Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Album Review: "Terminus" by While Sun Ends

I was recently contemplating the demise of nu metal. 

I understand why it has come to be reviled, as many metalheads regret the intrusion of funk, rap and grunge into metal.  Still, I think it is to be commended for bridging the gap between more prolific periods of metal history, and for giving Americans some version of metal shows to attend during a ten year span when there was not much else happening in the American metal scene.Plus, there were a lot of excellent bands from this era which do not get the credit they deserve, such as Coal Chamber, Sevendust and Godsmack.  I also secretly like Limp Bizkit, but know better than to admit this in a public forum.  

“Terminus” by While Sun Ends is not nu metal, and  hopefully no one reads this paragraph and avoids the album thinking it is.  Being an Italian band, and nu metal being an almost uniquely American phenomenon, it is unlikely While Sun Ends were even influenced by nu metal.  Yet when I first heard the album to me it sounds as though While Sun Ends have managed to take all the best elements of the nu metal subgenre, eliminated all the elements which derailed it, infused it with traditional progressive metal and created something new and interesting.  

The songs are intricate compositions ranging from the melodic to the brutal with a vocal style to match.  The clean operatic vocals of singer Stefania Torino are sharply contrasted by the growls of guitarist Diego Marchesi and bassist Carlo Leone. 

While Sun Ends
Complex arrangements and unusual  time signatures augment lyrics about self awareness, the futility of achieving true knowledge and observing reality through a limited perspective.  It is truly a complicated listen, but at the same time with enough melody and creative guitar playing to make the album accessible.  

The guitar work of Marchesi and Massimo Tedeschi is truly outstanding, full of eclectic riffs, pace shifts, breaks and interwoven harmonies which keeps the listener engaged and on their toes. The precision timing of the band as they navigate these changes is most impressive.  If Testament/Dethklok drummer Gene Hoglan did not already own the nickname of “The Human Metronome”, I would suggest it be applied to While Sun Ends’ skinsman Enrico Brugali.

Maybe the only real comparison to nu metal is this blending of so many different genre’s into a metal framework.  Other decidedly non-nu metal bands, such as Between the Buried and Me, were also brought to mind.  Any time a band is difficult to categorize, it is an indication they are producing a new sound, and in this case one worthy of your attention.
Release: August 26, 2016
Genre: Progressive Metal
Label: Wooaaargh


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