Review Summary: One of the most remarkable debuts of the year in progressive death metal scene
This year has not been much an exciting one for some progressive metal fans. The hopes for much – awaited Necrophagist and Gojira releases were destroyed. Although BTBAM’s EP, Mastodon’s epic release and Devin Townsend’s controversial “Deconstruction” led many of us to have some thrilling moments, I don’t think it would be so reasonable to say that 2011 has been a star year to remember for all progressive fans.
But meanwhile in İstanbul (Turkey), a group of people were putting their hands to the plow to create a qualified progressive death metal album. This group, which consists of 5 members is called “Thrown To The Sun”, a newly created band that brings some fresh air to the progressive scene. Their influences cover a wide range of genres from melodic death metal to black metal, but summing up their very own style, I can pretty much say that they are a progressive death metal band. Let me cut the genre crap short and start talking about the album.
Beginning from the very first moment, one can realize how experienced these guys are. The stunning intro track, called “Adrift” will lead almost everyone to incline their ears. But this is not only the intro that keep the listener going; it is very obvious that every minute, every second of every song was created elegantly: Every element (riffs, vocals, drums, bass) has a huge potential of satisfying the progressive listener not only in technical aspects, but also in emotional aspects, which sometimes become so strengthened in album that they make me clench.
The more material you have, the harder it gets to combine them all to make an album. As we all know this is what actually makes it really challenging and tough to create progressive music. You may have some cool stuff to record, but unless you’re extra careful, *** awaits you. That’s why many of the progressive bands have a huge potential of screwing up their debuts. “Of Oceans And Raindrops never gives such an impression” - it’s hard to believe that it’s even a debut considering the situation in Turkey.
Thrown to the Sun has a great amount of material in many aspects. Sonorous vocals get into various forms. Being generally melodic, guitar riffs and solos also intersperse atonal tunes that drags the things towards a schizophrenic – like mood. The riffs have a very good balance of repetition; nothing’s overrepeated, nor played only once. Therefore this is not an ultra – complex album that 223423 different meaningless riffs used at one song. Few and far between, you can understand from the guitar riffs and drums that there’s an influence of bands such as Mastodon, Gojira, Death etc. But Thrown to the Sun’s influence does not seem to be coming only from Progressive bands. The album also reveals some Melodic Death Metal and Black Metal influences.
Fretless bass guitar is very active and the bass partitions are highlighted most times. Drums present a succesfull performance in making the superstructure more complex. Each song has its own unique character and some of them will surprise you with unpredicted changes like a sudden involvement of keyboards. All these elements are combined so well that there emerges a huge “living” thing. The music becomes almost a living organism and it tells you how schizophrenic, trapped, frustrated and depressed it has become.
Although there are structural changes in the songs due to the nature of the progressive metal, I can’t tell that there are much changes in the mood. The chaos intertwined with agony, backed by melodic riffs leads us to have frabjous moments but I expected more changes in the mood like that of Between The Buried and Me. But since this is their debut, maybe they’ll get a bit more experimental and try some instant mood changes in their next records.
The album also gets attention by its plain but beautiful cover and artworks, all of which strongly indicate a sense of progressiveness. I think they also made a good decision in making a free-to-download album from their main website.
In “Of Oceans And Raindrops”, one can simply find everything that is required to make an elaborate progressive metal album: Well structured technicality (no wankery, but mostly detailed riffs and drums), groove, a good bass sound, bass both as a supplementary and as an independent insturment, interesting vocal variations, intensely reflected emotions, sophisticated lyrics; sharp, cleverly arranged shifts in the flow of music that astound the listener, catchy melodies, and the list goes on.