Good to see that a steady, laborious artistic evolution has finally given birth to a mutation which has exciting chances to progress very successfully through the tough process of natural selection. The first track bursts in and immediately throws its toys out of the pram: at first it is natural to think of The Mars Volta revived but, as the album unfolds its firework-like display, Leipzig’s Dark Suns turn into a juicy revelation – of the orangey kind!
Active since 1997, from a death/prog metal departure and a more recent doomy inclination, with Orange, their 4th album for Prophecy Productions, Dark Suns burst out of their pupal exoskeleton as an exciting and vibrant prog rock winged creature which is kaleidoscopic, full of irony and unabashed boldness but also has its sinuously tender, catchy moments. The references to the glories of ’70s prog, y’know, the usual Floyd, Crimson and Gabriel’s Genesis, are striking, but DS’ versatility is so vital and fresh that the references to the past become portals to a totally unique and intriguing world. “Ghost” has all the above influences, that of Genesis pre-1974 era in primis, embellishing the flawless structure of the song, while “That’s why they all hate you in Hell” is closer to the Mars Volta’s high-pitched idiosyncrasy. But there is much more to discover: for example “Vespertine” opens the curtains to a disarmingly intimate painting of our dull daily chores with a captivating piano-lounge swagger, then slides gently into a Hammond melody, only to twist into a resentful cavalcade driven by a saxophone screaming and spitting free-form jazz, concluding the ride with the catchy charm of Beatles-inspired psychedelia. Other moments capture the spirit of Syd Barrett, playfully stretching the odd elasticity of melodies and adorning the subtle, magical lunacy with injections of freestyle. The stunning closing piece, “Antipole”, merges Crimson and Floyd without a glitch: again Dark Suns steer well clear of the trodden déjà vu path, grabbing instead the melodic essence of those legends, making it their own.
On a perpetually flowing musical carpet (the 10 tracks merge seamlessly into one another, enhancing an already pleasurable listening experience), the vocals of drummer Niko Knappe stand out with an enviable palette that goes from a solid melodic rock rasp (reminiscence of the death metal times) and balanced delicate tones, to an incredibly pitched falsetto, one of the common traits that Dark Suns share with The Mars Volta, alongside eclecticism and unquestionable talent.
Germany has definitely caught my full attention not only for the progressive outlook it has now been pursuing for a while within the extreme metal scene, but also for the fresh and individual approach it has towards progressive rock too. The Kamera Obskur project already seduced me earlier this year and hopefully we shall see new progressive works emerging from the Lost Soul Graveyard label soon too. But for the moment, in spite of the fact that trailers are always a bit misleading (definitely in this case), you are warned: Dark Suns’ fresh interpretation of psych/prog rock will leave you in a fragrant tangerine mood. And that’s a good thing, especially when your own genetic color is existential-black.
Release: 25th Novembre 2011
Label: Prophecy Productions
Avantgenre: Psychedelic Progressive Doom… Rock
Official site: http://www.darksuns.de
Review online since: 26.10.2011 / 14:06:12
2. Eight Quiet Minutes
5. Not Enough Fingers
7. That Is Why They All Hate You In Hell