Review Summary: A talented, star-studded lineup delivers on their debut LP.
There has been an interesting phenomenon within the past five or so years in post-hardcore, the sub-genre has almost split into two seperate sub-genres. Bands like At The Drive-In, Glassjaw, and letlive. possess a more traditional, vitriolic, and cathartic sound, in contrast recent bands in the genre like Dance Gavin Dance and A Lot Like Birds utilize a more calculated, technical, and melodic style. Ever since Dance Gavin Dance solidified themselves as a modern giant within the genre, more similar sounding bands are increasing in numbers. The all encompassing element of these two ideologies were that they both screamed. What if the screaming was completely taken out of the equation, and there was bigger emphasis ever before on dream-like, technical instrumentals" Would it be good" Would it even be post-hardcore" That's where Sianvar
enters. Sianvar's line up is one to behold, it is as close to a modern "super-group" as the genre can get. The band is comprised of Hail the Sun singer Donovan Melero, Dance Gavin Dance guitarist Will Swan, Stolas guitar player Sergio Medina, A Lot Like Birds bassist Michael Littlefield and A Lot Like Birds drummer Joe Arrington.
The biggest surprise is not Sianvar's gargantuan lineup, it's the style of which the band plays. Lyrically Sianvar is morose, with many lyrics dealing with grief, drug addiction, and stale relationships, mostly stale relationships. On the contrary, instrumentals during verses ooze with dreamlike and whimsical sound congruent with soft and soothing vocals, this is demonstrated in the songs most obviously in the songs "Omniphobic", "Psychosis Succumbing" and "Foxholes and Deities". However in an instant, the songs can increase in tempo and energy rapidly. Whether it's the spastic blur of a bridge within "Anticoagulant" or the daunting, larger than life crescendo at the end of "Stay Scared" every moment that is filled to the brim with energy is truly impactful. Guitar riffs that range from soaring to subdued yet intricate, vocals that are modulated, belted, even on rare occasions screamed, and absolutely prodigious drumming comprise the exceptional musicianship Sianvar possesses.
Technicality is accentuated more than just raw vitality. Sianvar is not a car that blindly races at 100 mph rarely slowing down, instead it is a car that knows when to accelerate to 100 mph the right moment. In that sense, Sianvar has every right to be considered a post-hardcore band. They may not be the prototype, but Sianvar released one of the best post-hardcore albums of 2016, and one of the best albums in general with its exquisite blend of exceptional musicianship and the perfect blend of tempos.