When a band lists someone like the brilliant French experimental / avant-garde metallers Pryapisme as an influence we have to sit up and be seriously intrigued, and so it was with Russian band Second To Sun and their recent Three Fairy Tales EP and following singles. The trio did not disappoint either, unleashing their own distinct and furiously flavoursome instrumental alchemy across enthralling tracks thrilling and igniting the senses. Describing themselves as playing “modern and hardcore music with the elements of black metal and ethnic Finno-Ugric music”, it only gives a hint of their impressively diverse and seamlessly sculpted tapestry of sound. Arguably it is not as psyche stretching as the music of their French inspirations, but every song has a creative drama and refreshing unpredictability, not forgetting striking craft, which has ears and imagination in bliss.
Second To Sun began in 2012, created by guitarist Vladimir Klimov-Lehtinen and drummer Artem Vishnyakov. First EP The God’s Favourite Whore was the band’s first declaration but followed soon after by the departure of Vishnyakov. Though initially working alone, Klimov-Lehtinen eventually brought bassist Anton Danilevsky and drummer Theodor Borowski into the band with the trio unveiling debut album Based On A True Story in 2013. Last year saw the release of Three Fairy Tales and subsequently two singles ending with Spirit Of Kusoto last December, all awakening an increasingly broader spotlight on the exhilarating sound of the band beyond Russian borders.
Three Fairy Tales opens with the outstanding theatre of The Trapper, a track swiftly building a tall sonic narrative of blackened intrigue and melodic toxicity. With rhythms swiping with fully flexed muscles, the track is an imposing and gripping protagonist from its first breath but soon showing its penchant for slipping into unexpected and fluidly evolved detours. For the main though the song is a predatory confrontation, sparking with the creative fury of a Meshuggah and the raw toxins of a Dodheimsgard. As it evolves and expands its temptation, a kaleidoscope of imaginative adventure and creative drama enters the resourceful tempest; keys spurting out bedlamic expression and guitars a virulent sonic seduction which leaves ears and emotions basking in the dark adventure. The track provides music you can imagine fitting twenty first century interpretations of Hans Christian Andersen tales and darker gothic persuasions.
The electronica seeded Merämaa comes next with bubbly synth lit vivacity to its intimidating yet bewitching shadows. Stabbing bass and guitar bait is a staggered lure within the almost folkish revelry of the piece whilst intrusive rhythms align and twist their tempting to it all with almost St Vitus dance like voracity. The song flows and erupts with inescapable contagion, providing a festival of sound and intensity which is as threatening as it is invigorating.
Closing track Barmaley lies somewhere between the previous two, its heavier antagonistic rhythms and uncompromising intensity colluding with feverishly coloured and melodically fuelled tenacity. As the first pair of songs, it is an invitation to senses and imagination to run with their own provocative tales and exploits, providing all the raw and thrilling material for dark tales and cinematic exploits to be conjured. There is a feel of Obsidian Kingdom to the track in some ways too ensuring the song makes for another irresistible emprise to greedily devour.
Released just before Christmas, the bands new single Spirit Of Kusoto unveils another mesmeric and corrosive side to Second To Sun’s sound and imagination. It is soaker in a harsher and less forgiving texture and presence than those songs on the EP but still infuses a veining of sonic radiance and melodic devilry to temper and ignite the savagery elsewhere. At times almost punkish in its hardcore causticity, the track feverishly worms under the skin and scores the psyche with consummate ease.
We have not mentioned the excellent track Narčat, a single coming between the two above releases, but it also, as Second To Sun itself, is a definite recommendation…actually make that a must for all avant-garde and adventurous metal fans.
The Three FairyTales and Spirit Of Kusoto are available @ http://secondtosun.bandcamp.com/
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