December 24, 2020

Siren is a heavy metal band from the Tampa Bay area of Florida which formed in 1981 and after releasing several debuts the band was picked up by a German label which led to a couple of albums being released with No Place Like Home in 1986 and the curiously titled Financial Suicide in 1988. However, the band effectively folded in 1989 and that would have been it except that a hard core of fans kept the name live and then, in 2017, the band received an invitation in to play at the Keep It True festival in Germany in 2018. An anthology double CD was then put together to capitalise on the resurrection of the band which featured demos, old tracks and, most excitingly, four brand new songs. Apparently, a feature-length documentary of the comeback of Siren and the preparation for the festival is in the offing and planned for a 2021 release; let’s hope it can do for Siren what it did for Anvil. This successful gig became the catalyst for a new album which neatly brings us to the appropriately titled Back From The Dead which came out in April 2020 but has only just managed to reach us now.

The first two albums seem to be unavailable but the anthology and this new album is available on streaming services and physically available from Bandcamp but American taxes make is rather expensive to own the CD version of each so count your pennies before deciding whether to go download or actual CD route! On first play of Siren, I wrote down that the new album is in the style as Saxon, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Accept music and, later, when reading the discography I noticed that the publicity also stated that the album featured influences of all these four bands, I thought at first that I was rather clever but then it dawned on me just how many heavy metal bands around today have drawn influences from these four true heavyweights of metal! I suppose the real surprise is that a Bay Area band would be influenced by British and German metal and a good dose of NWOBHM too rather than the more obvious thrash but I’m rather glad they have taken the European route as Back From The Dead is one hell of a heavy metal album and is going to delight every metalhead that hears it.

The band line-up has changed a little which is hardly surprising and now comprises the original members Doug Lee on vocals and Gregg Culbertson on bass with Ed Aborn on drums and the glorious twin guitar attack of Todd Grubbs and Hal Dunn. Together, they have produced an exceptional old school heavy metal album that is nothing short of sensational. The songs are perfectly crafted with interesting ‘metal’ lyrics and enough hooks throughout to ensure immediate accessibility. In Doug Lee the band has a major asset as he is a simply wonderful rock front man and his voice is just perfect for metal and his exciting tones call to mind the greats Brian Johnson and Biff Byford. It should also be noted that Lee was also the vocalist with the German metal band Mekong Delta from 1990 to 1994. There is the usual rocking barrage from the bass and drums section with the icing on the cake being the new pairing of Dunn and Grubs, two guitarists who have studied deeply of the Tipton/Downing (and Richie Faulkner) manual and they manage to play as many huge riffs and stunning solos in a 60 plus minute album as I have ever heard.

Based on the sheer quality and scope of this magnificent metal return from such an enthralling and entertaining band it can’t help but make you wonder just how big they would could have been if they had not folded at the end of the ’80s! However, they are back now and thankfully so, this is one of 2020′ better albums and a real metal tour-de-force. You really should beg, steal or borrow a copy as soon as possible, you will not be disappointed.

Back From The Dead track list

  1. The Sharpening (0:37)
  2. S-Blade Serenade (5:11)
  3. Fuel Injected Suicide (4:23)
  4. Science Fiction Movie (4:28)
  5. Lydia the Lunatic (5:09)
  6. The Devil May Care (3:55)
  7.  Insomnia (4:42)
  8. Back from the Dead (4:21)
  9. I Am Clairvoyant (3:25)
  10. Watch Us Fly (3:53)
  11. Treason (4:12)
  12. Say It (3:58)
  13.  Your Reality (5:00)
  14. How Do You Think I Feel? (5:30
  15. Lost Passenger (4:35)