ in the metallic sense, it still has that psychedelic edge to it but this is one band cooking up some killer metal on these songs. Not traditional, generic metal by any means but the metallic crunch is enough to blow most of other generic-metal bands away any day.

‘Tobacco Sunrise’ sees the band stretching out a little bit with a more spacious groove and vibe while another song, ‘Hurricane’ simply kicks up a bombastic charge of metallic fury. ‘Return To Earth’ is a pure metallic riff-rock album that keeps the psychedelic jam-rock leanings of the band members past in the background and yes this is a kick-ass rock album, first and foremost. Acrimony fans should dig this album but don’t expect this to be a cloned-version of that band, this is vastly different and a whole new approach and a new beginning for the musicians involved.  There is not a weak moment on this album and there is not a second where the metallic riffing or the melodies are not catchy. I knew these guys couldn’t do anything bad given their heritage and experience but this goes way beyond expectations. A killer début from Sigiriya. …..9/10

Sigiriya @ Facebook
Doom Dealer/The Church Within

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Posted May 30, 2011 by doommantia in Sigiriya

3 responses to “Sigiriya – Return To Earth …

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  1. OMG, thanks a million for the info on this band and their debut.

    acrimony along with kyuss, were my introduction to the genre. great to hear that these dudes got together for a new project.

  2. AWESOME!! Great review Ed. This is a killer debut indeed !! A must have! I'm told by Darren Ivey (Drummer) that this is the real deal, not some reunion tour thing. He says the next installment will be heavier. Im sure it will slay given there pedigree.

  3. It is indeed sounds awesome and I must admit I was really surprised how good it is. I was expecting something good but not this great.

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