By Layna D’Luna
Artist: Of The Sun
Album: Before a Human Path
Release Date: April 14, 2017
Before A Human Path, the sophomore album from Austin metal band Of The Sun is set to be released on April 14. The trio released their first album under the name Of The Sun back in 2009. Their arduous journey from their debut album to now is documented on their website by lead singer Patrick Duvall here. Flirting with the lines between death metal, progressive metal, and hard rock (à la ’90s) the band has taken upon themselves the Southern Progressive Metal title. An immediate comparison can be made to bands like Meshuggah, but the styles captured on Before A Human Path vary so much that it’s hard to draw any direct comparison. It’s like groove metal got technical and then strapped to some TNT. Recorded at White Room Studios in Austin Texas, this five track album clocks in at just over 30 minutes. The musicianship is undeniable, as well as Duvall’s commitment to the art form. The background color and texture of the album art was created using his own blood.
“The Tightrope Mile” kicks off the album and hits like a train. The vocal stylings are diverse to say the least. They range from attacking growls to ab-inducing screams, clean harmonious vocals to Tuvan throat singing (yeah, I didn’t know what it was either, go check it out here). This is the listener’s first taste of what becomes a staple of the album’s style; the aggressive mood of the song eventually gives way to cascading guitars and floating atmospheric breakdowns. The prog train moves right along to the second track “Nebulamorphous”. Another face-punch of a song, its forward momentum is only broken up by some killer bass tapping. The riffs are catchy, and the song très ragey.
“Cantos” is where things get weird. And by weird I mean sexy. And by sexy I mean mystical. “Cantos” seems like a deviation for its predominant clean singing, unexpected instrumentation (orchestral instruments), and overall divergent feel from any other track on the album. Atmosphere is strong with this one, and lead singer Patrick Duvall hits some impressive notes throughout this cryptic lullaby. Bringing us right back to the land of angst incarnate, “A Soliloquy” is technical and prone to tantrum. This track flows and breaks as if it’s gasping for breath. Having a bad day? Maybe “A Soliloquy” can help.
Before A Human Path meets the end of its road with “The Limbless God”, five and a half minutes of non-stop brutality. This is where the band’s musicianship really shines. The track is fast and unyielding in its precise riffs. The vocals seem like a sampling of textures and all things heavy. A forceful track to finish out a variegated album.
The album release will take place as part of the Official Texas Independence Fest 2017 Pre-Party at Grizzly Hall in Austin, TX on April 14. The show will also feature The Undreamt, Ammo For My Arsenal, Nahaya, and more TBA.