Abaddon magazine

Music magazine

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Review: Sieta – Novgorod

Label: Satanath Records

Date: April 24th, 2022

“Oh, no he didn’t just take a Russian band for a review in the middle of the Ukrainian crisis”. Yes, I did. And, to be honest, I just took it so that I could write this introduction. Furthermore, if I would leave out all the countries involved in a war at the moment, I would likely just write reports about the natural growth of grass in the yard next to my building. I mean, imagine boycotting USA for their war efforts around the threatening third world countries which, incidentally, all lay on top of massive amounts of oil. And how many countries are involved in NATO? You see, they all used to drop bombs on my own head just a couple of decades ago. EU is funding the current crisis as well. And don’t even get me started on an “innocent bystander” UN.

As for me, music is the key. All the Putins, Bidens, Trumps and the rest can “lick my hairy yellow butt”.

Unfortunately, Sieta is not very good at music. They’re mediocre at best. I’m often reminded of second half of the 1990’s and the uprising of operatic gothic metal. It took mere months after Nightwish made it big to witness the insurgence of literally hundreds of (attractive) singers fronting a bunch of classical music influenced instrumentalists on a quest of similar success. Some of them made it, but none quite like Nightwish. Because Tarja and the boys delivered innovative music and unrivaled talent at creating brilliant songs. After all, you do realize that after Mrs. Turunen left the boys took a couple of those (attractive) singers to replace her. Not the other way around.

Anyway, something similar happens of the Slavic pagan / folk market. After Arkona and Nokturnal Mortum (hah, here’s Ukrainians for you) made it big, hundreds are following their footsteps with limited success. Sieta is yet another one of those. Everything on “Novgorod” screams the names of the two mentioned bands (plus a few other more familiar ones). A combination of folk moments and traditional instruments, laid on top of extreme metal foundation. Though, in the case of Sieta, one can distinguish melodic death metal, as well as black metal that are forming the said foundation. Other than that, there’s really nothing all that special on “Novgorod”.

Granted, one can argue that the folk element is toned down ever so often in favor of the more extreme metal parts. But those are not that better, creatively speaking, than their counterparts. Other than a few (and really a few) eyebrow raising pieces, the vast majority of the album falls into mediocrity. It’s simply not that special. Interestingly, it is those better evolved pieces that are overly technical, thus bringing a slight progressive metal connotation. Once the band simplifies the matters at hand, they become dull and seemingly in dire need of imagination.

Basically, it’s all been heard before and in much better performance. There’s a good reason why Arkona is a global sensation. It’s not because they have an attractive vocalist (by the way, Sieta is also missing a female element) or because they were simply the first to arrive at the scene. It’s their majestic music that got them the recognition they absolutely deserve. Once Sieta gets this issue resolved, they could be on the same track. However, with what’s on display here, I do not see it happening any time soon. Even if this is a debut from a four years old band.