After the release of their debut EP, The Era of Išhtar, things went very quiet with Italian Black Death Metallers Sirrush. But now, after over a decade, they are back with a refreshed line-up and new album. They tantalised us with a couple of singles, Molon Labe and A Son Set His Father Free, back in September and October, respectively. Both are included in this, their long-awaited debut full-length Molon Labe, which is finally ready to be unleashed.
Sirrush – Molon Labe (Non Serviam Records)
Release Date: 25 November 2022
Words: Jools Green
Sirrush explains that the album title, Molon Labe, literally meaning come and take, “describes the epic journey faced by Greece against the Persian threat in 480 BC. The new album faces an epic world where the music is dictated by both arcane melodies reminiscent of the fury of Greek soldiers and more atmospheric and evocative melodies to remember their tenacity and devotion to their native land.”
My first impression of Molon Labe is there is definitely no shortage of fury here, emphasised by the drum work and riffing, which is delivered, a large percentage of the time, at breakneck speed. This, I do rather like.
There is a very epic quality to the backing choral style vocals, which contrasts nicely with that often-fierce drive of the guitars and drums and the growling vocal delivery. It’s not a constant linear delivery, either. There’s a good ebb and build throughout, dropping back to very reflective segments.
The album opens with The Path Of Heroes, a scene-setting atmospheric intro with pounding drum rhythms. Molon Labe then drives through with brutal intent with Deimos, with its haunting opener, the frantically intense A Son Set His Father Free, then, With Your Shield …Or On It, which is a little more reflective.
The title track, the brutal pounder Molon Labe, then drops back to clean, simple guitar work accompanied by distant female clean vocals on When Muses Speak To Us, which breaks the album up nicely.
The Vision of Megistias, which I particularly liked for its well-implemented bouncy bass lines, uniquely styled blackened riffing and haunting choral elements, is probably my favourite track.
The Last Glorious Echo resumes the blackened driving intent, punctuated with a vocal meld of harsh growls and eerie background choral voices. A haunting blackened repeat riff emerges, and midway the pace ramps up for another push, and as it drops back again, the haunting repeat riff and choral voices return. This is another track which caught my interest. The outro, Remember Who We Were, is a meld of clean guitar and drum beats, a reflective closer.
The album was mixed and mastered at the Kick Recording Studio in Rome by Marco Mastrobuono, who has worked with, amongst many, Fleshgod Apocalypse, and this influence is subtly noticeable in the overall sound of the album.
The cover art for Molon Labe is an acrylic painting on canvas, hand painted by the Sicilian artist Lorenzo Di Vincenzo, who also happens to be Otagron, the band’s singer.