This Sun No More: In Circles (Sludgelord Records) [Paul S]
This Sun No More are a six piece who have been making music together since 2008. The Stoke On Trent based band have released 2 EP’s in that time. Thats a long time to produce only 2 Ep’s, so I hope the band has been spending that time creating something pretty special. Luckily for the rest of us, they have! This Sun No More have spent the time creating a unique sound that is a mix of Post Rock, Doom and Sludge, with maybe a little new wave and gothic in there for good measure. The album is based on Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, with each track being one circle of hell. The album starts with Guiltless, which is an instrumental with a sample of Stephen Fry talking about not believing in god. Musical the track is mainly mid-paced clean Post Rock guitar riffs. As the track goes along it builds and gets heavier, the final third has distortion on the guitars, and feels quite doomy, but in a more stoner way.
The pacing stays the same throughout, but the intensity increases. There is a definite similarity to some Mono material. Second track Storm, starts with just drums and psychedelic, spacey noises. Again we some clean Post Rock riffs but with some electronics, which feel quite introspective. The intensity also increases, and about halfway through we get a bigger dissonant sound, coupled with harsh vocals, and without really noticing we’ve moved to a sludge song. Gut starts heavy, and slightly sleazy. After a heavy opening, the song goes into a softer, introspective section that has an uplifting feel to it. After blissing out on this for a couple of minutes, the heavy returns and this time it has kept the uplifting feel from the preceding section. The vocals in this final heavy section are harsh and feel anguished, a nice juxtaposition with the uplifting feeling that is still present in the music. Midas feels more purposeful than the tracks that came before it. It has some nice rhythmic touches, and drives forward. The track features harsh vocals, again quite anguished, but this is an album about Hell, so I suppose that is just as well! The River is mainly a heavy track, but it flows beautifully giving it a bit of stoner sense in the tempo. There is an interesting sample about nuclear weapons, and the track feels uplifting and beautiful (sometimes this album feels too serine and lovely to be about Hell!). The track gains a piano line near the end, and ends up mixing power and drive with all that beauty, sublime.
Dis has a clean Post Rock beginning that gets heavier as it goes along, but at the same time feels relaxed, tuneful and melodic. The addition of an organ (Hammond?) in the second half of the song, coupled with the harsh vocals, tempers the harshness of the vocals whilst giving the track a lot of depth. Next we get Atilla, which is properly doomy and heavy and powerful. The song has a really slow and heavy sludgy section, with agonised vocals and a twisted, lurching tempo. There is a clean, but brooding section, before the distortion comes crashing back in, and to top it all off, there's a cracking solo as well. Uri is a short instrumental with a sample from mystic con-man Uri Geller, talking about bending spoons (I’ve never understood why when given incredible powers by the universe, Geller chose to use them to make cutlery useless). The album comes to an end with the track Iscariot. The track starts clean and slightly blissed out, before building from post rock into a more new wave sound.
There is a short, soft, introspective segment in the middle of the track, before the heavy and loud come back for the end of the song. In Circles is a great album. It mixes Post Rock with doom and sludge in a very pleasing way. The way the band have melded different sounds into a whole that is coherent and sounds natural, even though there is a lot of different, disparate elements in play, is very impressive. The transitions from one style to another are seamless, and work so well. It’s a complicated beast, but with a few listens it opens up, and will delight the listener. Turns out This Sun No More, have created something very, very special. Grab it, have a listen and enjoy! 9/10
Diviion: Journey Of The Time Shaman (Self Released) [Matt]
You'll have read in these pages about epic Bristol based death/doom metal band Void Titan, we've covered their Ep release and a few of their shows. Well late last year their drummer and bassist parted ways with the band (but Void Titan still exists) and out of that has come extreme progressive metal act Diviion which features former Diviion drummer Fionn Moore on vocals and Void Titan guitarist Phil Wadey on bass. I'm going to treat this as its own independent project and not in anyway compare it with Void Titan as although Fionn uses growled and roared vocals it's very different. Diviion have much more of a Mastodon meets desert rock vibe due to the extensives use of time changes, different tunings, loud & soft dynamics along with more flowing metfluous 'proggy' textures.
Supervoid and the title track show both elements of this, Supervoid having some thrash/death metal blasts that are balanced by more melodic guitar elements and sudden changes of pace, while the title track has a more spacey feel to it, still having Hugo Benezech blasting away but with more ambient intelligent guitar textures. The recording line up of the album is Fionn on guitar and vocals, Phil on bass, Hugo on drums and Scott Grimble from Bangover on lead guitar, but since the recording of this album the band has fleshed out the ranks with Jonny Scaramanga and Kate Bidder on guitar, taking over from Grimble.
Journey Of The Time Shaman has all the virtuosity and pretension you would expect from progressive music but with a bit more of a metallic bite that take in thrash and death metal influences. From Depth is groovy and opens the album properly after the instrumental and there are several more pieces that can be used as transitional pieces leaving the two longer numbers as the 10 minute plus Chronological Warfare brings everything together at the end of the album. This is great first strike from Diviion with an otherworldly progressive metal sound they have made their own. 8/10
God Of Nothing: Cruel By Nature (Legend Recordings) [Liam]
This has to be the most downright filthy, vile, disgusting sounding Deathcore album I have ever heard in my life. And i absolutely love it. I wasn't sold by opener instrumental Dissolution, but as soon as 1075 hits, you're hooked. And near the end you're treated to one of the most face gurning, stomach churning, break your spine clean in half breakdowns you've ever heard. The album IS basically one big breakdown by itself, but honestly, I think that's why I love it so. I'm a Metal/Deathcore kid at heart. So hearing new and upcoming bands serve us their own ferocious tunes is welcomed. Altogether the record blends together flawlessly and sounds amazing. Granted it could do with more riffs instead of chug after chug, but whatever floats their boat. There are some gems if you're interested in sticking around, but your musical taste takes over my recommendations. So if you're a core kid, the party is here, if not, then steer clear. But beknown, these guys pack a punch that'll shatter your eardrums. 7/10
Harbinger: Compelled To Suffer (Self Released) [Liam]
With their debut album just released, and already touring with well-known bands such as Nekrogoblikon and Rings Of Saturn despite only being around since 2015, the London metal crew hit it off strong with their first full length. Combining elements of Deathcore with Tech Death, the band just pounds you with their consistent barrage of riffs, blast beats and growls to make your stomach churn in excitement and anticipation for the next track. In a scene where all music isn't really progressing forward, just staying the same and becoming stale, Harbinger are one of the stand out bands this side of the decade. The intensity of the record is back up only by the sheer force of heaviness and riff work by the band. Vocalist Tom Gardner assaults you with his deafening highs and destructive lows, while the band just dominate their instruments and shifts the metal scene into a new light. Well done boys. 8/10