REVIEW ROUND-UP: Tigercub, DZ Deathrays, Sirenia

Artwork for Tigercub’s ‘The Perfume Of Decay’ - a skeleton with angel wings lying on a gravestone


The Perfume Of Decay

The prevailing trend around Tigercub is how there often seems to be a push to jumpstart their momentum, but it never really takes off. It’s been like for a few years too, where they’ll end up decently high on festival bills or touring schedules, but without reaping the rewards of visible growth. And while they’ve been responsible for some cool output in the past, it’s understandable. Between a take on garage-rock that’s outside of mainstream consciousness now, and a slightly more creative, almost prog-centric angle to go along with it, they aren’t exactly projecting an image of easily-marketable golden boys. Even with signing to Loosegroove for this new album—and therefore, with the backing of Pearl Jam’s Stone Gossard—The Perfume Of Decay’s releasewill undoubtedly be sneaking out for plenty.

To be fair, this is a bit of a harder sell anywhere. It’s definitely a grower, more deliberate in pace and deepening of its tendencies to groove and grind. At first, it can be difficult to take to; Tigercub appear to be distinctly flagging on pseudo-Royal Blood riff-rock in which any semblance of pop appeal has been despined. The slow burn defines it, and even when it does settle in, there’s enough obvious flaws within that to keep it from Tigercub’s best. Jamie Stephen Hall’s vocals are consistently difficult to keep down as a frail, weedy scene-stealer (not in a good way, mind), and on songs like We’re A Long Time Gone and Help Me I’m Dreaming, going against the most fundamental essence of Tigercub by stripping them down for some similar meekness is far from an auspicious move.

Thus, The Perfume Of Decay can sometimes suffer for its creative swings. To call it ‘transitional’ doesn’t feel entirely accurate, but it’s absolutely the same mood that’s given off—a band tentatively wading through new waters, where the broad idea is the clearest thing to grasp. But with more exposure and understanding of where Tigercub intend to take this, a bit more to like ultimately crops up. For one, there’s a real snarl to this guitar and bass work, particularly towards the beginning on Show Me My Maker and Play My Favourite Song that act as some of the albums more complete, fully-realised visions. Meanwhile, You’re My Dopamine and Shadowgraph embody the tense crank of the wheel that is Tigercub almost teasing some doomier impulses. It definitely makes sense that they can now count Clutch and Eyehategod as tour-mates, if only through some fragments of influence that The Perfume Of Decay looks to sew into its existing makeup.

It’s a little patchy and misshapen as a result, but willing to show off its cool ideas when the work’s put in. That’s nothing particularly new for Tigercub either; they often aimed higher than many of their garage-rock contemporaries, effectively sealing their fate as a band kept at arm’s length by mainstream eyes, but also one with the legroom to get more done. Never has that been more in focus than The Perfume Of Decay, arguably the album that most firmly crystallises Tigercub’s difficulty and ambition to move forward with. There are better things to come within this style, for sure, but the seeds planted do seem promising. As long as you give it a bit to time to really sink in and marinate, that is. • LN

For fans of: Royal Blood, Turbowolf, Sick Joy

‘The Perfume Of Decay’ by Tigercub is released on 2nd June on Loosegroove Records.

Artwork for DZ Deathrays’ ‘R.I.F.F’ - a tattoo of the album’s title underneath one of spotted underwear

DZ Deathrays


That’s a great name for a DZ Deathrays album, but maybe it would’ve been more so a few albums ago. Back then, they were infused with all the volume and screaming fuzz of a band in the cross-section of in-vogue, duo-piloted riff-rock and Aussie garage-rock. Recent years have seen them become more refined, however, bulking out into a three-piece, and finding kinship among a bigger, straightforward rock sound without sanding off all of their gristle. R.I.F.F is the natural continuation of their Positive Rising double album which saw that truly take hold—bigger and more explorative, and taking some chances that a past incarnation of this band would probably never have even given the time of day to.

Relatively speaking, that is; the alchemy for a breakthrough into the unknown is still a ways off yet. But when they aren’t trying for that distance, you can’t fault what DZ Deathrays produce on here too much. The big, brazen rock approach still pays off, after all—Tuff Luck tears and slashes at a clean-cut sound with guitar shreds and dance-punk percussion; meanwhile, there’s a great boldness to Hope For The Best and Eat You Up that simply makes them pop out more. The moments like that are what define R.I.F.F, where DZ Deathrays combine a comfort for bashing out tunes with the knowledge to fine-tune them into real juggernauts.

And sure, it’s still not the most mind-melting thing in the world, and the number of interludes can feel a bit excessive for an album in which straightforward, firebrand energy is its top selling point. But none of that is at the expense of DZ Deathrays leaving an almighty, clattering mark. Outside of said interludes, there’s not a significant dip to speak of, nor a moment where the band feel as though they’ve run their course or scraping together ideas. And in similar scenes, comprised of artists using the same fundamental building blocks and getting nowhere near as far, that should be lauded. And besides, those bands aren’t knocking out riffs as all-consuming as King B, or earworms as deep-rooting as Shadow Walk and Love & Destruction, are they?

All of that is to say that R.I.F.F accomplishes everything that it needs to, without that being a clearly marked limitation. There will inevitably be rock albums this year that aim higher and wider, and the tacit acknowledgment of that from DZ Deathrays themselves gives R.I.F.F its leg up. It’s trying to be a frenetic, guitar-heavy good time, and on those standards, it succeeds with flying colours; ditto for the ever-tweaked sound that might just be at its most accomplished level yet. In other words, the good stuff keeps rollin’ out from DZ Deathrays on all fronts, now with even greater frequency and consistency to only sweeten the pot. • LN

For fans of: Foo Fighters, Violent Soho, Dune Rats

‘R.I.F.F’ by DZ Deathrays is released on 2nd June on DZ Worldwide.

Artwork for Sirenia’s ‘1977’ - an overgrown gravestone



Symphonic metal giants Sirenia have chosen to do things a little differently on their new album 1977. Taking a trip back in time, 1977 infuses elements from across popular music on the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s. Tied in with the band’s melodic and symphonic sound, the resulting album showcases Sirenia’s music in a different light through an enchanting style.

1977 marks the quartet’s eleventh studio album and as a powerhouse in the symphonic metal genre, it’s wonderful to see the band continuing to push and reinvent themselves. The album’s opener Deadlight is a solid track setting up the tone of the album, but it does feel like something is lacking as it becomes a little bit repetitive; Sirenia needed to go a bigger with this one. However, the following Wintry Heart is a great example of their genre fusion on this album. The catchy chorus hooks well and truly get stuck in your head, and the contrasting heavy and orchestral instrumentation are balanced wonderfully. Nomadic brings a darker, heavier tone through the guitars particularly in the verse. The chorus feels a little compacted and rushed with the band packing a lot into this fast section both vocally and instrumentally. Nomadic is certainly a more guitar led track and the rhythms, leads and solos all take centre stage. Perhaps to not too unsurprisingly for an album taking a step back in time, Sirenia take inspiration from ABBA for The Setting Darkness. A very strong ABBA vibe is clear immediately from the lead piano intro. The sound is not unlike that of the self-proclaimed ABBA metal act Amberian Dawn.

A Thousand Scars is fantastically rhythmic with an intense, textural sound from the layered guitars and synths. The more minimalist verse of soft vocals and instrumental sees the dynamics rise and fall nicely across the track. The marching rhythm and catchy vocal melody create a strong sense of momentum and energy. Oceans Away begins with shimmeringguitars and atmospheric backing which brings a calm and serene element. This dark ballad is works beautifully with the orchestral strings adding a dramatic edge to the powerful chorus accompanied with more operatic vocals. While 1977 primarily sees the band focus on exploring outside of their usual sound, Sirenia do include an offering in their more usual symphonic style. Delirium carries a haunting, gothic feel with heavy instrumentation injecting a powerful boost. Harsh vocals bring a dark, demonic element to the character of the track and ethereal operatic vocals make for a stunning chorus. Sirenia tie the instrumentation into the themes and influences of the album and so it doesn’t feel out of place.

1977 is quite a change in direction from Sirenia’s usualreleases, and there are some excellent compositions and arrangements that emerge across the track list. The album feels like they could have gone a little bigger with the ‘70s and especially ‘80s influences which were all about hugely catchy choruses. That being said, the production on this album is stupendously good and what has been produced technically sounds excellent. • HR

For fans of: Amberian Dawn, Delain, Visions Of Atlantis

‘1977’ by Sirenia is out now on Napalm Records.

Words by Luke Nuttall (LN) and Holly Royle (HR)

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