Review: Second To Sun – The Black

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Ladoga Master is an eerie, altered version of the Universal Studios theme song. Which at first, I thought sounded disgusting, but I suppose that is the intended reaction. Guitars seem to just fall all over this song haphazardly, but in a good way, until the orchestration and groove sets in. I feel like this track would be something on par with Satan’s Ice-cream Truck by Devin Townsend but slightly more black metal, and certainly as expressive and hard to pinpoint a real motive or genre for. The intro just sits on its own and does so well. It asserts its place and guarantees that the listener knows they’re in for something a bit experimental, which is by no means a misguided assumption.

The Wall reminds me somewhat of Dimmu Borgir alongside maybe earlier Cthonic tracks. This song really gives you the idea that the songs are a journey of their own each time. I love the way the bass work pokes through in this song before the crushing guitars and soaring melodies take the reins.  As the vocals build into a brutal blackened death force to be reckoned with, the guitars break it down a bit before picking back up the melodies and launching you back into energetic melancholy. This song ends on a strong riff that fades out into Chokk Kapper, which introduces some fast past synth before throwing caution to the wind and ripping your face off yet again with an onslaught of dissonant and heavy riffs and spitting vocals. To say this band utilise breakdowns would generally get a snigger or snide remark from black metal purists, but they great thing about this band is that they’re doing it so well. Any more of the breakdowns or choked open notes or synths and it would start to get a bit too far from the blackened influence but this band balance everything quite well and this song is an example of that. There are symphonic as well as deathcore elements in this release, akin to bands like Abigail Williams.

This band apparently released one djent album under the same name, which I wouldn’t think to ordinarily mention in the context of everything else in their discography, had The Fool not come out of nowhere with some chunky riffs, laden with tones you’d expect from possible djent or deathcore sound. Though this song goes on to surpass the expectations set by those genre labels and sonic tropes, to become an incredibly melancholic, a sombre delivery of sustained high guitars and driving drums to feed that sinking pit within.

Vasilisa, I’m going to say it, is THE song to listen to on this album. The intro is chilling and savage, the riffs coming in suffocating waves as the vocals penetrate through the wall of sound. This song gives you a rounded idea of the sound this band are going for and is so well executed, every element fits like a vile, disgusting yet beautiful puzzle. The style of the vocals to me, reminds me of almost Ihsahn cross with Shagrath, but is also reminiscent of the approach a lot of deathcore and aggrotech bands use surprisingly. Whatever they were going for with the vocal style, it bloody works.

Region 13 is a firm reminder that you’re listening to a heavily melodic black/groove metal band but also, the melodies chosen to remind me more of folk metal influences, like if a band like Equilibrium got more brutal and raw and added in more guitar layers. The song takes you on a journey through the epic passages, to the blacker metal riffs and the use of some truly unique instrumentation towards the end of the song, while the vocals, as in the previous tracks, continue to just pierce through and retain that feeling of rage in contrast to the music in some parts.

The Fool starts off with an eerie sample of a girl saying “daddy” in a scared voice. As the song continues there are tumultuous passages of guitar, sliding ever so subtly in and out of key to give it a skin-crawling vibe. It’s laden with samples and terrifying riffs, small breaks where you can hear human suffering and guitar intertwine, in a perfect example of how to set the mood for depravity and destruction.

The next 3 songs are all I assume, part of a series or group intended to be listened to together. The first one starts off with an unsettling dissonant guitar part. I get lots of Au-Dessus and Gorguts vibes but in a weird way, this song has some sections that are more technical and could be right at home in a Cephalic Carnage album too. As it progresses, the sound changes more and more, but seamlessly. By part four of the Mrakobesie series, what you’re listening to is essentially raw, unaltered black metal with long shrieks and superfluous guitar noise, bit crushed to all hell towards the end.

I’d say this album would be on par with the new Ame Noir as far as modern, crushing take on blackened death with the  dark, sombre and melodic influences and is well worth the listen as it’s a captivating and thoroughly interesting record with something for pretty much every heavy persuasion.  

Order your copy of The Black out NOW via ‘insert label here’ HERE!