So what do we know about a band named Sioux? Well they hail from Portland, Oregon, an area in the Pacific North West with a reputation for producing more than its fair share of sludge metal bands. That label is rapidly becoming pretty misleading when you consider the scope of sonic experimentation now being displayed by bands like Baroness and Mastodon. And it hasn’t taken Sioux long, “The One And Many” EP is only their second release, to establish themselves as equals to their more famous peers in terms of the sweep and ambition of their music.
The dense, proggy rhythms, guttural vocals and punishing drums are all present, but there is also a constant pull towards the stratosphere, a woozy psychedelic vibe of physical and spiritual exploration. The filthy vicious beast emerging from the swamp, sprouting wings and heading to the stars. Perhaps the almost blackened, doomy ‘Ascension’ best sums it up – ‘We must adapt or we will die…’
However, the band are not well served in their quest by a cramped and stodgy production which flattens and stifles what could potentially be exciting musical sagas. Opening track ‘Let In the Night’ hardly helps matters either, by crawling out of the blocks with a ponderous almost hesitant delivery. It lacks attack and relies on a slow reveal, only really hinting at liveliness during the guitar solos. In fact, the whole album is your classic ‘grower’ – taking many listens to reveal its charms from beneath the churning and grinding.
Once you begin to discern the different characteristics and moods of the songs it becomes clear that the title track is the best thing here. Beginning with an almost folk rock guitar style that reminds me of the wonderful Wolf People, it moves from soaring prog metal towards a nastier, heavier end that could be a more melodic Yob or Adrift For Days without the acid trip effects. If only the production would let all this sonic invention sparkle and thrive!
Sioux show lots of promise here, these guys have a vision, you can tell that, but on this release they’re struggling to make it out through the dirty gloom of the studio window.