(New Damage Records)
Hundred Suns are that rare gem in the realm of side projects and “super groups” that blow expectations out of the water, while also treading some unexpected musical ground. Featuring current and former members of Norma Jean, Every Time I Die, and Dead and Divine, the band’s debut has all the hallmarks of the members’ other work (choppy and aggressive riffs, dynamic vocals, otherworldly breakdowns), but Hundred Suns’ style is much moodier and more progressive. There’s also an assured nature and cohesion that rarely comes from debut records, let alone from side projects.
Interestingly, The Prestaliis sounds like a cross between two other well-regarded super groups: Night Verses and Gone Is Gone, in that this music is wonderfully cinematic and full of texture, yet anchored by melodic aggression. Songs sway from Deftones-influenced spacey doom rock to the stupidly catchy post-hardcore of “Last Apology” and the Southern-fried fury of “Hellelujah”, with everything all coming together for the penultimate (and best) track “Amaranthine”. The influences range from all over the rock and metal spectrum, and the songs on The Prestaliis are quite varied; however, these guys do a great job of melding everything into a nicely united listening experience; the ups and downs of the record are brought together by smart songwriting and an ability to not always rely on riffs or breakdowns for full effect; the atmosphere is rich and thick. Credit has to go to vocalist Cory Brandan, who does a great job of differentiating his style from Norma Jean with the more pensive work here.
The Prestaliis may be a challenge for many who will be disappointed by their expectations for a vicious set of 00s Southern metalcore bangers. However, for those who stay put after that initial shock, Hundred Suns are the real deal and have released one of the best records of 2017.