Thursday, November 17, 2016

Second To Sun - "Blackbound" [2016]

Artist: Second To Sun
Title: Blackbound
Genre: Instrumental Black/Groove Metal
Country: Russia
Year: 2016

Track List:
  1. Vasilisa
  2. Chokk Kapper
  3. Region 13
  4. The Yoke
  5. Ladoga Master
  6. The Fool
  7. Mrakobesie
  8. Idemevs (Bonus Track)
  9. Spirituality (Bonus Track)
"Blackbound" is a long-awaited new full-length release from Second To Sun. Over the year that has passed since the release of their previous album ("The First Chapter"), the band has relocated to St.Petersburg and gained the status of one of the best-known instrumental metal projects from Russia (along with Senmuth - but not all albums in his vast discography are purely instrumental, and not all of them are metal). The S2S members themselves explain the motto "Fuck Your Vocals" by their desire to make their music sounding like a horror movie soundtrack, with the detailed backstories for each track being available in the release notes. If I understand them correctly, they think the presence of vocals would ruin the atmosphere of their music, and wouldn't help with conveying the story behind the music (since the vocals in extreme music are mostly unintelligible anyway). Okay, instrumental metal remains a very interesting and quite unexplored field up to this day, so let's see what S2S have to offer on this album.

"Blackbound", as its name suggests, is much darker and black metal-oriented than their previous releases. The album may seem to be too monotonous and too overloaded with tremolos and blast beats at times, yet the atmosphere and melodies make it an interesting listen. Not to mention it's quite well produced (the band's leader owns his professional recording studio by now). Just like in case with their previous album, most (but not all) tracks on "Blackbound" take inspiration from the folklore and history of the minor Finno-Ugric peoples of the Russian North (a subject that's quite interesting for me personally as well, and that's the primary reason why S2S got my attention), which sets Second To Sun apart from numerous metal bands inspired by the Slavic and Scandinavian mythologies. A more detailed info on each track can be found on the album's Bandcamp page under the "lyrics" link.

It's tempting to tag "Blackbound" as a progressive metal album, but Vladimir Klimov-Lehtinen (the band's leader) fiercely rejects any attempts to label his music as anything else but "(post-)black metal" or "groove metal. I can see where he's coming from - because, as of now, "progressive metal" is mostly used to describe trendy djent/math metal bands like Periphery or Animals As Leaders, which S2S don't want to associate themselves with. S2S also don't play live shows, don't dress and look like stereotypical metalheads, and don't take too many photos of themselves because of the same desire to dissociate themselves with the current trendy metal scene (successfully or not).

For the most part, their reputation of a "djent" or "progressive deathcore" band comes from their album "Based On A True Story", which they now consider their biggest mistake. They also don't want to be associated with the folk or pagan metal scenes, since they draw their inspiration from living (if moribund), not dead traditions (read more in this interview). This is also understandable, because the majority of modern self-proclaimed neo-pagans indeed are complete clowns, especially the Slavic ones. However, Vladimir's constant rants about the people who tag his albums "prog-metal" or "djent" still sound too ridiculously over the top to me, even if he's just joking. As he himself puts it: "I'm trying to be as much of an arrogant dick as possible to get you guys all worked up for a nice little flame war in the comments". Well, I guess he'd fit right in the so-called "elite black metal" scene with such an attitude, but I don't think it's something to be proud of. As a conclusion: the music, whatever you label it, is interesting and controversial, but I'd appreciate it more if its author would be a little less full of himself.

No comments:

Post a Comment