Saturday, February 25, 2012
The Moon is Dead, the Sun the Culprit: Awakening Sun Attacks with Sold Out (2011)
Typically, groovy death metal goes in a couple different directions. The music can fall victim to a slow, crawling demise as the riffs grind to a halt, mostly brought down by their lack of distinction from other guitar parts, or the arrangements can be totally great and distinguished from the rest. Awakening Sun generally falls into the latter camp because at least one riff stands out per song, thankfully posing less of challenge to sit through the duration of the record without dozing off. Guitars follow the standard groovy rubric, but I pick out fragments of melodic death metal as a few utilize a similar compositional design scheme. Take a look at the opening of "No More Blood" as example. Vocals become standard death metal stylings by confidently promoting their prose because they're upfront and one of the most prominent things about the music. Guitar solos remain a personal favorite because they present a creamy smoothness that contrasts nicely with other aesthetics.
While all may be fine and dandy (and it is for the most part), one small aspect drags the release down a bit more. Many of the tracks sound very similar and appear as if you're listening to the same song again. I definitely credit the band for their consistency, but the usage of stop-start riffs and a steady groove occasionally makes Sold Out feel devoid of any type of variation. However, when you consider how excellent the guitar solos are, packaged with strong vocals and a tight rhythm section, the qualms seem a little less obvious. Only such heavy and ethereal sounds could come from Ernestas Skripkiūnas's gorgeous PRS guitar.
For a freshman effort, Sold Out undeniably sounds professional with its extremely polished production and strong musicianship. Lack of earmarks yank the release off its pedestal a few notches, but that's understandable because the band is cultivating and establishing their own sound. A few more albums will likely prosper improvement and expansion in creativity. In short, a solid record, surely nothing to sneeze at, but the band can do better.