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Review: Second to Sun – The First Chapter

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3-man band Second to Sun comes at us this week with their 2nd full-length album The First Chapter. The First Chapter is 9 tracks and 33 minutes of instrumental goodness. There is no set genre to describe The First Chapter, but know that there are many elements of many genres and styles to be heard all in one package. Check out Second to Sun on Facebook and purchase The First Chapter on Google Play, iTunes, and Bandcamp! (Also available to listen on Spotify)

Before getting into too many details, expect tasteful use of synth, complex basslines, sweet riffs, and plenty of technicality. Each song sets up a different atmosphere and transcends you to different planes. Look to“Spirit of Kusoto,” as it serves as a fusion of a prelude and a regular track by it’s slow introduction then sudden immersion into death metal bliss. Just like the rest of The First Chapter, there are plenty of moments showing off technical skill and intricate instrumentation. The lurking keyboard that only comes in periodically and the few calm moments contribute to a sense of exploration. Molding the exploration into wonder and fear are the heavier moments when the riffs, sweet bass, and all that good stuff play. By the end of “Spirit of Kusoto” I felt as if I had discovered confidential information and was destined to live a hidden life because of that; it’s quite an experience.

“Red Snow” seems to continue the hidden life idea with a hint of horror put in. Not the kind of horror that reeks of impending murder, but a kind of Silent Hill horror. The song has points of aural creepiness that just brought up memories of Silent Hill after watching a plot-heavy cinematic. If that game went for a metal soundtrack, this would be on it by the sheer mood and atmosphere. The guitar tone has just enough crunch to get the point across and not too much make you tired of it.

A slight step is taken away from the soundtrack vibe on “Me or Him.” “Me or Him” has elements of black metal, death metal, and an atmospheric combination of both. It alternates between moments of unrelenting tremolo-picked, blast beat madness and otherworldly dimensions. The keyboard and light, but subtle voice in the background grants a whole new adventure to the listener. In “Spirit of Kusoto” we found confidential information and in “Me or Him” it is more of an astral projection: almost like an out of body experience. The blend between metal and curious mood is done rather well.

“Land of the Fearless Birds” is a heavy song with heavy blackened death metal influence put on it. From the chords being played fast to letting them ring out over fast drumming, it is a sick song for fans of blackened death. The guitar doesn’t let up the whole time, but the drums will step off for brief moments. During those moments are when the beautifully crafted keyboard rhythm will chime in, almost to make up for the lack of blast beats. Though not as intense as “Me or Him,” “Land of the Fearless Birds” sticks with the galactic vibe, so that gives you an idea of what kind of keyboard work is going on. “The Blood Libel” sounds like a part 2 for “Land of the Fearless Birds” simply because it has the same general sound, but slower. The drumming on “The Blood Libel” is a bit on the progressive side alongside tremolo-picked chords and notes.

Jump into a death metal pit with “Narcat.” This song hits hard from start to finish and is only about 2 minutes long. The drumming is pretty fun to listen to and the bass tone suits the guitar perfectly. “Virgo Mitt” is a great follow up to “Narcat” because it seems to extend on what “Narcat” started. “Virgo Mitt” pushes the boundaries set by “Narcat” to reach an uncertainty about whether it’s death metal or black metal. Eerie keyboard returns to counter the low registry from some guitar riffs and to give some emotion during the silent parts. “Virgo Mitt” ends unlike the other songs: on a very delicate note.

The bonus track to The First Chapter is “Chokk Kapper.” This is a more deathcore sounding track in all aspects: the beginning, progression, guitar tone, drums, and even keyboard. The guitar work a bit simpler than the other songs, but the keyboard makes up for that and it surely keeps you moving to the song. “Chokk Kapper” actually reminds me of Discovery era Born of Osiris, so if you like that check this out.

What is also very interesting about The First Chapter is that there is a short story to every song. “Red Snow” is about the story of the Dyaltov Pass incident, in which a group of men died arguably from a native attack or a deeper and more conspiracy driven reason. Some of the background elements I mentioned are meant to paint a picture of the story. “Me or Him” is about an ancient Udmuritan curse in which the the castor had to commit suicide in order for the curse to work. “There are several folk melodies that had been reconstructed with help of chants, learned in different regions of Udmurtia,” as stated on their Bandcamp. There is more about the other songs that serve as an interesting read, so check that out on their Bandcamp while you listen!

The First Chapter is a wonderful instrumental album to listen to. It is exquisitely heavy and atmospheric simultaneously and it is all executed well. The bass work was analogous to that of tech death metal with the addition of properly induced atmosphere. I was blown away by The First Chapter and I deem it necessary to listen to if you like instrumentals or anything mentioned at all. The production was nice and the song writing was great. I find myself listening to this often in my free time, and you may also. Just listen to this.

Rate: 9.3/10

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