Glare Of The Sun are an interesting and relatively new band. Formed in 2013, the five members hail from Germany and Austria with experience coming via several other groups including Zombie Inc. and Microtonner. “Soil” is their debut and marks an alternative twist on the traditional doom formula.

The tranquil but brief opening instrumental of “Awoken” accentuates the heaviness that follows in the dense, gravelly crust of “One Step Nothing”. Creeping, whispered menace proves to be an assault on the senses and there’s real venom in the abrasive riffs before a return to calm. This is a theme that will continue to build throughout “Soil” – that sense of serenity being bludgeoned. The haunting instrumental of “Extinction”, melodic and with an air of finality and resignation, is fuelled by Franz Ebert’s huge drum fills under climactic, soaring riffs from guitarists Martin Baumann and Gerald Huber.

The album also displays moments that sometimes lean toward a more progressive style not too dissimilar to “Blackwater Park” era Opeth. Christoph Stopper’s vocals range from whispered to clean while always returning to a guttural snarl that compliments the ebb and flow of the music. Occasionally, a little more vocal depth might give these tracks even greater power. However, there’s no denying how emotive this album is. The constant return to melodic serenity before dark, brooding heaviness ensures there’s no sense of complacency. Tracks like “Degeneration”, with its’ languid tones blend seamlessly with the crushing rawness of “Groundwater” and have a depth and tautness suggesting a band that has more history. Closing track “Coldfront” is a fitting end that is a scornful, edgy full stop leaving a final stamp of authority.

There’s plenty to like on this debut effort. The second half of the album especially is where this band really comes alive, mixing silky, rich melody with coarse, doomy sludge. Glare Of The Sun are worth keeping an eye on based on this release.

(8/10 Johnny Zed)