Sial

Reviews

Sial Zaman Edan 7″

SIAL is a great band from Singapore. Like, really, really, great. I don’t know what’s going on in the city-state, but Singaporean punks tend to be quite intense in their approach to music, something that my own intense self appreciates. The single is titled Zaman Edan, which means “mad times” in the language of Shakespeare. Both songs are cathartic in ways I couldn’t fathom if catharsis was possible before. Side A means “You Were Born To Fight” and it displays a really interesting sound, anarcho-punk with space rock elements: a really sick guitar riff, a dirty bass tone, and a synth bringing out of space and drone-y effects into the mix. Side B means “You Were Born To Die.” The song starts with a beat reminiscent of that part of the thumping bassline of “Land” where PATTI SMITH starts singing “Horses, horses, horses,” which leads to getting suckerpunched by a huge power chord ringing with a tinnitus-inducing guitar tone. There is some cowbell thrown in there just for fun and then you get this death disco beat with an ominous synth that maps a deathrock-y territory. Awesome. And then the song gets all this anarcho-punk in-your-face brashness that gets you exhilarated until it finishes with noise-induced psychedelia snippets à la HAWKWIND. Brilliant. Get it on vinyl.

Sial Tari Pemusnah Kuasa LP

This is the forth release from Singapore’s SIAL, remaining consistent, it picks up where Binasa—their previous 7”—ended. The same consistency solidified the sound of SIAL that is both their own and now is familiar to the listeners, though portioned on short records, it never gets boring. It tastefully combines rolling dynamics, occasional D-beat pump, echoed yet frantic vocals, guitars distorted enough to footnote noise, but held back as well to actually hear the sense of riffs, which balance between easy to interpret, direct attacks and more tense parts to bounce the whole room. This is a formula in modern hardcore, but SIAL took the effort to tailor it custom. The second half of the record takes careful turns to psychedelia; some songs are even chant-like, which is refreshing since it is constructed in an interesting way. All along we discuss here raging hardcore, still SIAL seems to be highly self-concious, what might control the chaos of their music, although they never sound artificial, but their inner angst is matched with certain relics of hardcore/punk and the creatively mixed substance is poured into a frame. Beyond the sonic facts, SIAL is able to make their music more than a case study of hardcore, as the record spins, their power takes over the atmosphere, which is tense enough to grab my focus on their energy. The record has an unnatural power, therefore what is best in SIAL, is what their record summons, not what is actually recorded. Could a band ask for more?