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[R]evolution of a Sun | ‘Hell’

Most bands don’t make it to ten years, let alone take ten years to deliver their debut album, but it’s fair to say Revolution of a Sun aren’t most bands.

I had to pinch myself when this arrived in my letterbox to ensure I wasn’t dreaming, and that I was in fact after recieveing a completed and commercially available ROAS cd. I genuinely didn’t think this day would come.

About 4 years ago I remember listening to a vocalless rough mix of ROAS’ debut album in Eoin’s house in Cork – needless to say this cd isn’t that recording, which never saw the light of day. I genuinely feared this band would never make the album they so clearly should have made by now, so it’s both exciting and a bit of a relief to have the fucking thing in my hands at long last.

Is it worth the wait then? Well yeah, it pretty much is. Sort of.

I’ll be honest -it’s not quite the album to end all albums one might expect after 10 years. Perhaps the band didn’t feel any pressure after such a long lead up, but from the listener’s point of view expectations will always be sky high if you take this long to get a debut album out.

Particularly with the standard having been raised for local metallic hardcore by recent mindblowers from Crowd Control and Bacchus, there was an extra level of expectation here, and if I’m honest it’s maybe a little in the shadow of those newer bands by virtue of its less murderous approach.

And unfortunately it doesn’t quite come without flaws – certainly opener “Evolution” is the weakest  trackon here to my ears, and made me nervous for the rest of the album. But barring that (and a moment where they blatant steal the riff from Isis’ “The Tower” towards the end of the album), it’s for the most part  head and shoulders over most other records that currently constitute the EU metalcore mountain currently.

The drum sound is a little too sterile and distant  for my liking, and that old “it doesn’t capture how good they are live” chestnut will have to be wheeled out here I guess . And the use of an unattributed quote about industrial music in the place of a full set of lyrics inside the cd is just plain baffling. But hey, these are minor complaints, and probably reflects more on my being a stickler for decent packaging than anything else.

These 11 songs, a mixture of old and new,  capture ROAS at their strongest point and sees them more vibrant and enthused than any band a decade into their history has any right to be.

Rooted essentially in the less knuckledragging end of 90s metalcore (think Breach , Deadguy, Converge and Ire), they’ve updated their sound a little, and there’s hints of Tragedy’s crusty anger and even a little of a more modern Trap Them feel in places. Sameyness is a problem that plagues a lot of bands in this metallic hardcore field, and fortunately [R]OAS are mostly immune.

For the most part there’s enough variety going on to make you want to actually keep listening rather than just skipping tracks. “Past” and “Ashes” (which sports an excellent almost Voivod like break at one point) are sheer rage, where the more tempered likes of “Fugitive” (the best song on here) and “Break” have a sense of pacing and drive that lends a maturity and tension. There’s even a hint of balls out rock in the Black Flag meets Carcass on “Conspire” that lends (gulp) a groove I don’t remember them having before.

It has to be said, what they lack in fury, they make up for in craftsmanship. Certainly, this band has the best guitar team in Irish hardcore currently- Kenny and Mick can riff it up with the best of them, but the layering and interplay between the two is really something special.

Now, there you go, the album’s out. Finally. I recommend it. It’s a good record. But what I want to know is, are they going to be happy being Ireland’s best kept secret forever or are they going to seize the momentum this album should allow them?

4.1/5 – Jamie Grimes ::: 29/08/11

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