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Dark Suns - Grave Human Genuine CD (album) cover


Dark Suns


Experimental/Post Metal

3.90 | 81 ratings

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usa prog music
3 stars Truth be told, I had no previous experience with Dark Suns and really struggled to digest the material found on Grave Human Genuine. In fact, I was ready to sit down and completely rip this entire album apart for being self-indulgent and pretentious. However, over successive listens the intricacies of this release began to reveal themselves. In doing so, I developed a greater appreciation for what Dark Suns were offering: a very intimate, complex listen with atmospheric soundscapes and plenty of emotion.

On Grave Human Genuine, Dark Suns plays a form of dark, progressive metal with a sprinkling of doom and death metal elements thrown into the mix. In terms of their overall sound, Dark Suns seems to Frankenstein parts of Porcupine Tree, Opeth, and Pain of Salvation. Given the quality of those bands, it should come as no surprise that Dark Suns has plenty of talent to make an excellent slab of progressive music.

While this is definitely a progressive release, it is not the typical example of the genre. Grave Human Genuine is unique in that it features almost no double peddling, almost no soloing, and really no over-the-top musicianship. Instead, Dark Suns presents very intricate music crafted through careful and thoughtful compositions. The entire album uses a variety of percussion instruments, which includes bongo, congas, and djembe; a rich bass sound (courtesy of ex-Pain of Salvation bassist Kristoffer Glidenlow); and a chamber quartet to give the music a very warm, organic sound. This is only enhanced by the flawless production.

Those readers looking for something to tide them over until the next Dream Theater or Symphony X release might as well move along. However, those readers looking for something different and challenging should pay close attention.

The instrumental "Stampede" opens up the album and melts sweetly into "Flies in Amber", the strongest and most dynamic track on the album. Primarily utilizing a haunting flute and variety of percussion instruments, "Flies in Amber" weaves soft, gentle passages with vicious death metal vocals and majestic doom moments resulting in an awe-inspiring track. Songs like "Thornchild" and "Rapid Eye Moment" showcase everything Dark Suns is about: great ambience, wonderful pacing, complex arrangements, and fantastic vocals. The instrumental, "The Chameleon Defect", allows Dark Suns to lay down some thick groove as it features the band at its most bombastic. Though, it is Dark Suns' skillful use of tempo, dynamics, and ambience that really allows this album to succeed.

Unfortunately, Grave Human Genuine is not without its faults, as a few moments off the second half of the album take away from its cohesiveness. "Amphibian Halo" presents the first misstep with its use of some ambient electronic noises. These noises stray too far from the warm, natural atmosphere created by the album's first half and sound out of place to this reviewer's ears. Also, "Free of You" contains passages that are too bright and happy and disrupt the somber feeling that dominates the album.

So what's the verdict?

Without a doubt, Dark Suns is a band to keep an eye on as they have the talent and the ambition to drop a monster of a progressive metal album. While Grave Human Genuine has some disappointments, it is an intriguing listen and great album overall.

Standout Tracks "Flies in Amber" "Thornchild" "Rapid Eye Moment"

usa prog music | 3/5 |


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