1.StopComing Home 4.22
2.StopJust Another Day 4.37
5.StopAbove the Trees 3.31
6.StopWhat Can I Do 3.2
7.StopLittle Man 4.26
10.StopUntil Time Leaves Us Again 6.11
13.StopInto the Woods 8.19
In their seemingly tireless quest to pay homage to U.S. and U.K.-pioneered rock forms -- long after they've dropped off the charts in those countries -- Swedish bands like Halmstad's Spiritual Beggars, örebro's Witchcraft, and Stockholm's Siena Root (the subject here) gleefully unearth the vibe and spirit of '70s hard rock, heavy metal, and progressive rock as though Black Sabbath, Uriah Heep, the Groundhogs and Leaf Hound were their contemporaries -- not old enough to be their parents. Siena Root channel their sources as authentically as any rock revivalists out there, and with the magnificent pipes of vocalist/organist Oskar Lundström (a soulful quaver recalling any number of classic rock vocalists, from Trapeze/Deep Purple legend Glenn Hughes to Free/Bad Company icon Paul Rodgers) leading the way, their seven-years-in-the-making 2004 debut album, A New Day Dawning, might as well have been thirty years in the making. The only problem is that, after sampling just a few songs, one begins to worry that the members of Siena Root are perhaps too beholden to their inspirations to successfully carve out an identity of their own. Unable to properly reinterpret their deep-seated influences, the band's unbridled enthusiasm for all sounds '70s often finds them settling for simply synthesizing the original gimmicks -- to the point that they verge on acts of unwitting plagiarism. More specifically, the wistful blues ballad "Fever" clearly apes the mighty Led Zeppelin's "Since I've Been Loving You," the slippery grooves of "Trippin'" positively scream The Allman Brothers Band's "Whipping Post" (minus that explosive edge), and with its oddball use of flute trills, "Into the Woods" emulates none other than prog-satanic weirdos Black Widow Furthermore, there's a distinctly unimaginative streak to the lyrics of purported singles "Coming Home" and "Shine" -- both of which are a little too clichéd for their own good. Thankfully, Siena Root cram enough material (thirteen tracks totaling almost 70 minutes) into this first album to still achieve no fewer than five or six examples of perfectly creditable (and far less obviously derivative) songwriting. Among these, top honors are shared by the Southern rock-tinged "Above the Trees," the slow-bluesin' "Roots," the swagger-driven "Words," and the alluring nine-minute instrumental "Rasayana" -- all of them positively sparkling with those Deep Purple-esque Hammond organs and dosed with spidery, psychedelic guitar work. All told, Siena Root's pure display of performance just barely surpasses their nearly smothering debt to past sources, but there's no refuting that A New Day Dawning promises great things for their future. Eduardo Rivadavia, Rovi
- Hard Rock, Art-Rock/Experimental
- Hard Rock, Progressive Metal, Heavy Metal, Southern Rock
- September 29, 2009
- Siena Root
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