Corpse paint ‘obsolete’? A ‘parody of itself’? Get thee hence Sun Worship, wash your mouth out with maggots and take your heresy with you…. Er, actually hold on. This is pretty good. Very good actually. So you don’t need to be whited-up ghoul-style to play good black metal? Of course we all knew that already, but while it’s nothing new it’s perhaps true that Sun Worship have ruffled those oh-so easily ruffled feathers by looking like a trio of bearded Hoxton hipsters – or whatever the Berlin equivalent of those much maligned yoots might be. But, even if these guys could well model for the ‘after’ shots for a corpse paint removal cream, I think we’re all big enough now to let that slide. Sun Worship peddle a stylised Vhol-style, high frequency form of cosmic black metal intensity that seems to sit well with their fresh faces and forthright de-construction of the scene.
With their tremolo-chasing riffs and pulsing percussion there’s an organic, almost meditative quality to Sun Worships that reminds me of those exemplars of intense, cosmic black metal Mare Cognitum and the mighty Spectral Lore. But this also sits squarely on the edge of (the fast bits of) a lot of pagan black metal (Wolves in the Throne Room, Panopticon) although for me it struggles to reach those stratospheric levels to which it quite obviously tries to grasp. Don’t get me wrong – there are moments of sheer bliss in these four tracks. Second track Lichtenberg Figures in particular reminds me of something that could have been lifted off some of Spectral Lore’s work and is a complete blast of the star gazing and shoe-gazing variety.
The final track too, with its clean vocals, flies high and skirts the edges of black metal music that borders on the edge of ambience with its rapidly oscillating arrangements that gradually merge into a single, concerted beat. But while I think I can see what Sun Worship is trying to achieve I feel like the above bands and more have thrown off this sound and so much more in a single track for me to be able to highly recommend this as anything a ground-breaking as it seems to be suggesting itself to be.
I know this is going to sound unbelievably great to some ears. This band is clearly already making waves judging by some of the reviews I’ve read. I wish I could find that extra dimension to this which would stop it all sounding slightly derivative. That said, this is all fine stuff, masterfully done and worth checking out if you’ve never come across the above bands. So clean off that corpse paint and replace it with a furry face mullet. Because it’s time for some Sun Worship through the medium of high octane, piercing black metal rapture.
(7.5/10 Reverend Darkstanley)