Sulphur Sun – Placodermic Heraldry

Rating: 3.5/5
Distributor/label: Self-Released
Released: 2020
Buy Album: https://sulphursun.bandcamp.com
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/sulphursun/

Band line-up:

Marc Wachtfels Sulaiman – Vocals, Throatsinging, Ambient sounds
Dallas – Toller Wade – Guitar (Narcotic Wasteland, ex-Nile)
Gregor Philipp Kovats – Bass
S.U. – Drums

Tracklisting:

1. The Temple of Dunkleosteus
2. Trilobite Thief

 

 

 

 

Review:

Sulphur Sun are a Swiss progressive death metal band who will be releasing their latest EP ‘Placodermic Heraldry’ on October 30th. Ex-Nile guitarist Dallas Toller-Wade performed all of the guitar parts and the guitar tracking was done in America. The rest of the album was recorded in Bern, Switzerland with the assistance of David Schiess (ex-Anachronism) and Remo Haberli (Posthuman Bigbang). It follows the group’s 2017 single ‘Vitreous’ and their 2013 debut EP ‘Bioluminescence’. Their full length album is expected to be unleashed in the next year or two. 

Whilst this music is pretty complex, perhaps it’s a little misleading to describe it as progressive death metal. SS don’t sound like prog DM experts Opeth for example, at all. Rather they’re more like Cannibal Corpse. Sure the latter band mixes frequent tempo and time changes with hard to predict song structures, but really they’re traditional death metal. Maybe SS are more adventurous than CC, but not significantly so. The aim of the music in this EP seems to thrill and purge aggression rather than to make one think. There really isn’t any time for contemplation here at all other than in the limited spooky ambient sections. Of course that’s fine, just don’t get the wrong idea. 

Even though the guitars are performed by an ex member of Nile, don’t expect Egyptian or Middle Eastern harmonies. Riffs and chord progressions are more about creating a sense of tension in the frantic parts, and doom in the slower sections. It’s not all power chords with these guys, but again, if you’re looking for genuine sophistication that borrows ideas from jazz or classical music, you may be disappointed. However, if you’re a bit of a hardcore DM purist, there really isn’t much to criticise at all. The first track even has a nice short and sweet shred guitar solo that will please many guitar nerds.

In conclusion this is pretty typical stuff, as thrilling as it is. The riffs are often highly chromatic, the drumming is furious and the vocals are in the classic cookie monster style for the most part. There are some tortured black metal style vocals that sound like someone moaning in pain and there are some dissonant higher pitched guitars that contrast with the bass nicely and also have BM vibes, but they arguably don’t do enough to make SS stand out from the massive crowd. If you want genuine power and speed however, they could well be exactly what you’re looking for.

Review by Simon Wiedemann
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