Sometimes the potential of a band is more tantalizing than the present, even if the present is still pretty entertaining. Take for instance Slovenia’s Siderean, who aren’t exactly new to the game, but are new to this version of their game. They began life as Teleport, who experienced a bit of musical evolution and a lot of lineup changes over their decade as a band. Teleport started as a very sci-fi-obsessed blackened thrash band like Vektor, but demo by demo expanded their sound to include more progressive flourishes and overall atmosphere. Always solid if not downright blazing, Teleport never got to the debut full length stage of band life.
At some point in 2020 the five guys in Teleport must have realized that they no longer really resembled Teleport as it started in 2010, so they changed the name to Siderean (also a brainier space/astronomy reference, so kudos there), and now they’ve arrived at the debut full length stage. Lost on Void’s Horizon is both better than and more complete in its vision than any of the Teleport snippets, but because it is also more ambitious it carries a bit of that “more potential than present” quality described above, even if (again) it’s still quite enjoyable and ought to please many an ear.
Opener “Eolith” does a good job of showing off Siderean’s range in terms of rhythmic approaches, riff aggression, and overall volume. The track contains a combination of determined but spry drives where the similarities to The Chasm are most obvious, disorienting dissonance, slower, doom tempos, and clean guitar passages that are the most direct connection to Opethian prog. Jan Brišar’s haggard, mid-range growls and screams offer just enough of a personality without distracting from the band’s cosmic intentions, while the melodic soloing appears at two key points to offer a narrative quality in contrast to the odd, almost alienating dissonance.
Most of the album maintains that core sound, but each tune finds a way to add just a little to the formula. “Sidereal Evolution,” for example, makes the best use of the band’s slower tempos, sometimes to create a sense of dread, and at others to expand that spacely expansiveness. When it speeds up it delivers a bunch of open-picked lead lines that sound almost directly lifted from older Mastodon (“Hearts Alive” to be specific), but it works. Then there are the oddball keyboard sounds in “Coalescing into the Expanse” (like a 1960s idea of futuristic computer sounds) and a synth/ambient passage in the title track (obviously included for extra cosmic effect). More than enough little flairs to keep things interesting for 41 minutes without throwing any curveballs.
All of these elements and the band’s tendency to always be on the move in some way mean that Lost on Void’s Horizon is always a good, entertaining listen, but it never quite reaches great status. Thankfully there’s potential galore here, and a touch more refinement in terms of songwriting (tightening up a couple track lengths) and riff variety (like less use of the dissonant hooks after most phrases) would go a long way to realizing that potential. There’s plenty to like about this debut, but hopefully even greater heights on future albums.