Swedish retro rockers Siena Root are back with their latest concoction of 70's styled hard rock, titled Different Realities. This is the band's fourth full-length release, and it's easily their most ambitious to date. Once again the band brings to the table a sound that drips influences such as Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, Cream, Mountain, Deep Purple, Captain Beyond, Grand Funk Railroad, Uriah Heep, Black Sabbath, and even early Rush, with plenty of bluesy, psychedelic, and heavy guitar riffs, pounding rhythms, swirling organ, and passionate vocals. Different Realities is made up of two long suites, 'We' and 'The Road to Agartha', each divided into multiple parts. With a warm analog sound, lots of extended musical jams, and a strong 70's hard rock/prog feel, this is one release you are not going to want to miss.
Opening cut "We Are Them" is an extended bluesy/psych romp that brings the best of early Zeppelin and Rush together, and leads into the pastoral, folky prog of "In the Desert", complete with gorgeous acoustic guitar and flute passages, bringing a few moments of tranquilty. That all ends with the bombastic "Over the Mountains", as crashing drums and walls of guitars (straight out of the Jimmy Page playbook) come bursting into the mix, signaling one of the heavier pieces on the album. Just when you think this Zeppelin/Sabbath styled rocker can't get any more interesting, the middle section brings in jazzy/bluesy atmosphere before the heavy riffs come lurching back in along with some wild Uriah Heep styled organ flourishes and vocal harmonies. Incredible stuff! This then segues into the chilling "As We Return", as yearning vocals, organ, and trippy guitar effects permeate the mix before giving way to a bombastic middle section that once again brings to mind classic Uriah Heep, with guitars and organ battling for supremacy.
The second suite 'The Road to Agartha' starts off with "Bairagi", a heavy number featuring wah-wah drenched guitars and plenty of atmosphere. There's a certain Middle Eastern feel that seems to be permeating this section, and this comes to the forefront on "Bhairavi", with tribal percussion, flute, and sitar the main instruments on display. This style continues on through the next few tracks, which are all instumental and once again feature sitar and percussion. It's not until the final piece of this suite, the 10-minute slice of Middle Eastern heavy rock "Jog" that things start to change up a bit. Here, wah-wah guitar licks duel with sitar, and heavy drum beats come back into play, before the crushing final that sees flute join the fray for a wild end to this ride.
For the most part, Different Realities is great 70's styled hard rock record. However, the band spends too much of the second suite stuck in that Middle Eastern rut, which comes across as quite jarring after the excellent opening batch of numbers. Still, the first half of this CD is so strong that it more than makes up for the bit of rambling that the band gets into throughout the latter half.
1.We are Them
2.In the Desert
3.Over the Mountains
4.As We Return
B. The Road to Agartha