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Album Review

It's no secret that many record producers are in fact frustrated musicians whose technical expertise afforded them the opportunity to retreat into the studio after their careers went belly up; so whenever an established producer dares to step back out from behind the mixing desk, the odds of artistic failure are steep, to say the least. Unless said producer operates within a musical genre like heavy metal, in which success and public stardom don't necessarily go hand in hand, thereby lowering expectations just enough to allow the music to speak for itself. Long story short, we're talking about famed extreme metal producer Waldemar Sorychta here (The Gathering, Tiamat, Lacuna Coil, etc.), and his latest endeavor as a musician, Enemy of the Sun. Having already proven himself to be far more than a knob-twiddling nerd with lingering issues (via respectable prior band projects like original band Despair, goth-metallers Eyes of Eden and, best known of all, post-thrashers Grip Inc.), Sorychta now brings us a strange brand of progressive thrash, rife with both melody and even more extreme death metal elements. In fact, arguably not since the Galactic Cowboys, in the early '90s, has a band so liberally invested layered vocal harmonies into thrash metal as Enemy of the Sun do (though not with the same, Beatlesque perfection); consistently contrasting it against the aforementioned death metal growls, plus its attendant chunkier guitar tones and busier percussion. Needless to say, though, this balance is a delicate one, and there are times when the band's melodic execution comes off decidedly iffy ("Lives Based on Conflicts," for example), or is simply beaten to a pulp by the opposing aggro portions (see ill-advised ventures into ska during "Twenty-Three Feet" and "Brain Sucking Machine"). Thankfully, the album's successful mutations are significantly more frequent than its botched ones; favorites including eye-opening first cut "Emptiness," the rapid fire, Fear Factory-like "Carousel," and dynamic tour de forces like "Weak" and "Lost in Time." And, ultimately, their hybrid results are so stunningly refreshing that one would imagine that only close-minded individuals might possibly resist their exotic allure. So even if the first listen leaves you wondering, be sure to give Shadows just a little more time to sink in, and it may never leave your iPod.

Biography

Genre: Metal

Years Active: '00s

In the world of progressive, gothic and symphonic metal, Waldemar Sorychta was a pretty big name. He produced work for bands such as the Gathering, Lacuna Coil, Tiamat, Moonspell, and Sentenced. His own bands, such as Grip, Inc. and Eyes of Eden had sizable followings, and was a prominent songwriter in the genre. But it had been a while — since the days of Grip, Inc. — that Sorychta had recorded his own music and played that music on stage. So, in order to fill that void, the jack of...
Full bio
Shadows, Enemy of the Sun
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  • £7.99
  • Genres: Rock, Music
  • Released: 07 December 2007

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