Cody Brande - "Siren's Call"
Reviewed by Aaron Cloutier & Staff
Multi-instrumentalist, singer, and La Crosse, Wisconsin native Cody Brande kicks the door down with the gloriously punishing “Siren’s Call.” A near four-minute primal scream that laments on unhealthy relationships and the allure that leads one back into the realm of toxicity.
Okay so let’s talk about that main riff for a second that kicks off at about 00:21. I’m hearing a shift in tonality from minor to major 3rds and I don’t know if I’m alone in this, but it brings to mind an artist like Devin Townsend and I’ve just got to say…Ain’t nothin wrong with that!
Going through the song, there’s definitely a lot of genre acrobatics going on, but it’s packaged in a very concise way. Listeners will hear the music shifting from furious blast beats and tremolo picked guitars reminiscent of black metal to the bludgeoning 16th note kick drum patterns and chunky downtrend riffs signature to groove metal. These stylistic changes happen on a dime and are further accentuated by Brande’s powerful vocals which run the gamut from brutal gutturals to a magnificent necro-screech. It’s a super cathartic experience hearing the combination of his high screams combined with the blast beats I must say. By the way, we haven’t even hit the chorus yet!
Despite the fact that things are so heavy and extreme throughout “Siren’s Call", there’s also a surprising rock influence going on here as well. Described as Neue Deutsche Härte, a subgenera of rock developed in Germany and Austria in the early to mid 90’s, the style makes a cameo in Brande’s grittier vocal during the chorus. His (to my ear) tenor register and chant-like delivery evokes a mournful and slightly more rock vibe but still manages to maintain the dark and heavy undertone of the song. The chorus is undeniably catchy and showcases Brande’s versatility as a vocalist.
The song is very well produced without it sounding too polished. I find that I get fatigued with most modern metal mixes because everything is so sonically pristine and I wind up losing the ability to connect emotionally with the material because the edges get blunted. This is not the case with “Siren’s Call” as I was pleasantly surprised with the production value on this one. Everything is well balanced and sounding big like most metal mixes but there’s a grit and a warmth to it that I I feel like I don’t hear in a lot of the modern contemporary stuff. There’s a tasty wall of sound happening with the bass and drums and the vocals are right up in your face and I feel the emotion behind the performances without being distracted by thinking about how the mix sounds. In other words, I’m connecting emotionally to the music rather than analyzing the mix which in my opinion, is the mark of a great mix in the first place.
Also worth mentioning is that “Siren’s Call” is just a really well written song. You could change this into a piano ballad or a country song and I feel it would still work. That’s how much craft is going on. Metal is often overlooked in the songwriting community due to the level of volume and intensity but the truth is, that some of the most talented musicians are in this world and “Siren’s Call” is a testament to that.
There are a ton of hooks present throughout and Brande wastes no time getting to them. The measures are very lean and there’s never a dip in the energy as you listen. Before you realize the last section you were listening to is over, you’re smacked in the face with the next brutal onslaught. The attention to detail in the song’s structure keeps things crushingly heavy without losing the listener’s interest. Even during repeating sections, I notice little “producer hat” decisions made to maintain engagement without loosing intensity. Take for instance, the pummeling 32nd note double bass patterns introduced as the intro riff is brought back after the 2nd chorus before leading into the SUPER heavy bridge. Such a massive hook. Well done!
In short, “Siren’s Call” is a strong introduction to any fan of heavy music. The fact that this is a solo project speaks volumes to the level of talent Brande commands. As a solo artist in the metal genre myself, I know what goes into putting a project together like this on your own. It’s a ton of work and powered solely by passion and possible insanity. The former is instantly apparent as you listen through. You can tell that Brande put 110% into this and it shows. Kudos Cody! Let’s work together some time!
About Cody Brande
Cody Brande is an American multi-instrumentalist and singer based out of La Crosse, Wisconsin. He began his music career in 2015 as the singer and primary songwriter for the band Crux of Motion before eventually joining the bands, Fubahre and Sylace Snow in 2018. He then began pursuing a solo career in 2019 after Crux of Motion went on an indefinite hiatus. On May 6th, 2022, he released his debut solo album, 'Broken by Design'
LINKS to Cody Brande's music!