Album Review: SIVA Addiction - "Bad Decisions"

SIVA Addiction pounds out heavy metal in that uniquely blue-collar American way that is totally untouched by other countries, influences or genres. There is a sliver of the genre that remains impossibly true to the original form of heavy metal; a logical, blown-out extension of rock and roll from the middle seventies that revels in all the pomp and dirt that the legacy of that era entails. That sliver thrived in the U.S. from the middle to late nineties, and SIVA Addiction belongs to that sliver, entering their new effort "Bad Decisions" into the ring with lofty efforts like Rob Zombie's "Hellbilly Deluxe" and Scissorfight's "Mantrapping for Sport and Profit."

The only complication here is that as a straight-ahead metal band with a clean-singing front woman, SIVA Addiction only has so many directions they can go in, and in the process of exploring a number of different avenues, they can resemble any number of previous bands. Whether or not you enjoy SIVA Addiction's new album may come down to the simple notion of whether or not you enjoyed those other bands.

The opening title track is a drum-fed rare steak rubbed down with the bombast and devil-may-care culture that so permeates this share of American heavy metal. The band can hardly be blamed for employing such an easy hook and memorable cadence in the opener; it serves to ensure that the listener is absorbed in the tracks to follow.

As the album progresses, it’s easy to detect that this is a rock and roll soul wrapped up in heavy metal armor. Listening to the sexy, winding harmonized riff of “One Night Rodeo” speaks to the high flying days when arena crowds held their breath with anticipation, hoping for recognizable notes to follow. The most unique piece the album has to offer is the unusual stop and go cadence of "Get On Out," a song that employs a curious assault-rifle riff, firing in short bursts. Each word of the chorus is loudly bitten off, making the emotion of the song match the power riffing.

In contrast to the original moments are the stereotypical ballads that make SIVA Addiction sound like an unreleased Evanescence album. This song is formulaic, matte and pounded into sheets with no jagged edges remaining. Furthermore, it speaks to the nature of the album, where one minute SIVA Addiction can impress with their innovation, and the next can sound exactly like Halestorm or Lacuna Coil or a female-fronted Disturbed.

That's not necessarily bad company to be included among however, and what makes SIVA Addiction ever so slightly unique among those acts is that everything they do (aforementioned ballad notwithstanding,) is cranked through the transformative filter of that glorious era in super-simple, super-loud heavy metal. For proof, take a run through "Night to 5," a rousing bar song that rumbles along in measured time and plays to a crowd who understands both beer and the rigors of the regular work day.

"Bad Decisions" is an album that tackles emotional themes with a sort of cast-off aloofness, that sense of disaffected carelessness that so ruled musical emotion in the post-grunge era. It is a rolling, if not in any way revolutionary, fun album. SIVA Addiction won't make you reorder your "favorite albums ever" list (which we all secretly keep in our minds, you can't fool me,) but it's an appropriate, not-too-serious way to kick off your summer and will carry you through all your seasonal road trips and parties.

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