The duo behind Sunwølf haven’t been creating music as this project for all too long, with their first record Beyond The Sun coming out less than two years ago, yet these two gents are far from strangers and their musical lineage goes back much further than 2012s initial offering.
Beholden To Nothing and No One is an incredibly dense record and the double disc format serves to separate the harsher, heavier tones of the band from the more ambient structures that they are capable. Each side has its own feel, language and sound and it’s truly astonishing that so much work has fallen from the minds of only two people. The record begins with the gorgeous “In The Darkened River I Found The Silence Loom” with Sunwølf incorporating vocals on their music for the first time.
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You may remember that a few months ago I posted a review of a lovely record by a band named Northumbria. If you don’t, click here and you can see it and enjoy it perhaps.
Northumbria have a music video streaming and the title of the track is “Black Sea of Trees”. It’s really wonderful and you’d be doing yourself a favour by checking it out. I have included it below so all you need to do is press play. Minimal effort ist krieg. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Nonsun are a two-piece from Lviv in Ukraine and they deal in crushing tones of doomed out sludge and droned atmospheres of wondrous heaviness. Having emailed me way back in Janauary (sorry), Nonsun definitely piqued my interest and I’ve been meaning to get around to this for three months nearly. I am a terrible person and for that, I apologise.
Goatooth – Guitar, Bass, Vocals, Keys
Alpha – Drums
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The Toronto based Northumbria specialise is cloying drone atmospheres culled from only the hugely amplified tones of guitar and bass and this debut was recorded completely live (in a church nonetheless). There’s a definite urgency in their take on the genre that takes a hold almost immediately. High waves of frequency seep into your conscious and the sounds that Jim Field and Dorian Williamson (both Holoscene members) make are truly dripping with a stately warmth. Their hums and thrums are full of texture and a sense of movement and there’s an all-round feeling that Northumbria is a constant forward motion into the unknown.
Jim Field – Guitar, Dorian Williamson – Bass
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This happens tonight. Tell all your friends. Pretty excited to help out in getting this show together. Come drink whiskey.
Also, if you recognise the picture it’s because it’s my blog header. Image copyright belongs to Cheryl Prime (that’s me). Don’t even think about it.
I originally wrote this for inclusion in Metal Hammer. Alas, there was some kind of technical error and the piece was double commissioned. I’m interested to see what the other writer named Carter thinks of Bong’s newest release but for now, here are my thoughts*
1. Dreams of Mana-Yood-Sushai
2. Trees, Grass and Stones
Mana-Yood-Sushai heralds the first Bong studio recording in their prolific seven year history and it’s a surprising addition to their output so soon after last years full length Beyond Ancient Space. Two tracks of vibrating drone make up this release and whilst it’s lovingly crafted and deftly handled, there’s a little something missing. Mana-Yood-Sushai feels too sterile – the unfamiliar environment of the studio perhaps affecting the tone. The thrumming undercurrent of manipulated sound pulses and pushes around soft drum rolls and flourishes of sitar expertly, but Bong seem content to let the twenty minute run time of first track “Dreams of Mana-Yood-Sushai” pass with nary a moment to marvel over. It’s hypnotic sure, but not captivating enough to completely hold the attention. Drone should transport you into another dimension and the Indian instrumentation used by Bong is otherworldly in texture and depth, yet it’s not until the murmuring vocal filters through “Trees, Grass and Stones” does Mana-Yood-Sushai start to take shape. Unfortunately, it’s a case of too little too late for this otherwise bewitching act.
As is customary, I also gave it a score.
*I have been given permission to use this, please don’t strike me down Hammers Gods.