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Under The Sun
Under The Sun
Released: 2014, Self Released
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
It’s been a bumper month for fans of oppressively bleak and slow paced music. We’ve had the impressively enjoyable sludge of Snailking and the latest release from Earth towering above it all like an all-powerful titan of doom. Quelle surprise then that the best of the bunch arrives free of all hype and outdoes all the competition, because Under The Sun’s self-titled debut is fantastic.
Originating from Montpellier, these four Frenchmen have crafted fifty apocalyptic minutes of soul-blasting beauty. Their Facebook page describes them as a post hardcore band, but if that conjures up images of bearded men in faux lumberjack shirts trying to be optimistic about their girlfriends leaving, don’t be fooled. They’re a lot closer to the avant-garde meanderings of Cult Of Luna and Godspeed You! Black Emperor than Beartooth or Alexisonfire.
Most bands for example would treat an instrumental like ‘Initium’ as little more than a brief introductory track. In Under The Sun’s hands though, the absence of vocals is no excuse to kick back and the song is a whopping nine minutes of slow burning, melodic seduction. It starts off politely enough, a laidback bass riff playing over a restrained drum beat and guitar parts that are scarcely more than a whisper, but by the finale it’s raging like a thunderstorm striking a Cornish fishing village.
The next two songs both welcome vocals into the mix, frontman Jay’s strangulated cries adding an extra pinch of vehemence to the proceedings. He doesn’t have the strongest set of pipes out there, but he sounds exactly like someone being tortured in a medieval dungeon and his gargled despair is ideally suited to accompany this desolate sonic landscape. And yet despite the acres of feedback and the miles of distorted guitar noise, there are also moments of rare optimism to be found. ‘Burst In Dawn’ has a few moments of upbeat transcendence akin to when Andy Dufresne crawled out of the Shawshank sewers into the rain, while ‘Anubis Path’ has a midsection which is almost soothingly gentle.
They reach their peak with ‘Scars Of Life’ however, a veritable feast of a song that could be used as a textbook example of post-metal done right. It’s an enthralling twelve minutes at the heart of a tempest, riffs building on riffs as screams pierce the din like echoes from another realm and escalates into a crescendo that would make Pelican envious. And it ends just as it arrived; quietly and peacefully, the sedate outro a nice juxtaposition to the maelstrom we’ve just endured. This is an excellent album and the only thing standing in their way is the sheer volume of doom and post-metal being released right now, by the time album number two comes along hopefully they’ll have more of a fanfare.
Review by Tim Bolitho-Jones
2. Burst In Dawn
3. Anubis Path
4. Scars Of Life
Jay - Guitar/Vocals
Leo - Guitars
Polo - Drums
Flob - Bass
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