Swedes Syron Vanes have been in existence, on and off, for over thirty years. And they called upon every ounce of that veteran experience whilst putting together their sixth full length album, Chaos From a Distance.
You can tell this because of the very workmanlike nature of the album. You could call this artisan metal if you were trying to sell it to a hipster, millennial audience, and it would sell by the bucketload I’m sure. But I’m happy to stick with workmanlike, and I’m not using that word in it’s perjorative application. Every note of this album bleeds experience, oozes professionalism, drips the wisdom of the metal ages. And if Chaos From a Distance is signally lacking in a big hit single to announce it’s presence to the world, then it’s absolutely packed with well-crafted, effective, traditional bone-crunching heavy metal by way of compensation.
Guitarists Rimmy Hunter (who also handles the vocals) and Andy Seymore have been in this band since the start, and it’s their rock-solid axe partnership that forms the rock on which the church of Syron Vanes is formed. Adamantine riffage, solid, unflashy but well executed soloing – the pair add whatever is required to bring each song to it’s fullest effectiveness. Trial by Spirit in particular sees them in top form; the song’s epic nature is aided by a symphonic keyboard backdrop for sure, and bolstered by some truly thunderous drumming courtesy of Mats Bergentz, but it’s the hulking presence of the guitars that make the song into a true metallic behemoth.
Syron Vanes aren’t a wham bam type of band, by the way; It’ll take you five or six listens to get to the nub of Trial by Spirit, just as the rest of the album takes it’s time in surrendering it’s delights to the listener. Only the more immediate (and shortest track on the album) I Don’t Wanna See You Die really leaps up and grabs the listener on first acquaintance. No, you’ll have to make time and give some effort with this one. Indeed after two goes around with Chaos… I was a bit disappointed if truth be told. However patience is always rewarded, and, if it’s straightahead heavy metal with the emphasis on heavy but with enough subtle melody to get the ears twitching then that patience will be paid back in spades by Chaos From a Distance. A slow burner, yes, but my word by the time works of delicious pomposity such as the titanic Master of Overkill worm their way into your affections – and they will – you’ll be forced to admit it’s a burner nonetheless. Bloody brilliant!
Chaos From a Distance is Released through Mighty Music on January 27th.