• Sylvain Lupari

REDSHIFT: Siren (2002)

A striking album that I just can't believe it was made almost 20 years ago

1 Bleed I 5:16

2 Bleed II 3:13

3 Bleed III 4:48

4 Bleed IV 9:35

5 Bleed V 5:48

6 Wraith 11:04

7 Bombers in the Desert 7:58

8 Siren I 2:43

9 Siren II 2:36

10 Siren III 5:34

11 Siren IV 4:26

12 Siren V 2:58

13 Mania 6:11

Redshift Music

1 Bleed part 1-5 28:42

2 Wraith 11:03

3 Bombers in the Desert 7:59

4 Siren part 1-5 18:28

(DDL 72:17) (V.F.)

(England School, Heavy and Hard EM)

Recorded during the Alfa Centauri concert in the Netherlands in April 1999, SIREN is Redshift's 4th album. Initially released in November 2002, it is filled with the heavy and polyrhythmic atmospheres that ruled on the album Ether. Besides, Bleed part 1-5 is either the continuity of Ether, or it's Ether's show version. The intro is somewhat different. The sequencer is heavier, even if its big pulses are the same with guitar and synth segments set in different places. But all the Redshift charms are there. And like the vast majority of the English band's albums, it has been discontinued for a long time and takes now advantage of the largesse of the download albums to be presented in its full, including this time the Mania encore.

After a heavy opening where ghostly voices blend with drones that pulse in a dark resonance, crystalline keys form a sequenced line on a mellotron that pushes the movement into a futuristic waltz. Heavier, the sequence undulates on a linear movement that is overtaken by another more moderate line, slowing the pace. From there, the rhythm goes down different corridors visited by Rob Jenkins' sulfurous guitar and Julian Shreeve's synth. It's good, but the title should have been Ether. At least Ether 2. Wraith is built in the same mold. Its introduction is blown by dark breezes where we perceive chthonic humming. A bright bluish synth line emerges from these depths, calling for a sharp line of oscillations and the sequencer to establish a heavy and slow rhythm. Cymbals peck away at this rhythm, which is protected by a choir from beyond the grave. Honestly, Wraith could have been called Bleed VI as the resemblance is palpable. The band offers a superb interpretation of Bombers in the Desert that can be found on Ether. A track too good (see the review on Ether) to take away or add anything in it!

Here, it encroaches on the opening of Siren, which lets hear a piano in a metallic mist of the small hours of darkness. A nice mellotron flute perfumes the ambience with a mystical aura. It melts on a line of buzzing pulsations and percussions whose metallic tones slam in a heavy and threatening ambience. An ambience torn by high-pitched guitar solos that progress over these resonant sequences in a procession that sounds satanic to say the least. Rob Jenkins' solos rip on a phase that continues with Siren III and its polyphase rhythm with a heavy and aggressive sequencer and another rhythm line doing the guignol. This line gets lost in the sound waves to make room for a thundering guitar that doesn't struggle to find its solos back in a great heavy electronic rock like the English model. Siren IV brings back the rhythm to more airy proportions with a sequencer which leaves its heavy state to make dance its limpid keys jumping nervously on a structure almost without life that reanimates the ardour of Siren V. And Siren wakes up on a rhythm supported by a lively and heavy sequencer, splendid synth solos which mix with those of a fiery guitar. Hard Redshift with a heavy and energetic music difficult to contain and which releases its rage on its way to darkness. Redshift in the state of Ether.

This downloadable album offers a bonus track, Mania as an encore. The bass layer spreads its vampiric shadow while the synth recites an apocalyptic hymn. The guitar roars as the tension rises steadily until it spits out its infernal rhythm around the 90th second. A crazy, heavy and dynamic rhythm shared between the spectral harmonies of the synth and of the enraged guitar. A rhythm which engages itself in an atmospheric bridge more than 90 seconds later. A phase of intrigue and threats that explodes again for an explosive finale. A big track taken from the Down Time album.

SIREN is certainly one of the most interesting cd's in 2002. It's pure dynamite in open air that has the flaw of its explosions. The air is sometimes unstable, like the music. Almost 20 years later, I listen to SIREN, and I just can't believe that it was made some 20 years back. A powerful album that was, and still is, simply irresistible.

Sylvain Lupari (September 22nd, 2006) *****

SynthSequences.com

Available at Redshift Bandcamp

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