In Greek mythology, a Siren was a gorgeous woman whose enchanting songs caused innumerable sailors to shipwreck, never to be seen again. It is somewhat ironic, then, that Northern Kentucky-based Siren is a Heavy Metal group featuring four very furry young men. But for local metalheads, Siren’s mix of a Doom foundation — with Thrash and Death Metal components — is just as intoxicating as the verses of old.
Dave Spicer and Jared Compton, both current members of Northern Kentucky Folk Metal band Winterhymn, originally envisioned Siren. The duo wanted to start a project that differed from their other band, with a focus on more intricate guitar work and a more melancholy tone. But they had one major obstacle — namely, being separated by the Atlantic Ocean.
“We started floating the idea about December of last year. We started writing songs to mess about with, recording demos of them. Jared did vocals here, I recorded stuff back in England,” explains Spicer, a British native and brother-in-law of Winterhymn’s violinist.
As progress was being made on the initial tracks, Spicer and Compton began looking to fill out their lineup. They found their drummer in Brandin Henize, a member of the Cincinnati Metal band Hell Scorched Earth. Sam Curtis, a classmate of Compton’s, joined soon after on bass.
With a full lineup, Siren got busy practicing and booking shows, even with Spicer still living overseas. He eventually relocated to Greater Cincinnati to join Winterhymn (the band released a new single in 2013) and kickstart Siren.
“As soon as I landed, we were on a roll with shows and writing for the album.
It was originally intended to be an EP, but when it came down to it, we already had half-an-hour worth of material and we’re like, ‘Fuck it, let’s spend a little more time and create a full-length,’” Spicer says.
What Siren produced is a collection of songs that borrows from several subgenres and influences to create a sound that hearkens back to much of Heavy Metal’s foundations, yet still sounds fresh and exciting. The base was created out of Spicer and Compton’s initial vision for the band: a stripped down, raw, Doom Metal project.
“I was interested in doing something a little doomier, but even more than that, I was interested in doing something with more guitar work,” Compton says. “I get to do a lot of things on guitar in Siren that I don’t get to do in Winterhymn because all the guitar is mixed in with all the Folk stuff, so it’s fun to broaden my horizons.”
But it was Henize who put a radical spin on Siren’s musical direction. The youngest member of the band, Henize is influenced by newer Death Metal acts, such as Black Dahlia Murder and All Shall Perish. It is this love of technical, intricate drumming technique that gives Siren a brutality that many other Doom Metal bands lack. This stems from Henize’s desire to play what he thought was best for the song instead of trying to fit a Death Metal peg into a Doom Metal hole.
“I went, from day one, doing what I wanted to do. Just putting what I thought was cool behind it,” Henize says.
“I kind of feel that if it wasn’t Brandin in the band, things would be a very different sound,” Spicer says. “I think that Brandin brings his own style. A lot of the drum patterns and rhythms aren’t things I would have thought of originally. He comes up with much better ideas.”
Songs often begin with slow, plodding riffs before shifting violently into full-on guitar gallops, backed up by double bass and blast beats. The guitar tone is dirty and thick, the bass is an ominous force and the drumming could be confused with machine gun fire. All of this adds up to a band that can’t be lumped into one easily distinguished genre, which is probably for the best.
“I think when you look at it, it’s absolutely not a Doom band. It’s got elements of Doom, Black Metal, just traditional Heavy Metal, so I’m not sure how to place it, but I certainly like the sound we’re creating quite a lot,” Spicer says.
In a short amount of time, Siren has made quite the splash in Cincinnati’s metal scene. With a talented lineup, each pulling from their own influences to create an intense and layered sound all their own, local Metal fans would have to be deaf to not be drawn into this Siren’s call.
For more on SIREN, visit facebook.com/songofthesiren.