The latest album from Paris based Steampunk outfit Victor Sierra is a thundering call to arms for any willing to step aboard their Starship, The Hydrogen Queen, and ride with them into epic glory amidst the great expanse. The band are best known for their eclectic live shows and commitment to the fictional universe in which their characters reside. The album’s heavy mix of electronic sounds and punk vocals set against the backdrop of echoing metal rhythms grabs the listener’s ears by the scruff of the eardrums and drags you to war with the band whether you like it or not… and that’s not a bad thing.
The band is made up of Big Machine, the engine of the Starship, providing the synths and digitised drum beats. The Legendary Converted Princess, the pilot, leading you through the aggressive noise with her equally belligerent but also welcoming voice. And finally, Commander Bob, The Captain, connecting the two other members with his thumping guitar riffs and mean basslines. The combination of their sounds really does bring you into their fever-dream universe in which every track depicts a violent revolution with the fabric of reality itself with The Hydrogen Queen and VICTOR SIERRA right at the centre of it. The band lists Orson Welles and Philip K. Dick as their inspirations and it’s easy to see why. Science Fiction oozes out of the band’s aesthetic and they translate that very well into their sound. Think, War Of The Worlds meets The Matrix.
However, as stellar as the first five tracks on the album are, (The Witness, In The Long Run and Time Roulette are particular highlights) by the time you reach the midpoint of the album those same marching rhythms and sci-fi elements start to lose their effect. As you progress on the journey through the album with the band, you may find yourself waiting for your stop to leave the Starship and move on to something else. Thundering and exciting the sounds may be but the lack of dynamic progression through the album results in the last third of the tracks struggling to impact in the same way as the initial openers. That’s not to say that the tracks themselves lack quality, The Closer Volcano for instance has a foreboding tone that leaves you satisfied at the album’s end. It’s just that on the way there, Imperfect Meridians does wear out what initially grabs the attention.
VICTOR SIERRA certainly brings an exciting mix of Steampunk, Goth, Science Fiction, and story-telling to Imperfect Meridians. The initial tracks will have you rising up out of your seat and stepping aboard The Hydrogen Queen as a soldier in the fight against the unknown. Halfway through the album, you might want to step out and put the kettle on to break it up a bit but come the conclusion, you’ll be happy to have been along for the ride.
Words: Alfie Smith
Imperfect Meridians will be released 1st February 2021.
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