The Blackest Volume: Like All the Earth Was Buried
Reviewed By Simon Crawley
Sunlight’s Bane, formerly known as Traitor, releases its full-length debut album here under the new moniker. Fans of the likes of Nails, Trap Them, and Call of the Void will appreciate what the Michigan outfit has to offer.
A little over five years in the making and TBVLATEWB (as the album title appears on the cover) is a potent blend of grindcore, black metal, and crusty ‘90s hardcore. It’s at most times frenetic and heaving with aggression, and on three other occasions slightly less so, as their sound ploughs through thickly-set and black-engulfed passages of bleakness. The quality of the album’s production is very good, which is no surprise when you see that it was mastered by Brad Boatright of Audiosiege who has worked with the likes of Nails, Full of Hell, Integrity and Twitching Tongues. There is quite a bit of distortion to the way in which the vocals were recorded, but the instrumentals are tight and powerfully crisp.
After a fist to the throat with the opening “Praise the Venom Shield”, Sunlight’s Bane begin to flex their musical muscles with “Begrudging Soul”. While incredibly catchy in tempo, there is expansiveness to the song writing. It goes from hell-bent speed to showing crusty and sludgy doom-like menace. In this way, as you listen to each song, it becomes apparent how much of a role the drums play. It’s a foundation laid thick and spread with no expense to variability. In the way guitars have an atmospheric feel to drone metal and sound like a shower of knives and shrapnel in black metal; here too they combine with gurgling bass and weighty riffs to blanket the rich battery of drums. “I Am the Cold Harsh Whispers in Hell” is a fine example of this.
“Dance of Thorns” is the first song that dilutes somewhat and spends nearly three-and-half of the six minutes with vocals and a guitar chord alone. It doesn’t develop into too much else nor does it impress as much compared to what has preceded it. “The Blessed Ivory Tongue” brings things back to the boil and “No Taste More Bitter” keeps it all simmering.
“With Fear This Love Is Given” and “To Whom I Await” sandwich another impressive track in “Came No Dawn”. The aforementioned two here are the longest on the album at around eight minutes each with “To Whom I Await” the far stronger effort and it makes for a good way to close out. The drums (there seems to be no mention of band member names) again play an important part; substantiating much of the texture and atmosphere brought by vocals and guitar.
While perhaps not on the whole, but in many a part Sunlight’s Bane demonstrate the musicianship and song writing creativity to make a serious name for themselves and it will be very interesting to see where they go from this.