Currently the earth is not silent, far from it, it is a tumultuous place seething with monstrous acts as nature battles with humanity for dominance, and if Sun Of The Dying had anything to do with it then this would be the soundtrack to that unending conflict as they have recorded an impassioned set of songs immersed in a death doom formula. Hailing from Spain this sextet boasts an assembly of extremely talented individuals all coalesced to utterly define what death doom is about.
The dramatic intro of the title track produces a despairing melancholy as sea noises mix with string like arrangements that are anguish riddled and flows into “A Dying Light”, as that atmospheric despondency continues with serene sorrowful acoustic playing. As the vocals filter into the blend their clean tones are sadness personified where the song unfurls a gargantuan riffing backdrop that is massively oppressive but beautifully exhibited. As the doom laden texture continues it expands to ever more complexity revealing deeper vocals that contrast nicely with the clean style. Shifting focus to a more deathly style is “A Cold Unnamed Fear” where double bass lays down a carpet of low frequency nihilism whilst the guitar work skirts the top with its mournfulness before morphing to the more traditional death doom traits that acts like My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost and early Anathema blanketed the world with. The gradations in the song are superbly arranged each creating their own level of solemnity.
Mellow and desolate “When The Morning Came” offers a stark riff and slow beat before the eruption of the guitar work and bass. The backing symphonics are sublime cascading into the song down paths of cinematic poise. The deeper vocals really work here to emphasise the power before channelling down a far more sombre phase replete with tension as keyboards and clean vocals serve up a sorrowfully sweet ambience that returns to the dense machinations of the metal.
Colossal and expansive “Monolith” matches its song title as choral like vocals appear whilst the music marches funereally like. The clean vocal addition elevates the songs dolefulness as those backing choral vocals weave within the song to brilliant effect. As the isolated piano that ensues is accompanied by the grief stricken guitar riff the song ramps up the claustrophobia via the bass and those choral vocals I keep banging on about. Reminiscent of early Theatre Of Tragedy (first two albums) the songs dramatic dignity dominates the whole ambience as the keyboard backing gradually asserts its authority to magnificent effect.
“White Skies And Grey Lands” epitomises what this album is about with beautiful vocals pouring from the start of the song similar to modern era Anathema before substituting in the deeper vocal tones which alternate. The inherent grief here is palpable, drenching utter sombreness down in torrents as string like arrangement filter through. The density is well situated, as each passing phase unveils a woeful wretchedness; a broken-hearted soliloquy to the death of the world.
Fans of any of the bands I’ve mentioned plus all the bands they’ve influenced over the years make this an essential listen as Sun Of The Dying is the soundtrack to unmitigated desolation.
(9/10 Martin Harris)