Sunless
Urraca


4.0
excellent

Review

by Evok USER (30 Reviews)
February 27th, 2017 | 108 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: sun rays pummel earthward.

Though it may seem rather reductionist to liken a band to the influences that spawned the realization of their sound, it's nonetheless a useful tool for painting something as obtuse as words over the immaterial substance we call music. After all, everything accomplished in the world of music up to this point has been driven by the desire to blend influence with new ideas. Sometimes these individual influences are obfuscated through divergent aesthetics, but more often than not an artist's inspiration is rather apparent if we understand the history of their sonic genetics. In the case of Sunless, that influence is clear as day: a fresh mix of abstracted, Gorguts-ian songwriting swathed with the dense, claustrophobic soundscapes that pertain to this discordant brand of death metal. Stylistically wedged between Colored Sands' scholarly labyrinths of atmosphere and Obscura's bewilderingly dense urgency, Sunless may be wearing their influences on their proverbial sleeves here, but it feels almost sinful to reduce them to such skeletal stylistic comparisons; Urraca deserves far more credit than that. After all, it's one thing to borrow influence and in turn admirably pay homage to predecessors, but to create something that genuinely lives up to its inspirations in terms of quality and innovation is another thing entirely.

Urraca is a deep album. It's deep in the scope of its ambition, and it's deep in the sheer amount of subtle richness that becomes revealed through numerous dedicated listens. What may initially appear as a relentless, angular exercise in needless technicality soon becomes a rich and naturally flowing tapestry of sound, rife with nuanced, puzzle-like builds that fall into cathartic and thought provoking releases of intricate groove. The brilliance really lies in the subtle dynamics here, with the interplay between instruments serving as the essential breeding ground for this album's real "wow" moments. As a result, Urraca rewards attentiveness and - save for the few spacious grooves - repels casual absorption.

Sunless really are masters of their discipline, especially for such a young band. The instrumentation borders on savant, but regardless of each members' experience on their individual tools, to see a band play so tightly together on a debut album is truly impressive. This quality is only bolstered by the fine tuned production, handled by Colin Marston of - you guessed it - Gorguts fame. His midas touch graces many exemplary metal albums and his work on Urraca is no less apt. The drums are roomy and organic, offering a graciously varied foundation for the rest of the band to work with. On top of these gymnastic rhythms that slither through mazes of mathematical intrigue, the guitars glisten with a bright richness, leaving plenty of room for the taught bass to flex its brazen grit. Overall, the palette of sound here is overflowing with naturally dynamic textures channeled through chromatic songwriting that never reduces itself to theatrical nonsensity.

Turbid as it may be, Urraca moves with a clear intent from start to finish. As the album progresses, the songs become more climactic in shape and atmosphere as the more splendid moments of melodic catharsis become increasingly developed. The closing minutes "Magpie" are a prime example, as actuated riffs that would only hint at a full picture earlier in the album become robust and sweep the control of fragmented movements into an orderly reflection of themselves. Speckling the album in varying measure throughout, it's within these moments of reflection and atmospheric reprieve that the compositions are given time to meditate on their obscured self-awareness. This not only allows Sunless to remain benevolently intriguing without sacrificing an iota of intelligence or certitude, but also keep the feverishly hallucinatory nature of the soundscapes from becoming overbearing. The detailed work that underpins this meticulous and methodical approach is what really sets the band apart, and it's within the dynamics of this element that their true sense of identity meets the veil of their influences.

Uracca is a fully-realized, devilishly-detailed album whose rich intricacies and nuanced genius will forever cement it as a timeless work of forward thinking death metal. Fans of the progressive and deviant side of the genre shouldn't have any trouble holding this album in the high esteem of the style's most lauded releases. Indeed, Urraca is a brilliantly mature release overflowing with cerebral complexity executed to full potential, and has more than enough artistic depth in its 44 minute runtime to offer new discoveries upon every listen. With their debut album, Sunless have offered us a breathtaking, fully-realized album whose rich intricacies will keep you coming back for more long after think you've become acquainted with the depth of its knowledge.



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user ratings (61)
Chart.
3.7
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
Archelirion
February 27th 2017


5499 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Shiiiiit boy, cracking review. Pos pos pos pos pos

Heard the pre-released track off this and was blown away, so the rest should do the same. Can't wait to hear it tomorrow :D

Dewinged
February 27th 2017


7601 Comments


Nicely written Evo, pos'd.

Only found one thing you may want to correct: "a fresh mix of abstracted, Gorguts-ian songwriting swathed with the with the dense..."

Digging: The Go! Team - Semicircle

Evok
February 27th 2017


6831 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ah cheers! Proofing sucks on a phone so thanks for picking up on that.

Digging: Ram Trilogy - Molten Beats

Xenophanes
Staff Reviewer
February 27th 2017


960 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

It's decent

Dewinged
February 27th 2017


7601 Comments


No prob!

bloc
February 27th 2017


46130 Comments


This does sound pretty cool, I will check it

Digging: Carly Rae Jepsen - Emotion

Jacquibim
Staff Reviewer
February 27th 2017


2288 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review as usual, some feedback:



Overall, I think you're using too many words to convey some simple points.



Take the first sentence for example, it's a little wordy and the second half of it is quite a mess. Condensing it into something like "Though it may seem rather reductionist to liken a band to their influences, its nonetheless a useful tool for putting music into words." would read much better.



Third sentence could be something like "Sometimes these influences are obscured by abstraction, but more often than not can still be deduced by tracing backwards."



"In the case of the young band called Sunless" - just say "In the case of Sunless". "that pertain to this discordant brand of death metal" at the end of the sentence probably isn't necessary either as you've already noted the music's "Gorguts-ian" sound.



"Stylistically sitting comfortably wedged between" - I'd drop "comfortably wedged" here, mainly because the adverb usage makes this part read awkwardly.



Oh and you shouldn't put apostrophes after "its", furthermore, you should be using apostrophes here "It's deep in the scope of its' ambition, and it's deep"



"What may easily appear initially as a relentlessly angular exercise" - I'd change this to "What may initially appear as a relentless, angular exercise", but that's a nitpick.



Last sentence of the 3rd paragraph is a bit of a run-on, so I'd put a full-stop after "nonsensity" (which btw, I'd change to "nonsense"). Otherwise, the 3rd paragraph is much better than the first two, not sure what you did differently but it works.



3rd sentence in 4th paragraph could be condensed into "The last minutes of "Magpie" are a prime example of this, as fragmented movements are pulled into order" or something, it means the same thing without all the word salad.



Nothing to fix up in the conclusion besides that dang apostrophe after "its" again, otherwise, like I said, good write-up.



You're already pretty damn good when it comes to conveying imagery and tone, while also splicing in enough technical detail for those who are after that sort of thing. I think the next thing you need to work on is making your reviews more concise. Basically, just run over what you write and think "how can I use fewer words to say the same thing" and you'd be surprised at how much more readable the result is.



hard pos

ZippaThaRippa
February 27th 2017


10357 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

OO

RAH

KAH

Evok
February 27th 2017


6831 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album art rules too

cryptologous
Contributing Reviewer
February 27th 2017


1966 Comments


Pos. In the 3.5-4.0 range at the moment for me, curious to see how well it holds up. Love the production on this. Serious Flourishing vibes here.

Digging: Necrot - Blood Offerings

Astral Abortis
Contributing Reviewer
February 27th 2017


4011 Comments


Hated their demo from last year...I don't know if I should try this one

Evok
February 27th 2017


6831 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks for the feedback Jac! Much appreciated, I'm actually gonna go edit my review now lol. I definitely gotta work on being more concise. And my its' and it's apparently. Grammatical correctness doesn't apply my to my fields of study so I guess some of it has fallen by the wayside over the years.

Sunnyvale
February 27th 2017


764 Comments


This sounds pretty intriguing, I'll give it a listen within the next few days.

Evok
February 27th 2017


6831 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Flourishing vibes here



Yeah Crypto truth in that statement. I swear to God the ending of "Magpie" is based off the end of "A Thimble's Worth". Stack em up and tell if you agree lol. I call em out on it but I really love Flourishing and since they're not doing anything, someone has to pick up that weird steampunky-dm sound.

cryptologous
Contributing Reviewer
February 28th 2017


1966 Comments


That's what I thought too. Swap setentia for flourishing when you edit

trilogique21
February 28th 2017


1402 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

yee good review, good album

brainmelter
February 28th 2017


4866 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

it's lit

Digging: Elephant Gym - ??WORK

L4titudes
February 28th 2017


3486 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I hate tech, still givin this a go

Rowhaus
February 28th 2017


922 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

cute little album right here

Digging: The Zombies - Odessey and Oracle

L4titudes
February 28th 2017


3486 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Nice dig Rowhaus



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