Siberia. One of most coldest regions on Earth and a place known for it’s stretching wastes of desolation. Many artists from history have drawn inspiration this isolated territory, finding the hidden beauty within it’s grim solitude. One such act are the Norwegian blackened hardcore collective Sibiir. Much like their respective black metal inspirations, the quintet have found inspiration and holistic beauty from the frozen swathes found within the Siberian wastes. However, unlike their blackened peers, Sibiir see more within these desolated regions than just frozen natural landscapes of solitary confinement.
With fascism rearing it’s abhorrent face worldwide and with the global sociopolitical landscape nearing tipping point, Sibiir have drawn parallels between Siberia's frozen desolation and our failing and callous political culture. This is what makes the group’s output so authentically miserable and spine chilling. By weaponising nordic extremity, the Oslo quintet's work is a cold blooded documentation and commentary on our culture’s and planet’s impending demise.
After forming in 2014, it wasn’t long before Sibiir began to capture the attention of their local populace before the Scandinavian scene as a whole. “We pretty quickly recorded a couple of songs and played some shows, before a local underground label released the same two songs on a 7 inch. And then it just snowballed from there really,” explains guitarist Tobias Gausemel Backe. “We were booked to some pretty cool festivals, like Øya here in Oslo, before we even had an album out. That’s pretty rare.”
In 2016 the group released their self titled debut long play. Drenched in an ambience of frozen hostility and misanthropy, the record struck a chord with seekers of all things grim, filthy and charred. With the record violently entertaining thoughts of artists such as Trap Them, Martyrdöd and Cult Leader at their most frostbitten and bitter, the album didn’t just stand as a platform for Sibiir to spread their righteous voice, it served as a spring board for the band to reach new audiences and heights. “We released our debut album late 2016, we toured Europe with Kvelertak twice, played Roskilde, Summer Breeze, Eurosonic, Wacken and a whole bunch of other cool festivals and shows the last two-three years, before we decided it was time to make a new album.”
With a string of European tours and festival appearances under their belts, the group withdrew into the studio early this year to forge their sophomore record Ropes. Released on October 4th this year, the record saw the group more composed and focused, with the group substituting the convoluted layers within their debut release for an additional focus on incorporating elements from other genres and dynamics. However, the studio setting itself also influenced the record.
“It was a pretty effective process,” continues Backe. “The majority of the songs were written during a couple of months this spring, before we went into the studio in May. We recorded the nine tracks during nine days, so we didn’t have much time to waste, really. I think that whole process, and being a bit under pressure, ads some nerve and tension to the album that wouldn’t have been there otherwise. A recording session with SIBIIR is not about doing a bunch of overdubs or adding tons of layers, so who knows how the album would’ve ended up if we had all the time in the world. But I think we thrive under that pressure, and ‘Ropes’ is a testament of what we can achieve in just nine days in a studio. We’re really happy about it.”
Even despite Ropes seeing Sibiir focusing on dexterity and diversity rather than adding as many layers as possible, the record is still home to a plethora of details and textures, with Ropes’ amalgamation of crushing blackened aesthetics and urgent political hardcore resulting in a compelling and thrilling release that’s immediate, demanding and ferociously seething.
“Ropes is an album that’s immediate, but still grows on you, there’s a lot of details and twist that you probably won’t catch the first time around, but hopefully are excited to find the 10-15th time you listen to it. We hope to challenge some genre purists with the way we combine different styles and genres into our own unique thing, cause there’s a lot of riffs and stuff here that really should make you want to bang your head whatever kinds of music you like. First and foremost we are a live band, so our goal is that Ropes makes you want to come and see us live, because that’s one hell of a ride. Luckily we are touring large parts of Europe next year.”
With Ropes, Sibiir are set to become one of the brightest and vicious flames within European blackened hardcore. Ropes is out now via Fysisk Format and is available to purchase via the label's website. The group will be touring Europe before the end of this year before setting out on an extensive run in 2020.