Sinira – The Everlorn


You’d be forgiven for thinking this is an album from Norway in 1996, but the one-man creator behind the music of Sinira hails from sunny Texas. Going by the name of Knell, the multi-instrumentalist wrote and recorded every aspect of the music, including the vocals. The buzz in the underground is impressive and the talent is undisputed. But is it anything new?

The first thing you’ll notice is the triumphant tone of the music, like an Ennio Morricone adaptation of Dissection and Sacramentum. ‘Where Starlight Does Not Shine’ is a magnificent opener. This song is imperious and brazen in its approach to melodic black metal with a heavy rhythm section that can compete with the mighty Emperor. Listen to those beautiful folk guitar arpeggios near the four-minute mark as they cascade through your speakerphones, like a sudden emergence of light in a dawn-filled sky. This is pure prog metal and begs the question why Therion can’t write songs like this anymore.

‘Gardens of Pestilence’ is even more frenetic in its delivery of blast beats and fast tremolo picking on the higher frets of the top two strings. Yet the epic gallop gives it the splash of a spaghetti western set to a black metal soundtrack. Parts of it sound like Falconer leading up to the climactic thrust at the seven-minute mark and will leave you excited for more. But this is where the problem of self-editing arises. ‘The Everlorn’ would be a worthy successor if it ended after six minutes instead of blasting ahead beyond nine. Knell dangles a thrash metal influence for the only time on the album and concocts a headbanging cocktail of Metallica and Gothenburg melodeath. His homage to the legendary bass skills of Geezer Butler is just as impressive leading up to the guitar solo, but the song is too long for its own good and loses its potency. The same thing happens on ‘Tear Laden Skies’, which drops the tremolo riffs in favour of some old school death metal but then reverts back to its black metal comfort zone. ‘Our Final Nightfall’ needs to spring a surprise to keep the album on track, yet the onslaught of blast beats dulls rather than excites the senses. By this point you’ll be crying out for an extravagant pinch harmonic riff or even a slab of open-string chugging – anything to keep things fresh. It makes you realise that Machine Head’s Locust is in the same key as this record but is a far superior piece of heroic heavy metal with crushing riffs and valiant guitar work.

You have every right to look at the running time of ‘Dawnless Twilight’ and sigh. Eleven minutes and thirty seconds. Really? Yet Knell remembers his mission is to keep his audience captivated on the penultimate track. This is a decent effort with a slower and more marauding vibe built on an exquisite double-kick drum pattern. You won’t notice the modulation to blast beats at 01:20 seconds, but you won’t forget the switch to Immortal’s unique brand of blackened thrash or the vicious black metal roar at the midway point. Now we can envisage the hero removing the enemy’s sword from his chest as he falls forward onto the soil and surrenders himself to the glory of Valhalla. We need more moments like this to give Knell the adulation his talent deserves.

The Everlorn shows great promise but relies on a misplaced assumption that the listener will stick with it through the longer sections. Some parts of this album achieve genuine brilliance yet far too many diminish with repetition and lack of variation. No doubt, Knell’s next studio effort will correct these imbalances and deliver on his awesome musical potential.

JVB


Verdict


Release Date: 26/02/2021

Record Label: Northern Silence Productions

Standout tracks: Where Starlight Does Not Shine, Gardens of Pestilence, Dawnless Twilight

Suggested Further Listening: Borknagar – Borknagar (1996), Emperor – In the Nightside Eclipse (1994), Sacramentum – Far Away from the Sun (1996)