Sumerlands | ‘Sumerlands’
It’s been weeks now since this came out.
I’ve been watching the days clock on by, conscious with every one of them that I haven’t reviewed this yet – every wasted day a crime against this incredible piece of work and the need to just recommend it from the rooftops.
Part of the difficulty is just the obviousness of it. What’s to say when an album is just so self evidently and plainly fantastic?
Hopefully tons, you’d think. But some stuff is just so good all you need to do is plug in and listen. The rest is mere flim-flam.
Nonetheless, here goes.
Right from the start of its scratchy, Van Halen opening lick, Sumerlands just has it.
Straight up heavy metal whose guitars recall KK Downing and Glenn Tipton in the brittle softness of their distortion, this band nonetheless bring a quality to it that is so far above the basics of denim and leather.
I hestitate to call it Goth, yet that’s the feeling. Perhaps you could compare the mood loosely with what In Solitude caught on ‘Sister’, and yet not really – even the Fields Of The Nephilim reference in their name points to something simultaneously true and false.
Hear the whip riff of ‘Timelash’ as it cracks with an offbeat groove. The chordal and right hand guitar work on this album is sublime. Those modal chords are beautiful.
It is surely the vocals though that are the icing on the cake. They sound detached and ghostly, not quite one with the music, coming from a different place. All the time I am reminded, for no particular reason – least of all the sound – of Killing Joke’s ‘Love Like Blood’.
The solos are drowned in a Whitesnake-esque reverb. And in fact the whole thing sounds so wonderfully 80s.
Now allow me to venture. Could ‘Blind’ be the track of 2016?
For tell me, if not, what on earth is in comparison? The toms roll. The palm muted guitar attacks, crisp and dark, completely determined. The lyrics yearn.
Yearning. There it is. That’s the key quality that this album has – somewhere between assertive, driving and forceful and wispy and unknowable Goth.
You could listen to this album twice in a row and still crave a third. I know I said in last month’s Opeth review that it was hard when such dynamic metal as this was around to give it the album of the month slot.
And now I figure; just wait. And give this release the accolade it deserves. Yes this is a few weeks over due. But it has no competitor for Album Of The Month for November.
Buy it at once. Your collection is empty without it.
True, real, vibrant, magick, dynamic and emotion filled metal – wow.
4.7 / 5 – Earl Grey ::: 20/11/16