Silverburn – Self Induced Transcendental Annihilation (MSH Music Group)

It’s been six long years since multi-instrumentalist James ‘Jimbob’ Isaac last released an album. Six years of political turbulence, worldwide instability and a global pandemic. And Self Induced Transcendental Annihilation sounds like a product of those times.

Born in the brutal lockdown winter of 2020, Silverburn’s debut is a seething pit of sinewy riffs and churning rhythms: Annihilation, the album’s explosive opener, is a blend of gristly noise rock and metallic hardcore… and it sets the tone for SITA.

Anyone expecting the technicolour, prog-leaning stoner sludge of Isaac’s work with Taint and Hark may be surprised when SITA punches them in the gut.

But perhaps, given the circumstances, they shouldn’t be.

The “apocalypse vibe” of Covid-19’s stranglehold was a catalyst for the album’s creation, according to the Welshman.  

And you can feel it.  

The despair and frustration of lockdown unloads on the discordant Pain Body (Torn From Auric Field) and bores through Simulacreality. There’s an emotional heft to these songs that’s almost suffocating. But as the album progresses, you’re sucked in… and crave the next twist and turn.

Isaac admits his first record since Hark’s 2017 swansong, Machinations, was rooted in HC and mathcore, with acts such as Knut, Botch and Deadguy looming large in its sonic architecture. The golden eras of Victory Records, Relapse and Hydra Head gave sustenance to Silverburn.

That said, there are similarities between SITA and Taint’s sensational Secrets & Lies, or Hark’s sublime Crystalline. Isaac’s imaginative fretwork, his knack for producing the unexpected, his ability to see music in widescreen… they still shine across Silverburn. Bathe In Fire, for example, seems like five songs in one. But its elements coalesce into one hell of a closing statement, and the track  demonstrates Isaac’s combination of instinct and intelligence.

Indeed, it’s that union of brains and brawn that makes SITA such a compelling record. Silverburn’s debut was already part of Isaac’s DNA. It just needed coaxing out.

Want to know more about the making of Self Induced Transcendental Annihilation? Check out our interview with Jimbob Isaac here.

Silverburn photo by Chris Treseder.