Friday, 11 October 2013

Nonsun - Sun Blind Me (album review)

Cover artwork by Tobias Holmbeck.
The first thing that jumps out at me is the musicality of it.  Nonsun appeared like a black cloud on the horizon late last year.  I reviewed their record 'Good Old Evil' and was surprised by how much I liked it.  You see, I'm not a big drone guy, not typically, but Nonsun really stood out to me.  I could delve into why or you can just read the review here.  Anyway, big black shapeless cloud lingering overhead.  Such was the mood of 'Good Old Evil' and it was great for what it was.  So, I guess there could be no more appropriate title for the follow-up effort than 'Sun Blind Me' because Nonsun seem to have parted those soggy clouds and let a little bit of sunshine into their music.  Just slivers.  Namely in the forms of melody, tempo and structure.  Sure, those things were always there, but now they are right up front, they're the first things you notice.

The big difference is, the four songs on 'Sun Blind Me' sound just like songs, as opposed to GOE's four tracks which sounded just like sound paintings.  Though three of the four selections here range past the 11 minute mark, there's no drag, but that's as to be expected.  Their first collection featured the excellent and colossal "Jesus' Age", which even at 18 minutes never wavered or failed to captivate.

Rays of sunshine are the children of riffs.  Synth and / or feedback shine that high end light, setting the tone for the big riffs which undulate effectively throughout opening track "Rain Have Mercy".  The word often used in this scenario is departure, well, to cop a cliche, this is one.  Isn't it?  It's practically encoded in the band's DNA, and it is literally written in their name.  This isn't meant to be sunny music.  And it's not, for the most part, it just seems that way by comparison to 'Good Old Evil'.  After all, the distorted clouds of fuzz remain overhead creating high pressure fronts of heaviness.

And then, a shift in perception.  You see, the first two tracks, "Rain Have Mercy" and "Forgotten Is What Never Was" were on 'Good Old Sun'.  Well, color me shocked.  Maybe, they aren't the band I thought they were.  Maybe drone is just a small part of what they do.  Maybe, just maybe, drone doesn't define or limit them in any way.

Then, Nonsun start painting with sound again.  The "Alphomega" suite, which comprises two tracks "Sunlit Darkness" and "Upward Blindness", is pure drone.  It's good horror music too.  The listener is plagued by constantly building tension and atmosphere.  If the conditions are just right, it sends a chill down the spine.  This is no easy task, Nonsun pulls it off with a droning chainsaw buzz and non-melodic open string plucking.

As you can see, 'Sun Blind Me' is a journey from the radiantly musical all the way down to the point where music breaks down and instrumental sound becomes ambiance.  Nonsun do it all in 4 tracks and 42 minutes.  It's a trip from the sunlit mouth of a cave into its darkest depths where water drips and spelunkers rot.  Cassettes are available via Breathe Plastic and digital copies are at drowning.cc.  All the relevant links are accessible by clicking through on the player below.

Highlights include: "Rain Have Mercy" and "Alphomega I: Sunlit Darkness"

Rating: 4/5


Total Run Time: 42:37

Alpha - drums.
Goatooth - guitars, bass, vocals.

From: Lviv, Ukraine

Genre: Drone, Doom, Sludge

Reminds me of: The Descent (film), Paradise Lost

Release Date: September 6, 2013

Nonsun on facebook

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