Naga Siren started as a side-project amongst four members from the already established bands Despereaux, ieatheartattacks, Oberst and Himmelhøyt, all having their base in Oslo, Norway. With time it grew into a serious four-piece, and the band debuted their EP ‘This Dark Lake’ in May 2017. Following the release and multiple festival-appearances that summer, the band began the writing of their first full length, Swallows Tornadoes.
The album draws inspiration from American metalcore but merging it with their Scandinavian roots in hardcore/punk/screamo. The album is out now via IndigoBoom.
Emil Solbakken, vocalist and writer had this to say about the record:
“Swallows Tornadoes sure sounds grand and majestic, but in reality it’s just a metaphor I’ve been using to describe the stigma that is to swallow your problems in life, instead of dealing with them. In this case, how I as a person being shy of conflict, dealing with anxiety and depression, never really seemed to find a way to deal with stress and pain in my life in a healthy manner. The album takes place in the here and now – and tells the story of how I imagine what my loved ones must feel and think about me.”
He also gave track by track insight:
1. Keep Breathing – A story from the day I though I lost my grandmother, and how scared I was of losing my pillar before I could find something to believe in.
2. Swallows Tornadoes – The whole concept of the album. Me having anxiety on my shoulders, constantly trying to break me.
3. Clay – The song describes two peoples thoughts about each other, and how they both are scared to tell the other person what they really feel.
4. The Waves – Self-realization. “I’m collecting diamonds, on a deserted island”. How can it be that I have sacrificed a huge portion of my life to do this, which I’m good at – yet it never seems to work out?
5. Simply Fooling Themselves – The classic story of the girl that got away, and how people almost always prefer to go with the safe and sound, instead of chasing something potentially bigger.
6. Cunning Eyes – How I keep repeating the same mistakes, always letting my mind persuade me to doing the same stupid mistakes over and over again. “I’ve seen it all before – I’ve cursed my name”.
7. Discard Me – If you’re going to treat my like garbage, why don’t you just throw me away? The song is about being miserable in a relationship.
8. Anchor – The continuation of “Discard me”. Tells about the pain in getting dumped when you’ve sacrificed everything you had for one person.
The hardcore energy of Naga Siren is infectious and even though Swallows Tornadoes is a short album, it leaves an definite mark. Keep Breathing is a pacy opener that is only let down by the clean vocals that close it out. No such problem on the title track as it delivers a wickedly good chorus built around furious metal rhythm and a skull-crushing breakdown.
At their best when they’re delivering savagery built around killer riffs and skin-scrappingly raw drums. The likes of The Waves and Simply Fooling Themselves are high-energy numbers with the latter bringing hardcore right to the front for all to see and enjoy.
Nothing comes close to Cunning Eyes though for pure ruthlessness. A track that is akin to a volcano erupting. If that volcano had a really catchy chorus too.
The throat ripping style of vocals keeps Discard Me ticking along nicely before Anchor drops the weight of everything that makes Naga Siren good on you. Ensuring you’re crawling away licking your wounds.
Naga Siren – Swallows Tornadoes Full Track Listing:
1. Keep Breathing
2. Swallows Tornadoes
4. The Waves
5. Simply Fooling Themselves
6. Cunning Eyes
7. Discard Me
Naga Siren - Swallows Tornadoes (IndigoBoom)
The Final Score - 8/10