Monday, July 22, 2024
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Label: Blood Fire Death

Date: June 14th, 2024

I would actually like to know where is the line between an album and an EP. It seems to be quite arbitrary. I mean, here’s a twenty three minute long recording of eight tracks that is dubbed an album. On the other hand, I’ve got a few four track EPs which last well over half an hour. To each his and her own would be a correct policy, if it wasn’t for the pricing. While you can get an EP for something like eight euros (pounds, dollars, whatever…), a full album costs from ten, fifteen, to eighteen or even twenty. Then again, with the independent music scene the pricing can be just as arbitrary. In case of Siroll!’s new album, you can “name the price” on Bandcamp and get it for free.

I just don’t know and will likely be left without a concrete answer, as the question bears way too many variables and unknowns. What I can say is that I do not (and will never) encourage “naming the price” zero. If you want to listen to the album for free, do so on any given streaming platform, because in such cases the band can earn a few bucks from the sheer number of “streams”. That much you can do.

The unnecessary tractate be gone. I’m diving into “Al Gra!”. More than fifteen years are behind this Catalan quintet and this is their fourth album. What constitutes their musical credo is named on their Bandcamp page as extreme crossover metal and that’s as good of a description as any. Literally, Siroll! mixes hardcore, thrash metal and modern melodic death metal into a strong and surprisingly homogenous rock formation. With politically engaged lyrics, of course, though I’m inferring that from context, since Catalan language is not among those I’m even slightly familiar.

The closest comparison I’m thinking of is Slayer from their “troublesome” nineties, along with a more distinct devotion to west coast hardcore (Madball, Suicidal Tendencies, Hatebreed…) and spiced, on occasion, with melodic guitars not unlike Dark Tranquillity or Kataklysm, for best example. Hardcore is the one holding it all together, while the others are there as an enhancement. Also important to notice are the vocals that offer variety which further intensifies the multitude of genres involved in Siroll!’s music. These span from classic shouts, (where would hardcore be without the) gang vocals and classic growling. The singing is fairly convincing and the voice stands ground with tons of bricks being delivered by the other instruments.

While on the subject of instrumentalization, it’s done by the highest standards. Enriched by a solid, heavy production work, “Al Gra!” is an album that will fill the hearts with all the anger and adrenaline its creators and performers exuded on the piece of plastic. The Catalans have listened to a whole lot of music and picked up exactly the lessons they needed to craft such an album. But that’s where lies an issue they failed to address…

Namely, the album lacks any indication of a personal touch. The whole thing is highly predictable and made from the well-worn bag of tricks. That fact alone wouldn’t be such a terrible thing if the album contained a massively catchy and easily memorable parts which would serve as points of distinguishment. Unfortunately, “Al Gra!” works like a charm while it spins, but dissipates from the mind as soon as it stops. At least in my case, since I believe in the riches of language and there’s an open possibility that the understanding of those, not to mention the ability to singalong to a catchy chorus, could be the turning point in proper judging of Siroll!’s possibilities.

Even with those reservations mentioned, I would still recommend listening to these guys. It won’t hurt since they are rather good. Plus, it’s not like there’s anything new happening in hardcore every day, so you might as well try some Catalan rage.


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