Article By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker, Senior Writer/Journalist ‡ Edited By: Leanne Ridgeway, Owner/Chief Editor
From Lille, France comes the second official offering from the sludge-enhanced, post-metal unit SUNSTARE, the independently released ‘Eroded‘ album.
The eight-song follow-up to the band’s 2015 introduction, ‘Under The Eye Of Utu‘, finds the quartet – Tom (bass), Peb (vocals), Antoine (drums), and Vince (guitar) – descending ever deeper into the murkiness of Neurosis style inspirations. In those depths, the guys manufacture movements of massively dense sonic heaviness, propelled by gargantuan riffs and lumbering rhythms.
Those qualities are rather quickly revealed within the components of the opening track, “Monolith: Part 1 – Ritual“, a brief instrumental intro that, despite its brevity, sets a foreboding mood by the time it is over. That vibe is fast justified as “Monolith: Part II – Irkalla Shall Fall” arrives amid an uptempo avalanche of continual guitar and accompanying rhythms that exude a malevolent tone, as the throaty vocals sear themselves into your skull.
Things grow even more harrowing as further compositions are levied in a sledgehammer fashion, from the melodic tinged battering of “Am I Art? (Trauma)” and spectacular “For We Are All Alone On A Mass Grave“, to the epic crushing of “Prey For The Sun“. Each has a presence that seems unnaturally augur, as if it is some audible omen of sinister intentions assailing and harassing us before an assured demise.
Yet before that end may come, we experience the obliterating “Requiem For The Sky“, perhaps my favorite cut, one consisting at first of a milder, somewhat sedate start. A misleading sense of calm is established with a pattern of simple guitar and the occasional cymbal, it slowly ripples with tinges of a psyche styling to yield hypnotic results. Then, about the time you are lulled into a state of semi-quiescence… the whole mood is morphed by means of recycling, malicious rhythms pummeling away and damned hellish vocals.
This approach is utilized in almost every track here, with dramatic effect and results. It takes the form of melodic passages offset by intensely malignant feeling audio segments, ones that quickly ratchet up in intensity and perceived menace. It is both enthralling and thrilling, just like the song “How To Fill This Eternal Silence” is, or perhaps “10,ooo Days Of Night“, whichever, as both possess lumbering sludge elements and vocal volatility.
Yes, the ‘Eroded‘ album from SUNSTARE is quite an unexpected surprise, one that provides the perfect blend of delight and deterioration in its musical contents. All is infused with a balanced, visceral doom essence, be it delivered harmoniously or with just harmful intentions, this is music impacted with emotion. Hear it for yourself in this review’s stream and see if you agree, or head over to Bandcamp [link] for further streaming and purchase options.