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Dark Suns - Orange CD (album) cover


Dark Suns

Experimental/Post Metal

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Mellotron Storm
3 stars 3.5 stars. Like OPETH and PAIN OF SALVATION the DARK SUNS have changed their style to more of a seventies organ driven brand of Prog. In each case I wish they had all stayed doing what they were doing but I get that bands sometimes need to change it up. It just seems weird that all three of these bands would do so around the same time period. Man i'm a huge fan of DARK SUNS "Existence" record and their followup "Grave Human Genuine" which I didn't like as much but still feel it's a solid 4 stars. Back then there was no doubt a bit of PAIN OF SALVATION hero worship going on but it worked for these Germans.

I have to say i've listened to this record much longer than I normally would before a review but after feeling it was very average after the first few listens I could tell it was growing on me. Sadly I still feel a lot of the material here is simply good while some is excellent. 3.5 stars for me is the right rating.

"Toy" hits the ground running with lots of upfront organ. Not exactly my favourite style of music here. Vocals just before a minute as it settles back. Contrasts will continue though. I like the guest horns on this album which include trumpet and sax. An okay tune. "Eight Quiet Minutes" is better and the vocals are fairly theatrical here although they are contrasted with higher pitched mellower vocals. Once again the organ does become prominant. "Elephant" sounds like a lost DISCIPLINE tune. Just not as good though making it one of the average songs on here for me. The vocals are really hit and miss for me on this record. "Diamond" has some energy but it settles back when the vocals arrive. Lots of piano on this one but the organ is more dominant during the second half. "Not Enough Fingers" is an instrumental that i quite enjoy as we get the same repetitive guitar melodies throughout with a beat and atmosphere.

"Ghost" opens heavily with lots of organ flooding the soundscape. Vocals a minute in as it settles down. This is good. "That Is Why They All hate You In Hell" is not. The vocals are high pitched and screaming in a very annoying way. They do stop thankfully but they will be back. The vocals make this a tough one to enjoy. "Vespertine" opens with atmosphere as the guitar and piano come and go in a reserved manner. It picks up with vocals after a minute. A change before 2 1/2 minutes as the sax comes in and it turns heavier. Man this is good, then this catchy vocal led section takes over after 3 minutes, backing vocals join in as well. An interesting song for sure. "Scaleman" is an energetic instrumental early on then it calms down with vocals but it builds. This is one of the best tracks for me. "Antipole" is the over 14 minute closer. Another winner in my opinion. I much prefer the vocals on the chorus than on the versus. A calm from before 3 1/2 minutes then it starts to pick up after 5 minutes until they are kicking it hard with horns. Nice.

Way too hit and miss for me to give this 4 stars.

Report this review (#912673)
Posted Monday, February 11, 2013 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Orange' - Dark Suns (7/10)

Germany's Dark Suns are a band that are nothing, if not ambitiously eclectic. Although I would feel secure recommending them to a fan of adventurous metal or prog rock, it will be difficult to nail down their sound in just a few words. Regardless, over the past decade, the band has released a slew of adventurous but progressively less fierce recordings, and their fourth work Orange does not show a sign of sweat. Infusing a cross-section of modern sounds with vintage progressive rock, Dark Suns' distinctive style is made memorable by the band's charm and excellence.

Although there are flashes of the band's prior heaviness throughout Orange, many listeners may find themselves debating if it should be considered 'metal' at all. True enough, Dark Suns is more of a haven for proggers, but when was that ever a bad thing? With the quirk- fuelled opener 'Toy', the first thing that jumps out are the rich vintage organs. The guitars are beefy, yet not quite distorted, and while the band's penchant for time signature-bending and jazzy flourishes could have had me wondering if they knew what decade they were playing in, the music on Orange is consciously aware of what has happened in prog since the 'good old days'. Similar to the art-laden eclecticism of Pain of Salvation, Dark Suns' music often switch between the laid back, and energetic sides of their palette.

Although Dark Suns are drawing upon plenty of vintage sounds- including Beatles-era psychedelia- Orange is made modern by a fresh batch of modern styles. Although the influence of metal is made clear in the dark atmosphere and crunchy guitar riffs, post-rock is the most modern trend on Orange. This is not to say that Dark Suns perform strictly 'post- rock' passages, but rather that the ambiance and attention to cinematic build-up is worked in with the rest of the sound. Jazz works in much the same way; weaving in and out through the use of freak-out saxophones and inventive chord smithing. In a sense, Dark Suns brings the classic prog sound to the present in much the same way that modern legends Porcupine Tree do; by taking the template and ornamenting it with more recent innovations. Although the music is instrumentally complex and challenging, the diversity and tongue-in- cheek energy makes for a consistently engaging experience. An impressive amalgam of prog rock styles, old and new.

Report this review (#928128)
Posted Monday, March 11, 2013 | Review Permalink
Second Life Syndrome
3 stars With a name like Dark Suns, you'd think the music would be, I don't know, dark? At least a little bit dark? While I've heard this album is a change of pace from their older stuff, "Orange" is generally upbeat and eclectic to the core. I get the post metal label, though, because they really do utilize metal (and rock) elements to create a different sort of style and atmosphere.

The problem is that there isn't very much enjoyment in that style. The music is generally organ- driven with many atmospheric interludes and some psychedelia. The music can be fast and furious, but it can also be very pensive. I appreciate all that, but I feel that there is a focus on style over strong composition here. On top of that, all the tracks sound very similar, as there is much variety in each track. However, most of the tracks follow this same blueprint!

Overall, this is good music, but not much else. The track "Antipole" is phenomenal with its pensive ambiance and soaring climaxes, but that is the only track about which I can say this. The rest of the album is just good. That's it.

Report this review (#1009343)
Posted Wednesday, July 31, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Have you ever listened to an album that didn't impress you for the first few tracks and then suddenly it took off and blew you away? That's exactly the experience I had with Dark Suns' album Orange. Once this album got going, it really got going. Orange has a bit of pop rocky feel, but in a good way. There's lots of great vintage organ and the music is a bit quirky. In fact, the organ sound is absolutely fantastic and it's incorporation is beautiful. In terms of style, there's a ton of diversity on this record. There's slower pieces like "Not Enough Fingers" which had really good atmosphere, laid back grooves and a very strong mood that the guitars conjure up. Other songs, like Ghost have subtle shifts between ultra-aggressive organ driven rock and evocative jazz tinged sections. There are some very frantic pieces on this album as well, like "That is Why They All Hate You In Hell" with high energy rhythm and screaming falsetto vocals. Pieces like "Vespertine" have great dissonant chords, jazzy elements, and wild sax solos. "Scaleman" is simply a great track, and the closer "Anti Pole" does a great job at melding post rock, avant-rock, and prog. My guess is one of two things is going to happen with you. Either you're going to love this album from minute one until the end, or you'll be bored with the first 4 tracks but then rest of it will not you off your feet so hard that you buy it anyways for its sheer brilliance. This is a killer album and a good buy no matter how you look at it.
Report this review (#1287511)
Posted Saturday, October 4, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars The album is "playful" when it comes to track names, vocal styles, experimentation and weird music movements. Dark Suns have been going more into Rock since the album "Existence", which is one of the best albums released in its year and definitely one of the top Progressive albums of this decade alongside Ark's "Burn the Sun" , Pain Of Salvation's "The Perfect Element One and Dream Theater's "Scene from a Memory". It would be easy to say that Dark Suns stand alone as an independent band with their independent style, even though they still take a lot from the old Progressive British bands like "Gentle Giant" and "Van Der Graaf Generator". The most interesting part in most tracks is the high pitch vocal lines of "Niko Knappe / Maik Knapp / Torsten Wenzel" and the vintage style drum beats and guitar tuning alongside a mild distortion effect. A major track is "Not Enough Fingers", probably the most simple track ever recorded, but with a great mood and totally addictive.
Report this review (#1449106)
Posted Tuesday, August 4, 2015 | Review Permalink

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