“The Blackest Volume: Like All the Earth Was Buried”

By Dr. Abner Mality

This turned out to be quite a bit different than I thought it would be. The description was blackened grind, which was essentially correct, but there’s quite a bit more to Sunlight’s Bane than that simple term. This is a pretty experimental group that embraces a lot of extreme subgenres.

The first couple of tracks were the furious frozen blasts of grinding speed and horrific shrieks that I was expecting. Think of Insect Warfare channeling Marduk. Pretty corrosive,  but with “From Heaven Wept”, the music takes a turn towards longer, more involved songwriting with chunkier stomping riffs. The real eye opener is “Dance of Thorns”…what a perfect example of sustained tension this cut is. It opens with a strong basic riff in mid-pace that is repeated for quite a long time without the full band chiming in. When that finally happens more than halfway through the song, it’s like all hell breaking loose. Now I know we’ve got something different on our hands.

The tunes continue to become more expansive, with “With Fear This Love Is Given” slowing down to a miserable crawl that lasts more than nine minutes. Touches of depressive black metal and even post-metal show Sunlight’s Bane can pull from a lot of influences. The song drags too long and is not a favorite of mine, but impresses with a desire to be different. The album ending “To Whom I Await” is another long epic that almost feels like two songs stitched together. My favorites tend to be the blasting but thoughtful blackened grind of “No Taste More Bitter” and “Came No Dawn”. Throughout the album, the feeling is one of bleak oppression and violence.

This is pretty wild, a band not afraid to mix genres but with the talent to make it sound natural.