Review Summary: Manufacturing discontent.
From the undertakings in the Cosmos, to the interactions of matter at the nanoscale, the rivalling nature of attraction and repulsion all but propels natural phenomena. What is utterly enticing about this duality, is the authoritativeness of the physical laws striving to describe it. So it makes sense that early on, looming human societies were quick to storytell their folklore, religion, race, “love” for the land, “righteous” monetary/secular conduct etc., so as to consolidate themselves, have the means to disrupt neighbouring societies if need be, and selectively sideline nonconforming constituents. Guilt lies at the crux of these processes, exerted accordingly by means of the mentioned instruments. The latter however, contrary to physical laws constantly tested and verified, were not always there
; rather, from a point further, their alleged avail is or should be subject to debate and review. In that respect, The Guilt of Feeling Alive
, Sun of Nothing’s most recent album to date, is one staggering testament among many, regarding the mental malaise that’s been ravaging their homeland Greece, in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.
The album was released during the last days of 2010, a time in which recession had settled for good in the land, and began taking its acrimonious toll. Acting as if they had been elected from a foreign set of constituents, gov’t lashed out at people for living above their means, an accusation not without merit per se; the extent of the guilt inflicting campaign however, exhibited such assertiveness that it completely eroded the country’s moral for recovery. Abstract in layout, the album’s lyrics deploy the bleakest of hues (readily evident in the album’s brilliant artwork) to map the insidious process of manufacturing discontent, irrespective of the actual liability that’s due per capita. To that end, the specifics of Sun of Nothing’s cadence were already known and acknowledged from previous albums; so it’s no surprise that the rare and utterly disconcerting ability of their vocalist in brutally inhaling or exhaling the lyrics at will, has been further refined to grant the album a suffocating sense of desperation. The apex of this endeavour is situated midway through the album and the track “Drown Out”, easily the most vehement transmission in terms of vocal delivery and – of equal importance – musical manoeuvring.
Speaking of which, Sun of Nothing feel like Jerusalem, in the sense that on par with the religious gerrymandering on the same swath of land, it is equally difficult for the genre tessellation in The Guilt of Feeling Alive
to be permutated. In the more laid back pockets of the album, post metal manifests itself through a rather reserved rhythm section, adorned with energetic/recurring post punk swirls (“Sink”, “Catharsis”). Therein (and almost everywhere else), guitars are surrounded with a black metal haze, imported from the Norwegian avant-garde mid ‘90s, which amplifies the disheartening effect of the vocals. The same apply for “Unreached Soul”, the difference being that the drum beat is moderately urgent and doom-y at once, bringing in mind some of the summits conquered by outfits like Breach or Neurosis. The previously digested sense of disillusionment gives way to unadulterated anger, channelled through “Drown Out”, and the album closer “Hearthealer (As It All Crumbles”). The arrangements are meandering, and the chords sound sludgier and groovier, not far from the norm in their previous album ...In the Weak and the Wounded
, only in here the final outcome is less “randomly” put together, ergo more memorable and emotionally hard hitting.
Save for sporadic shows within Greece, Sun of Nothing never got to tour abroad to promote an album that deservedly needed all the attention it could get, since it was gradually embraced by the worldwide underground in years to come. Moreover, the band has been silent ever since, although informal updates from credible sources have it that a new album is being recorded the moment these lines are drafted. It will be interesting to see where the band will land this time around, given that the circumstances that shaped their third outing, have persisted in time.