Sidious’s debut release, the 2013 EP, Ascension to the Throne of Self, was already impressive enough to make me put their debut full-length album, Revealed in Profane Splendour, on my list of most anticipated albums of 2014. Now, the wait is over, and it’s time to see how the reality measures up to the anticipation.
Sidious had some line-up changes between the releases of Ascension to the Throne of Self and Revealed in Profane Splendour, but this hasn’t caused the band to falter at all. If anything, it seems to have strengthened and solidified the band’s approach.
If Ascension to the Throne of Self had a flaw, it was that it was almost too relentless, hardly ever pausing in its auditory assault of vocals, guitars, symphonic tracks, and drums to allow the listener room to breathe. Revealed in Profane Splendour brings a much greater variety of tempos and textures to its songs, producing something that is no less crushing, but also has a sweeping and epic feel. The album’s title track does a good job of demonstrating what this new Sidous sounds like: It opens with a quiet tremolo guitar line that is quickly joined by the rest of the band in full roar. Midway through, this gives way to an eerie middle section of atmospheric guitars and whispered voices, before the full band returns for another onslaught.
The album wraps up with “O Paragon, Bringer ov Light,” which has got to be the best fist-pumping paean to Lucifer that I’ve heard since Behemoth’s “O Father O Satan O Sun!”. Seriously, if you’re not banging your head and singing along to the chorus of this one, turn it up louder and try again!
Production on the album is excellent – free of the muddiness that sometimes afflicts symphonic metal. You can hear all the instruments with crystal clarity. Add to that the stunning cover art by Giannis Nakos, and this is an album that lives up to its title. Plenty of profane splendour here!
Favorite tracks: “Revealed in Profane Splendour,” “O Paragon, Bringer ov Light”
Overall verdict: Essential listening for those who like their death metal blackened and epic.