Days of the Fallen Sun
Prosthetic Records/Rocket Distribution
Reviewed By Michael O'Brien
A more diverse and better realised vision
Back in 2011 I was introduced to the doomy, ethereal rock of Boston’s Junius on their second full-length release, Reports from the Threshold of Death, and I walked away from the experience with mixed feelings. There was something so captivating and intoxicating about the band’s spacey atmosphere and their utilisation of catchy and accessible hooks was second to none yet, at the same time, the album also demonstrated that it’s entirely possible to have too much of a good thing. There just wasn’t enough variety within the album’s 10 tracks to elevate it from being promising and enjoyable to utterly essential listening. In spite of this, I still revisit some of my favourite cuts from Reports from the Threshold of Death quite regularly so when the opportunity arose to tackle the band’s new EP, Days of the Fallen Sun, I jumped at the chance.
As mentioned, Days of the Fallen Sun is an EP and, as such, it is quite short - comprising just four songs with a running time of about 25 minutes. What’s interesting about the band’s approach, however, is that the four songs on offer also have a short introductory piece preceding them, with each of which running somewhere in the order of about 40 seconds to a minute, bringing the EP’s actual track count up to eight and boosting its running time by about three minutes. While the addition of these “songs” might initially appear to be redundant, they do actually serve a definite purpose in fleshing out the atmospheric qualities of the EP, which is something that has received quite a bit of attention this time around.
One of the primary ways Junius realised their atmospheric vision on Reports from the Threshold of Death was through the use of keyboard accompaniment and, while the band utilises a similar approach on Days of the Fallen Sun, this time the keyboards are brighter and are quite a bit more prominent which fits in nicely with the brighter, louder, and more spacious sound of the EP overall.
While the slightly more up-beat tempos and the more open tone on the EP are most definitely a welcome counterpoint to the moody introversion of Reports from the Threshold of Death, the first two cuts from the EP, The Time of Perfect Virtue and A Day Dark with Night, don’t diverge greatly in form or function from the material the band offered up on their previous album either. This isn’t a bad thing though and, thankfully, these two tracks are at the very least up to the same level of quality as the better songs from Reports so there’s little to complain about in this respect. Far from it, in fact.
Where things get interesting, however, is in the second half of the EP with Battle in the Sky – a track that’s far more aggressive than anything I’ve heard Junius pen before – and Forgiving the Cleansing Meteor which closes the album strongly with a slow, continuous build that continues right through until its end without offering a release which leaves you hanging for more. These two songs are arguably more ambitious than anything on Reports from the Threshold of Death but they are still inherently Junius tracks which demonstrates that there is a fair bit of room for the band to move within their chosen framework.
I still stand by my complaints about Reports from the Threshold of Death and its tendency to be a little too samey but, with Days of the Fallen Sun, it’s evident that Junius’ decision to take a little more time between releases to fully develop and flesh out their ideas has payed dividends. Here’s hoping the band’s next full-length release is as diverse and refreshing as this little teaser is.