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Dark Suns

Experimental/Post Metal

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Dark Suns Existence album cover
3.87 | 85 ratings | 12 reviews | 30% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 2005

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Zero (2:09)
2. A Slumbering Portrait (2:32)
3. The Euphoric Sense (5:54)
4. Her And The Element (6:39)
5. Daydream (4:40)
6. Anemone (6:27)
7. You, A Phantom Still (11:17)
8. Gently Bleeding (7:19)
9. Abiding Space (7:10)
10. Patterns Of Oblivion (10:50)
11. One Endless Childish Day (12:59

Ttal Time: 77:56

Line-up / Musicians

- Niko Knappe / vocals, drums
- Maik Knappe / guitars
- Torsten Wenzel / guitars
- Thomas Bremer / piano, synthesizers
- Christoph Bormann / bass

- Nadine Fisher / vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Niko Knappe with Nadine Fisher (photo)

CD Prophecy Productions ‎- PRO 073 (2005, Germany)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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DARK SUNS Existence ratings distribution

(85 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(30%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(42%)
Good, but non-essential (22%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

DARK SUNS Existence reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Tristan Mulders
4 stars Dark Suns - Existence

I was positively surprised when I first discovered this band in 2005, just after the release of their second album "Existence". I read somewhere that this band originated from the black metal scene, so I was expecting some sort of Opeth-hybrid. So the 'breathiness' of this record totally caught me off-guard!

The depressing opening track Zero, which basically only includes dark ambiances and spoken word, sets the tone for the next 75+ minutes. The music included here is a mixture of Opeth-like metal and Floydian soundscapes. Mind you though: with the exception of one short fragment in the final track NO growling/grunt vocals are included on "Existence".

It's true that fans of heavier (metal) music will find something to their liking on this album, yet, unlike that other band Opeth, the music here is lesser based on repetition of form (i.e. the guitar riffs) and more on experimentation and the creation of constantly shifting segments of music. This makes the music more appealing to long-time fans of the symphonic rock movement. In a way you could compare Dark Suns to Pain of Salvation: they both are most definitely metal, but they also send out various signals of progression, experimentation and luckily no stagnation.

Review by Mellotron Storm
5 stars I have been searching for this one for some time and I finally found it ! DARK SUNS are from Germany and play a dark and heavy brand of metal. PAIN OF SALVATION is who they reminded me of the most although there were lots of OPETH moments and ANATHEMA references as well. Not a bad blend if you ask me. You can add KATATONIA to the reference list as well. "Existence" is a concept album about life from birth ("Zero") to death ("One Endless Childish Day"). The lyrics deal with the emotions that can be experienced during our fragile existence. The drummer is also the vocalist and wrote all the songs as well.

"Zero" is a short intro track consisting of a thunderstorm and spoken words. "A Slumbering Portrait" is another short song at 2 1/2 minutes. This one is about the innocence and hope of a child. This song really thunders into existence with a heavy soundscape. Great bass ! "The Euphoric Sense" features vocals that are very much in the style of Daniel from POS. After 3 minutes a pastoral section arrives that sounds so much like OPETH. Nice. 4 minutes in we get a good guitar melody with heaviness to follow. "Her And The Element" is the fourth amazing song in a row ! The heavy and mellow passages are contrasted beautifully. An incredibly heavy passage 2 1/2 minutes in and the synths are perfect. "Daydream" features piano melodies for almost 2 minutes before it is replaced with guitar. Drums and piano join in as the sound gets louder 2 1/2 minutes in. Vocals arrive a minute later. "Anemone" has a great passage 1 1/2 minutes in that is very POS-like as the moods change quickly. This one is heavy. TOOL-like drumming later as well as piano melodies.

"You,A Phantom Still" has a keyboard led 1 1/2 minute intro before bass and heavy drums take over. The vocals are again POS-like as the song turns pastoral. The tempo and mood continues to change. Scalding guitar 6 1/2 minutes in followed by more amazing drumming. "Gently Bleeding" becomes heavy with some great synth work. Spoken words 2 minutes in. The song calms right down before becoming heavy again. "Abiding Space" has an atmospheric soundscape before the drums kick in before 2 minutes. It all sounds so good with the synths and vocals 3 minutes in. "Patterns Of Oblivion" is when our subject is now old. It opens heavy and slow leading to a female vocal and piano section. 5 minutes in it gets very heavy and emotional. "One Endless Childish Day" has reserved vocals and piano until it is crumpled up by a heavy soundscape. I love the sound before 2 minutes. Another great soundscape 4 minutes in. Beautiful acoustic guitar a couple of minutes later. The lyrics and music 8 minutes in are amazing. Oh my God !

My five favourite songs are "Her And The Element" , "Anemone" , "You, A Phantom Still" , "Patterns Of Oblivion" and "One Endless Childish Day". This is a dark and heavy masterpice !

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The sticker on the front of my CD says this album is a "Masterpiece of progressive emotional metal" for fans of Opeth, PoS, Porcupine Tree and Anathema. The words "progressive metal" I can go with, the words "masterpiece" and "emotional" I will have to take some issue with. These guys are very good musicians who have come up with plenty of nice moments but I have to say my eyes have glazed over long before the 78 minute length has been exhausted. They clearly are PoS devotees, sounding like a tribute band in places. But they do not have enough good material to sustain the punishing length and it becomes very clear this is no "Remedy Lane." And while the band nearly has the chops of PoS, the vocalist is no Daniel G and that hurts. Love him or hate him, Daniel's incredible vocals are part of what makes PoS and Dark Suns lacks that. Their vocals are perfectly pleasant but they are rather tentative and only average. They are straight (non-growl) vocals for those who are wondering about that. Overall the album has a somewhat cold and unemotional feel to me which is not necessarily bad but I find it ironic that they use the word "emotional" to describe their sound. The music is ambitious but the sound is detached to me.

Let's look to the positive. The highlight of the album is the sequence of "Daydream" into "Anemone." It starts with gentle solo piano which is a nice breather from the heavy majority. Soon some clean guitar chords are picked with some gentle keys behind. Half way through some vocal whispers. Drums and bass come in and piano returns for a nice mellow rock section and a good electric solo. Nice stuff. It bleeds into "Anemone" which starts like a PoS/PT cross but soon enters great sections of gut heavy rock that is choppy and dramatic, with soaring changes all over. It continues to build paying demanding constant attention. Spine tingling! On the down side, other tracks just get bogged down in sameness, crying out to the producer to sneak into the studio after dark for an edit job. Sadly, it never happened and you will be able to complete your college thesis in just 4 spins of this CD.

This is a good metal album that I'd recommend to PoS fans. I'm just saying that before they unleash another 78 minute album, I'd suggest they shoot for putting together an awesome 48 minute album. Comes with a very thick lyric booklet that also looks just like a PoS booklet.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Dark Suns second album Existence should be the kind of album that I love. Itīs got all of the elements that I really like in prog metal. Clean singing, intricate heavy monumental riffs in the vein of Opeth and Katatonia and to top it of songs with experimental structures. The only problem is that when I finnish listening to Existence Iīm not especially excited. I think Existence is a good album, but nothing more, which is a bit disappointing to me, as I had expected more from Dark Suns. Dark Suns debut album Swanlike was also a very mediocre affair and it was almost an Opeth clone. This time other influences are also present in Dark Suns music but I still think Opeth is the main influence. The swedish band Katatonia have obviously influenced Dark Suns too though with more experimental post rock structures in the songs.

The musicians are very good, so there is nothing to say here. Lead singer Nico Knappe has a pleasant voice and his accent is not a problem. Itīs hardly hearable even though Dark Suns is a german band and the accent can sometimes be a problem with bands from Germany.

The music is a mix of heavy guitars and more mellow post rock passages. There are no growls on this album. Dark Suns left them behind on their debut album Swanlike which means the doom/ death influences are not as evident on Existence. The tempo is still slow to mid though. One of the things that irritate me a bit about Existence is the omnipresent use of keyboards throughout the album. This is what Opeth does so well. They use the keyboard sparsely. Dark Suns use it all the time, which means I get tired of it midway through the ( way too) long album. Itīs just there in the background the whole time. Nothing spectacular it just gets on my nerves after a while. The songs are generally very long, and lots of things happen in every song which is really great and Iīm entertained the whole time.

The sound quality is good, but I donīt like the production. I find it lifeless and quite frankly it leaves me cold. This is an aquired taste of course so judge yourself.

This is a good album though and Iīll rate it 3 stars. Itīs not excellent in my book even though it has all the characteristica I normally enjoy.

Review by Prog Leviathan
3 stars Entirely proficient and occasionally exciting brooding metal limited in its effectiveness by a lack of originality and flourishes which so punctuate bands which they are likely to be compared to.

Existence is, taken as a whole, a fairly typical release of the genre, but has some good things going for it. The atmosphere is dark, but not oppressive, and the songwriting fairly complex despite the somewhat laid-back tempo of many of the songs. Musicianship is about what one would demand of the genre-- which means proficient and aggressive playing, as well as highs and lows which is all but essential these days. Knappe's vocals are clean and smooth, with thoughtful phrasing and delivery.

So what's the problem?

There isn't anything here you can't hear somewhere else better; moreover, the repetitiveness of the band's playing here will probably make the listener numb by the half-way mark... not to mention by the end of this album's 78 minute length! There are no flashes of guitar virtuosity, complexity in rhythm or time changes, or demonstration of range in the vocals. The end effect is a bland palette of crunchy chugging and atmospherics which don't make much of an impact.

Still, for fans of bands like Pain of Salvation, Riverside, Anathema, etc., Existence does offer some interesting and familiar sounds-- just don't expect them to match what you might find here. There is definantly potential for excellence here, if Dark Suns can find their own voice.

Songwriting: 3 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 3 Style/Emotion/Replay: 2

Review by sleeper
3 stars Dark Suns first album was a clear Opeth clone and for this band to gain any real recognition they would need to develop a style of their own. This is something they have taken to heart because in th two years between Swanlike and Existence there has been a complete change in direction for their music.

The biggest change is that they have added a second major influence to the bands sound, that of Pain of Salvaton, and worked hard to merge that with the existing influece of Opeth. The result is an album that has the bleak, dark, melencholic atmospheres of Opeth mixed with the emotional delivery and content of Pain of Salvation, or at least that is the clear aim on here. The reality is that they seem to have just fallen short of attaining that perfect blend. The atmosphere is there and so is the amotion but neither mix to a fully compelling degree and as a result is that the album can be seen more as work in progress, a snapshot of where the band is developing from and too. I think the biggest reason for this is that the musical ideas on show here just seem to be stretched too far, motifs go one for too long and the impact that the band wanted is severly lessoned because of it .

Overall this isnt actually a bad album, there is plenty here to interest fans of progressive metal and there are numerous flashes of brilliance throughout the album, but there is also a case of too much music, not enough material as well that just drags down the experience of listening to it. Hilights for me are the extremely catchy The Euphoric Sense, a song that I can never seem to shake from my memory, and the perfectly executed You, A Phantome Still and Patterns of Oblivion. These last two songs are perfect examples of exactly what the band was trying to achieve here, an exquiset mix of atmosphere and emotion where the one feeds of the other. Unfortunatly there are a few lowlights to the album as well. Many of the shorter, earlier songs just feel unecessary to me and tracks 8 and 9 (Gently Bleeding and Abiding Space) are good but arent as fully realised as the aformenioned You, A Phantome Still and Patterns of Oblivion. The final track is the big let down though, the longest song on here but it really shouldnt have been, it distinctly needs to be cut down by about 4 minutes because it vastly outstays its welcome.

A decent album, and one that shows a band developing into being something different, but fails to meet the full expectations set upon it. No one song on here can be pinpointed as terrible for they all have moments of greatness, but only a few hold that throughout their length. In the end though, it would be the next album, Grave Human Genuine, that fully realises this bands potential. 3.5 stars.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Kudos to Dark Suns for changing their sound radically even before Opeth did! The band decided to lay even less focus on melodies and classic composition structure ending up in a pool of mistakenly unrelated moments. Music began being more atmospheric with a random feeling element, while also l ... (read more)

Report this review (#2584667) | Posted by sgtpepper | Monday, August 9, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Dark Suns is an underground band even amongst progressive metal, which is a shame because (as you can tell by the ratings for 'Existence') they beat most of the albums on the market. This breed of complex, fluid progressive music fuses a variety of influences seamlessly: Opeth, for their dynamic ... (read more)

Report this review (#166514) | Posted by Receuvium | Sunday, April 13, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The album I have listened to most over the last 12 months and one which I believe will be referred to in years to come as a classic of its genre. I found it operatic and true theatre as Dark Suns takes you on a rollercoaster ride of human emotion, feeling the angst of the human condition, one ... (read more)

Report this review (#109398) | Posted by barbs | Monday, January 29, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Another band I discovered on this site... "Existence" sounds like a mix of mid period Anathema ("Judgement" in particular), mellow Opeth ("Damnation"), Katatonia (for the dark atmosphere), but in a more progressive (and maybe heavier) way. It takes quite a bit of listens to discover all the su ... (read more)

Report this review (#92800) | Posted by zaxx | Sunday, October 1, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album is as wonderful, beautiful and stunning as difficult. I first heard it when they supported Pain of Salvation in Krakow and I thought: "Hey, these guys are really good!". I bought their CD immediately. After all that I saw, I guess, I still wasn't prepared well enough for the big emo ... (read more)

Report this review (#65963) | Posted by | Sunday, January 22, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars What a surprise. As you know the last release had a dark-progressive-metal vein but now they decided to dispense with this "dark" and produced a top-class prog-metal cd. Less is sometimes more and so the new orientation proves to be a lucky pull. I like those soft and melodic vocal lines, appe ... (read more)

Report this review (#53811) | Posted by W.Chuck | Saturday, October 29, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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