At the beginning of 2015, we had the opportunity to check out the Three Fairy Tales EP and a couple of singles around it from Russian metallers Second To Sun. It was an instrumental experience and adventure which just lit our ears and imagination. Now as the year begins to wind down, another proposition from the trio in the shape of a new album has ruffled the mental feathers and ruptured a rich vein of pleasure. The First Chapter is a nine track exploration of the broadest tapestry of metal styles and invention, carrying on from where the EP and certainly singles left off but breeding new experimental and ferocious captivation.
Second To Sun began back in 2012, formed by guitarist/keyboardist Vladimir Klimov-Lehtinen and drummer Artem Vishnyakov. The departure of the latter saw the band as a one man project for a while before bassist Anton Danilevsky and drummer Theodor Borovsky linked up with Klimov-Lehtinen. Debut album Based On A True Story was released in 2013 to welcoming ears and comments with the Three Fairy Tales EP coming towards the end of the following year, its unveiling drawing greater attention and in turn acclaim. Now the trio unleash The First Chapter, an encounter with a title suggesting it is a climax to the first part of the Second To Sun ascent, and tracks that are opening up a new soundscape and emprise of the band’s composing and sound.
As mentioned the Second To Sun sound is a ravenous kaleidoscope of sound described as “modern metal with the elements of black metal and ethnic Finno-Ugric music.” It is a thick and rich tapestry that draws on every strain of extreme and melodic hues you can wish for, creating immersive creative escapades inspired by the history and life of the Finno-Ugrian nations within Eurasia. It is also a highly evocative incitement as shown by album opener Spirit Of Kusoto. Inspired by a holy grove of the Mari people with very deep sacral meaning and serving as a “church”, the track places the imagination in the heart of the forest with the strains of Mari folk song Sun rises lighting ears. It is a potent suggestiveness which soon erupts into a more primal and rugged proposal, rhythms a predatory incitement as the guitar spews caustic hues. Almost as quickly a calm and beauty takes over as the bass continues to skilfully grumble; this another brief exploit in the evolving character and landscape of the track. The piece is riveting, an insight to a dark and bright place with danger and warmth almost fighting over themselves to dominate but ultimately uniting in one fluid enthralment as folkish as it is blackened, as mesmeric as it is intimidating.
Red Snow is an instantly more raw and carnivorous place, a torrent of hungry aggressive sound effectively representing the feel and climate of the tale of nine young men who died at the infamous Dyatlov Pass. You almost feel the cold, the starkness, and turmoil endured as rhythms and sonic imagination create a barbarous and compelling provocation throughout but the track is also as potent in its echo of the rural folkish landscape as voices and percussion amongst many flavours emerge. The track is as rousingly bewitching as its predecessor, a canvas for thoughts to interpret and use to cast their own take on events inspiring the piece before the dark, haunting beauty of Me or Him takes over to seduce and inflame the senses and imagination. Simultaneously mesmeric and bedlamic, each contrast superbly cultured and honed by the band, the track is a predator of sound with a gripping maelstrom of emotion and ideation woven into an irresistible trespass of diversely brewed incitement.
Through the djent, death metal twisted Land of the Fearless Birds and the oppressively enjoyable The Blood Libel, band and album only tighten their grip on body and appetite. The first is another fearsomely predacious offering with bloodied melodies and a psyche stirring atmosphere whilst its successor opens up a cauldron of black/death bred heresy with welcomingly invasive enterprise. Both tracks in their own way, impressively stalk ears and thoughts whilst casting an almost hypnotic lure through the scintillating invention and craft of all members. The imagination of guitar and keys from Klimov-Lehtinen is especially rousing, though arousal of instincts and passions are just as powerfully nurtured by the bass imagination of Danilevsky and the resourceful swings and beats of Borovsky.
Narčat in contrast to the previous pair bounds in like a warrior, bold and creatively tenacious like the young woman inspiring its heart. The track is an undiluted assault of energy, aggression, and a masterfully entwined diversity of metallic and melodic styles, all fused into a bracing tempest matched in its own individual storm by Virgo Mitt. Within the track though, an elegant beauty within a melodic oasis emerges to seduce and shape the tale being conjured in thoughts. The inspiration to the piece of music is as fascinating as the sound, and we suggest certainly checking out the background to all tracks via Second To Sun’s bandcamp to gain even more richness to the experience of the songs.
Completed by excellent bonus track Chokk Kapper, a spiny affair of riffs and rhythms branching out with intoxicating sonic and melodic intrigue and invention, and a demo version of Narčat, The First Chapter is a stirring and forcibly impressive provocateur of ears and thoughts, not forgetting pleasure. As progressive and avant-garde in as many ways as it is technical and extreme, the album confirms suggestions made by previous releases, that Second To Sun is one uniquely thrilling proposition.
The First Chapter is available now digitally and on CD via http://secondtosun.bandcamp.com/
Pete RingMaster 25/11/2105
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright
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