Review Summary: United we fall, divided we stand.
At first glance Sianvar would appear to be a supergroup of post-hardcore in the same vein as Isles and Glaciers. It’s got members of Dance Gavin Dance, Stolas, A Lot Like Birds, and most exciting to me, the lead singer of Hail the Sun. All four of those bands are currently active in both recording and touring and are basically the faces of modern post-hardcore.
With that in mind, one would expect Sianvar to be exceptionally talented. And so the band is. Unfortunately, all the talent and intricacies of the instrument playing is somewhat lost because the songs never become all that interesting. The songs simply are not cohesive. I distinctly remember listening to “Chest Pressure” and going “Oh, that’s just like that riff from Downtown Battle Mountain.” The only track I heard and enjoyed throughout as its own unique track was “Virtual Vain.” The other four songs just sound like parts from Dance Gavin Dance and Stolas mixed together at random. While the technique and the sound is good, the flow is not.
However, Donovan Melero actually sings exceptionally well on this album. The beginning of “Virtual Vain” actually has him barking overtop an very speedy riff and it sounds fantastic. His screams on “Your Tongue Ties” are pretty spiffy as well. The problem is the lyrics. Similar to the song “Testostyrannosaurus” off Hail the Sun’s Elephantitis EP he just comes across as preachy or whiney the entire time; not unlike a post-hardcore version of Hopsin. Individual lines are fun and creative. But then he’ll just stop with the allusions and metaphors and straight up tell you what’s on his mind. “Virtual Vanity” starts as a really cool play on how social media controls our lives (“Tensions are building inside of the vacant warehouse. Idealism is changing and what's importants really not. *** what I'm saying. The masses are busy getting off.”) but then he’ll drop all the pretenses (“Filter: everything just looks so boring without. Posting your diet like we want to see. Outfits can show just what we care about”) and the imagery dies. The hilarious one liners (“But when you open up your mouth we all wish you’d stop breathing”) almost make up for it. Almost.
With all that said, the EP isn’t necessarily bad. With the exception of “Sick Machine” I enjoyed at least parts of every song. But with all the talent that this band has, all the incredibly cutting-edge bands that make up this project, you’d expect some experimentation beyond the basics. Instead it’s just a basic modern post-hardcore album that just lacks in almost every aspect.