Album Review: Sienna Skies - 'A Darker Shade Of Truth'

16 December 2016 | 1:12 pm | Alex Sievers
Originally Appeared In

A solid, yet generic, return to form.

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The last Sienna Skies album that I sat down and fully listened to was 2014’s ‘Seasons’, which was one of the most mediocre albums I have ever had the mild pleasure of listening to from an Australian band. Skip forward two years, and after some time away and after picking up a new vocalist in the form of Thomas Pirozzi, this Sydney outfit now have a new album out and it’s called ‘A Darker Shade Of Truth’, the artwork of which references their best release, 2011’s ‘Truest Of Colours’. Which is worthy of note, as this is album was also recorded in the same place as their debut record (Sydney's Electric Sun Studios) and is also their best work since that release. Go figure.

The ten songs found here are ten solid post-hardcore, metalcore jams that aren’t really revolutionary for the genre(s), but nor are they watered down, vapid or overly lacklustre tunes from a band that could not give half a shit and is just going through the motions. The screams and the clean singing on offer are both equally great, and the band’s/Pirozzi’s knack for knowing when to sing or scream helps to drive the tight yet rather generic instrumentation forward. Plus, hearing the real timbre and human characteristic and the slight edges in his vocals is also a welcome touch, and this record isn't a pitch corrected mess like the releases from Ocean Sleeper or The Amity Affliction.

Vocals aside, those even slightly familiar with the current metalcore ideals of chest rumbling low-end, guitar chugs, occasional synth parts, and a handful of breakdowns, will feel right at home here. Of course, you won't find anything musically new to discover on this record for the genre, yet I will always be quick to remind people that not every single record needs to create something new for its respective genre. As that's the kind of musical rabbit hole I wish to avoid like the fucking plague. So while this new release from Sienna Skies strictly adheres to the template that many of their peers follow, this album shows the band getting back on course with their momentum. And if that means being 'generic', then yeah, I'll fucking take it! After all, some bands get away with sheer repetitive murder with their albums (come on, we all know who I'm talking about here) yet Sienna Skies take that 2007-2010 metalcore sound and make it fun and relevant again; something they did very well on their debut and then sadly failed to do on 'Seasons'.

The group has a strong ear for melodies (both of the vocal and guitar variety) and on not just creating throw-away poppy hooks is palpable across this whole release. As to are their heavier musical shades. For instance, the late game anti-religion rager of ‘Corporate Cross’ is by far the band at their heaviest and vehement, and is indeed the album’s best track. Whereas a song like 'Quaterlife' merges these two sides of the band's sound (and genre) together in fine fashion, and the dynamic and clean duo of 'There's No Place Like...' and 'Clear Eyes Full Hearts' are a welcome mid-album break from the guitar chugs and mid-range screams.

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Now, one question to ponder over is that if a metalcore band releases an album and it doesn't have any featured guest vocalists on it, was it ever really released? Well, you have your answer to that idiotic question I just used to fill out the word count in form of three of this album's songs. First of this three is ‘Divided’, an ode to the band’s now defunct peers Caulfield, and the song itself also features Jarrod Anthony Martin from said band, providing some immensely solid screams in the process to creative one of the album's highpoints. The aggressive ‘Palliative’ features The Bride’s Kevin Schultz, which doesn't sound too far off from being a long lost song by The Bride now that I think about it. Then there is the album’s acoustic swan song, ‘Separated Hearts’, which has a fitting guest spot from Hawthorne Heights singer JT Woodruff, who seems to be producing better musical content on other bands work than his own. Funny how that works, isn't it?

All up, 'A Darker Shade Of Truth' is a solid return for the boys in Sienna Skies. On their fourth album, the band feels reinvigorated and sure, these ten new songs are not revolutionary for the genre or even for the bands own sound, yet there is now a stronger wind beneath their wings and hopefully, that is maintained for their future releases.

  1. Misunderstood
  2. Divided
  3. Where Mountain Meets Man
  4. Quaterlife
  5. There’s No Place Like…
  6. Clear Eyes Full Hears
  7. Palliative
  8. Corporate Cross
  9. Sepulchre
  10. Separated Hearts

'A Darker Shade Of Truth' is out now via InVogue Records, and you can read our recent interview with the band here