HECHICERAS DE LA SEDUCCIÓN MÁGICA DE METAL… SIRENHEX
ALBUM REVIEW BY BORIS LEE
On a December night of twenty-seventeen, I worked a local metal band showcase in downtown Los Angeles. That night ended up being historical for me on a personal level. I met a beautiful friend, and the icing on the cake of such an event… having a band not only leave me craving more but also leaving me so shocked by their performance, I had to rethink what is taking place in the reality of indie Metal Music today.
Long ago and far away, when my neck and brain could handle the severity of a good head-banging and horn raising time, I thought to myself, ‘music shall never be this good again. I am fortunate to be part of this creative time.’
It was the mid-nine-teen-eighties, when I had that thought process. For years, much like any other true metal-head of the time, I watched my genre of music shrink back into the shadows, and lose face to the Seattle fronted musical movement. As my friends and I held on to fond memories of plaid shirts, leather jackets, and the of the glorious sounds of Judas Priest, Dio, Iron Maiden, and the Big Four, we shared a mindset that the kids of the future would never understand what it was like to be ‘Metal’.
Thus, on the fateful night in question, December fifteen-twenty-seventeen, to be exact, as I helped a drummer and vocalist carry their gear up the stairs into the venue (just because I am one of those old-chivalry is not dead types), I looked at how they were dressed and thought to myself, ‘These kids are cute! They are copies of what metal once was!’
Well, cute or not, the fact of the matter is I was wrong for thinking as I did. For when these ‘Kids’ hit the stage, and the opening notes played by Barbie struck my ears, I was saying to myself, ‘No shit! She can play!’ As I absorbed this information, I realized that the bassist, Belen, was tossing her hair ala, Tom Araya. Luna was screaming with passionate vocals, Mars was full bore into her drumming, presenting a no-nonsense facial expression with each stick stroke slapping the skins, and then this poof of hair known as Jerm, was bobbing up and down like Dave Mustaine, as fingers shredded away on his axe. The totality of the bands playing and imagery, shot me back to my youth, and I realized these ‘Kids’ were not just kids, they had the energy and magic that is, Heavy Metal Music.
The performance sent me into a nostalgia of mosh pits at my high school battle of the bands. I watched the entire performance, and I kept hearing a voice in my head say, ‘They are like a young Slayer in performance. Timing is rough, but the energy is authentic, and they have the crowd paying full attention. They have that.. IT, factor’.
With the experience I had watching Sirenhex perform that night, they interested me in seeing what the future held for the talented group. Thus, when the band announced the release of their EP, I perked up with anticipation. ‘Can they put something on a record that captured what they present playing live? Can they capture that rough brutality and energy that makes a local band worth paying attention to? Since they reminded me of old school metal in passion and performance, are they going to have that unpolished and rough sound for the album, as my band-mates and I did in our day in the studio?’
To say Sirenhex did not live up to my expectations on this EP release would be an understatement. The band did something I truly did not expect from them…
They exceeded any premonitions I had for the release and absolutely blew me away. Thus, annihilated my expectations. Not only did the band capture what they offer in a live performance, they did it in a professional and polished product, that just does not exist in many bands for a virgin outing these days. Sirenhex captured the classic feel and energy that came from the eighties- heavy metal prime and did so without sounding like EVERY OTHER BAND OUT HERE TODAY!
“Brujas Del Metal”, kicks off this EP, opening with a four- and half-minute song, that is technically two songs combined into one. The first song is a haunting, two-plus minute instrumental that is equally methodical as melodic in presentation. Once Luna’s vocals chime into the spell, the band increases tempo, and we are slammed into a ‘Grove-tastic’, thrash of metal music. The band’s instrumental piece is a true classic offering in metal design and stands alone as proof that there lies talent in this group. However, when Luna’s vocals hit, one aware of their metal music surroundings may need to take a second listen to what they are experiencing, for there is no doubt that the influences of a young Doro Pesch, come through. That distinct sound, married to the kiss of the late Santa front-woman Azucena Martín-Dorado Calvo, Luna is her own powerful voice. Luna continues this same ability throughout the rest of the Sirenhex EP offering, leaving me to hope that she transfers this amazing vocal talent to her live performances, and leaves the more rough and raspy rendition I first heard behind. Luna has a voice that deserves to be absorbed by metal-heads everywhere.
The second track on the EP, “Waves of Scorn,” picks up right where “Brujas Del Metal” left off. The opening riff laid down by Barbie, in copulation with Mars drum beats, is a solid homage to Slayer greats, the late Jeff Hanneman, and legendary drummer, Dave Lombardo. Belen, and Luna, join in the “Metal-Majik,” and totality of the song, has a throwback to the early days of Betsy Weiss and Bitch.
The power of three comes with “Siren’s Cry,” the third track on the release. This is the bands strongest offering on the record, and is a showcase to each members individual talents, along with the bands unity to put forth one divine cast of metal Majik craft. Once again, the song opens with a classic feel and sound, this time touching more on the power of Iron Maiden. The band does something here, that is lost on many metal bands of this modern-day… excellent flow in their tempo changes. Each member of the band stands out at one point or another on this track, showing what they each bring to the table. Jerm lays down a lead riff flawless in flow, matching the pulse of Barbie’s rhythm work. Belen steps forward with bass work that would bring a smile to the late Cliff Burton’s face. She takes the bass, an instrument that is often lost to the luster of other particulars of a band and brings it to the forefront of the listener’s attention. Luna continues the power of her pipes in unison with her band-mates, again, harkening to a classic mid-eighties Iron Maiden. Mars puts on a drum clinic that is exactly what metal drummers once strived for in both keeping time and standing out, denying themselves the labeling of a ‘Human Metronome.’ Mars drumming on the entire album is superior to what I heard with the initial live performance of the band I was excited to be exposed to. She puts out such a strong effort on the album, keeping time like Charlie Benante, having energy to match Mikkey Dee, and beating the drum kit to the heart of Dave Lombardo, Mars is impressive.
The final track on the EP, “Hexed,” is a fun climax to the metal mash that the ladies and dude presented to this point.
Throughout the entire EP offering, the band shows that they are a legitimate force of metal music. Barbie and Jerm have guitar chops like that of a Karate Sensai in masterful technique, and flow. Barbie is brutal on the axe, and Jerm puts leads down reminiscent of Kirk Hammett when Metallica was good.
Luna has a vocal power and ability that is pleasantly shocking to hear. I would say my shock in what Luna can do as a front-woman is along the same lines of Tony Iommi’s shock in how great Ronnie James Dio was. That voice is just not expected from the package and epic to hear.
Then we have the rhythm section of Sirenhex. The backbone to any solid band is the rhythm section. Geezer Butler and either Bill Ward or, Vinny Appice of Black Sabbath, Tom Araya and Dave Lombardo of Slayer, Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk of Rage Against the Machine, are just a few solid examples to prove this point. Belen and Mars come together in that same classic fashion, forming a rhythm section that could easily break away and offer a side project on their own.
The totality of talents in Sirenhex make these ‘Kids’ legitimate metal music masters.
I give Sirenhex 4.5 out 5 raised horns for their EP release and look forward to what the future holds for these young, talented Brujas Del Metal.