Originally written by Patrick Dawson
Sessions called it early in his review of When White Becomes Black and credit must be given where it is due. Swarm of the Lotus is the next real thing. All the possibility and potential expressed on the previous outing has been realized this time around.
Wickedly barbed and ready to extract answers with pain, The Sirens of Silence is monumental and intimidating in the same fashion that makes Converge albums so worthwhile. The knack for maintaining a cohesive and captivating riff across often complex and possibly distracting structure is admirable. Tortuous like their forefathers, strident and beautifully noisy like Today is the Day, and unafraid of some bravado now and then ala-Neurosis; the structural guessing game of this work is half of what makes it so enthralling. The other part of that equation is the brutally honest performances given by the musicians themselves. The intensity of the vocals and the surge of instrumentation during the crescendo of “Snowbeast” is all the proof anyone needs of their sincerity.
The songs ebb and flow in violent un-chartable tidal patterns; the world this band inhabits clearly has one too many moons. Just as things become tranquil or ponderously heavy, the candor and bent of the music slaps back like a virulent paroxysm. The manifestations are recurrent but there is no way to fight the infection. Giving in and accepting The Sirens’ bodily domination is the only answer, but the resulting symbiosis is anything but negative.
The Swarm is dangerously tidy in the meticulous way they go about bucking convention. Hail Kurt Ballou for his part in capturing the band’s efforts. The man’s touch on knobs and faders is responsible for a godlike masterpiece of soundcraft. The Sirens of Silence is captured immaculate and acrid in all its caustic splendor. His trademark white noise is used sparingly throughout and control over frequency and depth is absolute. A spacious and natural recording allows the perfectly executed narrative nature of the percussion to be master of the ship as the album unfolds. Every aspect of the mix has only improved since the last time this band committed ideas to tape.
Where their previous effort tended to be needlessly chaotic at times, here there is a primal energy that seems to temper the urge to lash out without reason. Witness the erosion of stone personified in “Nightmare Paint” or the way the dynamic dual vocals and harmonics in “Yan Hou” display a steadfast mastery of artistic vision. Logical progression is the name of the game and Swarm of the Lotus has taken the next step…nay…gigantic leap; landing soundly in the upper echelons of the style and of metal in general. I would even go so far as to say ahead of the pack. What you couldn’t get from the intensity of Ion Dissonance and what Isis did not drive home forcefully enough has been served up by a hungry and talented band. Not splitting the difference in a timid fashion as other post hardcore acts have done, but with a confident stride forward clearing the way for a new level of innovation and respect for a style of music that still has much to offer.