Every once in a while an extreme album speaks to me in a way that makes something so vile, so vicious sound downright melodic because I’m drawn to it so much. That’s absolutely the case with the latest release from Michigan blackened deathgrinders Sunlight’s Bane. Their mix of apocalyptic black metal, death metal, hardcore, post-metal, grind, and auditory violence is a real visceral listening experience. It’s a bit like mixing Anaal Nathrakh, Oathbreaker, and Nails all together, albeit with a bit more room to breath. It all sounds like a real cluster, and it certainly is, but it’s clear Sunlight’s Bane only care about exacting gleeful musical punishment, and I am quite the masochist, apparently.
The biggest complaint about the record (I am not going to type all that out) is that it’s just a bit overlong, and the production can’t decide if it wants to be clear or muddy; Although none of the tracks are necessarily weak or subpar, this is a bit of an exhausting listen (clearly intentionally so), and once you get through the eight-minute “With Fear This Love Is Given” (and that wonderful musical outburst at the end), you may want a bit of a break.
Issues with self-editing aside, those looking for the next batch of forward-thinking extreme metal may have found one of the most punishing releases of the year. Sunlight’s Bane smartly invoke a wide berth of subgenres, making for a diverse listen that can occasionally sooth amidst the beatdowns. This is a fantastic debut, for sure.