What does Sisteria sound like?
Heavy psychedelic late 60’s rock.
The review of Sisteria – Dark Matter
Sisteria is a fantastically cinematic psychedelic band from Oklahoma, USA whose new album “Dark Matter” intrigued me upon first listen. Lead by charismatic singer-songwriter Katie Williams, this has seen Katie transform from a folk artist into the leader of a spiritually charged space. It doesn’t conform to psychedelia, stadium rock, or the hippie era. Sisteria is its own blend of enchantment.
The best way to describe Sisteria’s sound is that the guitars are heavy and crunchy and full of stadium-moshing hooks. The guitars are backed by stadium drums, metal bass and an omnipresent organ. Take the opener “Wade My Way” as an example. It leads with a riff you’d expect from but there’s a Thin Lizzy esque purity to it where it drives the track forward. You have pauses between verses and choruses and a cinematic approach to guitar riff heaven. The organ then gives a southern warmth to it and places Sisteria back into 1968 with love. To top it off, Katie’s vocals are magical and intoxicating. She bellows, roars and soars like a woman possessed with passion. In some ways, she’s as operatic as Florence Welch (with a strong dash of Wendy Rule) but the setting is far more rock-based here.
There are so many anthemic numbers across “Dark Matter” that rely on a crescendo effect, that the album feels structured like a live concert. Indeed, there are no gaps between songs as they transition between each other like a setlist. “Hunger” is a classic rock that brings solos and big choruses. “Star Child” mixes together 90’s alt-rock basslines with cataclysmic breakdowns led by electrified organs and drum duets. “Reaper” has some of the smokiest vibes I’ve heard in ages. Effortlessly slick and giving off a b-movie horror vibe too, it’s just fun to enjoy.
Whilst there are some chants that fly in, that Southern dusty plain edge mixes best on the slower tracks. “Pale In the Darkness” is a superb piece that starts out with muted rustic folk tones and transitions to a blazing dreamscape of electric noise and screams over its length. “Om/Yes” effortlessly switches between intricate bass rhythms as Katie brings her witchy finest before Sisteria channel Emma Ruth Rundle for atmospheric and dense rock-outs. The token cowgirl track “Ramblin’ Woman” is the quintessential cowgirl with a pep in its step. “Winter Crow” is as southern as they come with some beautiful organ solos. There’s also an eastern element throughout the album too with sitar popping up on occasion. This takes its most prominent role in the abstract cinematic finale “Burial Ground”. Spoken word readings mesh with atmospheric sounds, sitar, rumbling drums and growling after-effects of guitar signals. It sells its dense and intoxicating mood superbly by moving you into a post-rock world.
I have so much fun with “Dark Matter” when I listen to it as it covers so much in 50 minutes. If I want to jam like 1968, I can. When I want to channel my witchy darker side, it is all here. If I want to take a ride into Oklahoma territories, give me those organs. It is a beautiful blend, held together by a voice that has more emotion in a four bar phrase than most bands have in an album. Sisteria is a gem of a discovery.
Recommended track: Hunger
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