Ember Sun – On Earth and Heaven
Reviewed: December 2021
Released: 2021, Code 666/Aural Music
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Spoiler Alert – Ember Sun’s debut ON EARTH AND HEAVEN is easily one of the best doom records to release this year.
The brainchild of Athens based Lothar (ex-Order of the Ebon Hand), ON EARTH AND HEAVEN is a beautiful composite of funeral doom, gothic metal, ambient shoegaze and all things dark and brooding in between. Anchored with waves of synth atmosphere and drawn out, resonant melodies, it’s just as easy to draw comparisons against traditional goth outfits like Lycia or Sisters of Mercy as it is to the early progressive metal meanderings of the Anathema/Tiamat/Paradise Lost generation.
As diverse and accessible as Ember Sun presents itself, these 6 tracks are defiantly heavy in execution – particularly the title track and album closer “My Essence Fades in Time.” Counterbalancing sullen serenades with crashing riffs and layers of vocals both clean and distorted, the songs create a sonic cauldron of woe. And then you’ll find moments like the instrumental dungeon dirge, “The Chapel.” It’s a clashing cacophony of reverbed samples and percussion that recalls the likes of Midnight Syndicate in the way it creates an atmosphere of pure dread with a minimalist’s touch.
And most impressively, ON EARTH AND HEAVEN is a true one-man DIY affair. The album had a limited independent release via Bandcamp earlier this year before getting picked up by Code 666/Aural Music, but the sound and presentation of the 6 tracks reflect major label production quality. Throughout the album there’s a surplus of effects and layered instrumentation, but everything is perfectly balanced as it oozes through your speakers, ensuring the intended moments of sorrowful punctuation hit directly as intended every time. It’s a slick sounding record for sure, but that’s what you want with this kind of output.
From the moment that Lothar’s sullen baritone vocals reveal themselves on “Swallowed Back Into My Sorrow”, I was hooked and haven’t stopped listening to ON EARTH AND HEAVEN since. Ember Sun is a powerfully emotive project that exudes the confidence and prowess of an act well beyond its years, and I’m genuinely eager to hear what comes next.