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Dark Suns - Swanlike CD (album) cover


Dark Suns

Experimental/Post Metal

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3 stars German band DARK SUN's first album is offering quite nice Dark Metal with a slight progressive edge, much in the vein of KATATONIA or IN THE WOODS (before their experimental phase) or OPETH with both growling and clean vocs. The songs are very melodic and nice to listen with some good acoustic parts now and then as well. Nothing that much progressive I'd say, so any "pure" Proghead who does not like Doom or Black Metal as well (like I do) will probably not feel "at home" with this kind of music. But I think as well not with their second one which is a bit more progressive than this one with more massive usage of keyboard textures. Anyway a good album for what it is. I'd give a half star extra if it'd be possible!
Report this review (#34423)
Posted Saturday, March 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is Dark Sun's first album. A highly recommendable album for people who like Opeth, like I do.

1. Swanlike: The introduction reminds me of Opeth's The Moor, with the laidback guitar whines and everything. As the vocals come in, you'll notice the muffled line transitioning into the clear vocals. This was probably intended as an effect, but the mixing is quite subpar, and it was not pulled off perfectly. The mood and general setting is very reminiscent of Still Life or Morningrise era Opeth, though the changes are perhaps not as perfectly executed. The song has some very interesting key changes that give it an overall ghostly feel. Great atmosphere. In my opinion this is the best song in the album. [8]

2. Infiltration: A great intro riff, depressing and moody. The tempo change at about 1:15 is very well executed. However, right after this part, you start to get several tempo changes that sound a bit off. All that said, the riff starting at 3:30 is absolutely magnificent, reminding me of Opeth yet being original. The ending however leaves something lacking. [7]

3. The Sun Beyond Your Eden: The orchestral intro changes abruptly into a metal riff with no connection whatsoever. This song seems to be a collection of separate parts, each with a few riffs. 1:50, another unforeseen change. 3:08, another huge change. These are too abrupt. From here on the song is quite to my liking. Again, many laidback riffs with overall ambience provided by the synth. The end sees another not-so-abrupt change. A song marred by the sudden changes. [6]

4. Virtuous Dilemma: I like the harmonization of guitars in the beginning. There are quite some good riffs in this song. The changes are executed quite better. The vocal lines are haunting, though a bit buried in the mix. Very laidback. [6+]

5. Inside Final Dreams: Interesting intro, which seems to stop and go into another intro [?]. As soon as the drums kick in you hear the sound quality changing, something that puts me off quite a bit. Has an overall ghostly feeling, especially when the heavy part starts. Quite repetitive with some interesting changes towards the end. [6]

6. The Neverending: Hmm, the introduction is not so much to my liking. The vocals are nice though. The music here is bordering on doomdeath rather than progressive death. Some of the riffs remind me of My Dying Bride. The riff that starts at the four minute mark is quite evil sounding, but repeated too many times. [5+]

7. In Silent Harmony II: A welcome change. Percussions, acoustic, and electric lead. Nothing much to be said here. A pretty much static song. [6+]

I will not review the other song since it is marked as bonus. Overall, the music is quite a bit more laidback than Opeth's. The vocalist has in my opinion a very beautiful voice with great potential, along with a low growl. Had the mixing been better, the band would have shined more in this area. The changes need to be written better, something that this album suffers quite badly from. OVERALL, 6.5

Report this review (#122264)
Posted Tuesday, May 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Dark Suns play experimental and doomy death metal on this their debut Swanlike. They are pretty much an Opeth clone and not much more. To some this might sound great, but I find it a bit too unoriginal.

The level of the musicians are great though and the compositions flow nicely. The music changes between epic doomy death metal parts and parts with clean vocals. Acoustic guitar is used often. Does this sound familiar ? I think they lack the last power though to become anything like their great influence Opeth.

The sound quality is good but I think the growls are too processed for my taste. The clean vocals are very nice to my ears even though they are not something special.

All in all itīs a very average experimental death metal album. I have heard it all before, many times worse and some times better. 3 small stars for this very average album. Not bad but not too good either. I hope their next album is a bit more innovative and doesnīt sound so much like Opeth.

Report this review (#158467)
Posted Sunday, January 13, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars I generally don't like talking about one band by direct comparison to another, but Dark Suns debut album Swan Like is the closest sounding album to Opeth, circa Still Life, that I have ever heard. It uses the light and dark musical shading that Opeth does so effectively that its going to be hard to escape the comparison.

The biggest difference is that Dark Suns doesn't make quite as much use of acoustic guitar preferring to rely on a much cleaner, smoother guitar sound to juxtapose with the heavy distortion of the metal parts. However, this isn't a bad thing at all as Dark Suns pull off the style very well and add a flavour all of their own by generally playing in a slow, almost doom metal style. The big surprise on here actually comes from the closing instrumental, In Silent Harmony II, that is actually highly reminiscent of maudlin of the Well's shorter instrument parts like Interlude 1 through 4, only using electric rather than acoustic guitar. It makes for a very interesting end to the album but I'm not too sure whether it fits in well with the rest of it. Technically, all the members of the band are quite strong, though they don't to flaunt it, with the drummer Niko Knappe being the stand out, though his vocals aren't exactly great. The bonus track, Suffering, makes for a nice addition, though being recorded 5 years before this album it has a much more raw feeling to it. Highly recommended to fans of Opeth, especially if My Arms, Your Hearse and Still Life are two of your favourites from them.

Report this review (#169607)
Posted Friday, May 2, 2008 | Review Permalink

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