Formed in late 2012 Sweden’s Siniestro already have an impressive EP (Oppression of the Sunlight) and album (Revelations in Mayhem) under their belt and their latest offering, Arctic Blood, is that mixture of extreme metal styles infused with punk energy that they do so well in Scandinavia.
This EP opens with the fast and frantic title track and it immediately ensnared me with a raucous drum roll and chugging guitar riff. It fairly thrashes along like Extreme Aggression era Kreator contrasting clean and guttural vocals to great effect. Accompanied by a blood curdling video (quite literally: 30 litres of pigs blood was used during filming) ‘Arctic Blood’ is a song that’s sure to ignite mosh pits worldwide. Up next ‘Pesten’ is a short, sharp shock that’s full of punchy riffs and squealing guitars. Like the illegitimate offspring of Venom and Discharge it’s a 70 second punk/thrash hybrid with all the fat trimmed off and, as with most bands who operate as a trio, there’s a real tightness to their sound.
Definitely an EP of two halves Arctic Blood‘s first two tracks attack your senses without mercy and take the most direct route to your cranium. While the opening salvoes shun guitar solos in favour of brutal riffage (and are both dispensed in a total of three minutes) the final two cuts are more measured and employ black metal atmospherics to create a real epic feel. ‘Exitium Vivorum Omnes’ opens with an acoustic guitar and it’s the kind of decision that makes Siniestro such a rewarding listen. There’s a variety contained herein that may confuse certain listeners but it ensures Arctic Blood avoids a descent into generic repetition. The band describe their sound as ‘arctic black thrash’ which is a pretty apt description and while the amalgamation of styles could result in something eclectic the bands alchemy melds a cohesive sound so blast beats nestle effortlessly aside mid tempo grooves. Final track ‘Strength & Pride’ has a touch of early of early Immortal: it’s evocative and conjures images of snow topped mountains and icy fjords.
The production of Arctic Blood is a real boon and captures the cold, brittle essence of black metal while, paradoxically, the multi-layered nature of the bands sound ensures there’s also a warmth and depth. Arctic Blood is tailor made for fans of Skeletonwitch and Nocturnal and is sure to please Siniestro’s growing legion of admirers while attracting braver souls from the punk community.
Reviewed by Peter Dennis
Arctic Blood is released by Black Lion Records on 10 December 2018
- Arctic Blood
- Exitium Vivorum Omnes
- Strength & Pride