Cut from the same cloth as bands such as Gorguts and Deathspell Omega, Urraca makes for a praise worthy debut from technical geniuses Sunless. If you feed off monstrous and brilliant compositions, then you will be sold upon the band’s first track. Urraca is all over the place, and not in a sloppy sense, but with a feeling of “contained chaos”. Sunless deliver upon an album with terrific band chemistry, absolutely devastating instrumentation, and a unique spin with each song.
This is one of those albums where everyone comes through clearly. While the vocals have a powerful death metal growl to them, the true gifts of this record are the instrumentals. Everything from rapid tempo shifts, odd time signatures, relentless heaviness in sounds, too so much more is on this album. “Born Of Clay” is one of the best songs to find some brutally awesome weird techniques. This thick bass pummel comes in with contrasting bright guitar notes, generating this dissonant treat of hysteria. “Windswept Rock” starts simple into its build up, until jarring notes play off one another, all backed by a strong drum flow. “Jarring” is not meant to be taken negatively, but that this sound comes out of left field and works in ways you wouldn’t imagine. When thinking of that notion, what sounds like it wouldn’t work on paper plays out so effectively due to the overall teamwork of the band.
There is no strong harmony to Urraca, and rare moments of melody within it. Yet, to call this record straight forward in its presentation is horribly unjust. The composition of each of these songs is so intricate and captivating that it is really along the idea of “thinking man’s metal”. Similar to a band like Gorguts, one has to really sit down for a few spins to break down each part of the tracks. Not that the first time through isn’t enjoyable, but each spin will help to grow a stronger appreciation for all the talent that went into the work.
None of the songs are crazy long, but capture this epic scale to them for all the elements in effect. In “Gathering At The Skull’s Eye,” this is one of the few times where the band introduces somewhat of a straight forward progression in a track. Backed by a pummeling drum bass and guitar work that intertwines both bright and dark sounds, this is a pure dark and heavy track. “Disintegration Of Man” plays to this same idea as well, making way for sporadic playing that is intense and hypnotic.
The tough thing about discussing work like this is while words can try and capture the sound and aura of the art, sometimes that art demands you just take part in it. In the case of this record, it is a must that you experience the music first hand to understand its beauty. Sunless have proven their incredible musicianship when it comes to Urraca. With all the new bands that are forming each day and releasing material, Sunless is a band that stands out as sincerely unique in their form. Rarely are we given such technical proficiency and dedication from this new generation of metal. What Sunless do unique to some of their head banging companions is combine heaviness with intricacy that masters that notion of “controlled chaos”. While going all out and thrashing away can provide enjoyable music, Sunless captures that sense of sitting down to an album and analyzing it for the love of music. This record may come off a little too “heady” to some, but that is only due to its impressive scale of technique and thought process that Urraca asks of its listeners. Overall, this record absolutely shows the incredible potential in work to come from the band, and how Sunless without a doubt, play above some of their contemporaries.