Monday, 23 February 2015

TAKEN BY THE SUN - Self-Titled (Album Review)

Incredible cover artwork by Nick Keller.
It's not everyday you come across a band that describes their music as "Post-Metal / Jazz / Doom / Ambient Sludge", so it's with a high level of awareness that you approach Chicago's Taken By the Sun. You just know you're going to either love the music ... or despise it deeply and passionately.

Taken By the Sun's self-titled debut is progressive in the truest sense, it speaks the language of stoner and doom metal but invents new phrases, crashing the borders of both extreme and post-metal styles along the way. The patchwork monster of sounds and styles isn't entirely unlike what a Neurosis would produce with the "kitchen sink metal" sensibilities of Philip H. Anselmo & the Illegals thrown in. You may hear an odd-time hammer slam of a drum beat with a haunting melody plucked away in the background before the two elements switch places of prominence. You might hear dry throat cries mingling with melodic vocals atop a choppy chaotic sea of noise, before the entire structure solidifies and girders itself with a stoner riff.

But apart from what sounds familiar, there are times you will hear things on this album you've never heard before, like the soaking wet modulating bass tone of the incredible "Red" or the "bone-dance" riffing in parts of "Volatile". The magnum opus of this first outing would have to be the closing track "Ornaflux", which was premiered over at the terrific Sludgelord blog. You can listen to that track at this location. It's a good introduction to the band, it shows what they're all about, a bludgeoning attack buffeted by polyrhythms, around the world melding of styles a head-sploding chaotic chorus and it just so happens to be a great song to boot. It's incredible when you hear it to think that the album was recorded live with minimal overdubs.

This all might sound like direction-less nonsense, but that's my words failing, not the band. The styles in the utility belt may clash, but each is used in its proper place. This band is Batman. The raw elements of sound are then re-combined in novel ways, by finding just the right mixture to create a powerful new beast never before glimpsed by man. This band is Mr. Hyde.

The album goes live on Taken By the Sun's bandcamp page tomorrow, February 24.

Rating: «««« / 5





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