Released: 2009, Authentik Ink
Reviewer: Robert Williams
Newly formed metal label Authentik Ink has just released PESTILENCE & RAPTURE, the Stephan Hawkes produced second EP from the melodic five piece Across The Sun. Six tracks make up the PESTILENCE & RAPTURE EP.
Describing the band's music is no easy task as I am tempted to ignore the band's bio sheet that specifically states "sounds like Killswitch Engage" and throw out Shadows Fall and In Flames comparisons. I suppose what sets Across The Sun apart from the aforementioned bands is how they heavily incorporate keyboards into their sound which up to this point in time has been much more of a uniformly European sound than American. Secondly, adding to the semi unique sound of the group would be the strange vocal approach of singer Brandon Davis which I unfortunately can't wholeheartedly endorse. Brandon Davis mixes things up between a throaty metalcore bark and an overly dramatic whiny croon. While I can look past the typical gruff vocals in this kind of melo-core genre I can't stand the clean vocals Brandon uses on this EP.
Guitarist Sam Hafer being the sole guitarist in the band handles all of the duelling twin leads, rhythm guitar and soloing duties with impressive results. Not sure how he'll pull off this stuff live, but it sounds pretty convincing on disc. Across The Sun have an exceptionally tight rhythm section in bassist Shane Murray and drummer Alan Ashcraft, both sounding like seasoned veterans on their chosen instruments.
Pretty good dynamic plays on here. The keys bring a lot to the table in terms of making this EP sound more epic. PESTILENCE & RAPTURE I can report is also well mixed and produced for the duration of the EP. Bottom line for me is top notch sound, excellent musicianship, and so-so vocals. Definitely would've scored this higher if not for the overly whiny and effeminate clean vocals detracting from an otherwise decent heavy foundation.