From the polish lands of Varsovia, it came to our ears Sunnata, band that at the beginning of this year released his third album, which has turned into one of most listened into my house and that has caused me the need to review it on this blog.
But first, a little background about the band: Born in 2008 with the name Satellite Beaver, it changed to Sunnata -Sanskrit word (suññatta) to denote the emptiness- in 2013, which in 2014 would re-debut under this new name with the album “Climbing the Colossus”, which would be followed “Zorya” in 2016 and later –with its four original members in its ranks –the disk that we will review today: “Outlands”.
Even though my approach to the band was with “Zorya”, after hearing full, and several times – his material, definitely can say I’ll take his most recent work .Worth truths, Sunnata debuted with a sound of classic stoner, without much originality of for a way. I do not say that their first album was bad, what I want to point rather is that while “Climbing the Colossus” is a good work, its aimed to complete the collection of some addicted to the genre that make a difference. “Zorya” is where we begin to glimpse the brushstrokes of more complex idea melodies – recognizing that has been kept an interesting lyric work from a beginning-, doing more honors to the ritual and mystical letters contained in his songs. -It is with “Outlands” where the band breaks the mold, and creates a totally unique sound.
But, and despite everything, though Sunnata is not a band that marked anything from his début, with their works it has been showing us the way that they are covering with regard to the acquisition of his musical maturity and the search and meeting of the authentic and own identity.
Of course if someone asks ¿What genre is Sunnata? the automatic answer would be “Stoner Rock”, the melodic present variables in “Outlands” give us multiple answers simultaneously.
“Outlands” represents the exploration of the stoner rock from the perspective of doom, the sludge, psychedelia, folk, post-rock, atmospheric music and grunge. Not only as album, but, song to song, every topic presents diverse variables, thing that offers to every topic the only and own texture. Nothing repeats itself. And it is not that tries of taking advantage of the extension of any topics – some of them come to 12 minutes-, even the shortest songs give themselves the work of exploring different alternatives of viewing and expressing the rock.
“Outlands” starts with an intro of only forty seconds, with a distorted guitar and bottom of bells, which end mating to the beginning of the first topic of the album: “lucid dream”. This song of more than nine minutes of ceremonial cut, which appeals to the construction of a melody by the using of the bass since primary instrument and distant voices as accompaniment. It is advanced already the minute five that the guitar acquires leadership and gives rock very near to the doom beginning to rhythm of stoner. “Lucid Dream” speaks to us of it short and ethereal that is life, across a cosmic poetry.
“Scars” appeals to the sludge metal, applying a lot to the work of the double pedal on the drums. A deceitfully quiet subject, whose closing approaches to the own more own brutality of the sludge close to hardcore. His letter makes me think of a medieval poem of epic cut.
The lyric devastation and the melody which solemn rhythm they come from the hand of the homonymous topic. Slow, dense, it is the topic doom excellently of this album. The voices are already classic used on this album, but with the melody created for “Outlands”, they raise the condition of mysticism that was in it carrying the third work of Sunnata. Arrangements placed in an exquisite way, bring us closer to a heavenly feeling in the midst of a letter charged with suffering.
Now we are approaching, for a moment, the most mainstream side of the album, by the hand of “The Ascender”. This song brings us closer to an idea that carries with it a certain melodic identity associated with the alternative rock of the beginning of the century. Although the letter and voices remain the mystical way already established along the development of his album, for a moment –ending the third minute– I felt approached to a low interlude that reminded me of Limp Bizkit (?), somehow. I must clarify that this did not annoy me at all; rather I found it interesting to approach a rock more pop, even for an instant.
“Gordian Knot” theme that defined a while ago as “when you like to meditate but also get violent”, it initiates with a violent riff of a guitar and a drum marked, followed of voices more aggressive than the listened ones previously on the disc. It is from the second minute that the subject is turned to a more spatial sound, pensive, where the voices again hypnotize you with its already ceremonious humming. But the thing does not stay there, “Gordian Knot” in his final minute, his aggressive side revive and beats us with all his fury directly in the face.
Announcing us that comes the end of this excellent disc, “Falling” fulfills the labor of interlude, which construction is at the expense of the distortion of a guitar that is kept identical to the complex aesthetic of “Outlands”.
We could not go away without being caressed by the post-rock/metal. “Hollow Kingdom” closes –without possessing the bonus track– masterfully the musical narrative presented in this album. Invites us – in his melody – to the worship of some gigantic lost monolith. Structured as a kind of a ballad, this song speaks to us of the desolation and the emptiness, lofty end for an album of post-apocalyptic trend.
“Ayahuasca” is the bonus track of the disc. It is not a primary topic not necessarily to raise “Outlands” in his level of complexity or quality. It is more than quite an interesting melodic for if we remain with desire of more. It is, briefly, the instrumental version of the homonymous topic. In the version of the album of the Bandcamp of the group it is not available, only in Spotify and –I imagine– that in the physical version or in some a special edition.
If this blog was giving points to the albums that it outlines, 10/10 it would not be enough for “Outlands”
Released: March 23th, 2018
Recorded: Monochrom Studio
Studio: Satanic Audio
Members: Michał Dobrzański, Robert Ruszczyk, Adrian Gadomski, Szymon Ewertowski
Producers: Haldor Grunberg
Cover: Maciej Kamuda
Editions: digital, vinyl, CD