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DARK SUNS

Experimental/Post Metal • Germany


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Dark Suns biography
Founded in Leipzig, Germany in 1997

In 1997 Tobias Gommlich and Niko Knappe, two well known players of the local metal scene in Lutherstadt Wittenberg (Germany) formed a project called DARK SUNS. At first it was planned as a side project but after some time the band began to spend more and more time on this project. In 1998 they recorded their first CD called "Below Dark Illusion". After numerous member changes (as well as tenancy changeover to Leipzig) and 1st places at newcomer festivals the band began to write their first album "Swanlike" in 2001.

The first album, which was finally released in 2002, contains music in the vein of OPETH. Death Metal combined with several other influences: PINK FLOYD like psychedelic passages, rhythm changes and acoustic parts. Everything with continious change of growls and clean vocals. The band used to call it 'progressive dark metal'. The second album "Existence", released in 2005, is quite different. The death metal influences are gone completely and the whole sound became much more progressive. For it is a concept album most of the songs are rather epic and very atmospherical. PAIN OF SALVATION and GREEN CARNATION besides PINK FLOYD and THE AMBER LIGHT are the main similarities I have in mind. Overall, "Existence" is the more progressive album and a concept piece with a goose bumps causing atmosphere.

The band initiated a great development and all we can do is to hope for more great albums. Perfect for fans of psychedelic, epic music and progressive metal aloof from DREAM THEATER.

: : : Martin Dietrich (diddy), GERMANY : : :

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DARK SUNS discography


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DARK SUNS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.16 | 32 ratings
Swanlike
2002
3.87 | 84 ratings
Existence
2005
3.90 | 81 ratings
Grave Human Genuine
2008
3.73 | 61 ratings
Orange
2011
3.86 | 65 ratings
Everchild
2016
3.21 | 10 ratings
Half Light Souvenirs
2019

DARK SUNS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

DARK SUNS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

DARK SUNS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

DARK SUNS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.50 | 2 ratings
Below Dark Illusion
1998

DARK SUNS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Existence by DARK SUNS album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.87 | 84 ratings

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Existence
Dark Suns Experimental/Post Metal

Review by sgtpepper

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 less memorable and maintaining the dark feeling. Perhaps a closer move to Katatonia this time? Let's also add "Tool" to the list of bands they must have heard! To be fair, the band also sounds more original now.

Rhythms are more complex, playful and more irregular. Clean vocals are sun almost everywhere and they are decent. Worth mentioning are softer and more accessible songs like "Daydream" that confirm band's versatility.

There are stronger and weaker moments - my only complaint is that the album is far too long and it could have been a stronger 50-minute album.

 Swanlike by DARK SUNS album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.16 | 32 ratings

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Swanlike
Dark Suns Experimental/Post Metal

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars The debut album by Dark Suns is one of the most heavily Opeth-cloned albums - at some point I was thankful for hearing anything that brought me to the old times of 90's and early 00's Opeth. Dark Suns succeed in resembling and executing most of Opeth traits - setting bleak ambiance, progressive feeling, mighty growl and similar chord sequences. Furthermore, you can hear heavy and acoustic contrasts. Perhaps the song the bests epitomizes it is the title track, pretty much also my favourite track on the album.

Dead and doom-metal driven parts sound convincing even if not terribly original and there are memorable motives behind. It needs to be added that the music never exceeds that of Opeth, there simply isn't the compositional quality nor surprising moments. What the music has more to offer than Opeth - doom elements that could also remind of some earlier Katatonia or Anathema or even some blacked My Doing Bride. Also, while playing is solid, it is not at the same level as Opeth.

As much as I like this album, I wouldn't recommend it to people who aren't fans of early Opeth.

 Half Light Souvenirs by DARK SUNS album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.21 | 10 ratings

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Half Light Souvenirs
Dark Suns Experimental/Post Metal

Review by alainPP

3 stars DARK SUNS is a German group of progressive metal that has even worked on his debut in the genre doom on "Swanlike" in 2002. His pedigree in my opinion has quickly evolved into prog metal in SUPERIOR, to OPETH, to PAIN OF SALVATION and to specific phases of PINK FLOYD or MARILLION, ie their creative space. Their "Existence" 2005 remains for me one of the year's slaps as "Grave Human Genuine" three years later: the time of the last prog revival of the decade made integrating numerous subgenres in which is now considered PROG. This album is their sixth even if it is only one EP, making an appearance every three years.

Let's fact it returns in "Unmade Bed Her 'hand on a fast pace almost prog pop with a catchy chorus and a voice very / too clear to me that bothers me a little; a break with sax and piano comes clear counter this fleeting sensation. "How We Got Lost" continues with an intro redolent LED ZEPPELIN notes to leave on a pace slightly heavier, even for voice, it's still pop psychedelic moments with an omnipresent organ synth and a guitar not enough promote; the organ bringing to vintage sounds nice. "Trillianthem" is in the same vein but with a modern developed weirdest with battery front brings a purely enjoyable development, prog or music as I love, lost in the sounds; there is the pop 60s moments to leave halfway through an explosion of notes too quickly extinguished frustrating limit, then it goes again in a more measured with a more catchy voice finally, 7 minutes of pure happiness! And the good thing is that it reminds me of the great years of this largely unknown group what PAIN OF SALVATION! It's varied, it's catchy, it's good, even if it's not the DARK SUNS I knew! "In Reserve 'hand on a low ambient rating with a voice phrased again pulling up, it's almost monolithic, depressing, a little piano DOORS, it lacks pep given what they could out and it's not the sax welcome by its originality that advances such, unless I tell myself that it might be another group that I chronicle. "My Sermon" ends this EP with a bit more in their original pedigree, there is Haken, the TESSERACT in even though these groups are well subsequent to DARK SUNS! It contains a synth catchy, a trained voice, less monotonous, energetic guitar riff, a latent atmosphere with hints of basic piano and clear at once; the rhythm is growing over this long song, the voice becomes rocky death limit the synth becomes mesmerizing, there are even a few moments a little RIVERSIDE it, then it falls back slowly but in a structured way in a quiet end, soft, soothing too fast. less monotonous, energetic guitar riff, a latent atmosphere with a few piano notes basic and clear at once; the rhythm is growing over this long song, the voice becomes rocky death limit the synth becomes mesmerizing, there are even a few moments a little RIVERSIDE it, then it falls back slowly but in a structured way in a quiet end, soft, soothing too fast. less monotonous, energetic guitar riff, a latent atmosphere with a few piano notes basic and clear at once; the rhythm is growing over this long song, the voice becomes rocky death limit the synth becomes mesmerizing, there are even a few moments a little RIVERSIDE it, then it falls back slowly but in a structured way in a quiet end, soft, soothing too fast.

What about this EP? There will be something for everyone, that those who do not know may find the album fresh, dynamic and innovative strand with instrumental keys in the middle of the verses. Let those who follow them since their early risk them being disoriented by the change of tone, direction given to their music, it seems ... another group! Is it on purpose, looking for a real musical evolution? I ask, hoping secretly find the style of the last song for their next real album.

 Half Light Souvenirs by DARK SUNS album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.21 | 10 ratings

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Half Light Souvenirs
Dark Suns Experimental/Post Metal

Review by TCat
Forum & Site Admin Group Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

3 stars Dark Suns is an Experimental/Post Metal band from Germany that was founded in 1997 by Tobias Gommlich and Niko Knappe. Tobias has since left the band and the doom metal sounds that were originally part of their sound is no longer a factor in their music. Their 6th album is called 'Half Light Souvenirs' and was released digitally in April of 2019. It will be released on CD and vinyl on June 7, 2019. It has 5 total tracks and a run-time of just over 30 minutes. The current line up consists of Niko Knappe on vocals along with Maik Knappe on guitars, Torsten Wenzel on guitars, Tim Gressler on bass, Ekky Meister on piano and organ and Dominique Ehlert on drums.

The music has a heavy edge to it at times, but almost seems to be more along the lines of Neo-prog or maybe Heavy Prog with a lot of synthesizer also included with the guitar heaviness. The music has some complexity to it, but the vocals seem quite mellow, somewhere between Steven Wilson's and Peter Nicholl's (IQ) vocals, but without the edge and energy. The musicianship is good enough and there are some very good instrumental sections throughout, but overall, it tends to lose steam with the vocals. The longer tracks, 'Trillianthem' and 'My Sermon' are the best, showing the best development and some excellent passages along the way, but there are weak spots throughout all of the tracks that take all of that steam away. Most of it has to do with the vocal sections, which don't really appeal to me.

The high points are just too few and far between, and there are just too many sections that drag along, so that even at only 30 minutes, it seems like it is too long. The music is definitely not experimental or post metal on this album. It also seems to lack enough life to even carry it through it's short run time. Anyway, because of a few high points, the album gets 3 stars.

 Orange by DARK SUNS album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.73 | 61 ratings

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Orange
Dark Suns Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Lebmetalcom

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.
 Orange by DARK SUNS album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.73 | 61 ratings

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Orange
Dark Suns Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Progulator
Prog Reviewer

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.
 Grave Human Genuine by DARK SUNS album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.90 | 81 ratings

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Grave Human Genuine
Dark Suns Experimental/Post Metal

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I found Dark Suns while checking out progressive metal bands on iTunes. I don't remember which of their albums I sampled first, but I later read that their first album sounded a lot like Opeth, their second began moving away from that, and their fourth I listened to a bit and found it very jazz-influenced. This one made the biggest impression on me and so I ordered a CD from Amazon.

My experience with progressive metal is still somewhat limited; however, at times I was reminded of Tool's "Aenema" because of the slow heavy bombast of guitar chords, bass, and drums. Dark Suns shy away from catchy riffs or speedy trash sequences. Instead they often use the louder instruments (electric guitar, bass, drums) for deafening blasts of doom-heavy sonic assaults. The opening instrumental in part sums up much of the heavier parts of the album.

What makes "Grave Human Genuine" so interesting, though, is everything else that Dark Suns employs to create the music. You'll find piano, flute, bongo drums, electronic effects, acoustic and clean electric guitars, strings, synthesizer, and possibly more that I have missed. The band uses all these to create delicate and beautiful acoustic music with drums and bass, symphonic metal, haunting and lonely musical passages, and music by which to go mad. They also don't hold back and fire full volley when it suits them. Listen to the wonderful acoustic guitar/piano/bass/drums opening to "The Chameleon Defect" which abruptly turns into an auditory bombardment at a rate that can hardly be counted in beats per second. Though the general atmosphere is dark and there are no catchy melodies to sing in your head, the music is very intelligent if not experimental.

A few words on the vocals, Nico Knappe's vocals tend to be sung very delicately and softly, which can work wonderfully to contrast the dark heavy side of the music. Sometimes though I wish he would put a little more edge into his voice. At times I think his style bothers me a bit but other times I am okay with it. There are also death growl vocals placed to good effect but I don't know who is providing them. Also, Vurtox of Disillusion guests on a couple of tracks for spoken parts. It's interesting that I ordered Disillusion's "Back to Times of Splendor" at the same time as Dark Suns, discovering them during the same iTunes hunt.

The album is both diverse and cohesive. The approach to the dark heavy music doesn't vary much but there's so much else on there that the album doesn't get tiresome. If you are looking for more standard metal then this one might not please, but for something in a progressive vein, I think this is rather original among the prog metal albums I have heard so far.

I don't feel it quite deserves five stars but a very strong four stars.

 Orange by DARK SUNS album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.73 | 61 ratings

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Orange
Dark Suns Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Prog Reviewer

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.

 Orange by DARK SUNS album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.73 | 61 ratings

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Orange
Dark Suns Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

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.

 Orange by DARK SUNS album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.73 | 61 ratings

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Orange
Dark Suns Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

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.

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